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Discussion
Well done turning the tie against Frankfurt, I fancy your chances against West Ham too!

Cheers Dan, but we'll need to do better in this 1st leg compared to the Frankfurt tie if we want to get past West Ham.

-----------------------------

Apologies for the delay, Uni hasn't been kind

March 2043


http://i.imgur.com/W7x9D1K.png

A rotated team started on the day, and really should've dealt with a struggling side like Granada better.
But fair play to our opponents for keeping us at bay for as long as they did, and they wouldn't have been happy with the late leveller.

http://i.imgur.com/d1e1ZC9.png

The front 3 scoring here in a very encouraging attacking performance, while the defence also dealt reasonably well to keep a clean sheet.
Gomez was the highlight of this showing, he'd asked for a new contract a while back but played nowhere near the level of a guy warranting a raise - look how much better it gets you when you're not thinking about coins eh.
Ironically he'll get his new deal very soon, I'm not about to let him go into the last year of his contract.

http://i.imgur.com/CMQ4r5D.png

Fucking finally, a derby victory.
We had the majority of the ball (and chances) in the 1st half, but Szeman was the one who broke the deadlock for us.
Bouadam then earned himself an early bath on the stroke of half time with a 2nd yellow, which obviously dealt a major blow to our chances in this game.
So it was time to be pragmatic - we came out with 2 up top and 7 at the back, looking to play exclusively on the break.
We didn't score with that approach, but what we did achieve was a clean sheet, and another goal for Szeman from yes, another corner.

http://i.imgur.com/hL5d9mD.png

Fantastic month, which helped us to maintain the gap over our rivals for the top 4 - Bilbao, Barca and Sevilla.
Obviously the title is as good as gone, but Real are surprisingly within reach.

Onto the Europa League last 16, where we met West Ham at their Olympic Stadium:

http://i.imgur.com/qfD94X4.png

Twats, getting 3 of our guys injured.
Nikolaou endured a frustrating night, though it's arguably to be expected when your main playmaker get hauled off after barely 10 minutes into the game.
At least we had an away goal to take back to Oviedo, but I'd definitely have liked for us to keep the lead than lose it after a minute like we did.

http://i.imgur.com/EetIPVZ.png

Like I've said before, cometh the hour, cometh the fucking man.
A fiery encounter as both sides looked for the goals to advance, lots of fouls and lots of cautions (from us in particular, seems like we were trying to inflict some physical damage just as they did in the 1st leg.
But the Greek international was the difference, his 2 goals (coupled with another great defensive display to keep the clean sheet) gave us the access to the quarterfinals:

http://i.imgur.com/fev6Sxx.png

Where we'll face Marseille - given how Ligue 1 have got 4 of the very richest around, being just behind them means that they're a hell of a proposition as well, and I'm not looking too far ahead of this really.
Roma and Juve are also CL calibre, so it's slightly surprising to see them in this bracket.

But enough of them, we've got a youth intake to welcome:

http://i.imgur.com/ttJdaJm.pnghttp://i.imgur.com/qKovdrY.png

About as good an intake for the retiring HoYD Gabriel, at least 3 to 4 genuine prospects.

http://i.imgur.com/uSBRTS4.png

Sanchez will not be a centreback, not with that height - he does look like he could be a hell of a DM though, so he's not going to be a lost cause like Jimenez was about 4 years ago.
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
April 2043


http://i.imgur.com/ReUlEZE.png

Don't quite know how they had more shots, but it's irrelevant if they didn't win.
Miguel Roman was the unsung hero with 3 assists, though with 2 goals Otal was always going to be MoTM on the day.

http://i.imgur.com/RXwSwoZ.png

I know even less about how we managed a draw here - the prematch pep talk was all about getting revenge, but we didn't look remotely capable of achieving that.
Maybe that made it all the sweeter when Szeman headed in our equaliser - only shot on target, after a game where we were battered even after going a man up.

http://i.imgur.com/dNjd9rX.png

Whelp, this is the last time I ever give in to a backup GK's demands for game time.
But Valencia are no longer the relegation-threatened side that we beat earlier in the season, and to their credit they damn well made sure we knew it.

http://i.imgur.com/CQYlgVE.png

Roman's really come into his own after a slightly rough patch earlier in the season, and in recent weeks seems to have had a fantastic partnership with Otal.
The pair combined for a goal each against Real Sociedad, and while they could (and should) have had more to make the game less tense, that can be attributed to the lack of experience.

http://i.imgur.com/jrhT9KR.png

Europe is a virtual certainty at this point, and now it's just the matter of the competition for us next season.
We're still holding on to 4th spot with 2 games in hand on most of our direct rivals, so we most definitely have our fate in our own hands.

On to said continent now, the Europa League quarterfinals to be precise:

http://i.imgur.com/G3AoGO2.png

We got away with this big time - Marseille had the upper hand early in the game and they eventually broke through before half time.
Alava led my example with another sweet freekick by the captain, and it stayed that way for the rest of the game, setting up a tense 2nd leg in France - we'll need an away goal at least, and while Marseille only need a scoreless draw you know they'll be looking to inflict a couple more upon us.

http://i.imgur.com/jjNrVU1.png

Ohhhhhh we nearly fucked that up so badly.r
Nikolaou gave us an early lead (and the vital away goal mind) with a typically clinical finish to give us the best possible start, Gomez the followed that up with an effort of his own to give Marseille a mountain to climb in the 2nd half.
And they damn near reached the top of the bloody mountain too, with 2 goals in 3 minutes giving us a hell of a last 5 minutes to play out and hold on.
We did end up holding on, but not without some poo in our pants if we're being honest.

http://i.imgur.com/jx30J2c.png

And so only Juve lies between us and a whirlwind final appearance, but this Juve are not unlike the Juve of old - still perennial Serie A favourites, comfortably dispatched of Arsenal in the quarters as well, and we're next on the chopping block - for our last game of April no less.

http://i.imgur.com/XcNCidQ.png

Well then.
Juve were all over us, they simply had too much quality and we weren't looking for more than to not let this get any worse.

So now we've got a dilemma:

http://i.imgur.com/N4Of6se.png

That's 7 games in 28 days, and 14 in 2 months - our defence has been chopped up (Santacruz's out for 2 weeks, while Bouadam wasn't so lucky - a broken ankle ruling him out of the season) and I'm considering playing the youngsters for the 2nd leg at home.
It's not going to be pretty throwing the game in from of the home crowd, but we've got many more things to worry about in the greater scheme of things.
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
May 2043/End of Season Review


Let's get the Europa League semifinal 2nd leg against Juventus out of the way first:

http://i.imgur.com/TJpolfZ.png

So yes, I did send out a weakened squad for the 2nd leg, with 4 youth players making their debuts. Of the quartet Gorka Beorlegui also scored, fair play to him.
But what I didn't get was how we were in the game throughout - sure Juve had the better chances and their quality clearly shone through, but that was to be expected.
We had far more chances than I'd expected and while we didn't win we could take heart that we gave then a run for their money.

