Sunday, 26 July 2009

Southampton story: 1st season: Season taking shape!

Hello all, and welcome to another post of my Southampton story. Last time around, I was 12th in the league and cruising, but financial concerns always had been at the forefront of my thoughts. As the transfer window opened, I knew that to push on to an even better finish, I would need a striker, and some more money, so in the run up to our opening game, I negotiated deals for Bradley Wright-Phillips and Paul Wotton to leave the club, for a combined total of £350k. I also sold one more player at the tail end of the window, take a look:

Simon Gillett was a good midfielder, but he wasn’t needed as we got ourselves one of my favourite Football Manager players, and one who you are all familiar with.

Yes, that’s right; Franco Zuculini and I have been reunited (see QPR story) and he is my marquee signing for the January window. Egoitz Sukia is a thoroughly decent striker, and has been signed on a 6 month contract. Why? Because he is 33 years of age, and his 15/20 finishing attribute will not last much longer. I got him on a relatively low wage, just £1000 a week, which was nothing compared to Wright-Phillips, Wotton and Gillett (all over it), and as Zuculini has only got a £3200 a week contract, our wage budget has been sorted because of this window. Plus, we haven’t actually spent any money, as the purchase was paid for by our departures, and the others were loans and frees! Happy days. Anyway, let’s crack on to our results:

As you can see, we have been in a great run of form. Scoring a lot of goals, conceding relatively few, it’s a great combination! This has mainly been down to my excellent midfield, who I believe are good enough for a mid-table Premier League side. Excellent results against Derby, Crystal Palace (twice), Doncaster, Bristol City, Birmingham, Charlton and Watford far eclipsed the disappointing ones, namely QPR, Newcastle and Cardiff. I’m sorry I couldn’t win that game for you Liam! Let’s have a look at how the league table is shaping up then:

9th in the league, not bad at all! And what’s more, we are only 6 points away from the playoff places; not something I imagined would happen when we were 16th at the start of the season! With just 6 games left in the season, I am hoping for a playoff place, and hopefully an appearance at Wembley. I really do not want to get promoted, as I feel we will just go straight back down, but a Wembley appearance will generate some cash that hopefully I will be able to spend on some defenders and some strikers. Then we may be able to get in the Premier League next season, and then be able to at least fight relegation, not just be a Derby County (see 2007/2008 season) and make up the numbers. Although, if we keep our midfield then I think we can do better than 20th in the Prem, but as I said, that’s not my ambition. Anyway, let’s get onto the player ratings:

Some great scores there, not least by new signing Franco Zuculini. 3 goals and an assist in 9 starts have to be credited, along with a rating of 7.22. Anyway, top scorer is Stephen Appiah (are you really surprised?) with 14 goals in 41 starts. Second is Morgan Schneiderlin, with 10 goals in 37. Finally, third is Rudi Skacel, grabbing 6 goals in 33 starts. Top assister is Skacel, getting 15 assists, with second being Schneiderlin, on 9 assists and third, on 8 assists, being Stephen Appiah. Top rated players are Schneiderlin, Zuculini and Appiah, being on 7.32, 7.22 and 7.19 respectively. Best passer is Zuculini, 78% of his passes finding their mark. Second is Egoitz Sukia, with 77% and tied third are Morgan Schneiderlin and Marek Saganowski, both on 76%. What is quite baffling is the fact that Egoitz Sukia, my January signing, has got 6.51 despite scoring 3 goals in 7 starts. A little worse than 1 in 2 surely isn’t worth that terrible score is it? Granted, 0.15 tackles a game and 0.29 dribbles aren’t great scores, but how he can deserve such a bad score I just cannot understand. Maybe it’s a typo and the .5 should actually be a .9! Anyway, here are my updated tactics, revised after Zuculini joined us:

I have gone for a very attacking formation, as shown by the forward arrows on everyone except the defence, striker and goalkeeper. For particularly tough teams, I like to take off the arrows on DMC, AMR and AML, but this way has suited my team fine through our purple patch of form, so it shall be kept for the while.

Anyway, that is it for this post, next one coming in 2 weeks because I am going on holiday to Cyprus! Take care everyone!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Southampton story: 1st season: Improving!

