SeasonTen.EpisodeThree | Mercato d’hiver
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:
When everything is going well, I keep looking for things to fix. I don’t know why I do it, perhaps it’s the persistant quest for perfection, or just feeling like I have something more to do than pick an 11 and win.
It has been about 40 games since we last lost in open play, a 1-0 defeat against Toulouse back in April 2028. Since then we have gone on to win every game (with the exception to the Champions League final which we lost on penalties).
Most would be happy with this. Pick the team and win. Rinse and repeat. But I can’t help but feel like I should look for areas we can improve and make us even better. That area is the striker position. Now, I am fortunate enough to have one hell of a striker on my books who came into the first team following loan spells at Nîmes, SPAL, Le Havre and Niort.
Most managers would be happy with 18 goals in 25(4) appearances, but take away the 7 penalty goals and that number becomes 11 in 25(4) appearances and then we start to ask questions. Our team is set up in a way that the wing-backs provide width. The Inside Forward provides an attacking threat, and in the early days when teams didn’t sit back, the striker would provide the goals.
Schmitt scored over 40 just before he left us. But this system played out very differently back then. We weren’t the favourites, teams would attack us and take a few more risks by pushing higher and pressing.
Now teams are sitting back as we press high and push them deep into their own half. A byproduct of this is that by the time we have won the ball back, we are within shooting range. Deep narrow defences are restricting the space my striker has to operate in and so the goals are coming from other areas.
Is this a problem? We’re winning and scoring a lot of goals so perhaps not, but as Samo recently wrote about, you expect strikers to score goals, unless you’re Liverpool, of course. A quick look over our last match where we had 22 shots, just 4 of these came from my striker, who had a penalty. A clear sign that we’re not giving him the ball enough.
Read more » Eskozia La Brava | Does Misfiring Matter?
I might write about this more in an upcoming post, but for now, things are going well. I have a misfiring striker but we’re scoring goals and not conceding goals. That is a recipe for success.
THE TRANSFER WINDOW
A very quiet transfer window.
Stade Rennais Transfers in
Stade Rennais Transfers out
Despite Arsenal’s persistent attempts to sign Marcel Baumgärtel to the point where he asked to leave, we still have all players with us. He might thank me by the end of the season.
Youth player promotions
No one from the youth team has come through into the first team since the start of the season.
January, otherwise known as Coupe de France month, was very kind to us!
Right now we are reaching Harlem Globetrotters levels. We’ve not conceded for 20 competitive matches and we’ve done 19 league matches in a row. We’re undefeated this season and quite frankly look like we’re going to win everything.
Now I have cursed us, let me just enjoy where we are. So what’s happened?
I mentioned early on that I had made tweaks to the system. We’re no longer passing into space and we’re working the ball into the box now with low crosses. This has helped us to better control games and as a result our possession numbers have improved. We’re currently seeing 59% of the ball in our league matches, which is the highest of any team.
This has brought in some stability and patience to our play. We’re using a balanced mentality as it is, along with shorter passing and a lower tempo so our attacks are more like death by 1,000 cuts than a single blow.
We are still in every competition and despite my striker woes, the team are performing as good as I’ve seen them. Keeper Rivas has hardly had to make a save all season and the clean sheet bonuses are crippling us financially.
Rivas has 29 clean sheets in 33 matches. Only conceding 4 all season. He has a €33,500 clean sheet bonus, so he’s earned nearly €1M in bonuses already.
So things are going well, as you can see. We have Dortmund in the Champions League first knockout round and Sochaux in the quarter-final of the Coupe de France.
Bring it on!
Here’s to the rest of the season.
Returning this January, we take a look at the youth players playing in the first-team squad and profile how they’re doing for us.
Aleksander was a €76M signing from Villarreal at the start of the season. I don’t want to curse it, but for a player this young he has come into the team and done tremendously well. Eight goals and Two assists in his 19 matches. He has played well in most of the games with an average 7.15 rating.
I’m sure he can do a lot better, but the early signs are very promising!
That just about wraps up another January update. Super confident going into the final stages of the season. If we can keep everyone fit and happy, then we should achieve great successes once again!
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.