(SPOILER: Valencia went on to win the whole thing)
Back to the league then:

http://i.imgur.com/1S7sFde.png

Oh look, another team that's more interested about injuring our players than play the game.
Other than that though, this game highlighted the improvement in understanding between Otal and Roman, the forward pair finishing with a goal each.

http://i.imgur.com/wvEFhRl.png

An easier time against the struggling Las Palmas, who while are safe from relegation, were not going to givs us too many issues on a good day (for us).
And so I proved, Zhong and Panagiotou with the goals.

http://i.imgur.com/8SmOqjB.png

A very tough fight against the perennially underachieving Villareal, but they've consistently given us a run for our money - mainly due to their shot-stopper, as is so often the case.
It was a tight game, with both sides looking to leave their (stud) marks on the game, but we ended up being the more clinical side - I mean with Nikolaou up top it's almost certainly the case nowadays.

http://i.imgur.com/3NuvT3M.png

Well that was a rude awakening.
We'd lost to Bilbao earlier in the season and I'd talked up the prospect of revenge in the pregame peptalk.
It looked like it'd worked as we got an early lead, but somehow we lost our grip on the game, and with that the scoreline as well.
Frustrating game, to let slip in the way we did when CL qualification was on the line.

http://i.imgur.com/iovlvD2.png

We're going to choke this aren't we.
At least we got our own early double to cancel out Valladolid's earlier strikes.
And that was to be the end of both teams' scoring, becoming more interested in kicking lumps out of each other instead of calling on our early clinical finishing.

http://i.imgur.com/PuWs1Fu.png

And here comes the final game of the season...
A new formation to trip them up, and thankfully it worked with NIkolaou finishing the season with the customary goal.

http://i.imgur.com/OuleaWF.png

So we did secure the CL spot (not only that, but the automatic group stage spot as well), a magnificent achievement to finish in the top 4 2 seasons in a row.
(If I'm honest we'd secured it with the draw against Valladolid )

Players of the Season

http://i.imgur.com/ajdnbKl.png

Well no surprises to see him here were there.
Still the talismanic goalgetter for us, Nikolaou finished with 24 league goals and oh-so-nearly hit the 30-goal mark in all competitions.
I do dread the day he starts losing his legs and we have to phase him out, but we'll definitely enjoy him while we can.

http://i.imgur.com/eMUfwGB.png

It's not often a centreback is in charge of penalties, but Szeman has gone the Koeman route in recent seasons to rack up his goal tally.
Add to that a couple of clutch headers and we've got a gem of a defender here - especially in comparison to his supposed successor, Santacruz who has endured a horrid past year.

http://i.imgur.com/2GH7flb.png

Camilo would've been a shoo-in for La Liga Team of the Season based on his early season form, but shame that they take into account the entire 9 months of a league campaign.
He was absolutely flawless in the 1st third of the season, which makes is even more painful to watch his awful, awful last 4 months.

http://i.imgur.com/l02JEQh.png

Man I thought I had it good enough when Alfred Curri was in goal a couple of seasons ago - now I've got this! 14 clean sheets in 38 games is (with all due respect to Alf) far better than any goalkeeper in Oviedo colours.
It did help that he had guys like Szeman in front of him, but you don't get into the England squad by being a scrub.

http://i.imgur.com/fB0i4JB.jpg

And so it was 3 of these 4 who did make it into the team of the year - albeit only as subs.
Though I'll reiterate my opinion that Camilo would've gotten into the XI had he not suffered that inexcusable dip in form.

http://i.imgur.com/nhY6tyh.png
http://i.imgur.com/RTVdo52.png

\o/ Love having the tag of underdogs, keeps my job safe enough when we did a Leicester like that last time.
I have to say though, Villareal as 3rd most improved club? They've got a bigger wage bill than us for crying out loud - they should be looking for Europe, not scraping through the threat of relegation and lucking out into the top half.

http://i.imgur.com/rYk4rYP.pnghttp://i.imgur.com/7kLvlur.png

I'm not as delighted at looking at our cash drain into the taxman and shareholders mind.
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
Good season mate, gradually improving each season.
http://i.imgur.com/ZiZpv0k.png?1



Good season mate, gradually improving each season.

'Gradually' being key there tbf.

But thanks for the kind words in all seriousness :thup

Preseason 2043/44


http://i.imgur.com/lZJP20V.png

2nd consecutive season, again our top scorer as well, and a literal living (club) legend as well - it's going to be a sad day when we (inevitably) have to phase him out of the team.
I sure as hell am going to enjoy having him up front while he's here mind.

http://i.imgur.com/hRBeQV6.png

Ehhhh, a 1 million increment isn't much if I'm honest, though it's not like we've had a dramatic change in fortunes last season.
Or am I seeing this in a wrong way, that this sort of stuff is supposed to be baby steps? In any case that's 6 mil more into the coffers.

http://i.imgur.com/pUY1aec.png

Erm ok, I didn't expect to see this.
Very, very surprising to see Zhong's stock fall that far, but it would certainly make it easier to stomach when I do offload him...
Equally surprising would be Gomez too, I haven't been playing him as much as I should but the fans seem to like whatever they could see from him.

http://i.imgur.com/3aOnYza.png

As Chips Keswick, Gazidis et al would say: "The money's there to be spend if we need it"
So let's see how we did spend it:

http://i.imgur.com/81iqDd2.png

A couple of ins, but the meat of this would surely be the multitude of loans we've set up.

Going through the arrivals first:

http://i.imgur.com/iRIOXQX.png

The biggest acquisition this window, he's got a hell of a foundation to build on and we should be looking to build the team around him (as the cliche goes) or at least sell him for a pretty penny.
Unfortunately, the keen-eyed among you would've spotted his poor condition - well:

http://i.imgur.com/cKrWncw.png

Oh yeah, out for the first half of the season and stunting his growth in the long term, fantastic.
Well we had to sign a replacement, and we came up with him:

http://i.imgur.com/OxCioia.png

Gordillo's compatriot, he's not got much in the way of a proper footballing brain but as far as a physical presence goes he's well-equipped to play on the wing and in the centre.
Whether his lack of game sense will come back to bit him we'll have to see, but for now he's what we do have as a backup to Camilo.

http://i.imgur.com/ank93Tb.png

Boca are no longer the dominant force in Argentine football, and have been reduced to being a yo-yo club between the top 2 divisions - they still do produce a mean crop of youth products though, Lezcano being one of them.
He will in all likelihood follow in Santa's footsteps, leading the youth squad into the UEFA Youth League before getting a loan at another Spanish club to obtain his citizenship.

http://i.imgur.com/LNcqoLT.png

D'Auria actually left Oviedo almost a decade ago for Barcelona, when the club had just been relegated - now he returns to a very different club to the one he started for 10 years ago.
Obviously not starting material, in fact he probably wouldn't even be in the 1st team by the end of the window if we manage to sign a better stopper on loan which, let's face it, isn't hard.

Then there's Pereskeva, who impressed last season and was subsequently signed on a permanent deal.
He was supposed to stay in the 1st team, but regular game time on loan at Augsburg should be better than sitting on the bench for us.

