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Discussion
Incredible start there mate, hope you keep it up!
Thanks for the kind words of encouragement @Dan @bigmattb28, fingers crossed we can maintain our start to the season!

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

May 2022


MATCHDAY 10

https://i.imgur.com/zufc1Tk.png?1


Following on from our impressive form last month we hosted mid-table outfit IF Elfsborg, who happened to be one of the teams in the league I'd heard of before stepping into the management game. We bossed the early exchanges and were rewarded for our hard work eleven minutes in. A misplaced pass in midfield was intercepted by Tekie and the Dutchman set away Exposito in the same motion. Exposito collected the pass and made his way to the edge of the box before rifling home a shot across goal into the top corner.

MATCHDAY 11

https://i.imgur.com/UyUh3Wu.png?1


Just a few days had passed since the win at home to Elfsborg and we found ourselves back on the road as we faced reigning champions Djurgardens in what was tipped as a top of the table six-pointer. A slightly rotated slide made its way out of the tunnel and had little to cheer about when they made their way back to the dressing room at full-time. As the stats show, we never got going and couldn't produce a performance typical of my time here. Concerningly, Kamal was not at his best and almost cost us the game on a few occasions, but thankfully Cojocaru was at his best between the sticks.

MATCHDAY 12

https://i.imgur.com/KSI59lz.png?1


Our third match of the month (and third in the space of a week) saw us return to action at home to relegation favourites Dalkurd FF in a game that saw the likes of Mulic and Schmiedebach make their way into the starting line-up. We looked to be good value despite our rotated side early on when the boys worked the ball inside from a corner for Svensson to jink past his man and shoot through a crowd and past the 'keeper. Straight from kick off however and the scores were even once more. Both teams couldn't retain possession and eventually a poor headed clearance from Kamal saw Awad set free and his shot would whistle across goal and into the side net. Not an ideal result in a game we should have looked a lot more comfortable but considering the rotation and the congested fixture list. Perhaps a slight issue though would be Kamal's form of late. He's not looked as solid as he did in the opening month and a rest could perhaps do him a world of good.

MATCHDAY 13

https://i.imgur.com/gzeHEkv.png?1


A much needed rest followed the Dalkurd game, allowing us to be back to full force for our game against BK Hacken, who are by no means a poor side in this league. We looked like a much improved side for our changes too. Before the half an hour mark we took the lead, a Rodic cross was headed clear to Tekie who made a few steps forward into the box before placing the ball low past the 'keeper. Tekie would have his second of the game early into the second half, picking up a loose ball in the box before driving a shot low into the far corner. Within minutes of coming on the pitch, Erik Exposito made it three. Svensson latched on to a great ball from Ivan, seeing his shot parried into the Spaniard's path for three-nil. The rout was completed deep into injury time, this time goalkeeper Abrahamsson was unable to hold another Svensson shot, this time parrying into the path of Rodic to poke home.

MATCHDAY 14

https://i.imgur.com/Akr3HAd.png?1


Osters IF game in to this one propping up the foot of the table, whilst we looked good money for our lead at the top. This would surely mean one thing and one thing only, that we would drop points and that the hosts would pick up a much needed point, or three! Both sides played as you would expect them to. We completely dominated them, whilst they struggled to get out of their own half. But yet for all of our possession and shots on target, we couldn't find the back of the net. Usually, when the strikers are misfiring, the wingers or midfield chip in, but for some reason today we couldn't find our finishing touch. Osters only managed a single shot all game too, so I was puzzled when we left with one point. Truth be told we should have had all three, but the officials decided they wanted to steal the show, disallowing a fine strike from Tekie after judging it offside. Fuming I was, and I let the press know too in my post-match interview.

https://i.imgur.com/23U98bq.png?1


Offside or not? I'm adamant that the officials have got this one wrong!

League Table and Form


https://i.imgur.com/DKNGWoW.png?1


This hasn't been a bad month for us by any standard. Our second month unbeaten and only one goal conceded makes for good reading, but its the way we've played that does raise some concern. Dalkurd and Osters are both in the relegation spaces and we should have beaten them comfortably, but goals have been at somewhat of a premium this month. On the plus side, the defence has looked incredible so far. Whereas at Thisted it was always a case of when we were going to concede, the question now is if we are going to concede. More so, the games in which the attack can't get going, I'm confident we'll come away with at least a point because the defence is as strong as it is. As the season continues I'd like to see Okereke get back to his form from last season (though I had my doubts about if it was sustainable) and I'd imagine Exposito will score a lot more once he is fully integrated into the team.

https://i.imgur.com/u9HyiPs.png?1


Our failure to beat lesser sides has led to us slipping down to second place in the league, despite having the only unbeaten record in the division. This is still a large success, as going in to the season we were aiming for Europa League qualification. On the plus side, we only sit behind AIK by virtue of having won less games than them and I'm confident that we can get ahead of them once more. As a general note, I've never seen a league play fourteen games over the course of two months, but this is made up for by having a month before our next fixture (I think!).

Next Update


July 2022
Wow, it's close at the top! I'm confident you can get ahead of them and make the top spot your own!
FM19 Careers:

https://i.imgur.com/eWbt0ww.png
Still unbeaten which is great! looks like you're set for a close league campaign!
https://i.imgur.com/zgMyvyG.png?2
I can only echo what you've said @tongey, @Dan and @bigmattb28 - we've had a good start so far and the league is looking pretty close at the top!

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

July 2022


Europa League Draw


https://i.imgur.com/ihOUtzT.png?1


As touched upon earlier on in the season, we've managed to secure entry into the Europa League despite our domestic campaign still getting underway, regardless we won't complain as I take my first venture into competitive continental football! Our opponents for the first round of qualification will be Debrecen as we make our way to the second biggest city in Hungary later in the month!

MATCHDAY 15

https://i.imgur.com/tSREuIx.png?1


We kicked off our summer of football with a home tie to IF Brommapojkarna as we looked to continue our unbeaten form in the league. As expected we enjoyed the majority of the ball and the chances, though they came at a premium in this one. But we would take one early in the first half, as David Ivan clipped the ball forward form the edge of the 'D' to Okereke whose strike across goal had enough about it to beat the 'keeper. We stifled our opposition for the rest of the game and ran out one-nil winners.

EUROPA LEAGUE BEST PLACED 1ST QUALIFICATION ROUND LEG 1

https://i.imgur.com/ov0ECuG.png?1


So this was it then, my debut in a European competition. A proud day and one that should hopefully get my name out on the continent at least! With only a few days between this and the Brommapojkarna game and with us being heavy favourites, a rotated side lined up as we welcomed our Hungarian visitors. We could have got off to the best possible start too, but teenage midfielder Soderstedt couldn't convert from the spot; his second missed penalty of the season. This would be the tale of our game in the offensive department, failure to make the net ripple eventually seeing us be held at home. Not an instant classic, but avoiding a defeat is something to take from this one!

Potential Transfer?


https://i.imgur.com/gNaHYk7.png?1


With the Transfer Window opening across Europe, it is no surprise that our young squad is being looked at by some of the elite clubs searching for the next big thing. One such player is Albert Pode who is attracting interest from the likes of PSG, Bayern Munich and Manchester United. We'll do well to keep hold of him, as well as others in the squad. But for every player who could leave us, there are two who could join us...

MATCHDAY 16

https://i.imgur.com/WiUxk0g.png?1


Turning our focus away from transfers and back to league action next as Kalmar FF stood in the way of us and three more points in the title race. Again a game of limited quality going forward, as our strikers currently seem to find it hard to link up with the wingers at any consistent level. This means that a lot of the pressure falls on the midfield to find goals. And find a goal they did! Ivan picked the ball up just inside the Kalmar half and dribbled forward, playing a neat one-two with Mulic (who was starting in order to Okereke and Exposito to rest), before the midfielder unleashed an absolute scorcher from around twenty-five yard! Concerningly however, we picked up a number of bookings in this game which is uncharacteristic of the brand of football we try to play here at Hammarby.

EUROPA LEAGUE BEST PLACED 1ST QUALIFICATION ROUND LEG 2

https://i.imgur.com/pirgFqF.png?1


We travelled to Debrecen with everything to play for, with failure to progress being something bordering on disastrous. With very little time to prepare for the game and travel, it was again a rotated team that took that stage, as the league takes up the biggest chunk of our efforts this year. Before the half-hour mark we'd scored not one, but two goals. For the first, Svensson started and finished a nice move involving the likes of Schmiedeback, Lora and Rodic. The second goal however has to go down as the best in a Hammarby shirt so far. Debrecen gave the ball away from kick-off and after some short passing the ball was with Rodic in a wide position, and his early cross was met by Okereke who peeled off his marker and hit a first time scissor-kick (!!!) straight into the bottom corner, a goal Zlatan would be proud of and one not too dissimilar from van Perise's against Aston Villa when he watched the ball all the way onto his left foot (actually, a scarily similar goal!). Before the game was over Soderstedt made an entry for goal of the game too, this time Lora's cross from the byline was headed clear to the edge of the box where Soderstedt waited for the ball in the air, took a step back to adjust himself and then hit a first time volley past the goalkeeper. We'd lacked a bit of quality going forward recently, and we certainly showed some here in order to progress!

https://i.imgur.com/BpOPrrC.png?1


However, star midfielder Tesfaldet Tekie picked up an injury for all his efforts in the centre of the park and will be out for a while. We'll rally around the loss and move a few players around, but to lose a player of his quality comes as quite the blow.

Transfers


https://i.imgur.com/JbthBpi.png?1


Saido Berahino - 28, ST - having been lacking a little something going forward of late, it was decided that we needed a bit more depth upfront. Okereke for all his credit hasn't been able to keep up his form from last year, and Exposito has been inconsistent at best. At a time when Daniel Sturridge was on trial at the club a decision was needed. Do we sign Sturridge who whilst a few years on Berahino may be a better player, but demanding more wages, OR, do we sign Berahino on the cheap and use him as depth? In the end we went for the cheaper option, allowing us to bring in one more player...

https://i.imgur.com/vCmoLqn.png?1


Gabriele Gori - 23, ST - yes another striker! This allows Mulic to go out on loan giving us four fit first team strikers, though as I said, Berahino will likely be the rotation option. Admittedly, Gabriele wasn't the marque signing I had in mind this window. We did have Sheyi Ojo on trial and had even offered the wide-man a contract, but he instead plumped for Blackburn amidst interest from other Championship teams. Speaking of Championship teams, Gori was initially on trial with West Bromwich Albion but when I was alerted of his availability I knew I had to get him in. He'd been playing, and scoring, in the Serie A as of his most recent club and at twenty-three, he's got his best years and some development left in him too so I'm more than happy to get him in. He'll be bedded in to the first team slowly but when he's fully integrated I'm confident he'll do well at this level.

MATCHDAY 17

https://i.imgur.com/qt8vb9A.png?1


For all its worth in progression for the club, advancing in the Europa League has led to our fixture list being congested once again, as this time we face IF Norrkoping in the league just days after our game in Hungary. Cracks were beginning to show as fatigue set in, but one player who has crept under the radar this year would be an unlikely goal scorer for us as the attack looked off-pace once again. Playing out of the left, Sandberg got his head up and switched the ball to Lora who had made his way forward form the back. The Spaniard took one touch, got the ball out from his feet and shot across goal and into the back of the net for an early lead. From here on it was anyone's game really, but as tiredness began to rear its head we would eventually find ourselves back on level terms. From a corner, Fransson lost his man to head home. We rarely concede as it is, and so to concede from a corner just points to our lack of concentration given the fixture list this month.