Hello everyone, hope you are all well. When I left you, Southampton was in deep trouble, 16th in the league table. After this, we went from bad to worse, a few games later being 20th in the table. But then, form picked up, and after I got two loanees in, things began to stabilise. Take a look:

The games follow a similar pattern, win or draw our home games, and lose or draw our away games. We actually won our first away game of the season against Norwich, but they are 23rd in the league, so I’m not over the moon at it. What is interesting is that we got to the League Cup quarter final, after beating West Brom on penalties. Subsequently, we crashed out to Chelsea, but I am still very proud of our performance, and only wonder why we cannot replicate this form in the league. Speaking of the league, here is the table:

12th place, not too bad. Still extremely inconsistent, as you can see by our win/draw/loss ratio. 8 wins, 8 draws and 9 losses, you just don’t know which Southampton will turn up! Apart from us, the stunning stat is that Football Manager has accurately predicted 2 out of 3 clubs who finished in the relegation places in real life to be in the relegation battle at this time; Norwich and Charlton. I have a feeling if it was not for my heroics, we would have been there too haha. This run of good form has mainly been down to my midfield, with my two loanees, James Tomkins and Rhys Murphy, playing a little part in it as well. Tomkins is a young central defender from West Ham, who allowed me to terminate the loan of the awful Zoltan Liptak. As for Murphy, he is a young, prospective striker from Arsenal, and was brought in because our strikers are absolutely terrible at the moment. He has not been much different unfortunately, so I might have to send him back and get another loanee in January. If I scrape enough money together, I may also be able to buy a decent right winger, as Jake Thomson is really not good enough for Championship level. He will be kept as back up though. Anyway, let’s move on to player ratings:

Again, our best performer is Morgan Schneiderlin, running away with it on 7.31. Next best is Stephen Appiah on 7.13, and third is Gerard on 7.07. Top scorer is Appiah on 7 in 26 starts, with Schneiderlin and Gerard completing the top 3 with 6 in 25 and 5 in 19 respectively. Top assister is Rudi Skacel, with 9 in 23 starts. Second is Schneiderlin with 8, and Appiah is third with 6. Top passer is Rhys Murphy, with 80% success rate. Second is Schneiderlin with 77% alongside Marek Saganowski, also on 77%. Third is Gerard, 75% of his passes have reached their mark. Anyway, some of you wanted my tactics, so I shall give you a screenshot of them. They have changed since I commented last, to accommodate Adam Lallana, who apparently is good for any Premier League club in the AMC position:

When he is injured, or if there is a particularly tough team facing us, I will move the AMC to DMC, and then put forward arrows on both the MC’s. They have been quite effective over the past few games, so I am quite happy with them.
Among other news, we have been taken over by a lifelong Southampton fan, yay! Unfortunately, he has not pumped any money into the club, to relieve the debts or otherwise. So apparently I am going to have to do more wheeling and dealing. Sheikh Mansour of Man City, please give us a few million!
That’s it for today, new post coming soon!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Southampton story: 1st season: Mixed start!

Hello there, and welcome to my second proper post in charge of Southampton. When I left you, we had just brought in two central midfielders, Gerard and Stephen Appiah. I had a tough first 15 competitive matches, a real baptism of fire, but I knew that I had to get some good results to help stave off the threat of relegation.

Ultimately, I was to be disappointed. A few decent results: QPR, Sunderland, Derby and Charlton being very good, but there were more bad results than good. Reading, Swansea, Preston, Bristol City and Cardiff were all very disappointing. I wasn't too happy with the draws, but at least they weren't losses eh? On the upside, we are in the 4th round of the League Cup, which is always good. Maybe I can match my performance in my 1st QPR season by getting to the semi final? I am up against Premier League team West Brom at home, which will be tough, but seeing as we beat Sunderland, I see no reason why we can't do the same to them! Anyway, let's have a look at the table shall we?

