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10|02 MATCHS ALLER: Catch Us If You Can

Welcome to my Football Manager 2020 blog. In this latest instalment of my journey with Stade Rennais I'll be reviewing our matches up to the end of the calendar year.

SeasonTen.EpisodeTwo | Matchs aller

Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 blog with Stade Rennais. If you missed the previous post, you can catch up with everything that happened, here:

Read more » 10|01 PRÉ-SAISON: We Just Have to Dust Down and Get on With It!

We managed to avoid any big losses in the opening transfer window which was excellent news! For me, this is almost as important as getting in our main transfer targets. With a couple of new faces in, the squad remains the same as the previous season, and considering the successes there we should do well this season if we keep to the same performance levels.

September 2028 – December 2028

After the opening three wins in four matches in August our season continued in good form.

We were comfortably beating teams home and away and the by the end of September the schedule was full of green dots. While we were playing well, something was troubling me.

Newly promoted Amro Hossam wasn’t firing. A kid described by the media as a Clinical Finisher he was anything but. I decided to move him to the first team this year after his season on loan with Nîmes where he netted 11 in 37 matches. On paper, he is a much better player than Academy graduate Erwan Le Bras, however, while the latter has 10 goals in 11 matches on loan for Real Betis, Hossam is struggling and looks out of his depth.

He has all the attributes needed to play in the Advanced Forward role, but perhaps the supply into him isn’t as good as it could be so he is snatching at his shots. Either way, three goals at this stage just isn’t good enough for a supposedly Champions League quality player. I’ll give him some one-to-one time with Dennis Bergkamp (yes, he’s a coach here) to see if we can get him Placing Shots, as this might help him.

In the Champions League, I picked Inter Milan as our most difficult opponents in a group which also included Red Bull Salzburg and Sevilla, however, 26 shots to none in our first match against them proved me wrong. We scraped by due to a 94th-minute winner, which was a minute outside the agreed stoppage, but I’ll take any win I can, especially after we also beat the Red Bulls.

Despite releasing a few academy graduates overseas this past window, we have still produced the second most players in Ligue 1 as of this season. It is of no surprise the PSG do not make this list. Who needs an academy when you can buy a couple of squads.

Leading development clubs for Ligue 1 Conforama
Leading development clubs for Ligue 1 Conforama

By the end of October, a couple of players were beginning to feel a little jaded. We’d been through the same preseason as always so not sure what has caused this but central defender Victor Chernyavskiy and Amro Hossam both needed a week off, just as the games were beginning to pile up. We had managed to extend our unbeaten run in the league, not losing in the 12 games we had played so I felt safe doing this.

With just the three league games and two Champions League matches we had a bit more room to give the players a bit of a rest ahead of a hectic November which would see another five matches come our way.

Hossam had completed his learning of the trait to place his shots and it couldn’t have come at a better time. He scored in all five of our matches in November, which included a 6-0 defeat of Nice and a 4-0 win away at Lyon. We avoided conceding a goal all month, which made it nine in a row and our unbeaten streak this season continued.

Following the 1-0 win over Inter Milan in our, a match which secured our passage to the next round of the Champions League, we were informed of our record-breaking run. 29 games unbeaten and 11 games without conceding. The disappointment of last season clearly still running through every player who wants to make sure we don’t make any mistakes this season.

With a couple of weeks to go until the start of the transfer window, the rumours of players set to leave the club began to swirl. I need to get through January with the squad altogether in order to give the Champions League a decent push. I don’t mind what happens in the summer as we can better plan for that.

Champions League Group B final table
Champions League Group B final table

By the end of December, we had extended our winning streak in the league to 15 matches, conceding just three goals while scoring 56, an average of nearly four goals scored per match in the league over this winning streak.

To say we were looking good value for our fourth straight title would be an understatement. We were on course to smash all league records that stand. Probably.

The league table up to the turn of the year. It’s looking good again.

So that just about rounds up another great few months for Stade Rennais. I don’t know how we’re doing this but everything is so effortless right now. I’m not complaining, however, I know the Champions League is going to be tough again. We need to get through January with the majority of the squad still with us. Next in the Champions League? Borussia Dortmund.

My next post will be a short one covering the January window at Stade Rennais.

As always, you can get in touch with me in the comments below, or via twitter @fmfutbolmanager.

Until next time, à tout à l’heure.

Oliver Jensen

Please leave me a comment below.

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