EUROPA LEAGUE BEST PLACED 2ND QUALIFICATION ROUND LEG 1

https://i.imgur.com/R3an6yp.png?1


Our reward for our exploits in Hungary was tie against Slovakian side Trencin, who if you believe the pundits and bookies alike, we should be beating comfortably. One think I'm becoming thankful for this season is not only the quality of depth in the squad, but the sheer number of players at my disposal too. One such player that comes to mind is West Ham loanee Christos Touloupidis, who was here last season and had his loan renewed for this term. Not only was he solid at the back this game, but in twentieth minute he scored a goal not common for a centre-back. After a set piece routine near half-way, Ivan carried the ball forward and shuttled it sideways for Christos, who curled the ball into the corner from outside the box with a neat first-time finish. Another collector's item this month and not the last this game either. Late in the half Max Svensson put the ball down for a freekick around twenty-five to thirty yards out, before getting the ball up and over the wall and past the unmoved Trencin 'keeper to put his further ahead!

Another Transfer


https://i.imgur.com/moVleyr.png?1


Another transfer this month and sadly not an incoming one. Signed in the summer for a small-fee, I didn't expect Iosif Cojocaru to be gone so soon. Unwilling to negotiate a new deal after having only signed a few months ago, I was unable to get his Minimum Release Fee out of his deal. His form had some of the big clubs in Europe interested and eventually Bayern Munich opted to trigger the clause and take him to Germany. As sad as I was to lose a player of Iosif's quality, he was never actually my primary goalkeeping target in the last window, so surely he'd be replaced...?

MATCHDAY 18

https://i.imgur.com/yONVar9.png?1


After having lost Cojocaru, it was time for back-up 'keeper Nnonyelu Dovin to step up. He played a bit for me towards the back-end of last season and I know he's a perfectly adequate player, so I had no hesitation in naming him in the starting XI for the first time this season. All the focus would actually be on our attack early on in this game, as within the first quarter-hour we were two goals ahead. Just six minutes in and a foul by Ohlsson off the ball from a corner led to Jeppe Andersen dinking a penalty down the middle. Our second came courtesy of some nice link-up play by debutant Berahno, who used his experience to bring Svensson into the game out wide, who eventually took one touch inside the box and cut across the ball, sending it into the top stanchion. Ohlsson would go from villain to hero in the second half, however after singing Nnonyelu Dovin's praises, he has to accept this one is his fault. His failure to time his punch correctly from a corner saw Ohlsson take advantage and head home to reduce the deficit to one. Our two goal cushion would be restored however, as Svensson continued his red-hot form by finishing off a superb team move at the second bite of the cherry.

EUROPA LEAGUE BEST PLACED 2ND QUALIFICATION ROUND LEG 2

https://i.imgur.com/TGCug1s.png?1


We travelled south for this one to the border between the Czech Republic and Slovakia for the away fixture of our game against Trencin, carrying a two goal lead with us. With Gori slowly making his way into the side, and Berahino doing well in his limited minutes, Okereke has become a forgotten figure of late. But this didn't deter the striker, as he would open the scoring for us in this one. Andersen's deep freekick was headed towards the back post by Kamal for Okereke, who had his first shot saved by Mentel in goal, but the rebound fell nicely for him and he duly obliged. The game was put to bed twenty minutes later, a headed clearance making its way to Ivan outside the box, who took a touch and bent a shot around a defender and in past Mentel for two-nil, four-nil on aggregate.

Goalkeeper Solution!


https://i.imgur.com/HhbSoB3.png?1


As previously intimated, there was another goalkeeper that I had my eye on. In the previous window we were so close to agreeing a deal for young Hubert, but I was ultimately put off by his lofty release clause of just under five million. But with Cojocaru out and us needing a quality 'keeper I decided to splash what little budget we had left on the young Pole. A player of equal, if not slightly better quality than Cojocaru, I'm sure he should have the same effect on the side. The best thing too? No Release Clause! I decided early on in negotiations to remove it and instead bump his wages up to compensate for it!

https://i.imgur.com/8FKoLDm.png?1


Statistically speaking, we've got in a near identical player, with Bednarz being ever so slightly taller and younger than his predecessor!

MATCHDAY 19

https://i.imgur.com/SOnxl6A.png?1


What a month we've had. A fixture list that has doubled in size as we progressed in Europe, some incredible goals and a mini transfer sage to beat. This had to all be put behind us as we stepped on the pitch for a match against Orebro SK who themselves have been impressive of late. We fell behind mid-way through the first half too and its a goal that whilst being very poor, is not surprising for a host of reasons. A routine ball over the top from Engholm looked to put Omoh through on goal. A mix up from Pode and Touloupidis (call in the inexperience of youth, the fact they've not played together a lot, or blame it on tiredness) saw neither player get to the ball as the both seemed to leave it for each other, whilst Kamal came racing over for good measure too. Despite three of our young defenders moving towards the player and the ball, none of them actually got to the ball, allowing Omoh to get off a shot on the half-volley which made its way past Bednarz. The argument can be made that Bednarz was unsighted due to the bodies around the ball, and that quite genuinely he didn't expect the shot, but either way he was beaten. We looked rattled from here on and we couldn't control the game like we normally due as fatigue once again reared its head. The game ended without much else happening, as our unbeaten streak comes to a frustrating end.

League Table and Form


https://i.imgur.com/iXdz09L.png?1


A theme of this month has been our very heavy fixture list. Eight games in twenty-nine games saw us play a match every three or four games and over a month this has been very tough. For us to have only lost one game is a testament to the squad, and if we had a longer break between games I'm confident that we would have remained unbeaten but that is neither here nor there. In fact, of our eight games, we've kept six cleansheets and only failed to score on two occasions. This month has been hugely successful, although the loss at the end does seem to have tinted it through my eyes. Progression in Europe is a huge plus and we face Fenerbahce next month in a game that we'll have to produce our best in!

https://i.imgur.com/xDOS4Iy.png?1


Nineteen games in for us and this is how the table looks. We still sit second, however this time on goal difference, after having led the league all month until the loss to Orebro. As I've said before, the aim going in to the season was never to win the title, but now we're in the race I feel that failure to win it would go down poorly especially given our form. I didn't realise until now just how tight it was at the top with four teams slogging it out for first place, and if we can turn some of those draws in to wins then we'll be comfortably the best of the four sides, in fact, only one team has drawn more games than us and they sit sixth. So are we getting lucky and winning games we shouldn't be, or are we unlucky and drawing games we should be winning? Either way, I'm excited to see how the season continues and hopefully at the end of the next month of games we could be runaway leaders!
Very tight at the top! Going to be a fun season for sure!
https://i.imgur.com/zgMyvyG.png?2
3 teams on 40 points means every point counts from now on! Gonna be very interesting seeing this 1 play out
Woah, how many more teams do you want to have on 40 points haha! Each and every point counts!
FM19 Careers:

https://i.imgur.com/eWbt0ww.png
It's hard to disagree with anything you've said lads @Dan, @bigmattb28 and @tongey! Every game is going to be huge! And finally, after a busy week or so with work we're back with an update... and what an update it is!
August 2022


EUROPA LEAGUE BEST PLACED 3RD QUALIFICATION ROUND LEG 1

https://i.imgur.com/Cov1LhQ.png?1


We travelled to Istanbul knowing that we'd need to be at our best to come away from this one with something, and on a personal level I knew this would be the biggest test I've had to face to date. The Turkish side were more than happy to let us control the majority of the ball, but this would haunt them early on, as just before the quarter-hour mark a searching ball from the hosts was cut out by Lora and worked to Rodic on the wing. Rodic galloped inside and fizzed a low ball forward to Gori on the edge of the box and his first touch was good enough to sell Lykogiannis for a bag of chips before smashing home is first goal for the club! Fenerbahce offered very little in terms of cutting edge going forward for the remainder of the game, but nor did we either and we travelled back to Sweden with a crucial first-leg win!

MATCHDAY 20

https://i.imgur.com/gu998uE.png?1


After a famous victory against Fenerbahce just days before, a few of the boys were rested for an away trip to IFK Goteborg, a game we should be winning in all honesty. It was one such change that would see us take the lead, as Erik Exposito continued to make the most of his limited minutes this season and picked up the ball in a wide left position, made his way into the box and shaped up for the far corner, only for a deflection to sneak his shot in at the near post. As the second half began Exposito would find himself celebrating yet again. Route one at its finest this time, as Degerlund hoofed the ball up from the back and Erik raced on to the ball and slotted home to seal the win.

EUROPA LEAGUE BEST PLACED 3RD QUALIFICATION ROUND LEG 2

https://i.imgur.com/jAnw8gD.png?1


Resting players for the game against Goteborg afforded us the luxury of having our strongest starting eleven available for the second time in a week. We'd need to be strong too as we only sat on a one goal lead going into the game, and as I stressed to the players, Fenerbahce are no pushovers. Playing at the Tele2 Arena this season we've looked like turning the stadium into a real fortress, often dominating the ball and having a good amount of shots to boot. And this was the story this time out. Not content with sitting on the lead, we pressured the visitors and we were rewarded for our efforts just past the hour mark. From a throw in, Pode played the ball inside to Soderstedt who moved it back out wide to Gori who spotted the run of Svensson in the box and laid it off to the winger. Svensson then turned his man and curled a fierce shot past the 'keeper from short range to put us a goal ahead yet again. Credit the defence this game too as they kept Fenerbahce out, securing our unlikely progression!

MATCHDAY 21

https://i.imgur.com/Af6kRAe.png?1


With no break in the schedule for us again, we hosted Ostersunds FK and to be honest we were glad to not have to travel for this one. Generally speaking, with fixtures coming at us thick and fast, we'll do well to not only rotate the team but grind out results too if we're to stay on track this season. Thankfully then, goals seem to come from all positions in this team. Twenty-eight minutes in and a freekick deep in the Ostersunds half was pumped into the box by Svensson, which was met by Kamal as he looped the ball over the 'keeper and into the near post. Bad goalkeeping, but exactly what we needed given the cirumstances.

EUROPA LEAGUE BEST PLACED 4TH QUALIFICATION ROUND LEG 1

https://i.imgur.com/25vlZhW.png?1


Aberdeen would be our opponents after we beat Fenerbahce over two legs and my initial thoughts were that we'd drawn a team perhaps easier than out last opponents. But I'd soon be regretting these thoughts as our trip to the Pittodrie got off to the worst possible start. Just eight minutes had passed when the hosts cut us open. Ledson held the ball in the middle and spotted the run of Tilley in behind Sandberg, and the winger's first touch got him away into the box with only Kamal left to beat. This meant that Ikpeazu had been left unmarked in the middle and Tilley opted for the smart-pass rather than the shot, leaving his striker with an easy tap-in. If in that move the hosts showed their great team play, they showed off their quality as individuals not long after. Ward picked up a pass from McKay around thirty yards out and close to the touchline. His first touch let him steady himself and his second got the ball out from his feet and away from goal, but his third touch saw him strike an absolute rocket which curled out then in, leaving Bednarz a spectator but there's nothing the young Pole could do. The game was turned on its head just after the half-hour mark however, as Ledson would receive a straight red for an unnecessary lunge on Soderstedt. We pilled on the pressure from here and Aberdeen looked comfortable until in first-half stoppage time when Tilley was judged to have fouled Soderstedt n the box this time, and Gori gratefully rolled home from the spot. Not a great performance, but its definitely all still to play for surely!

