The Toffee Story – Season 2 After the Break

Welcome back dear reader. I hope you had fun reading the previous installment of The Toffee Story. We ended the first season with a steep climb up the rankings and ended up with Champions League qualification. Let’s see what the future holds for Season Two!

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Let’s face it, we exceeded expectations last year. We were never slated for Champion’s League football. As a result the board raked in more cash than they can handle to they finally granted my wishes to improve the training and youth facilities. Whew!

I said I would focus on youth development in this save and have actually started that in season one. Aside from having existing young talent, the HOYD brought in a one of the best players of his generation which is always good to have! This led me to takeover my youth team to ensure that the development of my prospects is not stunted by injuries.

Prospect 1: Niall Ennis

Niall Ennis

I envision Ennis to be my to be my Mobile TargetMan. Although he doesn’t have the height, I feel that he would be that glue between mid and attack in the future. He also has the Plays With Back To Goal PPM which my I would want for this position. His passing is way too low at this point which is why I gave him the Treq AMC role to learn with passing as an individual focus.

Prospect 2: Antony Evans

Evans

Evans will be playing in the right mid. At six feet, he will give a very different twist to this position. He is quick too which would make him an absolute challenge to deal with for smaller fullbacks in game. He currently is in the under 18s and has flourished together with the rest of the prospects.

Prospect 3: Adam Urwin

Urwin

The shadow striker of the future. I envision him to be quick with tons of off the ball movement. He has been tearing the under 18s opponents to shreds with his movement at that level. He will be the frontline partner of Ennis for years to come.

Prospect 4. Ben Beechey

Beechey

The hulking left winger who will tear defenses apart. The Di Maria or Cristiano Ronaldo of the future is what I claim him to be. There is much to be desired at this point but he is a work in progress. After all, he may be one the the best players of his generation.

TRANSFERS

Rulli has joined from the Bosman signing last January. He will be a keeper for a long time. I am easing him into the first team slowly as I do not want to destabilize the squad. For now he will be playing Cup games and weaker premiership teams.Rulli

In other news, the off-season was a pretty stressful one. Remember when I said I wanted to hold on to my three starlets? Well, the big clubs have come calling for Lukaku and it wasn’t pretty. I had blocked his move and has cost us some locker room drama. Nonetheless, I will still stick with my core principle which is to retain the triumverate of Barkley, Lukaku and Stones. I just feel that it adds a different challenge altogether.

I made a move to protect my interests. I signed Barkley and Stones to a shiny new contracts which should tie them down for at least the next three years. I have also signed some of the more promising youth prospects to standard contracts just for good measure.

Last bit of business came as a surprise to me. I was checking the transfer listed players and saw a familiar talent free for 8.75 million. It was a surprise to see him and swooped right in.

Wilshire

Now I know the guy is and injury magnet and I plan to mitigate the risk by managing his play time. He can be a valuable asset to midfield and a potential tutor once I unlearn some of his nasty PPMs.

Tactics

I only have one tactic but I must say that is has evolved over the past year in game. I started out with a 4-4-2 with two strikers. Now as previously mentioned I have turned to Strikerless, dropping the two guys up front to the AM strata. I have retained the standard mentality but moved to a flexible shape. I realized that it was not the roles that had the issue. With my style of play and mentality, I needed movement. This key change brought about more player movement which I found more to my liking. In terms of roles, I switched the LWB to a LFB on attack, and the RFB to a RWB on support. The LCB turned into a BPD on defend and the RWM on support was switched to attack. Overall, I found more balance in this set up.

Tactic View Season 2

EXPECTATIONS

This year, the board have retained the philosophy of developing youth players to evaluate my performance. In terms of competition, they have been quite lenient on me. See what I mean below:

BPL: Qualify for Europa Leaue

FA Cup: Reach 6th round

Cap One Cup: Reach semi final

Champion’s League: Not expected to progress beyond Group Stage

I feel that these are right on track. I did not expect instant success with the club especially that I am working on my own tactic. Moderate success is acceptable personally so I am happy that they aren’t putting too much pressure on me.

I will update everyone on the save once I complete the Januray Transfer Window. Thank you for your time dear reader. I will see you in the next installment. I am @jedifootball and you can follow me on Twitter. Shalom!

 

 

 

 

The Toffee Story – Season One

Hi welcome to the first installment of the Toffee Story. I am @jedifootball and will be taking you through my Everton save for FM16. In my introduction I had highlighted several points that will be sort of my guiding principle for this save. Let’s jump into it shall we?

What attracted me to Everton aside from the color blue is the make up of the team. I feel it is a transitional period for the club I feel as the torch is being passed from the likes of Barry, Jagielka, Baines, the new blood such as Stones, Barkley and Lukaku. At least that was how I saw it. Even the players at their “peak” like Naismith, McGeady, Lennon are on the wrong side of their twenties now in Football Manager standards. This coincides with the club’s expectations which is a mid table finish and development of youth players.

