Saturday, 26 September 2009

Southampton story: 2nd season: The final push!

Hello and welcome to the final part of Southampton’s second season. Gunning for an automatic promotion place was tough in the final 7 games, and I’m sorry to say, we didn’t make it. We did make it into the play-offs though, and as you will see below, we went one better than last season:

Yes, we are in the Premier League! After completely and utterly outclassing Watford in the final (only 1 goal to show for it though) we have won the play-offs! The winner was scored by veteran striker Jean-Claude Darcheville, and he scored 3 goals in 9 games since arriving on a free transfer. Let’s see how the table panned out:

We are joined by Ipswich and Stoke, after they had the closest title race in recent history. Ipswich edged the title on goal difference, but Stoke won’t mind; they’re in the Premier League! The fans must be very happy that Portsmouth are not joining us in the big league, quite different from the situation in real life. Swansea unfortunately did not make the play-off places, and missed out by a long way. 12 points separated them from 6th place, something they will have to work on next season. A small comfort to Liam is that Cardiff got relegated from the Premier League, and by a long way. They finished on 21 points, while 17th placed Fulham got 35. I might poach some of their players if my chairman gives me any money! Anyway, let’s move on to the ratings:

As you can see, everyone is on holiday. And rather surprisingly, in the space of 2 months Jean-Claude Darcheville has moved to be our top rated striker. Saganowski’s form has dropped off unfortunately. Anyway, top scorer for the season is Stephen Appiah, breaking the 20 goal barrier to score 22 in 45 starts. Second place goes to Marek Saganowski, getting 13 goals in 26 starts. Third place goes to Cameron Jerome, with 7 goals in 16 starts. Top assister is Rudi Skacel, with 20 assists in 40 starts. Second is Nathan Dyer, getting 12 in 43 starts and third place goes to Franco Zuculini, with 7 assists in 39 starts. Best rated player for the season is Morgan Schneiderlin, with 7.25 from 37 starts. Second is Stephen Appiah, getting 7.24, and third is Jake Thompson with 7.21 from 11 starts. Top passer is Marek Saganowski, 80% passes completed. Tied second are Morgan Schneiderlin, Ferrie Bodde, Franco Zuculini and Adam Lallana, all having 79% of their passes on target. Finally, 6th place goes to Stephen Appiah, 77% passes completed. Let’s have a look at the Coca-Cola Championship ratings; how well have our players done?

It’s looking really good! We have at least 1 player in every good list. Stephen Appiah is the 5th top scorer in the division, 19 goals out of his 22 coming in the league. Rudi Skacel is the best assister, 19 out of 20 assists coming in the league, with Nathan Dyer also getting on the list, but 6th with 11 assists. Franco Zuculini has averaged 6.55 tackles per game, which puts him 5th on that particular list. Appiah reappears on the Man of the Match list, with 8 in total for the season, which puts him second. Appiah is also on the average rating list, along with Morgan Schneiderlin. Together, they are tied second with 7.22. Finally, 4 of our players got on the pass completion list. Marek Saganowski is top with 80%, and Franco Zuculini, Ferrie Bodde and Morgan Schneiderlin are tied second along with Ricardo Fuller of Watford, all on 79%. A very successful season then, in every sense. Let’s have a look at the board confidence:

I can only give you a summary, because otherwise the post would be ridiculously long, but you can see what’s happening here. The board is very happy with our performance in the competitions and our squad harmony, happy with our wages, and relatively happy with our club stature. The fans are happy with our matches, and indifferent towards our signings and players. Hopefully the club will offer me a new contract soon, as mine runs out next year!
Anyway, that’s it for season 2, so check back soon for transfers and pre-season for season 3! Can I stay in the Premier League? We shall find out. Take care!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Southampton story: 2nd season: Still up there!

Hello readers, hope you are well. Now, in my last post I was 5th in the league table, and comfortably in the play-off places. The next 15 games were very topsy-turvy, we hit a low of 8th. Thankfully, our form started to pick up near the end, and we have improved that. By how much, will come later.

As you can see, we had some very good results. Out of 15 games (13 in the league), we have achieved 9 victories (8 in the league), 3 draws (3 in the league) and just 3 losses (2 in the league). I’m quite disappointed that we lost to League 1 side Huddersfield in the FA Cup, but oh well. That caused us to pick up our performances, and we went from 8th to...

That’s right, 4th. Unfortunately, in the space of 1 game we can still drop down to 6th, but we are only 4 points away from the automatic promotion places! I will not dare to hope, but since we are almost guaranteed to finish in the play-off places, why not have a big push for the top 2? We will probably fail, but it’s no reason not to try! As you can imagine, the players had to perform brilliantly to get to this position, and here are the ratings:

You might notice a new name at the bottom, Jean-Claude Darcheville. He is a new signing on a free transfer, but more on him later. Top scorer is still Stephen Appiah, getting 19 goals in 35 starts. Second place is Marek Saganowski, with 13 goals in 24 starts. Third place goes to Morgan Schneiderlin (7 in 30) and Cameron Jerome (7 in 15). Best assister is again Rudi Skacel, grabbing 15 in 31 starts. Second is Nathan Dyer, getting 12 in 36. And third goes to Marek Saganowski (6 in 24) and Franco Zuculini (6 in 36). Best rated player is Morgan Schneiderlin, with 7.28. Second is Stephen Appiah (7.26) and third is a tie between Jake Thompson and Ferrie Bodde (both 7.17). Top passer is Saganowski, with 80% passes complete. Second is a tie between Adam Lallana and Franco Zuculini, both having 79% passes finding their target. Tied 4th is Ferrie Bodde, Morgan Schneiderlin and Stephen Appiah, all finding their mark with 78% of their passes. Some great scores there, would they carry on to the end of the season?