MATCHDAY 22

https://i.imgur.com/obv49ee.png?1


After returning from Scotland I looked at this game in the calendar with one thing in mind. Djurgardens are having a poor season and look like shipping a few goals, and so with all to play for in Europe still, a full strength side walked out for this one looking to gain a comfortable win and some confidence too. We got off to a flying start too, just nine minutes had been played when a poor corner for us was recycled and put back into the box by Andersson. Gori would burst past his man and flick a header high and into the far corner for one-nil. Four minutes later and it was two. A foul by Nobrega on the edge of the box would result in Andersson hitting the ball up and over the wall and into the far corner before the 'keeper could even register the shot. The game was all over from this point on in all honesty, but this didn't stop us from nabbing a third before time, this time Gori hit a first time volley past the 'keeper after a nice clipped ball from Pode. Exactly what we needed before we welcomed Aberdeen to Sweden!

EUROPA LEAGUE BEST PLACED 4TH QUALIFICATION ROUND LEG 2

https://i.imgur.com/EdvrYJf.png?1


Our month concluded with our biggest game, this time hosting Aberdeen after we comfortably held Djurgardens just days before. Yet again we got off to a flying start at the Tele2. This time we started off by pushing high up the pitch in search of a goal, which would see Pode receive the ball in acres down the left before swinging in a relatively comfortable ball into the box, or at least it looked easy to deal with before Gori got in front of his man to steer a header down into the bottom corner. Game on. Much like in the Djurgardens game, we suffocated Aberdeen in the middle of the park and prevented them from getting anything going in attacking areas, whilst frustrating them with our passing all the while. Our passing game opened the visitors up just pas the half-hour mark, as we worked the ball from side-to-side, eventually playing it wide to Rodic who waited for Elder to commit to the ball before showing him a clean pair of heels and delivering the ball into the box, where yet again Gori got ahead of his marker to plant a header past Lewis in goal. We looked like we were going to do it, we looked like we'd be advancing to the Europa League Group Stage! Aberdeen were shaken and looked lost on the pitch, and their misery was compiled in the second half but this has to go down as a goalkeeping error. From a corner, the ball was cleared as far as Degerlund who tried a first time volley which deflected off of Svensson and caught Lewis unawares as he could only drop the ball at the feet of Svensson who made no mistakes from a yard out to seal our progression into the Europa League Group Stage! What an achievement for these players!

League Table and Form


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An outstanding month for us really, conceding two goals in seven games and keeping six cleansheets too! Admittedly, progression in Europe has made the fixture list congested and we'll do well to balance all competitions, but for now we're riding the high of qualification! In the league we've managed to win all of our games this month as we bounced back from losing our unbeaten streak.

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The league table looks a little bit like this then! Our excellent month has moved us ahead of Orebro and given us a three point lead on rivals AIK who we play next month. With all due respect to Orebro, who have done well to be in the race this far, I'd expect them to tail off a little bit as they've overachieved to date, whilst AIK and ourselves have two games in hand due to both sides progressing in the Europa League. Ostersunds too have done well so far, but again I'd expect them to drop off slightly in the close end of the season. My only concern about our form is that with Europa League games, league games and cup games still to play that we might drop off a little bit ourselves. Although, we did go on a large unbeaten streak for a reason so we can always be confident!

Europa League Draw


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So this is it then for us! After beating Debrecen, Trencin, Fenerbahce and Aberdeen we'll be making trips to Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Russia as Group E gets well underway. I think this might be a step too far for us, but at the same time I'd like to imagine we can beat Zrinjski and maybe even get a result or two against Krasnodar. Either way it'll be fun to see how this pans out, and it'll also be good to gain experience at this level and get my name out there too!

Award


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Lastly, our impressive league form this month has seen me pick up my second personal accolade since my career in management started, and it feels long overdue too considering some of the runs we've been on!

Next Update


September 2022!

NOTE: I've got a bust few days at work as well as packing to go home this weekend for Christmas break, but Ill be sure to have an update out within the next few days (I'd imagine Sunday at the latest!), as usual, thanks for reading!
Wow, that's a hell of a performance in the Europa League! I actually think you've got a chance in that group! Like you said, you'll need results against Krasnodar and Zrinjski!
FM19 Careers:

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A very good month there and yeah that is a group where qualifying for the knockouts is easily possible.
Good month there amte, and definitely a group you can progress from. Get results against Krasnodar Zrinjski and you should be laughing!
Great EL run and a cracking month when you needed it.You can easily get out that group!
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Amazing second leg against Aberdeen there mate and what a set of performances in the league - well in! Clearly the two key games in the Europa League will be the ties against Krasnodar as if you can get the better of them then hopefully you should be able to progress any further, but even making it this far is an excellent achievement.
Thanks all for reading, and for the words of encouragement, I really appreciate it! Although talk about putting the pressure on!

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End of Season


SWEDISH CUP 2ND ROUND

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So in and amongst us looking to wrap up the league and starting our Europa League Group Stage campaign, the Swedish Cup rears its head for the first time this season before it concludes at the beginning of next season. Going into this one we were always going to be the favourites regardless of what side we fielded, and so I took the opportunity to rotate some players and even give a debut to young Robert Andersson, a sixteen year-old right-back fresh out of the academy this season. And would you believe it, but four minutes in and he had his first goal for the club! Some neat play saw Durmaz get away from Dahlstrom who had no choice but to bring down the winger. I decided to put Andersson on the penalty and the youngster hammered a penalty in just to the right side of the goal. The game looked comfortable from here on out, and in the second half it was left-back Sandberg who would score. Was it a wonder-goal? Was it a cross-come-shot? Either way, what a goal it was! Sandberg picked the ball up on the left and from the corner of the box, curled the ball into the far corner! Cup progression secured!

MATCHDAY 23

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Turning our attention back to the league now, and a huge away trip to rivals AIK was set up to be a massive six-pointer in the race for the title. A loss would put AIK level on points with us and blow the title race wide open, whilst a win would see us coast into the final stage of the season. Not the time then for our attackers to go missing. But yet this is what the script held for us. Neither Gori, Svensson or Rodic impressed and the same could be said for substitutes Tankovic and Exposito. I thought we'd leave with a point from this one, but late into the game AIK had other ideas. A long goal kick was controlled well by Linner who laid it off to Karlsson, who in turn set Rashidi free down the left, and his cross was met by Linner who converted from a few yards out. This blows the title race wide open!

EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP E MATCHDAY 1

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So this is where our Europa League journey really begins! We welcomed our Russian guests to the Tele2 aiming to avoid defeat, with our chances of winning slim. Or rather, they seemed slim. Perhaps I was giving the opposition too much respect and had bigged them up to be a much tougher side, as nine minutes in we'd broken the deadlock. Svensson broke with the ball and drew in a defender before playing through Gori who created an angle for himself to finish across goal. One-nil, a perfect start! Twenty minutes later and it was two! From a similar position to the first goal, Svensson played it forward to Gori again but this time continued his run and getting on the end of a lovely backheel from Gori to calmly finish past Rajkovic in goal. In the dying minutes of the game Krasnodar would pull one back, a wonderful freekick from Andreas Pereira nestling into the bottom corner from thirty yards out. A huge three points for us!

MATCHDAY 24

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We followed up our impressive win at home to Krasnodar with an away trip to IF Elfsborg, a tie which we should be winning comfortably. If Pereira's freekick against us was something to behold, then Degerlund's in this game has to come close. The centre-back stood over the ball from twenty-five yards out at an unfavourable angle, but he clipped the ball around the wall and into the top corner to give us a lead! Our attack from this point looked stagnant as we couldn't get much on target, and this just allowed Elfsborg to creep back into the game. Eventually the hosts would punish us, as a great ball from Ibrahim beat Touloupidis and got behind Degerlund, allowing Vallentin to smash home a fierce half-volley from close range which Bednarz could do nothing about.

EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP E MATCHDAY 2

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A great game for the neutral but not one I won't to dwell on for too long. Twice we had a two goal lead in this one, and twice we let it slip. One of the craziest games I've been a part of and I doubt there will be many like it for the rest of my career. On the plus side, we've not lost to Krasnodar and this is something that should set us in good stead for the rest of our Europa League campaign!

MATCHDAY 25

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After shipping five in the week and travelling to and from Russia, it would only be expected that there would be some tired legs and tired minds heading into our next game at home to BK Hacken. But any sense of tiredness was removed eighteen minutes in when Nasiru Mohammed scored possibly the best goal I've ever seen. Receiving the ball in an area of no real danger, the winger got his head up from between thirty to thirty-five yards out and his shot whistled off of his boot and into the top corner. What. A. Goal. You don't mind conceding them!

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Into the second half and the Hacken winger would seal his brace, this time picking up a rebound from a corner and seeing his first attempt saved, but his second attempt made its way into the back of the net. Poor defending on our part for this one. We'd grab a late consolation, as a great ball from Tekie deep in our half set Gori away and his first attempt was parried by Abrahamsson, but Gori used his pace to beat three defenders to the rebound and slot into an open net.

EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP E MATCHDAY 3

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Away to Bosnia and Herzegovina we go as our focus once again turns to continental football. For all their credit, we should be beating a side like Zrinjski comfortably and so with one eye on the league, changes were made going into to this one. One such change was youngster Robert Andersson, who make his European debut for us in this one. But it wouldn't be a debut to remember for the young defender, as he picked up his second yellow card in twelve minutes, showing his inexperience. The rest of the first half flew by without much to shout about, but going into the second half our travelling fans would be cheering. A long ball over the top by Degerlund seemed to be heading our of play, but Tankovic didn't give up on the pass and managed to get off a first time cross from the byline, giving Erik Exposito an all to easy finish from close range. Not long after and we'd scored again, this time a headed clearance from a corner was cushioned down by Touloupidis to Erik Andersson, who calmly curled his shot into the far post. Durmaz would cap off a wonderful fifteen minutes for us, as Exposito aimed a pass for Tankovic on the far side, but his pass cannoned off of Eskic and into the path of Durmaz, who's first time shot had enough on it to beat Pavlovic in goal. All of a sudden the game was alive, and the hosts didn't look content to roll over and lose to ten men. On a rare foray into our half, Veselinovic played a short pass into the path of Memisevic who drilled a shot along the floor and past Bednarz from outside the box. Veselinovic would turn from provider into scorer in stoppage time, getting on to the end of a wayward Subic cross to head home at the near post. Not an awful performance considering we were a man short for the most part, but not brilliant mind. Seven points from three games for us now as we look to surpass expectations and reach the knockout round!

MATCHDAY 26

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After our game against Zrinjski, I was more than happy to return to league action with a game against strugglers Dalkurd FF. Funnily enough we looked like the struggling side in this one, as we couldn't get a foothold on the game or craft any chances of real quality. It wasn't until the sixty-eighth minute that we would score, Saido Berahino's corner was put into the corridor of uncertainty, where Touloupidis raced onto it like a steam-train to head past an unmoved Mohlin. A poor showing, but its results like this that show whether or not we are real contenders for the title!

