I had thought I’d put a progress update in with a look at stats and tactics, but I figured that would get quite long. I’ve decided to give you a bit more of a look at my progress this year and then do the stats/tactics in another post. I think they will marry together a bit better.
I’ve already given you a run down on the signings I’ve made, so the squad is assembled and ready to go.
The second season got off to an iffy start. We were struggling to score goals but defensively, we were pretty good. This is kind of the opposite of Liverpool 13/14! We had only two wins in the league by October. I wasn’t under any pressure apart from what I expected from myself.
After playing about with some player instructions on my wide midfielders, I decided it was time to give Zivkovic a run in the first team. I dropped Markovic due to poor form and switched Firmino over to the right(Zivkovic on the left). It worked really well and we went on a 14 game unbeaten run, winning 10 of those games, only conceding 5 along the way.
A stumble against Man City was followed up by us winning 10 out of 11 games. A defeat to Tottenham gave us a little wobble, but we secured the title with a 3-0 win at home to Reading.
Capital One Cup
I’m not a fan of this competition. It’s kind of pointless. I always play the rotational team in the cups and this season was no different. A Quarter Final exit to Man Utd was the end of this competition for this season.
I like the FA Cup, I just don’t place that much interest in the early rounds. I fielded a second string against Wigan and West Brom, with the latter getting a 103minute winner in the 4th Round Replay. Concentration is all on the league just now. The Cups will get more attention next season.
With us finishing third and having hardly been in the Champions League for the past few years, we were seeded third for the draw. Juventus, Dortmund, Liverpool, Feyenoord. A pretty tough group. We were playing poor in the early part of the season and it was almost too late to turn it around in the Champions League. We only won two of our six games. We did however manage to finish third and get into the Europa League.
We were drawn against Steaua Bucharest in the first knockout round which we managed to get through before being knocked out by Leverkusen. Again, in the Europa League, I played a rotated squad. The games against Leverkusen were pretty close.
Overall, we had a pretty good season. A slow start was followed up by going on a couple of really great runs in the league. Our defensive record in the league was a particular highlight.
Progress wise, we’re a little ahead of where I expected us to be. I didn’t think we would win the league this year, but results went our way. We were really inconsistent at the start and went through a part of the season by sneaking games by a one goal margin. They all count though. Defensively, we were very good again.
The squad had some great performances. Lots of key passes. Gabigol and Zivkovic were in their first season, so I was very happy with them. I suspect there will be a couple of changes for the next season. Vlasic is due back from loan at Granada, which will give us another midfield option. Origi is also due back, but I’m thinking he’s unlikely to get the chance to play. Time will tell.
I actually meant to post this before the article analysing Zivkovic, but I only just realised while giving this a read over. I’d been doing editing in a funny order and got confused.