Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Default September Update 18/19

Euro. Super Cup

We kicked off the month with a Euro. Super Cup victory against our rivals LiverpoolLewandowski (X2), Smalling and Ince put us on our way to a 4-1 win.

Man United Fixtures

Back in the league, we traveled to Huddersfield for an away game and came away with three points in a 4-0 victory. Despite being on the wrong side of his thirties, Wayne Rooney was influential and came away with a double. Sheffield Wednesday was up next at Old Trafford and our second stringers struggled but managed to beat them 4-2 with our superior finishing.

We then welcomed Chelsea to the Theater of Dreams in our third league fixture of the month and things got off to a bad start with Steven Caulker made a costly error to give them an early lead. Tom Ince pounced from a corner-kick to equalize before the break. We weren't sharp enough for the second period as we were held to a 1-1 draw at full-time. We ended the month with a tough 2-1 victory at Everton. They were the leaders before the game and we managed to leapfrog them into the top spot after the win.


Here's the table at the end of the month. West Brom and Nottingham Forest gatecrashed the top 4 but it is still early in the season.

Champions League

We kicked off our Champions League campaign with a 4-0 victory against FC Kobenhavn, with academy graduates Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck each grabbing a brace.

England Fixtures

We had a friendly in Slovakia at the start of September and managed to come away with a 2-0 victory with goals from Danny Welbeck and Harry Kane. Next, we kicked off our Euro Ch'ship Quals campaign with a 1-0 away victory against Bosnia and what pleased me the most about this month's fixtures were the two clean sheets

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

 Pre-season and August update (Season 6)


It was a tough decision but I finally decided on selling Rafael as I had the chance to bring in Callum Chambers for only 1.8 million pounds. Rafael had been fantastic for me at right-back for the past five seasons but I had to stick to my philosophy of going English and Callum Chambers has fantastic potential. Jonny Evans was sold on a free to Tottenham (no one wanted to pay for him) as he is approaching his thirties and he is not English. Jonjo Shelvey was also moved on as Will Hughes and James Ward Prowse are developing nicely. A couple of loans completed the transfers in this window.


As usual, friendlies were arranged against weak oppositions to boost the squad's morale before the start of the season. And once again, for the third time in a row, we lost on penalties in the Community Shield and it is getting annoying. In the league, we only played two times in this month and they were against Leeds United H and Arsenal A. The next Ryan GiggsMartin Reid scored a double in the fiery encounter against Leeds where we had two players sent off. We ended the month with a 2-2 away draw against the Gunners and it was frustrating to concede a late equalizer.


And here's the table after just 2 games.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Default [FM14] Bolton Wanderers one club save

I have decided to take a break from my United/England save and embark on my second save on FM14! You can follow me on Twitter @beckham_fm for updates 

Current Version: 14.2.2

Database Size: Large

Selected Nations: England (Sky Bet Championship and Above), Germany (First Division Only), Italy (Serie A Only), Spain (LIGA BBVA Only)


I have always wanted to manage a club in the Championship on FM14. The other day, I was browsing through the championship results and one of the matches caught my eye.

Reading 7-1 Bolton

Having been so successful in the Premier League under Sam AllardyceBolton Wanderers has wandered away from big time and went through a free fall and they currently sits 18th in the championship table. I used to marvel at how well managed the club was during its glory days when it achieved European qualification twice in three seasons. Those were the days...


I will now embark on a one club save with Bolton and try to take the club as high as possible. I am glad to see that the board wants to focus on youth development and as usual, that will be my philosophy when managing the club.

The Manager

I will be mimicking Simon Charlton as the new manager of the Bolton Wanderers. Simon made 120 appearances from 2000-2004 and was the club's first choice left-back. Between April 2009 and June 2010, he managed Eastern Countries League club Mildenhall Town. (Wikipedia)

Here we go!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

 World Cup 2018


Group stage & knock-out round
It was my first ever international tournament on FM14 and I had mixed feelings about this. We met our expectations in the group stages, beating Serbia, Japan and Angola to grab top spot. Danny Welbeck got himself on the score sheet 4 times in total and many tipped him to win the golden boot. We drew Ireland in the next round and managed to squeeze ourselves through to the quarters with a narrow 2-1 victory. Germany awaited us in the quarters and we were the underdogs.