MATCHDAY 27

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Going into the final month of league fixtures I received a message. Four of our players would be leaving this month for Under-21 international duties! Which players would these so happen to be? Bednarz, Nnonyelu Dovin, Pode and Soderstedt. So we lost our first AND second choice goalkeepers, out starting left-back and one of our better midfield options! This meant that in goal we would need to call up seventeen year-old academy graduate Alexander Nilsson into the squad for the next few games, which would also be his first professional games! All the while, being short on midfield options due to a call-up and fatigue issues, we shifted away from our 4-5-1 variant to a 4-2-2-2. So not only were we short of quality, but we changed tactic too, not what we wanted in the last month of league play! We needed a big performance and this is exactly what we looked to be getting, as two minutes in Rodic whipped in a cross and the Helsingborgs defence didn't know whether to focus on Exposito or Gori, and the latter was left free to side-foot a volley into the back of the net. It was two-nil around the half-hour mark, as a great reverse pass from Rodic set Exposito free down the right and he drilled a ball to the edge of the box but Moro was able to get a foot on the ball for the hosts. This wasn't enough though, as Svensson stole the ball off of Moro and slammed home from close range. For all his good play, Exposito was rewarded with a goal towards the end of the game. Lora cleared a corner as far as Gori, who took the ball in stride and raced down the wing, skipping past a Wembangomo challenge and clipping a ball into the path of an unmarked Exposito who had raced clear to toe-poke the ball into the back of the net with his left foot! This was exactly what we needed! A clean sheet for Nilsson and a new tactic paying immediate dividends!

MATCHDAY 28

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Still without key players, I told the boys that the same team to start to last game would be doing the same for us in this one. The only difference here was that we failed to really get going against Osters, whilst attacking never really looked like a part of their game plan. A nil-nil then. In the context of the title race this is not what we wanted and could come back to haunt us, but in the context of available players and a new tactic, this wasn't the worst result.

MATCHDAY 29

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Going into this one and we found ourselves with a point lead over rivals AIK, who we had been switching back and forth with at the top in recent weeks. Out of the two teams, we had arguably the easier run in of remaining games. We welcomed Malmo to the Tele2 full of confidence for this one. Surprisingly, Malmo have had a bit of a drop off in recent years, winning the league in 2019 but only mustering two seventh placed finishes since then, and flirting with the lower half of the table this year. Fifteen minutes into this one and we had already seen three goals. The first a lovely strike from Tekie from the edge of the D and the second saw some poor defending from ourselves lead to Dani Gomez being free at the back post to volley home and level the scoreline. Goal number three came courtesy of some brilliant wing play by Vladmir Rodic who let Ohlsson get close before seeing him down the line and crossing to the middle for Gori to head home. Fantastic wing play must have been the theme of the day as minutes into the second half Svensson beat Larsson all ends up and whipped a cross into the box for Exposito to convert from around three yards. Just after the hour mark and we had a chance to make it four, but Andersen hit his penalty straight down the middle where Dahlin was waiting. The action didn't stop there though, as Malmo would find themselves down to ten, Kairinen was dispossessed all too easily by Tekie, and the Malmo midfielder lunged in frustration, perhaps due to how the season as a whole had gone for Malmo, and was rewarded with a straight red. The game was all wrapped in injury time, as Gori met a Robert Andersson cross to head home for his brace. A huge result in the context of the title race, meaning that AIK have to win and we have to lose on the final day if they are to pip us to the title!

MATCHDAY 30

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So the day had come. It all comes down to this. If we lose and AIK win their game against Norrkoping then our rivals take the spoils. We needed to be our best and we needed to avoid a slow start. Thankfully then, when Celtic loanee McFadden committed a foul on the edge of the box, I was grateful to see Svensson standing over the ball and I was delighted to see Exposito on hand to finish into an empty net after the initial freekick had been tipped onto the post! The Allsvenskan looked to be heading back to the Tele2! We sat down in the dressing room at half time knowing the job was far from done, but with AIK losing the task in front of us was certainly made easier. Just over the hour mark and nerves looked to be setting in, a freekick to Brommapojkarna on the halfway line was hoofed deep into our half and should have been easy for Lora to deal with, but his headed clearance was poor and fell into the path of Bezecourt who raced into the space left by Lora and curled a neat finish into the far corner past Bednarz. A quick look at the scores across the league and AIK had pulled level in their game, we still sat in first, but if we conceded again and they scored again then the title would be headed to the black and white side of Stockholm. On came the subs then, and each knew what was needed of them. And it would be a sub who was involved in the action minutes after coming on. A lofted ball over the top by Kamal looked to be heading out, but Erik Exposito used his pace and managed to fizz a first-time cross across the face of goal before the ball went out, and Muamer Tankovic was on hand to prod the ball into the back of the net! Six minutes later and the biggest cheer of the evening filled stadium, as news broke that AIK had fallen behind in their game courtesy of a Jakobsen goal! The final whistle rang out... WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!!!

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Vi ar Vinnarna! Vi ar Vinnarna! Vi ar Vinnarna!!! Allsvenskan Champions in our first full season in charge!!! What a day for the fans and what a day for the club too! This secures our place in the Champions League next season!

League Table and Form


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And there it is then, sixty-three points from thirty league games is enough to see us lift the trophy on the final day! Eventually winning by four points as well and seeing off the challenge of city rivals AIK!

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Our form in the last few months of the season has been nothing short of superb in my eyes! Admittedly, the losses to AIK and BK Hacken did open up the title race slightly, but it was the results in the last month that saw us through. What is even more important in this run in was that for two of our last five games we were without some of our key players and had to rely upon a seventeen year-old 'keeper! This was done all while juggling the Europa League and Swedish Cup, showing our strength in depth!

For now, we still have the Europa League to focus on and following that I'll be able to focus more in depth on our underlying numbers, on the playing squad and the season itself. But for now, I plan to sit back and enjoy our first title win as a manager!!!

Next Update

Europa League and End of Season Review!
Preseason 2023


NOTE: Going into the end of last season I never knew there would be so much going on between celebrating our triumph to starting our title defence, so, I've decided to break down our preseason into five sections so that you can read what you'd like!

End of Season Review

Reviewing the season means diving into our numbers for the year, a guilty pleasure of mine. I believe that by looking into our numbers I can evaluate the squad going into the preseason.

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A quick look at our Goals Scored places us as the seventh best attacking team in the league over the last season, which may not make for great viewing when considering we won the league. This suggests then, that our success was founded on the back of a very strong defence. More so, given that at the back end of last season we switched to a more attacking 4-2-2-2 in which Exposito and Gori were the only strikers scoring for us, it suggests to me that another striker capable of scoring freely is needed.

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Possession-wise and we rank among the top teams in the division for retention of the ball, which may be in part due to the style of play we try to follow or due to the quality of our midfield players.

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In fact, the quality of our midfield players may be one of our best assets. This is supported by the fact that we are one of the better passing teams in the league, whilst using this to create a high number of chances. Perhaps a switch away from the 4-5-1 variant we used to a 4-2-2-2 may see a decrease in these areas, but I'm willing to let this happen if we continue to score more goals as we did at the end of the season.

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Having looked at our attack and our midfield now, it is time to examine our defensive performance over the course of the last season. As mentioned before, and over the course of the season, we often win games on the back of our strong defence, often scoring few but conceding fewer. In fact, we have the best defence in the league and this is something I'd like to maintain.

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With the season drawing to a close it was time for the annual End of Season Awards. Marcus Degerlund took home the Fans' Player of the Year Award ahead of competition from Tekie and Svensson, whilst Gori surprisingly failed to make the list. Andres Lora picked up the Signing of the Season Award which surprised me somewhat over the additions of Kamal, Pode, Gori and the likes.

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In terms of league awards, six of our players made it into the divisional Team of the Year, which is a great reward for our players after the hard work they've put in!
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Europa League


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Our Europa League journey continued not long after the conclusion of the Allsvenskan campaign with an away journey to Rome to face Lazio in a game in which the hosts comfortably dispatched us two-nil. Weeks later we hosted the Italian side, aiming to give a better account for ourselves this time around. The game was fairly even until the late stages of the game when Lazio's continued pressure saw them open the scoring, only for us to peg them back minutes later and gain a valuable point as Krasnodar close the gap between us and them. Our progression into the knockout stages of the competition were confirmed in the New Year after a routine home win against Zrnjski. The draw for the next round could have been more favourable, but an away tie against Lyon would prove to be one step too far. An early goal for Gori followed by two Lyon goals ended the first half before Svensson gave us hope, although this was taken from us late on in the game as Lyon pushed for a winner. Clearly my naivety showed itself after the game, as I thought taking two away goals into a home-tie would give us some advantage, but to my surprise the competition rules state that rather than a two-legged knockout round, this stage plays out after one-leg. In my opinion we gave a good account of ourselves during our Europa League campaign, which can only boost my reputation on the continent.


Swedish Cup



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As is customary in Sweden, the Swedish Cup is played out mostly during the preseason, with the exception of qualification and the final. Drawn into a group with Kalmar, BK Hacken and Atvidabergs we were considered favourites to qualify out of Group 4. Without giving too much away re-Transfers, a few new players were given a run about in the competition, whilst other players (such as Berahino) were afforded game time due to injuries in the squad. A good performance against Kalmar with goals from Gori and Exposito set us up for a big game against BK Hacken in which a Gori double helped us to two-two draw after Pode was shown a straight red. We concluded the group stage with a routine win over Atvidabergs in which some rotation players saw some game time. Into the knockout rounds then and IK Brage were our first opponents and they were comfortably dispatched thanks to goals from Ivan, Berahino and Expostio. This set us up for a semi-final tie against Djurgardens, but a host of injuries, suspensions and international call-ups saw us without Bednarz, Pode, Tekie, Svensson and Exposito and a few other players (but without delving into transfers yet I won't say too much) but we laboured to a win on penalties after a nil-nil draw after extra-time. We'll play Malmo in the final in a few months time when the league is well underway.


Transfers




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After alluding to transfers in previous sections, its about time I talked through the ins and outs this preseason. Three notable outs can be seen amongst our deals. Okereke left the club after a poor year last year and not being able to continue the promising form he showed during the infancy of my tenure. nine-hundred thousand pounds was the fee we received for the striker, but with another attacker joining I was all too happy to get him out of the club. Mohammed Kamal was out the door in a deal I could have done more to prevent, but a deal I've learnt from nonetheless. Levante were impressed with his performances and snapped him up after triggering his release clause, but this has led to me renewing any and all contracts with release clauses in them. Gutted to lose him, but a replacement has been signed. Lastly, Jeppe Andersen left the club for a number of reasons. Having recently turned thirty and being on a high wage, I was able to get him out of the squad and decrease our dependence on non-Swedish players, allowing us to meet registration rules with more ease. Time for the ins then...

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Albin Linner - 24, ST - with Okereke leaving and our go-to tactic requiring two strikers, this signing has a number of ups to it. Joining from rivals AIK having scored thirteen goals in twenty-two starts last season. More so, he adds immediate quality to the team allowing me to chose between Gori, Exposito and himself. Finally, he provides a good home-grown option upfront whilst weakening our biggest challenger from last year.

