Football Manager 2010

Hi all…Wish you all a very Happy New year. I know FM 2010 has been out for sometime now and I am very late in my post about it. But I guess better late than never right? So here I am writing about a few of my experiences playing the wonderful game i.e. Football Manager 2010!

As usual, I began the game with Arsenal, my favourite team of all… And I must say I was a little disappointed at the ratings given to some of the promising youngsters at Arsenal like Aaron Ramsey, Carlos Vela, Jack Wilshere, Alexandre Song, Gibbs and the likes. They all peaked at a maximum of 3 stars. In real life though I think many, if not all of them have the potential to be top player for Arsenal. Ramsey and Song in particular have been sensation so far this season. Anyways I have never understood how FM 2010 players are rated anyways… Some of the ratings are such a load of crap while some sure are spot on.

So since Song and Denilson are not so good on the game (peaking at 2 and a half stars each) I went and bought a couple of defensive minded Brazilian Midfielders in Sandro and Hernanes (both peaking at 3 stars). Hernanes was already at 3 stars and so ready to start the first team for me alongside Fabregas in the midfield.

Next i bought a left midfielder in Jovetic who was promised to be a 3 and a half star player by my scout but seems to be showing a peak at 3 stars now. which is not that bad. I also bought Ibrahim Afellay who again is a 3 star player for Arsenal. Now i have enough good options in attacking midfield in Arshavin, Walcott, Nasri, Jovetic and Afellay. Afellay was a little upset because of the competition for places, but after i gave him a few games on the run he cooled off.

I have also bought some players for the future like Angel Di Maria (he is currently at 2 stars and peaks at 2 and a half). I am training him to play at left back since I sent both my back up left backs on loan, i.e. Gibbs at Everton and Traore at Udinese. Defensively i have bought Per Mertesacker who has been an awesome signing for me. I played him alongside Gallas for the first half, but since Gallas’s pace was slowing down with his age, I am giving Vermaleen more of a run in the second half of first season. Early February I have bought Chellini and De rossi who will join me next season. I will sell Hernanes then and use De rossi and Fabregas in the midfield. I have bought Hamsik as a backup for either of the staring midfielders.

I also sent Vela on loan to Udinese. Song went to Wigan for a season long loan spell and seems to have settled well. Extended Rosicky’s contract for 2 more years only to put him on the market once he signed. He is getting old and is injury prone. Sent Almunia on loan to Barca/Madrid and bought Hugo Lloris who is twice the keeper of Almunia. Bought a great Spanish young Keeper, I cant remember the name now but his potential is like 3.5 stars which is like one of the best for Keepers as far as I can tell.

Luckily none of my players were injured long term. RVP was sensational in the first season scoring almost a goal a game overall. Dzeko also played well averaging just lower than a goal a game. Eduardo contributed well when called upon, though his playing time was limited due to the good form of both Robin Van Persie and Edin Dzeko. Eduardo is a decent striker though at 3 stars.

Good first season overall so far. Second should only be better as I am on my way to win all 4 trophies that I was into. Which should mean decent money available for transfers for next season and also I have already signed De rossi(4.5 stars) and Chellini(4 stars) who are coming in at the begining of the transfer window. I have also signed Robert Enke (very sad to hear about his rcent death in real life) and Sergio Canales and Juan Roman Riquelme all on free transfers and they should also be joining my team at the start of the season.

All in all a very good first season so far.

Now lets come to the important part. What FM 2010 wonderkids have i signed for my team so far?

Well I don’t remember all of them offhand and I havent got the game running now so pardon any spelling mistakes. Below is a list of amazing young talent that I have amassed at the club so far:

  1. Lorenzo Crisetig from Inter
  2. Stephan El Shaarawi from Genoa I suppose
  3. Ryder matos from Fiorentina(bought for some 3-4 millions, but Benfica and a few other clubs happily offer 8-10 millions for him in a couple of years)
  4. Adrian from Spain (bought for 3.5 million and sold in 6 months for 6 million to Birmingham)
  5. Simone David cheap young Keeper (Juventus want him already after just 6 months in my team)
  6. Kyriakos Papadopoulos
  7. Gerson from Cuzerio
  8. Luiz Guillherme cheap GK from Brazil

There are a few more good ones. Will post about them later. Let me know if you have bought any good wonderkids yourselves and how they have matured for you.