It was an epic game! We led until the last minute of extra time when Germany equalized. We were shattered and I thought it was going to be penalty heartbreak again at the end. It turned out to be a thrilling penalty shootout, with both teams scoring all their penalties until Germany's 11th penalty, where their keeper missed and we were through the the semis!


It couldn't get any tougher against the mighty Spain. Things got off to a great start when Welbeck scored in the third minute. However, we conceded 3 goals in quick succession and it was the manner we conceded these 3 goals that angered me. All three goals were scored through corner-kicks and we were supposed to be the superior side at set-pieces due to our size advantage. We played much better after half-time but failed to grab that all important equalizer and eventually lost 3-2 

3rd place play-off

We face Serbia again after the group stages and I did not know how we manage to lose this. We simply battered them but they scored the only goal of the game in a smash and grab victory.

All in all, there were both positives and negatives in my first ever World Cup but I ended up feeling more disappointed than happy

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Default FM14 - Manchester United 98/99 Treble Winning 4-4-2
After grimacing over United’s Capital One Cup exit against Sunderland, I had to turn to something positive to cheer myself up and eventually decided to switch on my laptop and write something for my blog. As shown in the title, I have attempted to recreate United’s 98/99 treble winning 4-4-2 (yes, these memories do cheer me up) on FM14 in my save. So, here we go…


In the 1998/1999 season, Alex Ferguson achieved the remarkable Treble with United playing the good old 4-4-2. That was the season which drew me to football and I was mesmerized by the free-flowing, attacking and at times gung-ho football on show. The team went with the ‘if we score more than you, we win’ attitude and had contributed to a number of great football matches. (the 3-3s against Barcelona, the champions league semi-final ties against Juventus etc.) If you want to re-live this remarkable season, you can watch the season review on youtube from here.

Team Formation 

This was arguably Ferguson’s strongest 11 in that season and the midfield four was said to be his strongest ever midfield quartet.Beckham (my favourite player of all time ) was the wide midfielder (support) on the right flank and often dropped deep to allow full-back (attack) Neville to overlap. On the opposite flank, winger (attack) Giggs played further up the field with full-back (support) Irwin behind him. Keane and Scholes were dynamic, box to box central midfielders who were able to defend and support the attack when required. However, as the modern game evolves, more teams play with AMCs and to reduce the space they can operate in, I went with the midfield combination of DLP-d and BWM-s in my save. The front two were telepathic and their movements were great to watch at times. Both were complete forwards who did everything upfront, and often one drops deep while the other stretches the opposition’s defense further up the field.

Team Instructions

Fluid Fluidity – The team played flowing soccer with players granted creative freedom.

Attacking Mentality – The team was straight in the opponents’ faces and always tried to win possession high up the field. Ferguson also employed a fast tempo and direct style (Beckham often launches accurate balls from deep) and focused heavily on getting players forward and into space.

Pass into Space – With players like Becks and Scholesy, the team had players who often attempted to pick out runs behind the opposition’s defense.

Play Wider – The team took advantage of the width of the pitches, with Beckham and Giggs hugging the touchlines and the front two stretching the opposition’s defense.

Roam from Positions – Ferguson relied on the players to provide cover for each other when they start to interchange and confuse the opponents with great movements.

Hassle Opponents – The team always looked to win the ball back quickly, even if it meant ditching their starting positions.
Use Tighter Marking – As mentioned, the players were often straight in the opponents’ faces and looked to win the ball back as early as possible.

Higher Tempo – United relied on high tempo football to wear their opponents out and capitalize on the holes in their defense.

Work Ball into Box – With the exception of Scholes, the team didn’t shoot much from range and often relied on crosses/through passes to find the back of the net.


Every tactic has its strengths and weaknesses and it’s vital to understand where your tactic is lacking so that you can make necessary tweaks to lessen the impact. I have found out from my save that we concede most of our goals in two ways.

1) Through ball behind our defense 
As we play high up the pitch, the team is always prone to that lofted through ball behind our defense and pacey strikers are often able to capitalize on this.

2) Taking advantage of the hole
As we play with a midfield duo with no DMCs, there is often space in front of our center-backs for AMCs to capitalize on.

As shown in the screenshot above, Chelsea won possession in their own half and Strootman played the ball towards Mata. Our central midfielders were both caught relatively high up the pitch and there were huge amounts of space in front of our back four for the Chelsea players to play with.