Not great reading; 13 point in 12 games, putting us in 16th position. What is even worse is that we have one of the worst attacks in the league and one of the worst defences to boot. It seems the midfield (incidentally the only area I invested in) is very good, getting us to where we are, but our attack and defence are shocking. Maybe I should get some loanees in? Our pre-season media prediction was 20th, so we are still performing above expectations, but I am still a little disappointed at our performance so far. I guess I was kind of hoping for the same kind of start that QPR had in my first season. Although I am very ambitious, I am realistic, and realise that 10th place would be a hell of an achievement for us, considering the strength of the opposition. The team has been pretty good as a whole, just a few players letting us down:

Notice that the highest rated players are all midfielders, you have to go all the way down to Andrew Surman (who is a midfielder who I play in defence) to get any defenders, and even further down to Marek Saganowski (on 6.41) to get any strikers! Goalkeeper wise, ever-present Kelvin Davis is down on 6.79, so I will be playing Bialkowski a lot more from now on. Top scorer is midfield maestro Stephen Appiah with 5 goals in 13 starts. Second is Gerard with 4 goals in just 7 starts. Tied third is another midfield maestro, Morgan Schneiderlin (2 in 12) and tricky winger Rudi Skacel (2 in 10). Top assister is Skacel with 6 assists. Second place is Schneiderlin with 5 to his name, and third is Stephen Appiah, with 3. Top rating goes to Gerard, getting an impressive 7.41. Second place goes to Morgan Schneiderlin, on 7.31, and third place goes to left winger Lee Holmes, grabbing 7.27 from 5 starts. Top passer is surprisingly Bradley Wright-Phillips, an amazing 81% of his passing reaching their target. Second is Simon Gillett, with 77% of his passes finding their mark. And finally, third is the fantastic Morgan Schneiderlin (being in the top 3 for everything as you have noticed) with an impressive 76%, pretty good for a defensive midfielder!
Anyway, that's it for this post, next one coming in about 3/4 days. Take care!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Southamton story: 1st season: Transfers and pre-season!

Hello and welcome to my first proper post in charge of Southampton F.C. My employer has postponed all blogs until September, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t keep posting on here! I will just save my posts so I can simply copy and paste when I need to. Anyway, I have been doing a hell of a lot of wheeling and dealing on the game, unfortunately most of them have been with regards to sales, but I have brought in 2 very good players.

As you can see, significantly more players have been sold than brought in, but that’s ok because I had such a large squad to begin with. £475k was made, but most of it went towards servicing the debt (£23m) the other section went towards the wage budget, and with a little fiddling, I have now just £23k for transfers, but with £30k/w leeway for wages. It’s all good! I have been playing in a few friendlies meanwhile, against 6 lower league teams. Needless to say, we crushed them all!

1 goal conceded in 6 matches, with 23 goals scored (an average of 3.8 goals a game), not bad going even for lower league teams! As you can see, my first Championship game is against my old flame, QPR. I don’t want to thrash them because I want them to be promoted, but I don’t want to lose against them because I can’t afford to lose too many games with the Saints. I shall put my best team out, and see what happens. Personally, I am hoping for a draw. Some great performers in there, 1 even getting a rating of 8.03 from 3 games! How consistent can you get! And the goals are mostly spread around, no one getting above 4 goals.

Some great scores there, as you can see. Stephen Appiah being one of the best (still cannot believe we got him!) but loanee Jan-Paul Saeijs romped to the top. A commanding centre back, scoring 4 goals in just 3 games is usually something unheard of. But he managed it, Brilliant player.

Anyway, that’ll be it for this post; next post will be my next 15 competitive results, including of course the QPR result. Take care guys.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Southamton story: My second team in FM09!

Hello, and welcome to the beginning of my Southampton story. A great club once, but now are teetering on the brink of relegation to the 3rd tier of English Football, known as League 1. I aim to stop them from being relegated, and hopefully get them back to where they belong; the Premier League.

Southampton is in great financial trouble, £23m in debt to be precise. No transfer money has been given to me, regardless of my expectations, and the wage budget was not flexible, so I picked “Mid-table finish” for my expectation.

Thankfully, we have a massive squad, which means that I can easily get rid of a lot of players without feeling the strain. The number is too large to fit into 1 screenshot, so I have to take 2, just to get my first team squad in.