Of the outs:

- Kartaloglu had asked for a transfer last season but no one bit on this one, and the plan was to use him in a swap deal for another midfielder from recently relegated Spurs(!).
That didn't materialise (he wasn't keen on signing for them - good for him ) and when that move broke down, the next best thing was to accept an offer from Galatasaray.
Now that I think of it I really shouldn't have been so insistent on a swap deal - that Spurs guy was such a good player too.

- Celik has taken Cagigas' place at Viseu, where it'll likely be his last audition for Alava's successor.
Cagigas was a Portugese champion last season with Viseu, so Celik will have some shoes to fill.

- (Salvador) Sanchez at Recreativo was a shock - the newly promoted side signing a newly promoted youth prospect on loan.
He's clearly going to be out of his depth in La Liga though, so he'll fit in well with the rest of the side, who looks far worse than last season's Levante cellar-dwellers.
In all seriousness it may well be a baptism of fire for Sanchez, but he'll get a hell lot of experience here and he could well improve dramatically.

- (Angel) Sanchez had a terrible time at Valenciennes last time out, looking a right wreck at times and damn nearly getting them relegated.
I do hope it's just the French weather that didn't do him any good, and he gets a chance to prove himself again with another starting stint, this time at Elche.
Definitely not expecting fireworks from him if the past few seasons were of any indicator.

- Jimenez - a waste of a contract renewal, that is all.

- The last time Real sign one of ours on loan Angel Sanchez didn't get even a sniff of game time.
This looks like it could well be different though, as Real seem to have indicated a switch to 3 at the back, and you can never do with too few of CBs with that defensive system around.
So we could be looking at a vastly improved (and naturalised) Santa next season.

- Anastasijevic has been angling for a move for the best part of 6 months now, and this is appeasement really.
Though it's more than just that - Sevilla's stopper (and my nemesis) Shorokhov is getting on years and there could be competition for his place now.

- Fragoso's another one who has signed for a newly-promoted side, Portsmouth in this case.
And like Recreativo, I can't see them staying up, so the best that Fragoso can hope for is match experience really.

- I'd taken a long time trying to loan Roman out as no one seems to want him on loan, rather curiously.
In fact I may even pull him from this one; their preseason has faetured very little of him and unless that changes for the season proper it's just going to be yet another pointless stint for him.

- Then there's Barbero, who hasn't signed for a top-tier side, but regular game time in Segunda isn't that bad.

Of the released... We'd probably miss Cantero and Volodin the most - the fans have been quite vocal over the former's departure in particular.

Now for the friendlies:

http://i.imgur.com/gjNA1Jc.png

5 from 5 yes, but by no means we were convincing in most of these.
We'd looked quite starved of a spark, and while the domination was there it wasn't couple with clinical ability, to create and to score.

Finally, the odds for all your budding bookmakers:

http://i.imgur.com/w6QUwzA.png

Pretty consistent with seasons past, and just the way I like it really - the expectation of a marginal Europa League spot.
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
(Apologies for the absence, finals have been a bitch but fingers crossed I've seen the last of those modules)


August 2043


http://i.imgur.com/rOvnmGn.png

We looked decently equipped for revenge for last season in this season-opener, and they looked to be in sixes and sevens in the game as well.
Unfortunately our lack of clinical finishing put paid to any chance of us winning this game - 3 on target from 18? I expected better from Nikolaou.

http://i.imgur.com/WEEPkSA.png

We ballsed this up real bad here - I'd set the team up completely wrongly before the game and we found ourselves a goal down before half time.
Birch-Machin's OG left us in the lurch, but it also seemed to wake up the team - NIkolaou grabbing the vital goal back before setting up Camilo's leveller.
Still definitely 2 points dropped against the odds-on favourites to get relegated this season.

http://i.imgur.com/beWQpVK.png

1st win of the season, and against an Espanyol team that we'd normally struggle against.
Both sides had chances but once we got our goal we were in cruise control and didn't look like relinquishing it, well up to the last minutes of the game when they had a late flurry of efforts.

http://i.imgur.com/Vidienf.png

It's definitely 4 points dropped given how things went (and could have gone).
But we move away from the league for the moment to focus on the real money - the UCL:

http://i.imgur.com/Ki5SSsO.png
http://i.imgur.com/rGrlmhR.pnghttp://i.imgur.com/bDuCTeV.png

You know it's not an easy group when Ajax are the Pot 4 team.
The primary aim (as with most years until we somehow get into Pot 2) will be to finish 3rd and make more of a mark in the Europa League, but with probably the most prestigious Pot 4 team we've met so far slip-ups are more likely than ever.

We had the remainder of the transfer window to prep the team for the CL, and you know what, I think we did:

http://i.imgur.com/fPlrkuB.png

http://i.imgur.com/16N1fuB.png

Yeah so I eventually decided that D'Auria was nowhere near good enough to be a backup GK in a La Liga club.
So we went looking, and for better or worse we ended up at recently relegated(from the top flight) Hannover and their disgruntled goalkeeper.
He's definitely better than D'Auria, has somewhat decent attributes and has is a Professional, so he probably won't kick up a fuss if he doesn't get game time.

http://i.imgur.com/IBjhnz8.png

No doubt probably the biggest signing for the club... ever? Sure he was transfer listed by Lorient, but still he's an instant upgrade to our backline, and adds some winning mentality to the squad - he's a CL, Ligue 1,World Cup and Olympic Games winner (yes he's the guy who was in my Spain squad who underperformed despite being the best defender in the tournament) so I don't doubt that he'll provide that steel that the defence lacked on occasions.

http://i.imgur.com/ylv3JgD.png

Bit of a nothing signing, got him for the U19s (who only have 2 GKs in their roster) but their manager isn't biting anyway - nowhere near a starting spot so far.

http://i.imgur.com/CfQcNpc.png

Lots of loans (not significant), but these 2 well, were:
- With Sanchez de la Calle (we'll call him SdC from here on in alright) arriving someone had to give up his spot on the squad list, and since Santacruz was the most underwhelming centreback last season he's been given a shot at another top team - I do hope he can cut out his gaffes and come back as an equal to SdC.
-Diego Bernardo was your run-of-the-mill forward with decent pace, but nothing much else, so when Bilbao came knocking to stockpile their quota of Basques I was only too happy to oblige.