Will update more details soon! Cheer!!!

Let the season truly begin!!

Even though the season has begun long back and teams have played 3/4 matches each, the real season cannot begin till the transfer window closes and the shape of the teams becomes crystallized. This especially goes for the teams like Portsmouth who bought around 13 players in the window and sold around 11. So after major or minor overhauls in teams across the premier league and the transfer window finally shut on Tuesday we can now concentrate on football rather than the transfer gossip surrounding the game.

I will be commenting on the dealings in the transfer market of all the major teams and am beginning with the layout for Arsenal.

Arsenal sold its leading goal scorer for the last couple of years to Man City but did not go into the transfer market for any replacement. They also sold Kolo Toure and bought Thomas Vermaleen (who by the way is looking like a really good buy by Wenger) as his replacement.

Arsenal could definitely have done with some more good defensive cover both in the centre midfield and centre half positions and a better keeper should have been secured. I know finding good keepers is not that easy but that cant possibly be an excuse. But you know Wenger, and you should know that he will never agree that the existing squad is not good enough or big enough in spite of selling more players than that come in for the last few seasons at least.

I am not worried about the quality of the team we have. They are all good young players who have great futures ahead of them. What troubles me more is the fact that every year we have a few bad injuries to our players and that’s when we are faced with the apparent question of our squad not being big enough and lacking the depth to compete with our Premier league rivals. Why cant we factor in a few injuries and invest in the squad accordingly before hand?

I remember last season too, in January Fabregas was out and we really missed him bad and the team went on to draw a number of matches in a row  till Wenger eventually bought Arshavin on the last day of the transfer window and given some time he was settled he proved to be a very good signing for us. What I never understood then or even now is why Wenger has to wait till the last day of the transfer window to buy a player of Arshavin’s caliber? What is he waiting for? To get a cut price deal or what? I think that’s a big risk and should not be taken when dealing in the market for players of such high class. You never know when a rival might come in and scupper the deal for you.

Frankly speaking If Arshavin had come to Arsenal at the beginning of January, who knows how that bad run of draws might have turned out and we might even have had a chance at the title. Haggling over a million dollars cost Arsenal scores of points and in the broad scheme of things I really wonder if it was all worth it. I am glad that at least this year Wenger had his eyes on Vermaleen and closed the deal much earlier which gave the new joinee time to mingle with the team and helped his integration in the team to a great deal. The result of which is apparent in his performances from the first match itself.

I remember last summer we were trying to get Xabi Alonso from Liverpool who in turn were trying to buy Gareth Barry. Wenger went in with an offer on the last day of the transfer window which was around a million short of what Liverpool wanted. Around 12- 15 million pounds was the amount speculated then. For a player of Alonso’s class couldn’t we have bought him for what it took? For all you know it would have been us selling him to Madrid this year for more than twice the amount we bought him for. And Last season’s results could have been much different with the Spanish partnership of Alonso and Fabregas in the middle. Anyways, what’s happened has happened. We cannot change that but sometimes it pains me to see Wenger haggle over players of the class of Arshavin, Alonso or Nasri. He is too adamant and sometimes his haggling tactics backfire (like in the case of Xabi Alonso) and the negative impact of the same is very difficult to even calculate. Xabi Alonso was a smaller case to point out. Wenger’s policy has cost us many a good players in the past which includes the likes of Ronaldo (Fergie outbid Arsenal), Eto’o (Was offered by Barca in a swap deal for Henry), Wilson Palcacios who had a trial at Arsenal and we suggested him to Birmingham where he flourished and was snapped up by Wigan only to be sold a year later to spurs for a magnanimous profit.

So for all the shrewd deals Wenger has done over the years, he sure has missed quite a few too. Imagine Ronaldo having come to Arsenal instead of going to Manchester united. The last 3 years the title wouldn’t have been at old Trafford. Henry might not have left Arsenal for Barca and what not. But again we should let bygones be bygones and learn to move on.

One good piece of business Wenger has done in the past couple of years is snatching away Aaron Ramsey from under Fergie’s nose a couple of years ago. Ramsey shows so many glimpses of Fabregas when he was that age. I already think its Wenger’s plan to train young Rambo on the lines of Fabregas and groom him to take over the centre of Arsenal’s midfield before we sell Fabregas to one of the Spanish giants for a record breaking amount in a couple of years.