Now with the spotlight on my three starlets within the club, obviously there will be poachers wanting to take them away from me. I have other plans though. Stones was more of the hot item. Barkley and Lukaku did not have offers come in even if a few teams were interested after I raised my asking price. A bit of a spat with Stones after Chelsea put in a bid was well worth it compared to the returns that he has given me with performance. Every now and then he would be linked with another big club but nothing serous materialized.

I decided to play a 442 similar to the Rebuilding The Thames Ironworks set up but dropping the two forwards to the AM strata – Strikerless! I will not discuss the tactic as that is not my area of expertise. All I do is test and see what brings consistent results. It evolved over the course of the season as evidenced by the run of games that I lost at some point.

Tactic View

Let’s take a look at the squad and how I set it up similar to the article on squad management at @Cleon81’s blog.

Squad View

SK-D #1 Tim Howard, Robles

GK-D and SK-D do not have a huge difference at all. I find that it is an old habit that I use this role. For good measure, I like my sweeperkeeper to have good acceleration and agility on top of the other goalie standards that we have. I don’t think I played Robles in any game though.

FB-A #2 Seamus Coleman, Tyias Browning

This fullback will must have good work rate, teamwork, acceleration and pace. With the support role he should be providing width and a passing option along the flanks in case the MR decides to do a dribble run. In case the MR decides to hold and find an option the attacking role kicks in and naturally will provide an overlap.

WB-S #3 Bryan Oviedo, Brandon Galloway

This fullback should be able to provide a passing option to the left-wing player. I like a player with good crossing especially since the left-wing ahead of him will rarely cross. In the event that he does receive a pass, he can cross from deep to supply players in the box or lay off the ball to more technically gifted players around him.

CD-D #4 Phil Jagielka, Ramiro Funes Mori

In the central defense partnership I want this guy to be the brutal force that will muscle the opposition. Ideally good heading and strength coupled with the natural height of at least six feet. I also want this guy to have good pace and acceleration on top of the standard needs for a central defender.

CD-D #5 John Stones, Matthew Pennington

This position will not require height but I will want some technical gifts such as passing and first touch. I plan to distribute the ball mainly to this player and would want him to be comfortable with the ball at his feet. I plan to use this as a covering defender depending on the opponent so I would also require some pace. Notice these two players are able to play right back as well which is where the pace comes from. I alternate training them on CD and FB.

CM-D #6 Gareth Barry, Muhamed Besic, Mason Holgate, Ryan Ledson

Barry is in the twilight of his career which means he has fantastic mental stats matching what I need for the position. I see this spot as a holding mid shielding the defenders. Positioning is key as well as anticipation. I also avoid any creative PPMs such as through balls often or one-twos. Plays simple passes and looks to pass rather than shoot are suited for this role. Besic is the near future and Holgate is long-term.

WM-A #7 Gerard Deulofeu, Aiden McGeady Connor McAleny

This will be the main dribbler in the squad. Technically gifted with loads of pace. I found that this player will score goals mostly when the ball is crossed or switched from the opposite flank. Deu, my first man for this job at 21 years of age, is just phenomenal. Although I would have wanted more team work and work rate from this player too. PPMs like cuts inside and runs with the ball often help facilitate the effectiveness of this position.

BBM-S #8 Ross Barkley, Tom Cleverly, Ryan Ledson, Mason Holgate

Obviously “Sir Ross” Barkley is our mainstay here. He has scored a ton of goals and dished out dished out assist after assist. This role is pretty key as any player here will have to run up and down the pitch. Although beside the #7 guy, I would want the BBM to dribble less. I have not added that PI yet but I am looking at it for the second season. Cleverly is a very expensive back up and might be sold should he attract interest. Ledson and Holgate I feel are interchangeable between #8 and #6 positions.

WM-S #9 Kevin Mirallas, Aaron Lennon, Connor McAleny

Ideally this position would be more static with the ball. Being instructed to dribble less and cross more often. Mirallas has just the opposite PPM which is dribble more often but I am happy to see that he has thrived at this role after falling out of favor due to moaning about one of the transfers I made. I have no long-term replacement just yet for Mirallas but I am looking into converting one of my youth prospects.

AM-A #10 Romelu Lukaku, Tom Cleverly, Steve Naismith

Since I have read the Mobile Targetman article by @JLAspey, I have tried to implement it in most of my tactics or something similar to it. I want this guy to be agile and attacking but not necessarily have a “score a goal only” mentality. Far from that. Like a TM I want this “striker” to be winning headers, holding up the ball when it gets to him and lays it off for the runners and cutters. The AM role is already mobile by default so no need to add roam from position PI. Lukaku fits the role although I would want him to be a better passer and have higher off the ball stats. No real replacement or back up as I intend for the guy to finish his career with us. Cleverly and Naismith are options in case of injuries.