070563 - 120815

I'll see you
September 2043


http://i.imgur.com/ZeCy5Ln.png

Played a rotational XI and a new 4-1-3-2 formation against Elche in anticipation of the upcoming CL games, and with Nikolaou previously suffering a knock it was Gorka Beorlegui who started up top with Zhong - Beorlegui might've scored against Juventus but there's a reason why he isn't starting over Otal, Nikolaou or any of the other forwards we've got around these parts.
Anyway, so we won, and despite the equal number of shots Elche never put too much pressure on us, while we on the other hand found our extra gear to win the game.
In fact GK Birch-Machin wasn't at his best on the day and should've kept a clean sheet for the defence really.

http://i.imgur.com/jtbsCxX.png

Sticking with the 4-1-3-2, this time with Otal back up front, we yielded another narrow win.
In contrast to Elche's superior shot count Granada didn't threaten as often, but when they did, boy did they carve out some quality chances.
In any case, our strike pair both got a goal each to seal the win.

http://i.imgur.com/JppwLXf.png

Third different strike pair in a row, as Cagigas was given his first start of the season.
He took his chance well too, 2 goals to lead us on a comeback win over Celta Vigo.

http://i.imgur.com/fym1dYS.png

Yes, a 4th straight game without the same forward line, though this time we'd reverted to our 3-4-2-1 so Nikolaou was tasked to lead the line solo anyway.
A very convincing win, the wingbacks revelled in the space they had (with Demirev scoring) and Panagiotou once against proving the value of his pace.

http://i.imgur.com/lPSTE8t.png

A perfect month in the league sees us rise to the top of the table, but I'd be kidding if I thought we'll stay there - the season so far has not pitted us against any of the big guns yet, though Sanchez de la Calle will hopefully help with killer attacks.

Speaking of which, the CL:

http://i.imgur.com/iTY5ZTh.png

SdC came straight into our CL opener against Ajax, and whoop-dee-do, a goal down in the 1st minute.
The backline eventually recovered to put in decent shifts, but the buck was then shifted to Otal and co., who dropped the ball for their part, and my worst fears end up coming true - an opening loss to Ajax.
Maybe I shouldn't have rushed SdC into the starting lineup so soon, but I figured that he was about as good as it get when it comes to big game experience.

http://i.imgur.com/pHzY6X0.png

2 for 2, Otal choking on the big stage again, but this time we weren't deserving to win, such was the domiination United had over us.
It did take a wonder freekick to rbeak the deadlock just before the interval, and all we had was occationally plugging away on the break while United continued to pile on the pressure.
Ironically it was United who reaped rewards of a counterattack to make the game safe.

http://i.imgur.com/zdaB0sZ.png

No goals, the 4th seed in the driving seat, PSG up next... It's as bad as it can get really.
We already need 2 wins from our last 4 to have a chance of Europa League football, and at this rate we could well be better off focusing on the league.

Well enough of that depressing cup competition, let's have a look at one where we're doing well in - the Asian Games was around the corner, and as with all U23 tourneys the managerial posts were open for application (and in typical SI fashion literally on the eve of the competition opener:

http://i.imgur.com/1XFIL9e.pnghttp://i.imgur.com/j2mJUHw.png

Bit of a scare in the opener, but all in all it's ezpz.

http://i.imgur.com/8M7tHgm.png

This Indonesia side sure were fighters - unfortunately more literally than I'dve liked.
No matter, goals were where it counted.

http://i.imgur.com/Tc7W7g3.png

The neighbours proved to be much, much more of a handful while still being similarly physical, and I'm just glad we didn't have to endure another 30 minutes of injuries waiting to happen - we face the Qataris in the semis.

070563 - 120815

I'll see you
Just caught up with what I've missed lately, still by far my favorite story on here. Superb season last year around, no surprise Juve beat you but playing the weakened side second leg definitely helped secure that CL spot! Great start to this season, shame about the group of death, feel it could be hard to even take third in that!
Just caught up with what I've missed lately, still by far my favorite story on here. Superb season last year around, no surprise Juve beat you but playing the weakened side second leg definitely helped secure that CL spot! Great start to this season, shame about the group of death, feel it could be hard to even take third in that!

Yeah I'm not expecting anything out of this group anymore, it's been a complete disaster.


Ay, you too mate.

---------------------

October 2043


I'll be honest, there's not much good in this month, so I'll just get through the good parts before this gets too depressing.
We start away from Oviedo, in the Asian Games semis:

http://i.imgur.com/u69Bb45.png

ezpz
In fairness Qatar was chock-full of virtual players while Furube was a full international, so this was par for the course for us.

http://i.imgur.com/MoIlFs0.png

Equally so, this Japanese team is the best in Asia by some distance (if only because I haven't loaded enough Asian nations).
So yes, a very smooth Asiad win, and as I mentioned the only positive this month.

Back to Spain then:

http://i.imgur.com/9dzHU0C.png

Last minute changes to the lineup didn't help the team's cohesiveness, and being outplayed at home is never a good sign, so it's could've been worse than coming away with only a point.

http://i.imgur.com/et8PPTv.png

Here we were just bested by by Sevilla, they were dominant from the off, took the lead and finished the half on top.
The 2nd half saw us try to get back in the game, but it wasn't until Bouadam's dismissal that we finally looked like threatening in front of goal.
And even then it took Nikolaou's introduction off the bench for us to snatch a point at the death. Fresh off an injury, he proved to be our clutch sub.

http://i.imgur.com/Q9OxYIU.png

The irony of an Atleti game being the most winnable this month.
I've had games in the past where Atletico were similarly subdued, which I've always found to be weird given how good they are if they want to be.
But lest we forgot they still have a world class backline and GK should their attack not work out, and they definitely proved their worth.

http://i.imgur.com/8IqJPRZ.png

True story, after the final whistle certain sections of our away fans could be head chanting "Are you Man U in disquise?"
For real though, that's a 4th draw this month, and ensured we would be winless in the league this month.
Was quite annoying too, Dimopoulos had a Heading of 6(SIX) but he was able to put the faintest of touches to divert a corner into the par post - in the 1st minute no less.

http://i.imgur.com/2fEC58x.png

So our unbeaten run continues, but I'm sure United fans can emphatise with me that it's more of a chore and burden to maintain this record - inevitably this is one of the few things a team clings on to, at the cost of wins.
But all things will come to an end, and I fully expect ours to end against Valencia up next.

We had the good, we had the bad meh, now we have the ugly - the CL:

http://i.imgur.com/pLtgXDe.png

Awful, we only ever looked capable of carving out a draw, only for Birch-Machin to punch a cross into his own net - after that there was only going to be one outcome.
It does look like the 3-4-2-1 has become too defensive, and I'll have to tweak it soon.

http://i.imgur.com/FiwNF6w.png

In any case we're going to need something really special to get anything out of this group stage.
And it also meant a winless October in all competitions for Oviedo, happy days.
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
Now that looked a dull month for Oviedo, barely any goals and barely any points! Hopefully you can beat Ajax in your next head to head and that could really boost your chances of qualifying however the point they picked up against PSG could prove to be huge,
Now that looked a dull month for Oviedo, barely any goals and barely any points! Hopefully you can beat Ajax in your next head to head and that could really boost your chances of qualifying however the point they picked up against PSG could prove to be huge,

Yeah last month was an utter disaster, but the upside is I can't do much worse*.

*Unless I lose all my games of course.