As you can see, I have a lot of players (29 without the ones on loan), and quite a few big salaries to play around with. By play around, I mean sell by the way! At the moment, I do not know who I will get rid of and who I won’t, but I will know pretty soon!

Southampton is predicted to come 19th unfortunately, which shows me how much work I have to do. A lot of wheeling and dealing will have to be made, and I have never experienced a situation like this before, but I will have to give it my all and hope I made the right decisions.

That is it for the introduction; first post will be about transfers and friendly matches. Take care!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

QPR Story: 6th season: Fantastic end to a fantastic story

Hello and welcome to the FINAL QPR post I will write for you, dear readers. An exciting period of 12 games followed, with ups and downs. But as the title shows, it was a fairytale end to a fairytale story. Take a look at the results:

Cast your eye in particular to the Everton match, and look what competition it was in. Yes that's right, Queens Park Rangers have won the coveted UEFA Cup after agonisingly finishing runner up last season. A few bad results in between those fantastic European games, Athletic Bilbao away wasn't too great, and neither was the Wolves, Arsenal or Man City games. But the better results far outweighed the bad, Athletic Bilbao at home being an amazing result. We had only lost to them 3-2 7 days ago, then we thrashed them 5-0 at our place. Amazingly, 6 days later we had crushed Middlesbrough and Aston Villa by 3 goal margins, all with the same first 11. Zaragoza at home, Bolton at home, Everton (of course) and Liverpool at home were the other excellent results, Liverpool especially for reasons you will see now:

Yes, 4th place and a Champions League spot was won on the very last day. Our loss to Man City had put us on the same points as them, albeit with better goal difference. We knew we had to win the game as soon as Man City went 2-0 up against West Ham in the first 10 minutes. Then Liverpool scored, causing me to angrily thump the table. When 90 minutes were up, I went back to my computer, and stunningly found us 4-1 winners. Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored twice, and Pato scored the other 2. Surprisingly, fringe player Viktor Boudianski assisted all 4 goals, which would have made me really think about playing him more, if I had carried this story on. Anyway, let us move on to the final player ratings for the season:

Some very good performances there, and Franco Zuculini has finally been taken over as best performer by winger Ashley Young. But if you look at his stats, then you can hardly argue with that fact. Anyway, top scorer is Keirrison with 23 goals in 43 starts, better than 1 in 2! Pato is next, with 16 goals in 35 starts, not far off 1 in 2. 3rd is still incredibly Sokratis Papastathopoulos with an absolutely amazing 15 goals in 49 starts. When a central defender is scoring almost 1 in 3, you know he is something special. Anyway, top assister is Ashley Young collecting a magnificent 34 assists. Way behind is Franco Zuculini, still grabbing a very good 14, and 3rd is Sebastian Dupont, with 11. Top rated player is, as mentioned above, Ashley Young with 7.35. Second is Franco Zuculini on 7.34 and 3rd is Sebastian Dupont on 7.26. Top passer is Pato with 80% of his passes reaching their mark. Tied second are Jack Wilshere and Keirrison both of them hitting 77% of their passes to a teammate. And 4th place goes to Christos Oikonomou and Ivan Rakitic having 76% of their passes on target. Anyway, I shall now give you a little treat, the value of all my players, in descending order of course. Enjoy:

As you can see, some very good players there, and mostly all above £2m, which is good. Even better is that half of the players are over £5m, which is tantamount to a VERY good squad of players, and well deserving of a top 4 place.

Before I go, I would like to thank everyone for reading this story to the end, and hopefully your loyalty has been rewarded with this amazing finish to the 6th season. It is looking increasingly likely that Southampton will be the chosen team for my next story, as the polls will close tonight at 10pm. So if you are unhappy with Southampton, get voting! It has been a pleasure writing this story, and I am glad to say that it finished happily ever after.

The End.

Monday, 13 July 2009

QPR Story: 6th season: Nearing the end...