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Oscar Linner - 26, GK - no less than a week after signing Albin from AIK, brother Oscar followed suit and joined the ranks. Oscar knows that he won't be a guaranteed starter for us given Bednarz's quality in net, but he is a welcomed step-up in quality over Nnonyelu Dovin. More so, at times we were left without Bednarz and Nnonyelu Dovin at times last year when both were called up to their respective national youth sides, but at twenty-six I don't see any risk of this happening with Oscar. Weakening rivals AIK again, this deal ticks a lot of boxes!

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Bojan Antic - 19, DM - I was scouring through teams in Serbia when I stumbled across Bojan. At the time, I was looking at two of his national team-mates but for one reason or another, deals didn't materialise. This is when the scouts made their verdict on Bojan and they couldn't rate him higher. A natural defensive midfielder, he'll be retrained to sit further forward in the midfield, but in the meantime he offers me a different option in the middle, perhaps allowing us to play a diamond should we need it. A young player with plenty of potential and a deal with plenty of upside to boot, I'm more than happy to welcome him to the team!

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Joel Krantz - 20, CB - with Mohammed Kamal leaving for sunny Spain, a new central defender was needed to partner Degerlund at the back. Originally, I was looking at a player in Serbia but as mentioned a deal couldn't be completed. Joel was a player on my radar last season and is a perfectly viable option. Young, homegrown and a deal that weakens an opponent too. Whilst not a like-for-like replacement for Kamal who's best attributes were his physical and aerial presence, Joel is just as good a defender in other respects. A more costly addition, but one I'm sure will come good for us.

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Ousmane Konan - 18, CB - our last signing before the league kicks off, Ousmane was discovered playing for ASEC in his native Ivory Coast, and will be soon joined by some of his fellow team-mates in due course. Adding excellent depth to the defence, we should be able to offset the departure of Kamal by bringing in two quality defenders this window. Konan will likely find his game-time against lesser teams, but I'm excited to see how his development goes.


Squad Review




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Going into the first game of the season, this is the squad at current, though some notable names (such as Max Svensson) are unavailable due to injury. In terms of quality throughout the squad I'd say we're fairly well set. In each position we have two, or three, good options for this league with the exception perhaps being left-back, but Simon Sandberg has stepped in well to this position when needed last season. A stand-out performer over pre-season has been Saido Berahino, who hasn't looked out of his depth when shifted into a less comfortable left-wing berth. Generally speaking, I find it hard to poke too many holes in our squad and neither can I think of too many teams in the league capable of boasting a better squad than ours. Going into the year, I'm quietly confident we can repeat last year's success!
Well done on winning the league, a strong Europa League run and a cup final too!
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Cheers @Dan, fingers crossed we can do one better this year!

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April 2023


MATCHDAY 1

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Going into this one and I thought it would be the perfect start to a campaign in which we look to retain our title following last year's success. Brommapojkarna are always going to be one of a few teams looking over their shoulders in the league and are a team we should be getting the better of on most days. It looked like this is how the game would be going in the first half when Sandberg Magnusson was shown a straight red for a late challenge on Rodic. But the breakthrough didn't come until late in the second half despite our dominance as debutant Linner tapped in an Exposito header. Given the way the game had gone, we must have thought that the three points were guaranteed, which explains why Tankovic had turned his back on the ball deep in our half, allowing David to steal the loose ball and pass it off to Lofgren, who tried his luck from distance and his low shot had enough on it to beat Bednarz at his near post, not one the Pole will be wanting to see again. Poor.

MATCHDAY 2

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After our poor showing away to Brommapojkarna we knew we had to be much better in our home opener against Trelleborgs FF, especially given that they are a team of similar quality and stature to our previous opponents. We got off to a much better start in this one too, as fifteen minutes in a fierce shot from the edge of the box courtesy of David Ivan made its way past Bolstad in goal before he could even register that a shot had been taken. For as much as good as we were to hold Trelleborgs to zero shots on target, we couldn't turn our high proportion of shots to shots on target, which is why I was the most relieved man in Stockholm when Berahino's cross was hammered home by Rodic at the back-stick in the start of the second half!

MATHCDAY 3

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The fixture list seems to have gone in our favour in these opening stages of the season, as we travelled to play Norrkoping in yet another game we should be picking up three points in. This isn't to say that the hosts are a team devoid of quality however, as a moment of individual class gave them the lead midway through the first half. An unnecessary challenge from Degerlund led to ex-Arsenal man Nwakali standing over a freekick from around twenty-five yards out, and all I could do was watch from the sideline as the Nigerian curled the ball around the wall and into the top corner. As the game progressed we found our rhythm, putting pressure on the Norrkoping defence, leading to Rodic being fouled in the box just over the half-hour mark, star-man Gabriele Gori would step up and dispatch the penalty for his first league goal of the campaign. Just ten minutes later and he'd have his second after Rodic did brilliantly to keep the ball alive just over the half-way line before weaving in and out of two opposition players, hitting an early ball into the box where Gori volleyed home from six yards.

MATCHDAY 4

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Unbeaten in three going into this one and our style of play this year was beginning to look different from last year. Last season we would have been keeping teams out whilst scoring few, but this year it seems like teams are scoring past us with very few shots on target. A similar trend was seen as our game against IF Elfsborg got underway, the visitors saw little of the ball and created very little chances, but interestingly, for all our shots we looked off pace in attacking areas. It wasn't until the second half when new signing Albin Linner nodded us ahead after a great team move resulting in a good cross from Lora. Signing Linner and selling Okereke has meant that we have three quality strikers vying for the two starting positions, with one more than likely to come off the bench in most games, which is just what happened in this one to great effect, as Erik Exposito lost his man in the box to steer Rodic's header past Olsson in goal to seal a less-than-convincing win. Unbeaten in four and looking strong in the league, what could go wrong...?

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A real change in fortunes for us. Seven, SEVEN, first team players have picked up injuries in some form or another since the season began, with Max Svensson's injury being picked up before the start of the season. Three players got written off in the same day! First Rodic's hamstring tightened up in training, then Linner had to go home with food poisoning and to top it all off Pode broke his ankle in training too! Bare in mind that we rest the players a day before each game! So that's two starting defenders, both starting wingers (and their usual back-ups) as well as a starting striker all injured!!!

MATCHDAY 5

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With injuries depleting our squad, we looked to our depth to provide cover. Touloupidis, Sandberg and Berahino all came into the starting line-up whilst Rodic had to play through his hamstring issues and Linner would have to sit on the bench, as close to the dressing room as possible... Our quality in depth should be enough to see us through until some players make their way back and as the second half kicked off, we looked to put our worries to bed. High pressure from ourselves led to a wayward Helsingborgs throw in falling to the feet of Ivan, who rolled to ball to the top of the D where Tekie unleashed a shot so fierce that it rolled back out of the net as quickly as it entered! But as the game ticked on, our defensive frailties became apparent. Helsingborgs did well to escape the press and the ball forward from Kaib was even better as the defender knocked the ball over our backline from well within his own half to set Ostlin through, who sat Bednarz down with a drop of the shoulder and slotted home with ease. Route one at its finest. I wasn't happy to sit back and take a point given our circumstances, and with Malmo looking resurgent in the league this year a point just wouldn't do, so on came Linner for the last fifteen minutes with two aims in mind: score, and avoid doing a Linneker. Albin did the scoring part with ease, chesting down a throw in and hitting a volley on the turn in at the far post, but as his second objective? The juries still out...

Signing!


https://i.imgur.com/Wxz779p.png?1


With Pode out a majority of the season, Sandberg has found himself shifted out into left-back, but with no other capable left-back able to rotate with him, we needed cover. So we scoured the continent for free agents who could come in for a low wage, short-term deal whilst not being an appalling player. Barry Douglas then. Barry ticks all the boxes, cheap, not here for a long time and experienced enough to do ok at this level of football.

MATCHDAY 6

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Not so long ago, Djurgardens were champions of the league but now they're just another team confined to mid-table mediocrity. Just days after signing, Barry Douglas was thrust into the first team as Sandberg needed a rest, but other than that we stuck with the same team from the last match. To my surprise, the hosts took an early lead. A sweeping ball across the pitch from Uddenas found Bartulovic who took a touch past Touloupidis and sent an absolute thunderbolt into the top corner. Not the start we'd wanted but before the half was over we were level. From a deep right position, Douglas hit a flat freekick with plenty of pace which just needed a touch to go in, which Rodic duly applied to gain us a point. Not an ideal result, but with injuries aplenty perhaps we'll have to accept results like this becoming more common?

MATCHDAY 7

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The Allsvenskan is a strange league I'm coming to realise. The first month contains no less than nine fixtures, meaning we play once every three or four days with no break in sight. Its often by the end of this first month that the real contenders make themselves known as it becomes less about winning by two or three goals and more about avoiding defeat and winning by one. This is a mindset I've been trying to get into the player's heads since my first full season last year. Plenty of fixtures also means plenty of rotation too, allowing younger players like Robert Andersson to gain more experience at this level. Speaking of Andersson, he played a large part in the only goal of the game, as he controlled Eltong's goalkick and played a hopeful ball over the top of the Kalmar defence who left the ball for Eltong, who had raced out of his box, but this plan didn't work out as Gori seized the opportunity to race through on goal and collect the loose ball and make no mistake from six yards after going past Eltong. Exaclty the result we need at this stage of the month!

MATCHDAY 8

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Going in to the penultimate game of the month against BK Hacken and the two sides' form couldn't be much different. We were yet to lose and had picked up seventeen points from a possible twenty-one, whilst Hacken find themselves in an early relegation dog-fight. Straight from kick-off and Hacken looked to shake off their poor start to the season by coming straight at us, but Tekie intercepted the ball on the edge of our box and played forward Gori who turned his man on the half-way line before switching to Linner who took one touch and drilled a low shot along the floor and into the far post from just outside the box to get us off to the perfect start! We doubled our lead not too long later, as Tekie collected a lay off from Tankovic before opening his body up and hitting a curling, looping shot past the 'keeper from thirty-yards in a similar fashion to Jordan Henderson's goal vs Chelsea a few years ago! Two became three just over the hour mark, as Degerlund's freekick looked set for the far corner before Gori removed any doubt and headed it in the opposite direction and past the moving 'keeper. Hacken would pull one back through Jeremejeff midway through the second half after Andersson failed to clear the ball and instead chested it into the path of the striker who made no mistake from close range.

MATCHDAY 9

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Landskrona find themselves back in the top-flight after a few years away but had so far been performing above expectations in the league, and having never played them before I didn't know what to expect going into the final game of the month. All I knew was that with Malmo looking like their old-selfs and with AIK matching us result for result, only a win would suffice. Truth be told, the game lacked any real quality, spark or magic and it looked like Landskrona would hold us for the most part. But Saido Berahino would make up for the lack of quality in the second half, on off the bench, the striker-come-winger played a one-two with Tekie before letting fly a long-range effort that bent into the top corner! Not a stellar performance, but exactly what we needed once more.


