At the end of season 1 I needed to plug some gaps in the defence. We leaked a lot of goals and I wasn’t convinced by my defenders or goalkeeper. The signing of John Stones in January helped me out a bit but we were still a couple of players short of the quality I wanted. I had interest in a few players that could make me a lot of money and I decided that it was for the best if they left. I sold both my goalkeepers, an arguably stupid move as one of them was very highly rated and caused a bit of a stir with the team, a potentially great wing back and one of our best midfield players.
Did I mention the bit where I made £96m in sales? I got £27m for Szczesny!
Raphael Varane was my number one target in the summer. I needed him more than he needed me, but I got him. £35.5m to get prize him away from Real Madrid. Buying a goalkeeper was almost impossible. Nobody wanted to part with their number one. I eventually settled for Georgi Kitanov from Everton. He wasn’t even that great, but I couldn’t be fussy. Maldonado was signed as a future prospect, but ended up playing as first choice ahead of Digne. I spent £59.3m, but I’d made a considerable transfer profit.
Season 2 is when I usually see a lot of progress being made. In any save I’ve done, season 1 can be a total car-crash and then suddenly in season 2, I steamroller teams. Season 2 didn’t start horribly, but we were playing really poor. I changed things up with the tactical instructions and settled on a counter attacking strategy that utilised the pace of my forward players and passing ability of my deeper ones. I implemented it a few games into the season and the results were instant. We went out of the Capital One Cup and lost a league game to Chelsea, but we swept aside Liverpool 5-0 and Real Madrid 3-0. We went on a 9 game winning run, scoring 35 goals and only conceding 4 before Man City toppled 4-2. We picked ourselves up and went on a 21 game unbeaten run, only dropping points in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool before Sheffield United knocked us out of the FA Cup.
In the Champions League we were brilliant. We won every game in a group that contained Real Madrid and German Champions, Wolfsburg, scoring 21 goals and only conceding 3. The defensive gaps of last season were being filled.
None of the domestic challengers could really keep up, it was tight for a little bit before Christmas but we looked invincible as the season ran on. By the middle of April a win or a draw at White Hart Lane against Tottenham would seal the league, with four games left to go. We put three goals past Tottenham to seal the title in our biggest rivals home ground. If this was real life, Arsenal fans would be going nuts, just as they did in 2003/04!
With us out of both domestic cups and the league title in the bag, a Champions League semi-final against Tottenham beckoned. We’d already knocked out Atletico Madrid 5-0(agg) and Barcelona 5-4(agg), but this was a tougher game as it could go any way. A 0-0 draw at the Emirates meant that we had to go to White Hart Lane and do all the hard work there. Fierro got things under way and Calvin Miller came off the bench to score two goals in five minutes. Jedvaj unfortunately got an own goal, but we were in the final at Old Trafford.. against Man Utd.
At this point, my eyes are watering because I’m so tired, so excuse any spelling mistakes.
The Champions League final is a place I’d been before with Dynamo Kyiv. I was hopeful of winning this time as I’d done well against Man Utd this season. They have a good squad and while mine wasn’t great, we had confidence that we could score goals by the hatful. I was hoping for a 2-0 victory, but in all honesty, it was a drab affair. We scored via an own goal after 6 minutes and never managed a shot on goal for the entirety of the first half. Man Utd were all over us and by far the better team. We scraped in 1-0 up at half time but Man Utd were going for it and after 61 minutes, it paid off as Aboubakar equalised. Carlos Fierro was having a nightmare so I hauled him off and put Calvin Miller on in his place. It took him just three minutes to put the ball in the back of the net. It was pretty much our only real chance of the game and it proved to be decisive as we held on for the final 20 minutes to claim my and Arsenal’s first Champions League title.
Overall, I’m a bit surprised that we managed to win the League. I thought winning the Champions League was a more realistic target after winning the group, but the league was quite surprising. We won 32 out of 38 games, scoring 108 goals and only conceding 28. Not quite as good as the 4 I conceded at Dynamo, but not bad at all.
We set a lot of records this season, points total, assists total, man of the match awards, Champions League goals record holders etc. We won lots of individual season awards. We played to a very high standard after a bit of a miserable start.
The players I was relying on really stepped up and won us games, almost single handedly at times. Domen Crnigoj, Carlos Fierro and Danny Welbeck were brilliant. Crnigoj had an amazing season with 20 goals and 34 assists. Fierro was a goal machine at times and grabbed 36 goals. Welbeck came good in the second half of the season a got himself 31 goals. A mention should go to Tin Jedvaj who managed 11 goals from central defence. Love a defender who can find the net.
I had decided that I would only do two season at Arsenal before moving on, but I’m not sure where to go next. My aims for Arsenal have been achieved. I got Arsenal back up the league after a 9th place finish before I’d joined, I challenged for and won the league within 2 years, I won two cups in that time by winning the European Super Cup and Champions League. As a bonus I’ve cut their wage budget to just over £2m a week, brought in younger players (lowest average age in the league at 23.65) that will see them through for the next few years, especially with the right players to compliment them and turned a huge financial profit this year.
Around about March time, Bayern Munich came looking for a new manager and I delayed the decision to the end of the season. Just now I don’t know if I want that job. They’ve not done great in recent years, but won the league title with a caretaker manager this season. Time to scour the job market!