SS-A #11 Viktor Fischer, Steve Naismith

Barkley was the man for the role initially. Fischer was available for dirt cheap during the transfer window so I splurged on him. Since moving to the main scoring option, he has thrived alongside Lukaku as the pressure is eased off his position allowing him to work the channels better. I am thinking of unlearning his PPM cuts from the left-wing but that would be another topic altogether. At this point, Naismith isn’t the pacey player he used to be so he has filled in for easier games. I would love to have higher off the ball and anticipation for this role as he will be playing off the pseudo mobile targetman, Lukaku.

As far as transfers are concerned, I have made more outgoing ones than incoming. The main transfer was Viktor Fischer costing around six million all in. I have also bought a young english GK from a lower league as a sort of project for less than a million and h and I signed Geronimo Rulli to a contract for next season.

Main departure from the original squad is Leighton Baines. Chelsea was very persistent and allowed me to negotiate an even higher fee that what was initially offered. It was just too good to refuse for a 30-year-old fullback. Not a bad deal but the fans thought otherwise. Pienaar was allowed to leave on a free after moaning about playing time. The rest were cut from the team or allowed to leave on free transfers as part to the squad standardization.

Transfers

Now let us discuss the season that had just passed. Initially I was planning for this save to be a short-term test save for the tactic which I wanted to implement. As you can see with the run of inconsistent results early on, there was a lot of testing going on in the background. We were expected to have a middle table finish in the league and that was pretty much where the team was in rankings throughout the first half of the season. We had a ton of injuries – that is an understatement. I never had a consistent first team roster until January. Despite having the best medical staff, there was always someone who was injured. I felt I had inherited a team full of Daniel Sturridge-esque players.

The team started to click after Viktor Fischer had joined. Intially I had been playing him as my #7 but had sorted out the first eleven and found him a surplus on the wings. Thankfully he appears to be a magnificent shadow striker so that is where he was assigned. From that point on, he had racked up goals and  assists and all sorts of praise. Things started looking brighter as we saw a series of unbeaten runs stack up. Gently, we saw the Toffees climb the competition ladder bit by bit. First I saw that Europa League qualification was a possibility. We reached that around April. Then mathematically, I felt that it was possible to hit Champions League football. We sure did that!

The season results boiled down to the last five games as I recall vividly. Liverpool was on top, Arsenal second, and Chelsea third. We thumped Sunderland and shut down Villa to put more pressure on the top 2. At this point I was raving as I realized that I could actually win the league if luck struck my way. The Spurs came next and got trounced in a narrow win for us where McGeady was the hero for scoring in the 76th minute.

The penultimate game of the season was with our archrivals, Liverpool. Man I was pumped! The game was very controlled and I felt really positive. Until Benteke, unmarked, struck from a corner kick. Clyne then whipped a cross but mistakenly went in. We put in a goal but ultimately, Roberto Firmino finished us off from a crazy passing error by Jagielka. And there was when the team crashed back to earth. Arsenal won their tie which ended our title hopes right then and there. The last game with Norwich was pretty much icing on the cake for CL qualification. And there was my first season with Everton. We exceeded expectations and with the future looking bright. Now I just hope the chairman finally approves the request for a new youth and training facility…

Table

Thank you for your time dear reader. I will see you in the next installment. I am @jedifootball and you can follow me on twitter. Shalom!

 

 

Football Manager 2016: The Toffee Story – Introduction

Everton_logo-6

THE TOFFEE STORY

Hi welcome to my blog! It has been a while since I last wrote. I entered the FM16 scene a bit late for this iteration of the game due to real life happening. Had to move jobs and that took time so here I am trying to figure out how to set up a tactic that works. The team I will be writing about long term is Everton. I am sure you have guessed that by now. I already had a Liverpool save going when I first go the game last month. And then the chairman fired me. So I had to restart anew and pick another team. i didn’t want to do a repeat save so I decided to just select another squad in the BPL.

When I started looking for a team, I had two things in mind. One is I wanted a team that had budding stars, players not too late in their careers that you cannot mould them. And two, I wanted to hold on to the said stars and have them end their careers at the club.

Hence I chose Everton. My favorite color is blue and Chelsea’s roster did not appeal to me. So I was left with John Stones, Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukkaku and Everton. I plan to do this save similar to what @StatisticalApp did in his Youtube series Stamford Struggle. Obviouly Everton is a larger club playing in the BPL but that would not mean that it did not have its own struggles in-game. Looking at the roster the game begins, there are quite a number of injuries to key players. That ties in with developing youth which is the objective of the club at the start of the game as well. Below are a few objectives I want to have as sort of a guiding marker for this save.

1. Retain Barkley, Lukkaku and Stones at all costs.
2. Max out Everton facilities including stadium.
3. Develop youth system and buy you and develop to become HG
4. Build Everton’s reputation to become worldwide
5. The save ends when I have won the BPL and CL 5 times each

I am so excited to write about this save. As we go along, you will see a number of implementations I have picked up from other bloggers/writers. I will be launching this project after I conclude my first season. I do hope you all enjoy these musings of mine and follow The Toffee Story.

Follow me on Twitter @jedifootball