-------------------------------
November 2043


http://i.imgur.com/0H517Xv.png

Called it... Rather unfortunately.
And it was a familiar foe who was responsible for our downfall, Curbelo leading the line admittedly superbly as a sole striker in a 4-5-1 and finishing with a brace.
Not so good from Sanchez de la Calle, who was tasked specifically with marking him.

http://i.imgur.com/FkumcWl.png

Fantastic start for us, a counterattack led by Otal (and his pace) as he ran at the Barca backline and spread the ball wide to an unlikely goalscorer, the right wingback Demirev.
But that and another effort soon after was to be the extent of our ambitions, if only because Barca eventually forced us back into our own half, and kept us there.
And with that came the leveller, but that was also to be the extent of their shooting effectiveness - fortunately for us.

http://i.imgur.com/jBX9YU7.png

We finally made an adjustment to our 5-4-1, pushing both DMs to CMs. Did it work? Well it depends.
We were definitely better in attack, as shown by the 5 goals, but we were also susceptible to fast breaks, and Infantes made us pay with his 1st goal.
But by far the bigger problem was defending setpieces - Infantes completed his hat-trick from those and could have had 5 if they weren't cleared off the line.
But you know, a win's a win, and more importantly the goals came back.

http://i.imgur.com/jxDhsjG.png

We had Numancia on the ropes, we should've scored in the 1st half, we should've capitalised on our opener when we did, and we really, really shouldn't have waited so long for the eventual winner.
But again, that's 3 more points, and another win more that the damned October run.

http://i.imgur.com/oBaMSo3.png

A pretty good month if I may say so myself, as the loss of our unbeaten run seemed to have removed the shackles and allowed us to play with more freedom.
Surprise package Hercules are still around, and then you've got the likes of Barca and Sevilla who will eventually rise to the top like the shitty floaters they are.

We move on to a lost cause:

http://i.imgur.com/QARvIkX.png

Well isn't this a surprise.
PSG weren't reminiscent of Atletico last month, but given how they absolutely hammered us you'd think they would give us a similar time in the return game.
That wasn't to be the case, with Cagigas scoring the 1st goal for us this CL campaign, one that could prove to be the starter of a (admittedly, despite our shitty start) remarkable comeback to the knockout rounds, be it the CL or EL.

http://i.imgur.com/noMNFkc.png

THE HYPE IS REAL
Otal finally, finally got his scoring boots back, and we tore Ajax a new one as an answer to the rude awakening they handed to us in matchday one.

http://i.imgur.com/llWeQ3L.png

All this leads to a rather unusual table, where I've got the H2H over Ajax, but not over PSG or United.
But basically: if we beat United we'll qualify for the knockout rounds of the CL, so that's the easy part because I'll be honest, I have no idea about the permutations of a draw or loss for us, or the way(s) we can qualify for the EL knockouts.
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
Was expecting to scroll down and see you in third place in your group, how on earth are you still fourth, FM gods against you, very rarely see a group separated by two points, none in double figures with one to play!
Will be a very exciting last round of CL fixtures, here's hoping that the results go your way
Was expecting to scroll down and see you in third place in your group, how on earth are you still fourth, FM gods against you, very rarely see a group separated by two points, none in double figures with one to play!

Will be a very exciting last round of CL fixtures, here's hoping that the results go your way

Aye, the group has been completely mental so far, and that last day will definitely be a cracker no matter the outcome!

-------------------------------------------------
December2043


http://i.imgur.com/PKYYN7e.png

Sociedad are deep in the relegation battle again, and unfortunately forthem we weren't going to let up on our chase for the top 4.
Nikolaou was quite poor on the day, but the amount of service he got - I don't want to insinuate that he's shit (he's clearly not) but throw enough shit at the wall and some will eventually stick. It's pretty much what happened here, 2 headers from the 6-yard line to give us the win and him the MoTM.
But the highlight of the game had to be Alava's goal, a half-volleyed first-time piledriver from outside the area - might not have as much legs as he did but he does still have the quality.

http://i.imgur.com/AjzJWyC.png

Huesca are being bankrolled by a Latvian tycoon and dumped quite a bit of cash (for a 2nd tier side) to get promoted.
Alas they were awful here, offering nothing in attack and being so, so careless at the back.
I mean, if both sides had 10 fouls but yours resulted in 2 penalties and a dismissal then you're doing something wrong.
That said we didn't cover ourselves in glory either, should've got more than just 2 goals from the spot.

http://i.imgur.com/xMzGDwX.png

Onwards we march towards the CL spots, and we now have a sizeable gap over Sevilla in 6th.
But beyond that the table is TIGHT, a point separating Sevilla and Granada in 10th, with an underachieving Barca in between.

I'll leave the CL for the last (it is the climax for this month after all), and we move on to the Copa del Rey:

http://i.imgur.com/H5ZEUPU.png

It was a 2nd/3rd string side yes, but games like these are opportunities to impress and frankly, most of the attackers didn't exactly cover themselves in glory.
Can't say much about the defence, it's a Mallorca side that have fallen to the 3rd division so we should've had the capabilities to deal with them anyway.

http://i.imgur.com/EHNpLoJ.png

Now that's more like it.
Beorlegui was one who did take the chance to impress with 3 in 2 games, so much so that Bilbao and Sevilla have begun sniffing around.
But there wasn't much more to be said here, and we move on.

http://i.imgur.com/x77BQky.png

Rayo.... We used to meet in La Liga in seasons past, and have traded a fair few blows (their Italian battering ram of a striker comes to mind).
But that striker of theirs has gone (to Iran), and they're currently battling the drop from the 2nd division.
Logic says they should be an easy proposition, but this is the cup so no way is this going to be a walk in the park, especially given our history.

Now for the real story - the CL, and Matchday 6:

http://i.imgur.com/oMNYMfi.png

We've actually done it, the absolute madmen.
In another bizarre case of a big team coming to Oviedo and wilting, both sides played as if it was Freaky Friday, with us completely domination proceedings.
Otal and Gomez ran riot between the lines with their pace, playing off the false 9 of Cagigas, and it was the former 2 that got the opening goal - Otal's shot parried onto the oncoming Gomez who didn't miss.
We then continued (and arguably fail) to look for another goal, all the while looking nervously our shoulders for a United suckerpunch, before Gomez made the game safe - Cagigas this time with the layoff to Gomez whose run into their defensive gap led to his brace.
Alfonso then came forward and nodded in a rebound (from his wingback position no less) to add icing on the cake.

http://i.imgur.com/NsqhgTe.png

A hell of a group stage, imagine qualifying for the knockouts after losing the 1st 3 games, absolutely mental stuff this.
And yeah like you said Dan, no one on double figures! It's been quite the competitive group, definitely not one that I expected us to make it out of as well as it did.

We also got to know our next opponents for the 1st knockout round:

http://i.imgur.com/IFxDk2Y.png
http://i.imgur.com/TIQrc2t.png

We've got history, City and us - they did us for 4 in our debut CL outing (at home too), but Otal got back at them with a match-winning brace in the return fixture.
Now the hope is that Sanchez de la Calle will be able to call on his experience to ensure we won't have as porous a backline as we did all those seasons ago.
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
Fair play on that win against United, dug yourself right out of that hole in the end! Funny seeing teams such as Oldham and Kortrijk being pitted against Barcelona and Real Madrid.
http://i.imgur.com/ZiZpv0k.png?1



Now I know you've made quite a career @ Oviedo, but why don't you leave for greener pastures
Fair play on that win against United, dug yourself right out of that hole in the end! Funny seeing teams such as Oldham and Kortrijk being pitted against Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Well thats some result against United! As DNZY said its interesting to see sides like Oldham there now! Are they a 'big force' in England?