Hello everyone, and welcome to my penultimate (second to last) QPR post! I have to hurry this blog up, seeing as I have to start on Wednsday, so hurry up and get voting in the poll! Anyway, in my last post, I was 4th in the league, and in the 1st knockout round of the UEFA Cup, along with a 5th round FA Cup tie with Wolves. Here are my results since then:

Some very bad results there, but also some very good ones. West Brom was a terrible result, nothing went right for us at all. We were knocked out of the FA Cup by Wolves, after being 4-0 down at half time. A spirited fightback could not get us through, and nor could it spare the players a real rollocking at full time. I was absolutely furious! Blackburn, Everton and especially Swansea were disappointments too, as I expected us to win all 3 games. But oh well, we won all the rest! Highlights were the away game against Brondby, the Man Utd thrashing, Werder Bremen away and Newcastle. I think this is the first time I have done the double over Newcastle, and I am absolutely loving it! Lets see how this got me in the table:

Still 4th place, but Aston Villa and Manchester City are really closing in on my Champions League spot. I also have to face both of them in my last 7 games, along with Arsenal, Liverpool and Bolton (always a tough game). It's certainly not an easy run in, which makes me regret the draws and losses above even more. I really want to get that 4th place in my final season with QPR, I have spent a lot of money (albeit with player sales, the spending is just under £70m) and I really want to get it for the fans and readers. But my next match is away to Athletico Bilbao in the UEFA Cup Quarter-Final, so I have to concentrate on that most. Anyway, onto player ratings:

As you can see, I have gone through a little injury crisis, with this being the most players I've had available for months now! I even have had to bring in Marius Niculae from the reserves to play alongside Hobbit Bermudez in attack because of the amount of injuries. And then he got injured too! Crazy. Anyway, I shall give you the stats. Top scorer is Keirrison with 20 goals in 34 starts. Second is Pato with 15 in 28 starts (2 months out with injury), and third is amazingly central defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos with 10 goals in 37 starts. Top assister is Ashley Young with an incredible 24 in 42 starts. Second is Franco Zuculini with 13 in 44. Third is Hobbit Bermudez with 9 assists in 26 starts. Top rating goes to Franco Zuculini with a fantastic average of 7.34. Second is Ashley Young with 7.31 and third is Chris Burke on a great 7.29. I have not done this before, but I am going to do passing statistics now. Top passer is Pato with a fantastic 79% of his passes reaching their mark. Second is Keirrison with an equally impressive 78% and third is Christos Oikonomou on 76%. Our strikers have very good passing it seems.

Anyway, that is it for my penultimate post, final one should be up by Wednsday! Take care.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

QPR Story: 6th season: Successful middle

Hello everyone, welcome to the middle section of the 6th season of my QPR story. This one is an unusually long post, so sorry in advance, and bear with me. Without further ado, here are my results:

As you can see, I have had some terrific games, only undermined by 3 disappointing losses in 16 games. As you can see, I am in the 5th round of the FA Cup (against Wolves) and I have qualified for the UEFA Cup group stages, with good wins over AZ Alkmaar and Dundee United putting us top of the table. Speaking of tables, here they are:

Just confirmation of our table topping UEFA Cup exploits. In addition to this, we are a fantastic 4th in the Premier League, but Aston Villa and Man City are hot on our heels as far as that goes. Chelsea are only 5 points ahead of us however, and a good push for third might not be as unlikely as first thought. Anyway, I shall move on to my January ins and outs, with a few surprises in store:


I didn't want to lose either Rafhael or Wijnaldum, but unfortunately I have. My board accepted the £52m bid for the Brazilian and Wijnaldum requested a transfer. I am just happy that I got £62m out of them, especially the £26m profit on Rafhael after only 6 months of service! As replacements, I got Danny Ward from Arsenal on loan. He is a top centre back at just 20 years of age, and was incredibly listed for loan! Even so, I had to pay £1.3m to take him for 6 months, but it will be worth it. Replacing Wijnaldum is a top AMC, Ivan Rakitic. Out of favor at AC Milan, he came to us in search of glory, I hope we can fulfill his wish.