League Table and Form


https://imgur.com/eRskjMF


Much like last season, we've started with a bang and after nine games find ourselves unbeaten! Cleansheets look more so like a premium this season so far, but with two of our starting defenders on the injury list, this is something I'm sure will change over time. Moving to a system with two strikers, I thought the goals would have been flying in this month especially given the quality of opposition, but perhaps the attackers are still adjusting. What has been nice to see, is that when one striker is misfiring, we have two more that are capable of filling the void and sharing the goals. As mentioned, we're yet to really be tested against an AIK, against a Malmo or against any of the teams usually challenging for the title, so it'll be interesting to see how we fare in those games. But with twenty-three points from twenty-seven available, where do we sit in the table?

https://i.imgur.com/4PGGNAD.png?1


Early doors but its already looking tight at the top! Despite losing their best goalkeeper and striker to us in the transfer window, AIK have rallied and gone unbeaten in nine games and sit top due to a better goal difference, whilst Malmo are unbeaten in eight with a game in hand and the best goal difference in the league to boot! I'm not sure what has changed for Malmo but with no major transfers or new manager they're looking a completely new side! Sure, them being poor last season helped our cause, but I don't feel that it was the sole reason we won the league. We won the league because we were the best side in the league and going into this year I'd make the claim that we're still the best side in the league, we just have to make sure we show it again. Either way, we're in for a good season!

Next Update


May 2023 and the Swedish Cup Final!!!
May 2023


Leaving Hammarby?


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As May dawns across Europe, many managers draw to an end their domestic campaign and on the back of this, many boards evaluate the job their managers and players have done over the last year. This is especially the case in the more 'traditional' leagues across Europe, such as the SPL. Left unsatisfied by the job their previous manager did, Celtic chairman Ian Bankier made sure to draw up a shortlist of potential replacements and so when my phone rang I was initially confused. A move to Celtic, like most jobs, has its pros and cons. On the side of the pros, Champions League football is almost a guarantee and my skills can be showcased on a bigger stage. But there is one main con that outweighs the pros. Moving to the SPL would see me compete with Rangers for the league most years, and its a competition that I could see getting one-sided. I'm enjoying the competitive nature of Swedish football, of having a resurgent Malmo looming as a new threat, of having an evergreen AIK side to fend off. Maybe one day I'll make to trip to Celtic Park, but not today. Thanks, but no thanks Ian.

SWEDISH CUP FINAL

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So here we go, my first cup final as a manager and what a stage! Looking better than ever, Malmo made the trip to the Tele2 looking to spoil our day, whilst we knew we'd need to be at our best if we wanted to get our hands on the trophy come full-time. We'd also need to rally around our recent injury crisis too. We started the game like it was any other game, holding the ball and suffocating our opponents, ensuring we created chances. But just before the half an hour mark and our usual style of play abandoned us. We usually do so well at pressuring opponents in the midfield to win the ball back, but when Malmo cut out a promising move, we sat off their deep-lying midfielder. Not a Hammarby player in sight made a move towards the player on the ball, Christ, I could have ran out and tackled the lad before my players even reacted! It was no surprise then when the ball was played over the top looking for the run of Hakansson, who saw his first shot saved by Bednarz only for the young stopper to parry the ball to the feet of Hakansson, who sliced the second attempt, looping the ball to the back post where Murg would react first to convert from a yard or two out. With an hour left to go I was sure our lads would get back into the game and turn our fortunes around, but when Svanberg went down under the slightest of touches from Touloupidis in the box I knew it was as good as over, and Svanberg knew he'd played for the penalty. Goalscorer Murg made no mistake from the spot to bring glory to the Malmo supporters.

MATCHDAY 10

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Just a few days had passed since the cup loss to Malmo and we barely had time to sweep the confetti away from the pitch, let alone pick morale back up. Before I sent the players out to play Halmstads, I told them to prove a point and to shake off the defeat with a good win here today. This team-talk must have resonated well with the lads as within twenty-one minutes we'd hit the visitors for three. The first saw Tekie curl a shot on the turn past the 'keeper who really should have done better with the shot as it wasn't exactly in the corner. Minutes later and Rodic lifted his freekick up and over the Halmstads wall, leaving Nilsson a spectator as the ball this time found the top corner. Gori got himself in on the action and ended his baron spell after a trademark cross from Rodic was headed in for three. The exact performance we needed and hopefully the spark for us to kick on in the league.

MATCHDAY 11

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For the second time in nine days we played a Malmo side still celebrating their Swedish Cup win, whilst we looked for revenge on the side from the south of Sweden. The game sparked into life just after a quarter of an hour was played. Excellent pressure from Malmo forced us to pass the ball around our defensive third and a heavy touch by Lora was the trigger for an aggressive press which resulted in Murg dispossessing the Spanish defender before passing to Dani Gomez in the box who rocketed a first-time finish along the floor into the far corner. Straight from kick-off and we let Malmo know they wouldn't be walking all over us again. Moving the ball out to Rodic, Gori darted for the box and when Rodic's fizzed pass went under the boot of Brorsson, the Italian striker made no mistake from close-range. With the game ticking on I reminded the players of the last game against Malmo and how winning here would put to bed those memories, so I told them to push on in search of a winner. The blame must fall on me then, because with a minute of regular time left to play, Dani Gomez had grabbed his brace, this time Malmo hit two passes which resulted in Trautasson breaking down the right and Degerlund left Gomez free in the middle as he looked to close down the winger. Gomez would eventually score a mirror of his first, wheeling off to celebrate a second win over us this month. But Malmo weren't done there. Cup-hero, and new pain in my side Murg placed the ball down on the corner of the box for a late freekick. Bednarz should have done a lot better with the outswinging freekick, but the Pole could only push the ball in at his near post. Consider the title race officially blown open.

MATCHDAY 12

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Following the defeat to Malmo I decided it was time to wield the axe. In came Oscar Linner in goal, Konan in place of Touloupidis, Svendsen in for Rodic and lastly, Antic for Ivan. We hadn't been at our best for a few games now and Ostersunds are one of those teams that anything could happen against. Twenty minutes in and Albin Linner opened the scoring, seeing his flicked header hit the back of the net after Svendsen clipped the ball into the box. The start of the second-half saw a contender for Goal of the Season scored. Gori won the ball back on the halfway line with a sliding challenge and picked up the loose ball, dribbled past two defenders and made his way into the box, hammering a shot across goal and in! A goal Lionel Messi would be proud of!!! Our lead would be cut in half before the hour mark however as Molvadgaard's first-time shot on the turn caught Oscar Linner unawares in goal. The scores were even with just over ten minutes to play, a ball to the back post by Alsanati saw Gudmundsson volley home without a defender in sight. Poor defending from us and not that of a team looking to retain their title. But late drama would see us win the game, as great work in the middle by Antic broke up play and set us away, eventually seeing Albin Linner slide through Gori who smashed the ball home at the near post. Gabriele would get his hat-trick with injury time ticking away as his penalty flew into the top left corner despite Andersson diving the right way.

MATCHDAY 13

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For the first time this month we were able to record back-to-back wins as Orebro would leave Stockholm empty handed. Our cause was helped largely by the two red cards they received but that's neither here nor there. Despite having a man extra for most of the first-half, it wasn't until the second half that the deadlock was broken. A corner by Erik Andersson was headed up but not out by Piotr, eventually falling to David Ivan who watched the ball all the way and hit a first time volley flying in from inside the box. Prior to his sending off, Nahir Besara would double our lead after a low cross from Andersson hit the heels of the Orebro man, rolling into the far corner. Two became three shortly after, as Linner's header from a Sandberg cross capped off an incredible ten minutes for us.

League Table and Form


https://i.imgur.com/C1bz0qB.png?2


A month I'll be quick to remove from my memory. Losing the Cup final was a hard blow to take, especially considering the quality in our squad,. However, with Malmo looking every bit our equal this year, the game was never really a foregone conclusion. Similarly, losing the Malmo in the league was not an enjoyable result, especially since we comfortably beat them last season in all meetings. This means that in the league, Malmo are able to put a bit more pressure on us and could see the dawn of an exciting three-horse race for the title. Wins against Halmstads and Orebro have become slightly routine, whilst winning against Ostersunds, who are capable of being a thorn in any side, was welcomed, though not a shock.

https://i.imgur.com/TSeXfx5.png?1


The league looks a bit like this then! With the top three teams now having played the same amount of games it is actually fierce rivals AIK who sit top of the Allsvenskan, though only by a point. Malmo sit three points behind us and its obvious to see how avoiding defeat against them would have been massive for us and our season. Before the season adjourns for its Summer Break, we still have AIK to play ,whilst AIK and Malmo still have each other to play, which could be huge for us. I'm confident we can gain the point on AIK and see them off, but its Malmo who give me the biggest headache, they could honestly finish anywhere if the last season and a half are anything to go by!


Next Update


June 2023 and Summer Break!
Malmo certainly are the big boys in Sweden, unlucky with the cup loss mate, maybe next year. Also agree with you not going to Celtic, that leagues not as competitive, if it was say Hibs or Aberdeen that offered the job I would've been tempted.
@bigmattb28 they certainly look like they're making their way back to being at the top, but for now if we can stand in their way I'll be very happy!

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June 2023


MATCHDAY 14

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With only one game to play in June we found ourselves in the position to go into the summer break top of the table provided that we can beat current leaders and rivals AIK. We had a chance to get an early goal too after a foul by Rashidi on Svendsen in the box saw Gori standing over the ball from twelve yards, but the striker's penalty lacked conviction and was pushed away by Janosevic. Moments later and AIK took the lead through Nussbaumer against the run of play. Admittedly we should have defended better but a slight deflection off of Konan was enough to steer the ball back inside the post. At half-time I was faced with the dilemma of taking of Gori who hadn't been at his best but I decided to keep our talisman out and within minutes of the restart he made amends for his missed penalty by connecting a header as he fell backwards, sending the ball across goal and into the bottom corner.

League Table


https://i.imgur.com/T1TDDT7.png?1


With just one game played in the month of June the league table looks much the same. Winning would have done us a world of good in terms of confidence and actual league position, however our failure to secure all three points just welcomes the pressure from Malmo who won their game and cut the gap between us and them to just a point. With three points between AIK in first and Malmo in third, the title is anyone's for the taking this season!

European Club Rankings


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With our summer break starting and other leagues coming to the end of their seasons, the European Club Rankings for the past twelve months have been announced. Last year was my first full season in charge of Hammarby and so to see us rise one-hundred places in that time is massively positive and hopefully a good omen for the rest of our domestic campaign.

Champions League Draw


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Lastly, with July looming on the horizon, the draw for Champions League qualification has been made. We'll be hosting Montenegrin side FK Iskra Danilovgrad in a game we are already touted to win, and should we progress, we'll face either FC DAC 1904 Dunajska Streda of Slovakia or Macedonian outfit KF Shkendija. We're off on a European tour some might say!

Next Update


July 2023!
July 2023


MATCHDAY 15

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We kicked off the summer months with a home tie against IFK Goteborg as we looked to build upon our ok, but not brilliant first half of the season. Almost immediately we began to shake off the rustiness, as an Erik Andersson corner took a deflection at the front post and made its way to Degerlund who was left unmarked from twelve yards to volley home. Minutes later and it was game over and again it was from another corner. This time Andersson hit a corner to the edge of the box where Svendsen collected the ball and curled it into the far corner.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CHAMPIONS QUALIFICATION ROUND 1 FIRST LEG

https://i.imgur.com/gDsRrRb.png?1


Montenegrin champions FK Iskra Danilovgrad made the trip to Stockholm for a game they were not expected to get anything from, with bookies and pundits alike claiming this would be one step too far. The game sparked into life after half an hour had been played. Exposito was the first to get in on the action, tapping home a great cross from Gori. Moments later and it would be two, as Durmaz stood the ball up, after a neat pass from Robert Andersson, before striking across goal and in. It was three before half-time and it won't be a goal that Mihailovic will be wanting to see again, as Tankovic got himself inside to shoot and the ball made its way past the 'keeper who could have easily saved the shot if he had moved. The tie was put to bed late on in the second half courtesy of a rare goal from Lora, who collected the ball in a wide left position and ran into the box, did his man with a shimmy and drop of a shoulder and shot low along the floor. With injury time ticking away the rout was rounded off by Durmaz, picking up his second for the day.

https://i.imgur.com/oygYdvS.png?1


Its good to see that our inclusion in the Champions League seems to be drawing in bumper crowds at bumper prices too, as we pocketed a cool £750K from our win.