Arsenal teams looks to have good balance this time of the year especially with not many people out with long term injuries. We could have done with a better keeper I am sure, but Wenger decided to continue with his faith in Almunia. Almunia isn’t bad but he is prone to one off errors which can cost us some valuable points.

Defensively I think we are very well covered especially since Senderos could not be offloaded to any team. I still feel Arsenal should’ve stolen Everton’s deal for Johnny Heitinga and brought him to the Emirates and in the process offloaded Senderos to Everton (who were in dire needs of a defender to cover for Lescott’s departure to Manchester City). I rate Heitinga among the very best defenders available in the market today and he would have been a good backup for Gallas and Vermaleen. Anyways we still have Djourou, Silvestre and Senderos as backup for the centre half position. For Right back we have Eboue as a back up to Sagna and for Left back we have Armand Traore and Kieran Gibbs as backup to Gael Clichy. More than enough coverage I guess. Though the quality drop for the backup compared to the first team is immense at some places.

Given Arsenal’s new 4-3-3 formation. I’d prefer Alexandre Song over Denilson as Defensive midfielder simply because Denilson gives away the ball too easily at times. And I continue to say that Song is fast emerging into a great Defensive midfielder for Arsenal. Arsenal recently tied Bendtnar and Denilson to long term contracts and I hear one with revised terms is on the cards for Song too. Denilson can play in this position as a backup in case Song gets injured etc.

In front of Song I would like Fabregas and Nasri to play. Once Nasri is back from injury I would like to see him flourish playing his favored central midfielder role alongside Captain fabulous. Diaby, Denilson, Ramsey and Merida can play as back up for these positions in the absence of Nasri or Fabregas. Merida looked good when he came on as a substitute in one of the matches and he too recently signed a long term contract with Arsenal. Merida sure has potential and just needs to keep working hard in training to impress the manager for more minutes this season.

For the three forwards I would like Van Persie to play through the centre for the sheer reason of his height. Eduardo/Arshavin can play down the left and Arshavin/Walcott can play down the right. Obviously the front 3 formation is very fluid and they will all keep changing positions so as to make runs into the penalty box. As back up to the wide men we have Rosicky returning from injury, Walcott returning from injury soon, young Jack Wilshere with that sensational left foot of his, Carlos Vela, Fran Merida, Diaby, and Armand Traore etc. As a back up at the centre we have Nikolas Bendtnar who scored some crucial goals for the team last season. Then there are Vela and Eduardo who are natural strikers.

I think the squad has a good depth to it when you isolate each position individually. The problems for Arsenal have been when a couple of players face long lay-offs due to injury and there is not enough quality to fill the gaps.

In spite of all that I still think if Arsenals first team players can remain fit for most of the season and especially the crunch matches then we will have a really good season ahead of us and who knows a much awaited trophy might come our way.

Preferred line up: –

 

                                                        Almunia

 

Sagna                        Gallas                        Vermaleen                  Clichy

 

                                                  Alexandre Song

 

                                     Fabregas                         Nasri

 

 Arshavin/Walcott                                                        Eduardo/Arshavin

                                          Robin Van Persie / Bendtnar

 Subs: – Fabianski, Eboue, Djourou, Kieran Gibbs, Walcott/Eduardo, Bendtnar/RVP, Diaby/Denilson/Vela/Rosicky/Wilshere/Ramsey

All in all I can’t say we need to replace some one in the first team (except the goalie) unless it’s with an established world class player. But the bench sure could have been strengthened to a great extent. But still if this Arsenal team cannot put up a good fight for the title as well in the FA cup and Champions league I am sure to be surprised.

 Go gunners go!!!

Man Utd 1 Arsenal 0

Another lame match at display in the first leg of the second semi finals of the Champions league.

Man utd started out all attacking and had a chance just after 2 minutes as Almunia was forced to make a fully stretched save.

Man Utd took the lead from a somewhat unlikely scorer in John O’Shea as he found space after Arsenal failed to clear a corner in the 17th minute of the match.

The goal did calm the nerves at both ends but made the game a lot boring. It was a night of good defense at both ends which was followed by measured attacks.

Almunia made around a dozen saves to limit the scoreline to 1-0. He was a man on a mission to make as many saves as the number of shots that came towards his goal. He did let one go past him from O’Shea but that was more to slack defending from Arsenal that his mistake.