Yeah, both being bankrolled by tycoons in the past few years or so.

Now I know you've made quite a career @ Oviedo, but why don't you leave for greener pastures

Ehh, I love the stability inb4 "strong and stable" and I've never been really fond of leaving clubs - might be a bit of Wenger rubbing off me.
And I've got a sneaky feeling that next year's squad could be the best I've had thus far, with lots of players coming back from loan and a few of the deadwood being shipped out.

--------------------------------------------

January 2044


http://i.imgur.com/r9PBEFB.png

Some way to start the new year, a trip to the Santiago Bernabeu Peruzzi Arena, named after Gino Peruzzi of all people.
We did threaten, but only sporadically on the counter, as Real played like a team like Real Madrid playing at home should.
Our opener came after Cagigas showed some proper aggression and won the ball off one of their hapless centrebacks to race through and finish, but it had to be on virtually the next attack that we were pegged back.
Still, could've been much worse, and coming back from the capital with a point is almost always a point earned.

http://i.imgur.com/7rvRI7G.png

Ah this one we definitely cocked up, looked thoroughly uncomfortable in the 1st half as Vicente ran riot on our right flank and eventually scored the opener.
After a round of rollicking in the dressing room the guys came out to put in an improved shift, Otal showing some proper grit in particular with a brace.
Still, it's undeniably 2 points dropped.

http://i.imgur.com/GDH8l9I.png

Bilbao have been going with a generic 4-4-2 for a while now, and with our 3-6-1 we looked to exploit their space between the lines - sometimes it doesn't really work as their quality shines through, but this time it did, and then some.
One aspect of the 3-6-1 was our wingbacks bombing forwards regularly, and it paid dividends with Bouadam getting a brace and Demirev having an assist of his own.

http://i.imgur.com/lmWg4R0.png

I should add at this point that the squad was not in the best of health (as you'll understand at the end of all this) so it was a rotated team on the day.
But even then we comfortably outplayed a struggling Espanyol side, with youth product and DM Oliver popping up on the break to fire home the opener.
A bit of a dodgy period then followed as we struggle to keep the ball, needed to keep our wits together all while still being a threat on the break.
It finally took substitute Schultz to head in the 2nd goal to give us the vital breathing space, as we continue our unbeaten run.

http://i.imgur.com/7PF9vjd.png

By this stage we were really on the ropes fitness-wise, and thankfully we were up against a Recreativo side destined for relegation and without their(our) sixteen year old loanee centreback - shows you the state of the rest of their team.
But they did nick a draw earlier in the season, and judging by the scoreline you'd think they were close to another scalp.
I would agree, but only by virtue of our profligacy - they scored with their only shot on target, while we dominated proceedings well enough to warrant at least double our well, double.

http://i.imgur.com/BI2EGCm.png

4 ahead of Atleti, and crucially 5 ahead of Betis in 5th, which is as good as I can hope for given this month, which has already seen 5 league games.
Oh yeah, there's more:

http://i.imgur.com/SyywpKq.png

6 months after arriving at the club with damaged cruciates on tow, Gordillo finally made his debut.
It was a virtuoso from the team, with the Colombian serving up 2 assists for Nikolaou's first-half hat trick.
It was annoying to not keep the clean sheet after the game we had, but oh well you can't have them all.

http://i.imgur.com/7XYKG6p.png

An even more rotated team started this, but with the quality of NIkolaou still present we would have to completely capitulate to lose this tie.
Vulovic is a guy signed to make up the numbers for the B-Team so he's not relevant in the greater scheme of things, but it goes to show how we had to maintain the squad this month. And it was a goal on his debut too, which was nice.
Nikolaou then made it 5 in 2 cup games to extinguish any hope of a comeback.

http://i.imgur.com/godiUiW.png

Huesca might be sitting in the relegation zone in La Liga, but they are at least in La Liga, and it'd be completely daft to underestimate them.
So we didn't - a much less understrength team than the ones put out against Rayo, and it paid dividends with Escobar came up with a hat-trick of his own. Too bad he then picked up a knock and would be ruled out for the rest of the month, which would also turn out be a recurring story.
It has to be said though, either the refs are particularly biased towards us in games against Huesca or the latter has a serious problem with fouls - another red here, this time before the 20 min mark.

http://i.imgur.com/HejUxSD.png

Nearly blew it here, though with Otal's injury we might as well have.
The team was not up to scratch, conditioning in particular, and it showed - but you know what they say, all's well that ends well, especially after this hellish month as well.

But this month took a hell lot out of the players, and I feel a look at this shows the extent of our fitness issues:

http://i.imgur.com/cvxUIiS.png

Anyway, with these injuries we looked to make a few signings - granted I should've signed them way, way earlier than the last week of January (3 of those on deadline day itself no less):

http://i.imgur.com/b1v6OBu.png

Ghanian CB/RB Addo is set to leave the club after signing a pre-contract with Korean side Ulsan, and Voinea is acquired so we could have a look at him for a permanent deal nest season.
He can't play CB yet and he's not a peach of a defender, but his physicals might just bail him out, and at worst he's only going to be a 3rd choice RB on loan, very little to lose here.

http://i.imgur.com/GGvTpFV.png

Roska's come in and he's immediately our best LWB apparently, which says as much of our quality in that area.
I could play him there too, despite his lack of speed - a relatively slow wingback could conceivably be helped out by a pacier LCB in a back 3.
But it's for the same reason that I won't dare play him at LB in a back 4, absolute suicide that.

http://i.imgur.com/vw91Bqd.png

Can play on the wing, can play LCM, so he's already (sort of) solved the injury dilemmas we had for Escobar and Camilo.
But he's obviously complete trash bar his pace and versatility, so he will be the very last resort.

http://i.imgur.com/ZQmT8xF.png

This was made completely on impulse, chances are he won't get any play time for the 1st team now that we already have cover there.
He will however play with the U19s, who have also qualified for the knockouts of the UEFA Youth League.
Not to mention he's got fantastic technical ability, so if he makes something of them in his time here I'll definitely want him for the long term.