As I was telling you about before, I have signed former Rangers man Jean-Claude Darcheville on a free transfer (which is why his value is £1k). His contract lasts until the end of the season, and by looking at his attributes, you will see why I bought this 34 year old. His finishing and composure is pretty good, and along with his bravery, determination, off the ball, team work, work rate, balance, pace and strength he makes a very good striker. His natural fitness is also quite high, which will enable him to stay at a good level for longer than most. It’s unlikely I will keep him after his contract finishes in the summer, but you never know. He could grab me some goals if I choose to play 2 up front sometime.
Anyway, that’s it for this post, check back soon for the final part of the second season!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Southampton story: 2nd season: Momentum building

Hello and welcome to another post about the second season of Southampton. After a good transfer window and a decent start, we had gone into the second part of the season in good spirits. Could our form improve?

Yes it could. Out of 15 games we won 9 games, drew 3 and lost 3 (one in the League Cup). I’m a bit disappointed that we lost to Man United, but not surprised. Now at least we can focus on the league (until the FA Cup starts), and boy have we improved our position!

5th in the league, not bad at all! It’s unlikely that we will catch Ipswich and Stoke, but if we stay in the play-off places, we have a great chance of going up this year. Fierce rivals Portsmouth are also in there, and we must finish above them to appease the fans. A surprising fact is that Swansea, who finished 3rd last year, are mired in 10th. Was Ferrie Bodde that much of a loss? Anyway, let’s move on to the ratings:

It seems that Bodde was indeed a loss; he is topping our ratings list with 7.26. Second and third place goes to Stephen Appiah (7.21) and Morgan Schneiderlin (7.19). These great scores from my midfielders have caused me to drop one of my favourite players, Franco Zuculini, for the last few games. Top scorer is Stephen Appiah, on 12 goals in 25 starts. Second place is Marek Saganowski, finally hitting form with 10 goals in 15 starts. Third place goes to Cameron Jerome, grabbing 6 goals in 11 starts. It’s still not enough to get him a higher rating that 6.64 though! Best assister is Rudi Skacel, with 10 assists in 19 starts. Second is Nathan Dyer (7 in 23) and third is a tie between Marek Saganowski (5 in 15) and Morgan Schneiderlin (5 in 21). Top passer is Saganowski, 80% of his passes on target. Second place goes to Ferrie Bodde and Stephen Appiah, both having 79% passes complete. Tied fourth place are Morgan Schneiderlin, Franco Zuculini and Adam Lallana, all getting 78%. So some great scores there, hopefully the guys can keep this up! And just before I go, I have 2 screenshots to show you:

2 big Premier League clubs were after me, Blackburn and Aston Villa. Villa were 9th at the time, which was astonishing; why would they sack a manager who’s got them to 9th?? Blackburn were in 14th place, and their manager left the club for Real Betis in Spain. I didn’t want to leave Southampton, but the Aston Villa job was so tempting! A big transfer budget, a big wage budget, some really good players...but I have to stay with the Saints. I have to finish what I started and get them into the Premier League.

Anyway, that’s it for now, next post coming up soon!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Southampton story: 2nd season: Decent start!

Hello all, sorry for the long hold up! I have just returned from my 3 week trip to Sweden, and as a result, I have not posted anything. Sorry! Back to the action, and things are looking quite good for my Southampton team:

As you can see, it’s been a solid if unspectacular start to the new season. A particular highlight was getting into the 4th round of the League Cup, beating struggling Premier League side Reading in the process. Bad points were the 4 league defeats already, coupled with a few draws. Because of this, we weren’t going to be in the upper echelons of the table, but I think we are in a good place, especially considering last year. Take a look:

9th place, not too bad. We are only 3 points off the play-off places as well, so I am optimistic that we can go into a run of good form and push up near the top. What is surprising is that recently relegated Hull and Portsmouth are below us, surprising because they have some of the best players in the division. Also, it seems that Swansea are regretting letting Ferrie Bodde go for free, as they lack creativity going forward, and Bodde was just the man to fill that void. Well, we’ve got him now! Anyway, let’s see how our players have been doing:

Overall, pretty good scores, though I would like an improvement from our strikers (how many times have I said that?!). Top scorer is Stephen Appiah, with an amazing 7 goals in 13 starts. Marek Saganowski is second, grabbing 3 goals in 6 starts, and 3rd being a tie between David McGoldrick (2 in 4), Cameron Jerome (2 in 5) and Oliver Lancashire of all people (2 in 14). Best assister is a tie between Rudi Skacel (5 in 7) and Nathan Dyer (5 in 12), which is encouraging because they are my wide players, and they are putting decent crosses. Third place goes to Morgan Schneiderlin, with 3 assists in 12 starts. Top rating goes to Appiah, with 7.24. Second goes to Jake Thompson, with 7.17 being received over 3 starts. Third place goes to Franco Zuculini, my Argentinean wonderkid. He has collected a score of 7.14 over 12 starts. Finally, my best passer is Marek Saganowski, amazingly 85% of his passes finding their mark. Coupled with being my best rated striker, I shall give him a good run in the team to see whether he can still cut it at this level. Second place goes to my 3 best midfielders; Stephen Appiah, Morgan Schneiderlin and Franco Zuculini, all getting 80% of their passes on target. 5th place goes to my other great midfielder, Ferrie Bodde, with him having 77% passes completed. It’s looking very good player rating wise!

Anyway, that’s it for this post, more to come very soon! Take care.