Kieran gibbs at left back was phenomenal. He had to handle Cristiano Ronaldo in the first half and Wayne Rooney in the second half and did he do a fantastic job keeping tabs on both of them. He looked a bit nervous against Middlesborough the other day and i was so not sure about him being pitted against Ronaldo tonight. Maybe all the hype in the newspaper got to the kid. He was out to prove that Clichy should be looking over his shoulders going forward. He had one of the best games of his career without doubt and Weenger would be extremely pleased by his showing tonight.

Arsenals creative 4 i.e. Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott and Adebayor didn’t have much of a game and that was the reason there was no finished product to any of the Arsenal attacks.

Song i think was excellent once again and the more i see of the lad the more sure i am becoming of the fact that he will be one hell of a Star player for Arsenal in the future. Diaby though was disappointing as he kept losing posession and hardly created an attacking move.

Silvestre and Toure were pretty solid at the centre of defense. The defense surprisingly looked pretty good for Arsenal. And that would be a positive thing for Arsenal going into the second leg next week.

I still think Man Utd will prove too much for Arsenal in the second leg. Though i wish Arsenal can nip it with 2 goals in the second leg.

See you next week. Till then Adios…

Liverpool 4 Arsenal 4

What a game there was at display. 7 second half goals and yet not a winner…

Arsenal took the lead from a delightful team move following a error by Mascherano. Nasri took the ball and played a measured pass to Fabregas who then set it up for Arshavin to slot it in the middle for the opening goal of the game.

That was the only goal of the first half. Liverpool dominated the half but Arsenal got the lead.

Liverpool came all guns blazing in the second half and scored 2 goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half through some more defensive errors via a Torres header and a scrappy little finish by Benayoun.

Arsenal got the lead again after Arshavin completed his hat-trick by scoring a quick double, the first of which was a stunning finish to blast the ball across Reina’s goal and past him.

Then Arshavin scored a late goal at the stroke of 90 minutes for Arsenal his 4th of the game and the game was all but won by Arsene Wengers team.

But the Arsenal defense which at times has seemed liked one of the worst defenses in the premier league shattered again to allow Benayoun to score the equalizer in injury time.

Arsenal defense including the young keeper Fabianski looked completely below average throughout the game.

I dont understand what Wenger saw in Fabianski and why he has not gone and bought a decent keeper in the summer or at least the January window.

I sincerely hope Wenger buys a good first team keeper in the summer and also a couple of good defenders.

Arsenal might be cursing themselves to have given away 2 points as they gave away the lead three times after leading at 1-0, 3-2 and 4-3.

Well all said and done the amazing run of games for Arsenal in the premiership continues as they are now unbeaten in 19 consecutive league games.

Bendtnar for me was the weak link as he hardly managed to touch the ball all evening. If there is a player who is lazier than Berbatov it will have to be Bendtnar. He just tries to put on a show of moving around but somehow managed to hardly get a decent possesion of the ball even once…

I am not such a big fan of Adebayor and dont regard him all that highly, but after seeing Bendtnar today i have started to realize why Arsenal fans around the globe regard Adebayor as such a great player.

Wenger, please sell Bendtnar, Denilson and Fabianski in the Summer and buy at least 1 good defender and a good Keeper. Another versatile defender might not be so bad i guess…

Arsenal v Manchester United Semi Final no. 2!!!

A wonder strike from the World’s best footballer helped Manchester United become the first English side to beat Porto at home and go through to the Semi Final of the Champions league.

The Red devils slayed the dragons in their own home ground after Ronaldo scored a stunning strike from all of 40 yards to give United the cushion they needed to sit back and absorb any attack from the dragons.

It was a classic European job by Fergie’s men.

They will now face Arsenal in the semifinal after Arsenal comfortably defeated Villareal by 3 goals.

Wonderkid Theo Walcott opened the scoring after just 10 mins with a delightfull chip over keeper Diego Lopez. Walcott was a constant thorn in the right side of the midfield troubling Capdevilla on more than one ocassions…

Adebayor scored the second at the hour mark and after the next few mins Walcott won a penalty for Arsenal. The decision was dubious and Villareal players protested to no avail.

Robin Van Persie converted from the spot to make it 3-0. Arsenal are comfortably through.