Onto player ratings, and top scorer is surprisingly Keirrison! He has collected 17 goals in 27 appearances, compared to Pato, with 13 in 27. Third is Jack Wilshere with 7 in 29. Top assister is Ashley Young (is it really a surprise?) with 13 in 30 appearances, Franco Zuculini(12 in 32) and Chris Burke (8 in 23) completing the top 3. Top rating goes to Franco Zuculini, with a fantastic 7.37. Second is Jonas Olsson (albeit he only played against Yeovil twice) with 7.35, and third is Antonio Barragan, with 7.32 in 7 appearances. Now I shall move on to my "interesting news" which may come as a shock to you all.

First up, a bombshell. This 6th season will be my last in charge of QPR. Sad, I know, but there is a good reason for this. I have been offered a job blogging for an official Football Manager fansite, and I feel that their readers will not appreciate me starting in my 6th season. This is really exciting for me, so I hope you shall forgive me. I shall of course, still have my blog on here, but I shall switch my team from QPR to another and start a new game. I will set up a shortlist of 5 possible teams, and have them as a poll, which I would really like you to vote on. I can say that QPR will not be one of those teams, as I would like to have a new challenge with a team which doesn't have as much money as them. When I think of the 5 teams, I will put the poll up, and seeing as I will start in about a week, I would appreciate if you vote on it!

That is it for this post, feel free to ask me any questions about it, and I hope you have enjoyed it!

Friday, 10 July 2009

QPR Story: 6th season: Slow start

Hello everyone, hope you are well. In my last post, I had just brought in Pato and Rafhael, 2 brilliant Brazilians. But I had also lost the first leg of my UEFA Cup 4th qualifying round tie, to Greek minnows Anorthosi, and faced a real battle to get into the group stages. Or so I thought. Here are my next 18 fixtures of the 6th season:

Some good results there, and some bad results. The first match against Chelsea was awful, along with Ipswich, West Brom and West Ham. The best results were Sunderland (first competitive win), Anorthosi, Reading, Red Star (x2), Dundee Utd and Swansea. Sorry LiamTheWelshman, but I completly crushed your favourite team haha. Anyway, lets see how the table looks:

As you can see, it has been decent, but less than I expected. I really was expecting us to be at least 5th, possibly even 4th, but seeing as we are 1 point away from 5th and just 3 points away from 3rd, I know that a good run of games would see us where I feel we belong; the top 4. As for the UEFA Cup group, we are as good as through, seeing as Red Star have to overturn a goal difference of 15 to put us out. We still have a match against Dundee Utd, who we comfortably beat in the other fixture, so I am almost certain we will finish top of our group. Happy days! Anyway, onto player ratings:

As you can see, there have been some decent ratings, but the thing that got me the most is that Sylvan Ebanks-Blake has been our top performing striker, even though he isn't top scorer! That in itslf shows how badly Pato, Keirrison and Christos Oikonomou performed in the first few games. Anyway, for those who don't want to look through the screenshot, I shall summarise the ratings for you. Top scorer is Pato with a good score of 6 in 14 appearances. Second is Keirrison with 5 goals in 14, and third is a tie between Jack Wilshere, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Franco Zuculini, all on 4. Top assister is Franco Zuculini, with a very good 7 in 18 appearances. Second is Ashley Young with 6 in 17, and third is Hobbit Bermudez, 5 in 11. Top rating goes to Zuculini (he has been on fire) with 7.43. Sebastian Dupont is second with 7.29 and Hobbit Bermudez is third with 7.25. Interestingly, the bottom 3 ratings include Pato and Keirrison, our top 2 scorers. I don't think I have ever had that sort of situation before!

Anyway, that is it for this post, I will post up another one once I have done another 15-18 games. For now, so long!

PS: Please tell me what you think of the names in bold writing. I am testing it out and want to know if you would want me to continue or not. Cheers.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

QPR Story: 6th season: Summer signings!

Hello readers! Hope you are all feeling good and ready for some QPR transfer action! Yes, you've guessed it, the 6th season has started, and I have been relatively busy in the transfer market. Take a look at my ins and outs:

As I said to LiamTheWelshman in my last post, I haven't gone for a massive influx of players. I have simply identified the positions that let us down in our top 4 battle last year and improved on them with quality signings. Unfortunately, these quality signings cost a large amount of money, with the bulk of our £56m expenditure being spent on just 2 players; 23 year old Brazilian striker Pato and 23 year old Brazilian central defender Rafhael. These 2 are truly world class players, Pato definately being more famous in the real world. I want him to develop a good old fashioned Brazilian strike partnership with Keirrison. As for Rafhael, because of the sale of Andriy Rusol he will play in central defence alongside a big money signing from last summer, Sokratis Papastathopoulos. As he is just 25, I am hoping that the 2 players can be the heart of our defence for many years to come!