Of the outs, Gordillo has gone to Barca on loan to get regular game time (Escobar's still here, and I don't really want to end his stint abruptly).
Funny story, he was actually initially loaned to Valencia (yes league leaders Valencia) and already played a couple of cup games for them, but Valencia bizarrely refused to register him for their La Liga squad - I wasn't having any of that, so I recalled him, offered him out on loan again (where they made another bid!) before going to the Catalans, who were all too happy to make him part of their league squad.
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
February 2044


http://i.imgur.com/by4ek8X.png

Should've lost this unfortunately, the past month or so seemed to take a lot out of us and the rotation didn't help either.
But fancy it being the one guy who didn't partake in the January squeeze to save a point - Koska's wicked cross from wide left sneaking in to the near post.
It was an effort that Roberto Carlos would've been proud of, but not even Koska could claim that as a shot on goal with a straight face.

http://i.imgur.com/ydg9bJn.png

Well it's been coming, and at least we didn't lose by a dodgy goal or something, but we lost deservedly.
We showed desperately little cohesiveness in attack and while Granada were little better they did at least produce the goods when needed, Parrales proving to be our bane once again.
Unlike our first encounter though, we weren't able to find a way back into the game.

http://i.imgur.com/Z8NVjaU.png

Business resumed for the most part, as another under-strength side was fielded but was enough to dispatch of Celta 2-0.
Apparently Beorlegui scored his first league goal (must've been a mistake, I'll have to look that up) and Demirev again made the most of his marauding runs forward with another strike.

http://i.imgur.com/IqTHkkc.png

Our stuttering league form continues (and thankfully ends) for the month, with another draw at home to Depor.
Roska popped up with another goal, this time a more conventional effort - another forward run which was spotted by Zhong, who supplied the ball for him to smash home on the volley. It was a great goal, even won Goal of the Week.
But we had little else to show in the way of tangible outcomes, and it was Depor who fired the next salvo, and that was how it stayed till the final whistle.

http://i.imgur.com/b1Yco6S.png

A blip this month saw us drop to 4th, and the lowest piece of meat hanging above the sharks of Granada(!), Betis and Barca.
We can't afford to go into another run of draw again that much I know.

What I do know is we had a semifinal clash in the Copa del Rey, up against Atletico no less:

http://i.imgur.com/padW9kR.png

We definitely rode our luck here, they were camped in our half at times and only awful shooting prevented them from grabbing an away goal or two.
Not so for us, who despite not doing much more found ourselves 3 goals up going into the return leg.

http://i.imgur.com/cU8wzD0.png

A role reversal at Madrid, though it was much more of the capital side reverting to type and playing us off the park for the first time this season.
Nikolaou was a peripheral figure so we couldn't count on him, but the backline was all over the place here, particularly in the latter stages of the game where oddly enough we kept finding ourselves understaffed on the break, despite not playing with much ambition anyway.
It should've been at least 6 the way they were carving us up, but we made it all the way to penalties, where Szeman (regular penalty taker and brought on specifically for pens) missed his first effort. And that was that.
On hindsight I shouldn't have listened to my asst man, who wanted to go with attacking match prep - Nikolaou's not much of a pace merchant was shut out of the game easily, while Atleti's attack should never have been taken lightly.

Finally, the big one - the CL knockouts:

http://i.imgur.com/v8eNznQ.png

I was expecting us to crumble after we'd lost the lead, but credit to the players for pushing on for a famous win.
Cagigas led the line fantastically in his false-nine role - his goals weren't the most inspirational (a tap-in from inside the 6-yard box and poaching on an underhit backpass) but he also assisted Panagiotou and spearheaded attacks admirably.
The away goal's quite a bummer, but there's only so much we could do when up against 3 central strikers eh (even if their goal was from their midfielder).
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
Damn, what a bummer against Atletico but followed up brilliantly against Man City.
http://i.imgur.com/ZiZpv0k.png?1



Damn, what a bummer against Atletico but followed up brilliantly against Man City.

Yeah everyone lost the plot in the return leg, was a shame.

(I've actually got my hands on FM17 (about 7 months too late tbh) so I'm not sure whether I'll continue with this save - watch this space)

----------------------------------------------------------
March 2044


http://i.imgur.com/dbwcdYx.png

(How do you say "We got absolutely dicked" in Spanish?)
Betis featured a 3-man central midfield with some of the most physical players in the league, spearheaded by Caro who is blessed with all of height, pace and strength and was having a fantastic season so far.
So it was probably not wise to play a 2 men up against their 3, and definitely not 2 30-overs including an Alava (bless him) who has always been more brains than brawn.
So while we were dominating possession it rarely passed the halfway line, while Betis would overpower us in the centre and break forwards, often 5v3.
So I tried to play one of the CMs down to DM, and eventually went into a 4-1-3-2 in a bid to stem the swarm of CMs, but that only left our centrebacks without a spare man against another pair of physically all-rounded strikers, and they simply took over the counterattacks.
All in all, absolutely dicked.

http://i.imgur.com/9TZdqaX.png

No more central midfield trio of bruisers, should be an easier time for the back 3 - or so I thought.
Di Meo (who by now has been converted into an LCB-type of player no unlike Monreal at Arsenal) had Masrchlich to deal with, and needless to say he utterly failed at that.
Being beaten for sheer pace for his 1st then losing him for the 2nd, the Italian did not impress with his defending.
It was another Italian centreback who put the game out of reach though, Delmorgine taking advantage of some set piece chaos.

http://i.imgur.com/IlUXKti.png

Not quite as bad as our Copa del Rey capitulation, but still a bleak performance from us.
But to be honest we should not have lost 5-1, we didn't do well but that last 5 minutes was another level of awful.

http://i.imgur.com/uJKSZcb.png

Unfortunately for Villareal we sorely needed a boost after our worst run of form this season, and this time their shot-stopper wasn't able to save them.
1st half was a bit flat as we looked like we were still licking our wounds, so some choices works at the break seemed to wake the guys up and they proceeded to vent their frustration at the poor Yellow Submarine.

http://i.imgur.com/SDb5BJ7.png

So we're still clinging on to a European spot, only this time it's the Europa League spot that we'll now have to defend.
But that's 4 points separating 4th from 9th, so there's a hell lot to play for both ways.

Enough with the depressing goings-on in La Liga though, we've got something else to hunt:

http://i.imgur.com/HtvYuib.png

I was expecting City to take advantage of our poor form and morale and go through, and that pessimism only increased when they took the lead with 75+ minutes to go.
But their shooting was so off throughout the match - we'd set up shop to defend and have them come at us, but most of the time all they did was take potshots from outside the area, and barely any effort was made to pick apart our defensive block.
We found a morale-boosting equaliser late in the game which only intensified City's efforts to rinse and repeat their wayward attempts from downtown, and that was eventually that.

Next up? Barca - great:

http://i.imgur.com/DSkF0fM.png

Tense game, as shown by the relative lack of shots from both sides and the goalless 1st half, and only Canedo's goal (off a corner no less) managed to spark some life into the game.
Roska then came on, and as skilled as he was on the ball he was not the speediest guy around, which made it all the more surprising that he was bundled down in the box - he wasn't going to go anywhere regardless.
Cagigas then put the icing on the cake, rushing onto a loose ball to tap into an empty net.

OK enough of on-field stuff, now to the new batch of youngsters:

http://i.imgur.com/llQ1Nyf.png
http://i.imgur.com/TQx3XSd.png
http://i.imgur.com/6l7tb7V.png

Honestly the last thing I needed was a goalkeeper - we've got 3 top class stoppers that (barring disaster) will last us the next decade or so, so unfortunately I expect him to go down the same way many a youth goalkeeper has gone through the club - sit in the U19s, then sit at the B-Team, then leave the club having wasted his younger years at the club what will in all likelihood never need his services.
So I'll look to sell him.

