Leeds to the Slaughter

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Approaching the middle of March and league form has been awful, a few draws and mostly defeats have seen us slip down to 20th in the table, perilously close to the relegation zone, but the signing of Emmanuel Dennis at CF and Jonathan David who can play on the wing or as a Striker, have given us a  bit more potency in front of goal, w are going to need their goals if we want to stay up this season.

Leeds Utd were the side that were defeated in order to put and end to our poor run of draws and defeats, always nice to get one over on Leeds, even a virtual Leeds side.
A double-header awaited as we played Leeds firstly in the league, then again straight away this time in the FA Cup, securing back to back wins lifted the lads and gave us fresh belief heading into February.

Highlights are shown below.

A defeat away to Bristol City and a draw at home to Norwich wasn’t the best form heading into our visit from Premier League side Crystal Palace in the FA Cup 4th  round, Extra training sessions were put on in order to get the boys focused and match-sharp, I also fit in time to do an interview for the local rag.

Notts Reporter Newspaper page.pngPalace were duly despatched 2-0 in a game that we had to fight hard to earn anything from, they were strong and organised but had a bad day in front of goal, Roy cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines and booted a few of the water bottles at the final whistle.

We are turning into a cup team, and need to transfer some of the focus and discipline we show in those matches across to our league form, our position isn’t acceptable and the fans demand more, rightly so, as do the board, me and the players.|

FA Cup highlights vs Palace shown below

As I said in my interview, we are trying to. build a solid base and platform from which we can push on next year to mount a serious title challenge, I think the fans know that this year is about setting a template, getting in the players we need and taking consistent, steady steps towards next season, they have been brilliant so far this year, always giving the lads their support on the pitch.

Tuesday saw EA release their first title update on the PS4, after positive reviews from PC players that had it a week previous, I’m not sure, but the game feels much harder since, defending seems to be more manual and the COM teams are closing down like Liverpool at Anfield on a European night, I’m having a tough time of it at present.

Forest Losing Their Kekkle

Approaching the half way point of the season, and a run of 6 games without a win has put the brakes on the playoff places push.
Defeats to Ipswich Town, Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham and Preston North End have seen the Trees slip way down the EFL Championship table, the current league table is shown below, we languish in 16th place, 8pts off the bottom, but still only 5pts from the play off places, still lots to play for.

full league table

That is if I manage to survive the season, the board are not happy with me, as shown by my current trust rating below, I still have several objectives to fulfil, which is reflected in my low rating, managing to scout a few decent youth players to sign to defensive, midfield and attacking positions will help with my rating, but easier said than done, the rating for youth players is quite broad, so theres some guesswork needed to decide if a youth player may come good and fulfil their potential, any youths signed will immediately go out on loan to gain match experience, at the moment I need to do a Mourinho and just buy for the here and now, rather than building for the future.
I’m gagging to play in the Premier League, with all its realistic real world stadiums, and big match atmospheres.

board ratingYes, I have gone for the middle-ageing, bald, suited and booted managers avatar, there isn’t much choice in FIFA for personas to choose, I just fancied a Tony Pulis type character over the usual Damian Lewis lookalike.

Since my last post, over-performing Bojan has gone off the boil, he hasn’t scored in 5, and usually runs out of stamina around the 70 min mark so hasn’t been finishing many matches either, the club are devising a specific fitness regime for him with the chief fitness coach, in the hope of building upon his cardio base and helping him feature more prominently in the latter stage of matches.
New signings are needed, on a very tight budget, I did manage to put together a loan deal for a player I scouted heavily using the in-game search function, searching for young players with good finishing, and attacking prowess stats.

18 year old Jonathan David will be joining us in January on a 2 year loan deal, hoping he can provide some much needed firepower.

david stats

I have also switched my camera from the fixed custom Broadcast camera to the default broadcast camera, which is much more dynamic.
With the custom angle it stayed fixed that way for every match, with it set to default, the broadcast angle changes slightly depending on the stadium, which is a nice effect, every match feels slightly different and it adds to the atmosphere and experience.

The last match of my most recent play session was a Midlands Derby match, against Derby County, was great to hear the commentary team elude to this and provide location specific comments during the match, I lost that game 3-1, after levelling at 1-1, I was done on the counter attack twice after chasing a goal, World Class CPU will punish you if you don’t focus.

Below are the highlights from the Derby Match.

I was truly battered in that match, apart from the one goal we struggled to create anything of note, Soudani up top (the goalscorer)  is a great finisher, but with Grabban and Brewster as the other two CF choices, we are short of firepower, since this session, Jonathan David has signed on a 2 year loan deal and scored on his debut.

My next 3 matches provided one of the best sessions I’ve had on any football game, ever,
it truly was ‘the beautiful game’.

A Forest Bird Never Wants a Cage

League Table.pngAfter 18 games we currently sit 8th in the table, only 7pts off top spot. My objective for the season is to win automatic promotion, that’s a top two finish, the board expect a lot .

Playing on World class is tough, CPU teams close you down quickly, drop back and pack the defence and generally restrict space for you to play in, patience is key, if you can manage to pass sideways, backwards, trigger runs at the right time, and play the right ball, you will unlock defences, of course you need the players to make this happen.

Results have picked up in the last 5 games, with 2 wins, 2 draws and a defeat, Villa are up next and is already a 6 pointer in pushing for those playoff places.

Here is my current squad, starting eleven and subs, in the screenshots shown I have Brewster in the team at CF, he regularly interchanges With Grabban, Brewster is in there to gain match experience and develop, he’s on loan from Liverpool, this is what Klopp would want for him.

teamsheetAs you can see, fatigue plays a much bigger part in this years game, in previous FIFAs, as in PES, players were largely able to run around for the full 90 mins and be fine, and be ready to go on full stamina for the next match, not so much this year.
Players do tire during matches, to the point of needing to be subbed, visible fatigue is evident with their touches, runs and shooting as well as passing. Squad management is a must.

Sat at the heart of that midfield is Bojan, signed pre-season from Stoke for £5.2 million.
He took a few games to find his feet but since has been superb, he is the creative heart of the team, most moves go through him and he chips in with a few goals too, already on 6 for the season, with as many assists.
His passing and vision is superb, so with the patient build-ups he’s able to put a foot on the ball and pick out that slicing pass, he also seems to be settling in well at the club.

Newsapaper Bojan 4th Oct 18I have also setup two youth scouts, and recommendations are filtering through, its tough to gauge just how good a youth player can be at 15 or 16 years old, as even the most advanced scouting report only gives a broad range for overall rating and potential, but with another of my objectives being to sign a youth player to a professional contract in each of the 4 positions (GK/Def/Mid/Att) I will have to take a punt,  and have just signed 16yr old attacking player, Jobson, to a deal.

The video below shows a good move start in midfield with Bojan, he’s also involved in the pass and move to build up the goal, then finally doing what he does best by getting behind the back four for the opportunity to score

This next video shows a great counter-attacking move to bag an equaliser away to Blackburn, I like the way the winger, Dias, steadies himself before planting it in the corner

Lastly, something you don’t see in PES, a good clean powerful header on goal