Signings!


https://i.imgur.com/8IOX1nL.png?1


Samuel Gustafson - 28, MC - with contracts across Europe expiring, a whole host of players became available as we progressed to the halfway stage of our domestic season. One such player is Samuel Gustafson who was deemed surplus to requirements after a three year stay with Genoa. Having played a handful of games in Serie A since 2016, Samuel clearly has something about his game. A technically gifted all-rounder, he'll add good depth to the midfield and will compete with Ivan for a starting berth. Being a home-grown player too, Samuel adds to an already strong Swedish core in the side.

https://i.imgur.com/P1HlC97.png?1


Denys Garmash - 33, MC - alongside Gustafson, we welcome Garmash to the side following his departure from A.C. Milan after he had been a consistent player for them. At thirty-three he doesn't have a lot of time left in his career, but for the time he is with us I'll be making sure to use his qualities. A reason for signing two midfielders is that we've had injuries to Tekie, Ivan and Soderstedt this year which has at points left us thin on the ground. We'll be changing system slightly to accommodate Denys, who when fully adapted will be a nailed on starter. This is the kind of quality I felt I couldn't pass on!

MATCHDAY 16

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Our last game against Norrkoping was one that could have easily gone either way and going into this one I was keen to ensure we looked more comfortable. History seemed to be repeating itself however, when Nwakali scored another stunning freekick against us this season, this time whipping the ball around the wall with pace and power, leaving Linner helpless. Not content to sit and wait in this one, I told the boys to get at the visitors and sure enough that's what they did. The scores were even when Gori was slipped into the box down the left to strike across goal past Lindell, and we found ourselves ahead before the half when a searching ball from Touloupidis led to a first-time volleyed cross from Durmaz which Exposito turned in at the near-post. We kept the same intensity going into the second half, however it would prove to be our downfall and get the better of young midfielder Bojan Antic, who would find himself sent for an early bath after a shocking two-footed lunge. This was all the motivation Norrkoping needed to get back in the game and fourteen minutes later they did just that, making full use of the man advantage to work the ball to Thern on the edge of the D, with his strike beating Linner who's attempt at a save was nowhere near good enough.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CHAMPIONS QUALIFICATION ROUND 1 SECOND LEG

https://i.imgur.com/vwXByGp.png?1


Having secured an emphatic win at home, we travelled to Montenegro a few days after the Norrkoping game knowing that it would take one of the greatest performances in Champions League history to see us lose this one. A heavily rotated side played through the game with little to worry about. Erik Exposito gave the travelling fans something to cheer about in the second half as he headed home an Antic corner. A thoroughly professional job from the boys, onto the next round we go!

https://i.imgur.com/S5di3pH.png?1


Elsewhere, FK DAC 1904 Dunajska Steda proved too much for KF Shkendija and will travel to our place in a weeks time.

MATCHDAY 17

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With one eye on the Dun. Streda game in a few days time, a less than full strength side travelled to Trelleborgs looking to keep pressure on AIK whilst putting distance between ourselves and Malmo in third. To my surprise the hosts would find the breakthrough just before half-time. Making the most of a poor headed clearance from Konan, Lanneborn played the ball left to Isaksson, who's first time shot curled into the far corner and past the outstretched glove of Bednarz. Being mindful of our upcoming Champions League tie, I decided against telling the boys to go all out for a win and instead backed the boys to get us back in the game playing our usual way. Sixty-eight minutes in an we were rewarded for our patience when Erik Exposito nicked the ball off of the toes of Akerlund to score from close range. A missed opportunity to pick up three points but a point gained nonetheless.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CHAMPIONS QUALIFICATION ROUND 2 FIRST LEG

https://i.imgur.com/KVdcJsQ.png?1


We welcomed Slovakian champions Dun. Streda to the Tele2 as we looked to continue our European journey amongst a host of league action. Five minutes in and we looked good for our money in this one, as a quick counter saw us go two-vs-two allowing Gori to clip a cross into the near post for strike-partner Exposito, who converted with ease from close range. Gori would turn from provider to scorer later in the first half, as Svensson's corner found it's way into the corridor of uncertainty, where Gori was on hand to head home. It was three minutes later and in similar circumstances to the first goal too, however this time Exposito's initial shot was saved, but the Spaniard was first to react to the rebound and tapped in into an empty net. We went into the break with a fourth goal, as poor defending from a corner would see Gori pick the ball up in the box to grab his second for the game. Much like in our game against Iskra, we would score our fifth goal in second-half injury-time as Gori picked up his hat-trick and the match ball to boot.

MATCHDAY 18

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We rounded out the month of July with an away trip to IF Elfsborg who found themselves struggling of late. The perfect opportunity to pick up a much needed win after two lacklustre draws. We started as we usually do, holding the ball and making the opposition chase our shadows, eventually leading to opportunities popping up. After some neat passing, we worked the ball to Gori who had his back to goal, but laid the ball of to Svensson, who curled a first time shot past the 'keeper to give us the lead. Moments later and the winger would make it two. His initial freekick from deep was cleared to Tekie near halfway and he played to ball back to Svensson it a wide position, who's shot from thirty yards looped, bent and dipped it's way into the top corner, what a goal! As the game made began to slow down we would find ourselves going from scoring a worldie to conceding a pub-standard goal, failing to mark Vallentin who had a free header in the box following Djouahra's corner. Late on there would be more drama when Gojani had clearly had enough of Svensson for one day, hacking down the man of the match and receiving his marching orders for doing so!

League Table and Form


https://i.imgur.com/8nXZ131.png?1


A good month for our boys, yet despite not losing it isn't a month I'm entirely happy with! Dropping points against IF Norrkoping and Trelleborgs FF won't do us any favours if we want to hold on to the title, however looking at the bigger picture we've still only lost once this season so far. Progression in the Champions League looks all but certain provided we can avoid a horror show in Slovakia, but touch wood we're as good as qualified. With seven games played it'll be interesting to see the effect of all these extra matches on the squad, but it was for this reason that we signed Gustafson and Garmash this month, and with the two of them slowly bedding themselves into the squad I imagine it won't be long before they start contributing.

https://i.imgur.com/C8VspYx.png?1


In the league and thinks aren't looking as tight as they did before the Summer Break. With AIK and ourselves competing on the European front, Malmo have seized their opportunity to push ahead of us whilst we deal with extra fixtures, fatigue and other priorities. With a game in hand however I'm sure that we can close the gap, whilst it looks like the breaks have been pumped on AIK's title charge with them now sitting seven points off of the top spot, although they have a game in hand too. Its going to go down to the wire then it would seem, this is the exact reason I turned down a job like Celtic!

Next Update


August 2023!
Playing well and some good performances there mate. Hopefully you can close that gap on Malmo
Thanks for the support @bigmattb28 its always appreciated! We've got a busy run in coming up so fingers crossed we can pull through!

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August 2023


CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CHAMPIONS QUALIFICATION ROUND 2 SECOND LEG

https://i.imgur.com/HNMv5lz.png?1


Having put Dun. Streda last month, we knew it would take something special in Slovakia for us to not progress. A heavily rotated side controlled the majority of the play in the first half before the hosts were awarded a penalty with the seconds ticking away in the first half. Up stepped star player Gregus to get the wheels moving on a potential comeback. Early into the second half we cancelled out the previous penalty, as David Ivan curled the ball into the top corner with no real pace, questions asked about whether or not we would have scored it against better quality opposition. With a few minutes left in the game, Gregus would secure his brace ad questions would be asked about our goalkeeping this time around, as Bednarz flapped at a powerful freekick.

https://i.imgur.com/sAECcfe.png?1


And for our endeavours against Dun. Steda we will find ourselves heading back to Denmark for a tie against FC Kobenhavn, who I've played once before whilst with Thisted and let's just say it was not a day to remember...

MATCHDAY 19

https://i.imgur.com/tCP7rpW.png?1


Four days after our trip to Slovakia and three days before we venture to Denmark, we faced an away trip to Helsingborgs as we look to close the gap on league leaders Malmo. As the two sides made their way back to the changing rooms for half-time we found ourselves two goals up courtesy of an Erik Exposito brace. His first came as a result of a Svensson corner and Erik was on hand to head home from six yards. The brace was confirmed before half-time when a ball forward from Degerlund was flicked on by Gori and Erik placed home from outside of the box with a eat first-time finish. The hosts pulled one back in the second half, but Moro's smart finish into the bottom corner wasn't enough to gain the hosts anything in this one!

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CHAMPIONS QUALIFICATION ROUND 3 FIRST LEG

https://i.imgur.com/x61HhH6.png?1


A return to where it all began, or almost where it all began. As I arrived at the stadium for this one I was keen to prove Danish football wrong and show that I have some good managerial chops. Standing in my way for this one would be domestic titans Kobenhavn. Twenty-five minutes in we found ourselves a goal up courtesy of a calm penalty from Tankovic but then things all went wrong. In the space of nine minutes, Kobenhavn star-man Holse had scored a hat-trick to turn the tie on its head, and I feel like all of the goals could have been avoided too. The first goal saw Holse hit a fantastic first-time volley from the edge of the box, but the ball hit the crossbar and bounced off of Bednarz and it, take nothing away from the strike but the goalkeeping could have been better. Goal number two was definitely avoidable as Bednarz saved Fischer's shot but could only parry the ball into the path of Holse who made no mistake from a few yards out. Bednarz's hat-trick of errors was completed as Holse struck the ball from the edge of the box and the Pole was unmoved, though it is debatable whether or not he could see the ball through a crowd of players. Gori did manage to claw one back for us in the second half, but this was cancelled out by a great goal from Brito just moments later. We would see the rest of the game out with ten men too, after Ivan was shown his marching orders after lunging out in frustration.

MATCHDAY 20

https://i.imgur.com/HkxnLjH.png?1


Following our loss away in Denmark, we had to turn our attention back to the Allsvenskan and particularly to our game against Djurgardens. Just over half a hour had been played when Robert Andersson did well to tackle an opposition player and set Svendsen free and he dinked the ball into the box for Gori who volleyed home in stride. One became too deep into the second half, when Tekie's short freekick to Garmash was moved wide to Rodic and the winger got himself inside and beat the 'keeper with a clever reverse shot to the near post.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CHAMPIONS QUALIFICATION ROUND 3 SECOND LEG

https://i.imgur.com/8l3HSLY.png?1


Despite being two goals down I was quietly confident in the lads and their ability to perform at home. For large parts of the game it looked as if we would get something from the game, or that our two away goals would be decisive, but for all our possession and shots we couldn't get the better of the Kobenhavn defence. We crash out of the Champions League, but our European journey isn't over yet as we land in the Europa League.

https://i.imgur.com/0TmUNgO.png?1


In fact, we play a very familiar opposition in the form of Dun. Streda who we've already played twice in the past month. Here's hoping for more of the same this time around!