070563 - 120815

I'll see you
April 2044


http://i.imgur.com/ECCxxoI.png

Count on us to provide a good rebound for a Valencia side having bombed their way out of top spot with a stretch of form comparable to our in the past month or so.
Seriously, what's the point of a back 3 when none of them will track a man when faced with a cross?

http://i.imgur.com/l9fCrOD.png

Again, what's the point of the back 3 if it can't handle 2 strikers? Shocking stuff.
Roska's goal was little more than fluke, a wayward cross bouncing off the keeper's clutches into an open net. Nikolaou's was far better though, skinning his marker to slot home emphatically - though for what purpose, at that point we were already 4-2 down and not looking stable at all.

http://i.imgur.com/9WFH84y.png

Cagigas fired home a spectacular opener, one that won the Goal of the Week, but it was clear we were jaded from the terrible form and struggled to play with the flow that we were capable of. Then Perez diverted another cross into his own net - we have been completely shit with defending crosses as of late.
2nd half saw us continue to plug away at Numancia, but Otal continued his TWO MONTH scoring drought with some hopeless finishing - absolutely shocking that he's not yet had double figures this season, then again he's never hit double figures in La Liga, his best season being the 18-goal Toulouse campaign. But damn has he been shite.
But I digress - Perez eventually made up for his OG with a proper one after some setpiece pinball, before Alava made it safe with one of his trademark freekicks.

http://i.imgur.com/qrXHIXo.png

Another shocking, shocking game - Infantes and Rincon pulled our backline out of position every time they had the ball and they were making runs into open spaces whenever the other dragged one of the back 3 out of position, truly sickening stuff.
And all this with Sanchez de la Calle 'marshalling' the defence, hard to control a backline when you're a shambles yourself.

http://i.imgur.com/wMsS1Ux.png

Absolutely rubbish, with this form we don't deserve European football.
Well I say that, but with the Copa del Rey final between Real and Atleti 7th place is not a European spot, and I'll definitely want to be in Europe than not.

We are still in European competition though:

http://i.imgur.com/1GbrR8E.png

Again, a wobbly start from Barca, but this time we actually put them to the sword for it.
The 2nd half saw them threaten to stage an unlikely comeback, but at least we stemmed the tide before they did any more damage to the scoreline.

The semis had us up against Real - look away if you don't want to be traumatised (I did):

http://i.imgur.com/Ff4UOPN.png

The 1st half was as follows: We can't shoot for shit, they can.
And by the 2nd half the hopelessness of the situation took its toll and another 2 strikes made it nigh on impossible for us to make it to the Final.
So as was the case against Juve last season, a B-Team was fielded in the return leg:

http://i.imgur.com/TDodtlV.png

Bit of a disastrous start, a bleak performance overall, but hey at least the tangible result wasn't as bad as the 1st leg, where all the starters played mind you.

But whatever, this season has been a disaster and this is only another layer on this cake of shit.
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
May 2044


http://i.imgur.com/wWVsj75.png

You'd think that after suffering a broken leg of his own Conte would know better than trying to snap someone else's in two. But no, he went in hard an earned himself an early bath.
At least Nikolaou gave us a bit of hope by winning and scoring the penalty for the lead, and though we weren't able to keep the lead for long, playing reactively gave us the opportunity to run at Sociedad's defence, with Cagigas scoring the winner on one such run onto Nikolaou's through pass.

Oh and Conte got another 2 matches on top of his automatic game ban, ruling him out for the season - fantastic.

http://i.imgur.com/O8VrKgK.png

Getting wrecked in the CL my Real didn't do our ambitions any favours, so for this game it was all about sitting back and defending, all the way.
And it sort of worked, given that we did get 2 goals for it, though Bouadam was never going to beat Guler in the air on the end of crosses, leading to Guler having a brace of his own.
Lots of defending ensued in the 2nd half, before we ran away with a hell of a smash-and-grab with a corner that Arias diverted into his own net.

http://i.imgur.com/ezTeyeD.png

Vintage Nikolaou on show, alas it was few and far between this season.
At least the hat-trick brought him to double figures in the league, which would normally have been achieved about 5 months ago.
More importantly, we've racked up another run of wins in the business end of the season, and with relegation-threatened Huesca ahead in the final game of the season we could probably end on a positive note.

http://i.imgur.com/t3aTEhu.png

Absolutely typical - 3 straight wins, up against a side that's in danger of going down, and we concede 2 inside 10 minutes.
Rubbish performance from us, exacerbated by the fact that we were still in the thick of a Europa League chase with 3 other sides, and the nerves got to us evidently.
But our quality did eventually shine through, not least the scoring ability of Nikolaou.
Much less was expected of Otal when he came on for the Greek striker, but how apt it is that it was he who scored the equaliser, and the last goal of our campaign at that - previously going on a 3-month goal drought, wilting at vital points of the season, only to pop up to scrape a hard-fought draw.

http://i.imgur.com/2Ha7PKX.png

A single point separating 5th and 8th, which goes to show how much of a nailbiter the Huesca game was.
Somehow we managed to sneak into 5th, after only Sevilla of the other 3 sides managed to win their games, and they were at the bottom of this queue at the start of this final day.
But alas we finished 4 points behind Barca, something that will stick out about this season after our depressing collapse in the latter months of what was initially a promising season.

------------------

Anyway, with regards to FM17... Well watch this space.
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
Damn, hope you stick with this save or perhaps go for a similar type save for FM17. Love reading this and your impeccable writing of it.
http://i.imgur.com/ZiZpv0k.png?1



Probably the hardest knockout rounds in the CL you could of feared @Eric Portapotty good to see you finally have FM17 although I love this save. Would be interesting to see what sort of route you take
Damn, hope you stick with this save or perhaps go for a similar type save for FM17. Love reading this and your impeccable writing of it.

Probably the hardest knockout rounds in the CL you could of feared @Eric Portapotty good to see you finally have FM17 although I love this save. Would be interesting to see what sort of route you take

Thanks for the support, much appreciated.

I'm actually looking to try my hand at a video series, and learn a bit of video editing/recording and stuff in the process - you know, make something productive out of my addiction to FM. And getting FM17 was supposed to be a fresh start.

But I've dabbled a bit on 17 and I'm probably too used to 14, so most of the time the time I'm trying to look for things rather than actually playing. So I dunno, do I start afresh with an FM17 career, or stick with this one? And do I go with video?
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
Thanks for the support, much appreciated.

I'm actually looking to try my hand at a video series, and learn a bit of video editing/recording and stuff in the process - you know, make something productive out of my addiction to FM. And getting FM17 was supposed to be a fresh start.

But I've dabbled a bit on 17 and I'm probably too used to 14, so most of the time the time I'm trying to look for things rather than actually playing. So I dunno, do I start afresh with an FM17 career, or stick with this one? And do I go with video?

I've thought many of times of doing YouTube series as I play a hell of a lot of fm but then don't know where to get started etc!

Either way I can't wait to see your choice
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