Once again we have an English side assured place in the Champions league final and who knows we might have another all English Final…

Great game by Arsenal and Good European display by the Red Devils.

Catch you all at the Semi finals again!!!

Barcelona v Chelsea semifinal it is then!!!

What an amazing game of football did we see last night… Chelsea were caught napping in the first half to go down by 2 goals and almost give the Kops a chance to go through…
Gus Hiddink must have had some magic words to say to his team at half time coz the chelsea that turned up in th beginning of the second half was something else… They scored 3 goals to put the game beyond Liverpool..
But i’d have to agree with a lot of pundits out there that Liverpool is one of thos sides that you can never write off in Europe. They scored 2 late goals in around 2 minutes to put the score at 4-3.
The game was there for the taking again, Liverpool needed just 1 more goal to go through.
But it wasnt meant to be for Liverpool, they came so close and yet it wasnt meant for them to go through to the Semi finals. Lampard scored a late goal to make it 4-4 and put the tie well beyond Liverpool’s reach.
But chelsea were looking a distant shadow of the side that so comfortably outplayed Liverpool in all facets of the game last week.
Petr Cech in particular looked like he had been drunk at times. He really was a bag of nerves, unsure where his goal post was and unable to catch hold of the ball or punch it clear into safety.
Alex scored a stunning goal through a free kick.The pace and power of his free licks remind me of another Brazilian free kick legend Roberto Carlos.
Lampard had 2 goals against his name by the end of the match. Drogba was lucky and helped in a big way for his goal by Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina.
For Liverpool, Aurelio scored a great goal to break the dead lock in the game through a stunning free kick. Xabi alonso doubled the liverpool lead from the spot when he was brought down in the box by Ivanovic.
Lucas was lucky to have his shot deflected into goal for Liverpool’s third and Dirk Kuyt headed in Liverpool’s 4th from a Riera cross.
The final score was 4-4 and we witnessed a stunning night of European football.
Liverpool have crashed out of the Chmpions League alright, but they go out with their heads held high and with the utmost dignity of a side that was up to any challenge but it just wasnt there night to be.

In the other game of the night Barca went through comfortably into the Semi final after a 5-1 aggregate score following a tame 1-1 draw in the second leg at Bayern Munich.
Today predictions: –

Manchester united to crash out… (Which i hope they dont)
Arsenal to go through on penalties… (Which i hope they do)

See ya after the games tonight…

Barcelona v Chelsea Semi Final!!!

Another Splendid night of European Football…

Barcelona – Bayern Munich:  4-0

Barcelona thrashed Bayern for 4-0 at home..That went right with my prediction… The tie is all done now and beyond Bayern’s reach.

Bayern were caught napping in the first half as Barca started scoring for fun.  It was as if Bayern defense did not do any homework for the Barca Trinity. They looked dazed at the ease at which Barca started scoring.

Messi & co. lead Barca closer to the Semi Final

Messi & co. lead Barca closer to the Semi Final

Messi led the Barca attack scoring 2 of the 4 goals and Eto and Henry shared 1 each.

Liverpool v Chelsea:  1-3

Look at Xabi alonso, he typifes Liverpools performance: Caught Sleeping

Look at Xabi alonso, he typifes Liverpools performance: Caught Sleeping

In Liverpool the story was much different.. Where inspite of the early Lead Benitez’s men could not keep their nerve’s and Branislav Ivanovic was the unlikely hero as he slid 2 from 2 corners past Pepe Reina in the Liverpool Goal. Drogba , the big match player that he is, scored the third for Chelsea from a delightful team effort to make it 1-3 for Chelsea. This tie too is almost beyond Liverpool now as they cannot be expected to go to Chelsea and win 3-0.

Ivanovic: Unlikely Hero for the Night...

Ivanovic: Unlikely Hero for the Night...

Chelsea showed great character to comeback so strongly from being 1 down. They were helped strongly by the unlikely hero of the night Branislav Ivanovic who put two delightful headers past Reina.

So what have we got at the end of the first leg of the Quarter finals. 2 teams that are more or less through , 1 team which has all the chance of making it there and 1 which has a tough task ahead to make it to the next stage.

I feel Arsenal will sail through and Man U might struggle. But this is Champions league my friend, the tournament where you can seldom predict the outcome, the tournament of tactics, the tournament of away goal rules and where away goals rule…

So lets just wait for a week and know for sure…