MATCHDAY 21

https://i.imgur.com/ZYq8jw3.png?1


With my attention well and truly on securing our place in this year's Europa League Group Stage, a heavily rotated team made their way onto the field, and not for the first time this month. With both Gori ad Exposito making way for Berhaino and Linner, we lacked the cutting edge in front of goal. Whilst we did manage to create a good amount of chances in this one, we lacked our finishing touch and for the second time in as many games, we played out a nil-nil draw.

EUROPA LEAGUE CHAMPIONS 4TH QUALIFYING ROUND FIRST LEG

https://i.imgur.com/d9T024O.png?1


Going into this one and we knew what to expect from Dun. Streda given our previous tie against them. But all game plans for both sides were thrown out the window in the first half when Kozak was shown a second yellow card in seven minutes, reducing the hosts to ten men. We pushed on whilst Dun. Streda shut up shop, but just a few minutes later and we had a chance to take advantage of the situation, but Soderstedt's penalty was straight down the middle and straight at Polacek, who kept his side level. We would eventually take the lead, and in fortuitous circumstances too, as Soderstedt's shot from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection and landed at the feet of Exposito who made no mistake from close range.

MATCHDAY 22

https://i.imgur.com/oJzckyB.png?1


Our last league fixture of the month saw us travel to BK Hacken who find their heads only just above water this season. A quickfire double put this game to bed in the first half. Degerlund's freekick from all of thirty yards caught Abrahamsson unaware in goal and the ball eventually dropped in at the near post, and just a minute later Erik Exposito continued his rich vein of form, hammering home from inside the box after good link up play by Lora and Svensson down the right.

EUROPA LEAGUE CHAMPIONS 4TH QUALIFICATION ROUND SECOND LEG

https://i.imgur.com/e4GqE0O.png?1


Heading into our fourth game in recent weeks against Dun. Streda I've come to realise that they are no walkovers. Our first game ended comfortably in our favour, but in the two subsequent matches we lost at their place and were fortunate to beat them in our last encounter. In this game however we looked back at our best, keeping the visitors at bay and getting a good number of shots off too. Thirty-five minutes in and Pode's cross was headed clear as far as Tekie and the midfielder took one touch to control the ball, another to set himself and a third to drive the ball along the floor towards goal and into the far corner. Just over an hour had passed when a Svensson corner was too much for the Dun. Streda defence and Linner was pushed in the box. Muamer Tankovic was stood over the resulting penalty and the winger cooly rolled to ball into the opposite corner to the goalkeeper. That secures our place in the Europa League Group Stage for the second season in a row, but we'll have to wait to see who we're pitted against.

League Table and Form


https://i.imgur.com/hjqI1MS.png?1


All in all, August has been a good month for us. Putting our Champions League exit aside, we've managed another unbeaten month in the league and we're successful in progressing to the Europa League GS, which will bring money into the club and let me showcase my managerial abilities on a bigger stage. The wins in the league, despite not being by huge margins, are exactly what we need as our fixture list was packed this month and is a real compliment to our squad depth. But what does this all mean in terms of the league table?

https://i.imgur.com/6X6wcLE.png?1


Well, with twenty-two games played (and a game in hand over AIK and Malmo) we've managed to push our way to the top of the pile! Malmo have had a poor month, losing two and drawing one, whilst AIK have made the most of the game in hand they had coming into August and sit just a point behind us in second. I was confident that we'd make our way to the top spot eventually and I'm keen to make sure that we kick on and solidify our position, although a quick look at AIK's stats show that they have not only the best attack in the league but the best defence too, so here's hoping we can fend them off!

Next Update


September 2023!
Bloody hell you've had a busy month! 9 games in a month is a mammoth task and you've done excellently to come through it with great form! TOP OF THE LEAGUE!!!
FM19 Careers:

https://i.imgur.com/eWbt0ww.png
8 games to go and a game in hand, could this be your season to win the league?? Fingers crossed!
9 games was certainly more than I wanted to play @tongey! Generally speaking the way that the fixture list is done in Sweden is becoming a bit of a pain!

@bigmattb28 we won the title last year so we're looking to defend it! Here's hoping we can see off the competition!

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September 2023


Europa League Group Stage Draw


https://i.imgur.com/G9bxDQ8.png?1


We kicked off the month by finding out our fate in the Europa League. We have been drawn into Group H alongside German powerhouse RB Leipzig, Italian outfit Fiorentina and Kazakhstani minnows Kairat. The best outcome sees us go through second, likely behind Leipzig, providing we can beat Fiorentina at least once, whilst picking up a point or two against Leipzig.

SWEDISH CUP 2ND ROUND

https://i.imgur.com/0UG4BRX.png?1


As the domestic season starts to slow down, the Swedish Cup begins with it's first few rounds of qualification before the group stage to be played in the off-season. Having gone out in the final this year around, the aim is to go one step further and win it in this iteration of the tournament, but first we face off against feeder side IK Frej Taby. It would be Frej Taby who would have the best chance of the first half, but Adebahr's left footed penalty couldn't beat Linner who pushed the ball away. With the game ticking on we looked in need of quality and on came Svensson, Exposito and Tankovic. Svensson's first involvement in the game would see him stand over a freekick from outside the box, and his shot moved in the air and past the 'keeper for the long-awaited opener. The substitutions clearly paid off, as Erik Exposito sealed the win for us after playing a neat one-two with Robert Andersson to nod home past Kaksa in goal.

MATCHDAY 23

https://i.imgur.com/R2wMBbK.png?1


Following the cup win, we had a rare break in the calendar before we travelled to Halmstads as we aimed to solidify our place at the top of the league. We showed no signs of rustiness and looked to pick up where we left off eleven days ago, as Erik Exposito opened the scoring with close-range header after some nice build up from Garmash and Svensson. Our lead was doubled not long after. Muamer Tankovic stood over a freekick on the edge of the box but fired his attempt right into the wall, but as the ball bounced back to him he curled the second attempt into the far corner. Moments later and some poor defending from Robert Andersson and Konan saw Kone draw one back for the home side, but this would be cancelled out before the half when Halmstads 'keeper Nilsson missed the ball at a corner, allowing Gori to tap into an empty net. With the game coming to an end, there was still plenty of action to come. Svensson made it four from a tight angle and Exposito made it five after his initial header hit the post, but his reactions got him to the rebound first. With seconds left the home side were reduced to ten when Kanto received his second yellow of the game ad was probably just looking for a way off the pitch.

EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP H MATCHDAY 1

https://i.imgur.com/ZCIB6rv.png?1


Never did I think that I'd be making the trip to Kazakhstan any time soon, but sure enough we made the 4,300 km trip to Eastern Europe with one thing in mind. Credit has to go to Kairat though, as they're in the competition for a reason and are likely as good a team as any too. It wasn't until the forty-first that we found a way through the Kairat defence and all credit must go to Durmaz, who spotted space between two defenders and burst into it and clipped the ball into the middle for Exposito, who's first time volley rattled the crossbar and came straight back to him for an easy tap-in. On the hour mark we were able to make it two due to some great play from Robert Andersson, who has been a real star for us despite his age, with his cross to the back post meeting the head of Tankovic. Tankovic got his second of the game soon after, a mazy run saw him get the better of Kairov who flew in two-footed and earned a red card for his efforts and gave us a freekick too. The resulting right-footed freekick couldn't beat the wall, but as the ball bounced back to him he hit a left-footed half-volley which flew into the top corner. That's two very similar goals for Muamer in two games. Three points were guaranteed minutes before full-time when Gori headed home an Exposito cross.

MATCHDAY 24

https://i.imgur.com/TwP5oVF.png?1


Fresh from their promotion to the Allsvenskan this season, Landskrona have defied the odds somewhat to find themselves comfortably mid-table and out of the relegation conversation. Hopefully then, they wouldn't spring any surprises as we looked to secure another three points in the back-end of the season. Max Svensson opened the scoring for us from the spot as he put the ball into the bottom left corner, leaving the 'keeper helpless. Soon after and our lead was extended by Exposito, who volleyed home a great cross from Pode from just past the penalty spot. It was three before half-time when Svensson spotted the run of Rodic in behind, for the Montenegrin to clip a ball across goal for Gori to head home. The Pode-Exposito connection was in full force as the second half began, this time Erik had enough time to control the ball in the box and pick his spot. The goals kept coming, and central defender Joel Krantz notched his first goal for the club, rising highest to meet a Svensson freekick. The rout was over a minute before time, as Svensson capped off his Man of the Match performance with a second goal, this time curling a shot past the 'keeper from the edge of the D. What a win and what a way to keep the momentum going!

MATCHDAY 25

https://i.imgur.com/HwYYEj7.png?1


Our win against Landskrona, with the aid of other results going our way, saw us start to open a lead at the top of the table, but this lead could only be maintained if he continue to pick up wins. The first half agaist Brommapojkarna passed in the blink of an eye and it looked like we might slip up and let AIK and Malmo back into the title race, but as the second half played on it became increasingly clear which side would win this one. A searching ball from Tankovic split the Brommapojkarna defence and picked out Svensson who shot across goal and into the side-netting in the goal for one-nil. Tankovic had a chance to make it two from the spot but his penalty wasn't good as was easy for Furlan to save. I've mentioned already the form of young defender Robert Andersson, who has burst onto the scene this year and made the most of the minutes he's got, which was the case in this game as he spotted the run behind of Exposito, who latched onto the pass and sealed the win for us with just over ten minutes remaining.

MATCHDAY 26

https://i.imgur.com/DGEcPsw.png?1


We ended the month with a huge game against Malmo, that was important for three reasons. First, we wanted revenge for the cup loss, secondly, we wanted to get one over them after they beat us in the league and lastly, if we managed to beat Malmo in this game then a real gap at the top of the league begins to open up and it really becomes a two-horse race between us and rivals AIK. Both teams started the game with one thing in mind, and each time Malmo came forward they looked dangerous but a string of good blocks, tackles and saves kept the visitors at bay. We on the other hand looked wasteful and couldn't convert our chances. However, thirty-seven minutes in and Bednarz played it short from a goal kick and we built from the back, defence to midfield, midfield to defence, back into the middle of the park, out wide, switched and slipped forward to Gori with his back to goal only for Brorsson to poke the ball away as far as Svensson who lashed a first time strike past Johansson! This came just at the right time going into half time and stifled Malmo for the remained, giving us a huge win!

League Table and Form


https://i.imgur.com/WLL8MNA.png?1


What a month we've had! Not only did we go unbeaten, but we managed to win all of our games across three different fronts! More so, the way we've been playing might be the best we've played all season and it couldn't come at a more important time. We've scored twenty goals over six games, whilst conceding just one goal! Admittedly, we should be comfortably be beating all but Malmo, but its one thing to be favourites for a game and another to deliver on this. Lastly, this month has been huge for us in terms of retaining the title...

https://i.imgur.com/PZ7x4e8.png?1


Twenty-six games in and we sit a massive seven points clear of AIK, however if they make the most of their game in hand they can reduce this to four points. A quick glance at the fixture list tells me that we still have AIK to play in the penultimate game of the season which could well decide the title! By my counts there is four games left to play and other than the AIK game we play mostly teams in and around the middle of the table similar to Landskrona. This is it then, one last push!

Next Update


October 2023!
Fingers crossed you win the title mate! Hopefully AIK buckle
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