As for the other 3 signings, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake has been snapped up on a free to cover for Pato, Keirrison and Oikonomou. I am currently in the process of selling my 22 goal striker Marius Niculae, as his second half of last season was absolutely dreadful. I decided to try and sell him now to get as much as I could for him. Offers have been made for £3.5m but I am hoping that a higher one will come in. Dave Cunningham and John Burke are prospective youngsters, who I am certain you will hear a lot more about in the coming seasons. Burke is a tall and powerful striker and Cunningham is a pacey winger who already at the age of 16 has 14/20 for crossing! Anyway, I shall show you my friendly results and the next 10 fixtures for QPR. You may see a little surprise (not the good kind):

Not the fantastic pre-season I was hoping for to be honest. A draw with newly promoted Championship side Southend really shocked me, so the 3-1 win over Plymouth and the 5-2 over Vallaloid cheered me up somewhat. But then came the biggest shock of all, a 1-0 defeat away to Greek side Anorthosi. I was dumbfounded as full time approached, seeing as we had completely and utterly dominated them in every department. Their goal was in the first 40 seconds, and they finished with just 29% possesion! Somehow, we didn't score, which really worried me as Pato and Keirrison both started and finished that game. Coupled with my very attacking 4-1-3-2 formation with 3 attacking midfielders and 2 strikers, I am quite concerned. Hopefully though, we can progress through to the group stage, seeing as we DID get to the final last year. Although it may act as a distraction, I was kind of hoping that we can go one better this year.

Anywho, seeing as this post is a little short, I shall post up my formation (and the best team inside it) for you to have a little look-see. Any questions, feel free to comment!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 3 July 2009

QPR Story: 5th season: Mixed finish

Hello everyone, hope you are well. In my last post I was riding high in the league, in 5th place with 2 games in hand on 3rd and 4th, and in the quarter final of the UEFA Cup. And without further ado, let's see how the end of the season panned out:

A really mixed finish to the season to be honest. A fantastic run to the final of the UEFA Cup was countered by a disappointing finish to the Premier League. In particular, Chelsea, Manchester United, Blackburn, Everton and Manchester City (twice) were the most disappointing, because in every one of those games except for Man City (both times) we were well in the game, and really could have won the game. Unfortunately we couldn't manage it. On the plus side, a 6-2 aggregate win over Sampdoria (who were favourites in the pre-match analysis in both games) really impressed me, along with the home leg for the Aston Villa game. Reading at home also pleased me, seeing as we have developed a rivalry of sorts in the past few years. Anyway, onto the league table, and it's bad news:

Disappointing that we could only get 5th, and the Everton match where we completely dominated them springs to mind as the exact point of our demise. Before the game we were comfortably 4th, 4 points ahead of Liverpool with just 2 games to go. A win would have guaranteed 4th place, but alas it was not to be.

Anyway, onto player ratings. Marius Niculae is our top scorer, with 22 goals overall despite a dreadful second half of the season. Ashley Young came second with an impressive 15, and Keirrison comes third with a decent 11. Top assister goes to Ashley Young with a terrific 24, with Chris Burke and Georginio Wijnaldum completing the top 3 with 14 and 13 respectively. Top rating goes to Ashley Young with an overall rating of 7.40. Second is Franco Zuculini with 7.36 and Keirrison completes the trio with 7.33.

Before I go, I would like to post a screenshot of the Swansea team at the beginning of the 2013/2014 season. They have been promoted to the Premier League via the playoffs after coming 6th, so they have made a few good additions. Here they are:

Eat your heart out LiamTheWelshman! In all seriousness, they have a pretty decent squad, and with a few good signings, who knows where they will end up next season! Still hope to do the double over them though, haha. Anyway, that's it for this post, next one coming up in a few days.