Mata then played the ball first time to Benzema, who had taken up the empty space intelligently. As shown, my DLP-d realized danger and was seen sprinting back towards the space.

Sensing that my DLP-d would not make it back in time, my center-back (circled) attempted to close Benzema down. He too did not close down in time and that left HUGE gap in defense. The French striker delivered a perfect through ball for the on-rushing Oscar (AMC), who had made a run behind our defense.

Inevitably and quite brilliantly, the Brazilian chipped my keeper to score a great goal on the break.

The above example has illustrated the weaknesses of my tactic well and most of our goals were conceded in those manners. I could have made tweaks to reduce closing down/pull my d-line back a little but that would change my game plan altogether and my attacking threats will be reduced. Having weighed the pros and cons, I decided to live with them.


Assist Location

On the plus side, the team has lots of options in attack. As shown in the screenshot above, the assist locations were fairly even. Playing a rather direct game, we were able to score goals from passes within our half. The two strikers up top were able to combine and craft out chances. Most importantly, like how the treble winning side benefited from Beckham’s crosses, huge amount of goals were scored from wing play.

As shown in the good old 2D map, when my DLP-d (Fellaini) is on the ball, there are plenty of options in front of him. On this occasion, he chose the hardest option and sent a cross field ball towards the left flank.

My left-back Luke Shaw got to the ball and sent a brilliant cross towards the far post, where my right winger Zaha was waiting. He eventually scored with a brilliantly timed header. Like how the treble winning United side attack, there are always bodies in the box waiting for crosses and on this occasion, there were four (the two strikers, the right-winger and the left winger) looking to get on the end of Shaw’s cross. Sometimes, the BWM-s is found in the box as well.

Feedback would be welcome.


Red face May update (End of season review)

Man United fixtures

Champions League
We kicked off the final month of our club season with a defeat against Real Madrid in the Champions League semis second leg. The 2-0 first leg victory ensured that we progress into the finals against Barcelona at Nou Camp!

Champions League Final

To my pleasant surprise, we didn't face much difficulties against the Spanish giants and lifted the trophy with a 5-1 victory. \o/

We secured the league title with 3 league games to go against second placed Man City at Old Trafford. Second stringers and the youngsters got valuable game time in the last three fixtures.


Looking at the table, we won the league by 10 points ahead of our city rivals Man CityEverton overachieved by sitting prettily on 3rd place, with Tottenham completing the top 4. Watford, Burnley and Blackburn all got relegated.

FA Cup

We dominated the game from start to finish but Southampton's keeper, Romero was in the form of his life. Football is a funny old game and right at the end, Romero made a costly error and Welbeck pounced to win us the cup.

Tom Ince

Tom Ince wins his second player of the year award...

Chris Smalling

and Chris Smalling wins his first players' player of the year award!

The next post will be on my World Cup adventure with England! *fingers crossed

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

 April Update


After a bad March, it was heartening to see us remain unbeaten in a busy April!

We first face Everton at home and their manager Roberto Martinez was under pressure following a string of poor results. Doing him no favors, we beat the Toffees 4-0 with goals from Tom Ince, Ryan Shawcross, Steven Caulker and Wilfried Zaha.Tottenham was the next team to travel to Old Trafford and they managed to come away with a creditable 1-1 draw. We traveled to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea and we were unlucky not to win as the game ended goalless. The last league game of the month took place at Nottingham Forest, where our second-stringers beat them 4-1 with goals from Nick Powell, Danny Welbeck(x2) and the next Giggsy, Martin Reid.


And we stay top, 3 points ahead with two games in hand!

Champions League
We were handed AC Milan in the quarters and I was happy to see my team achieved a commanding 5-0 lead in the first leg. I rested my first 11 in the second leg in Italy and struggled to a 2-2 draw to progress into the semis. Real Madrid was next and we beat them 2-0 at home in a solid first tie.


We were beaten finalists for two consecutive seasons and have remained unbeaten since!

FA Cup
In the quarter finals replay, we faced Liverpool at home and thankfully, we managed to come away with a 2-0 win with goals from Danny Welbeck and Ryan Shawcross. After Man City and Liverpool in the last two rounds, we were offered some rest bite in the Semis against championship side Birmingham. We beat Sam Allardyce's side 3-1 with another Danny Welbeck brace.