Return to Championship Manager 01/02 Season 2 (19/20 Data) – Conclusion

The end.

THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted.

Greetings one and all, especially faithful readers of this series. Firstly, I owe everyone an apology. The last instalment of this Championship Manager challenge was back in June 2020. At that time, tragedy struck. The device running the game, as well as completed screenshots at the time, went kaput. With three months left of the season to go, it was a season derailed. However, a few weeks ago, said device was finally recovered. Given this challenge used data from the 19/20 season, I have no intention of riding the wave of that season, like Liverpool FC are at the moment week after week. Instead, and with the intention of a new season with more recent player data, I bring to you a round-up of the remainder of this challenge. Enjoy.

March

Premier League:- 

February ended with Chelsea improving in the Premier League, yet still twenty seven points away from runaway leaders Manchester City. Even the possibility of Champions League qualification is a longshot unless a near flawless final ten games is achieved. Or winning the competition itself. Sounds familiar….

March’s fixtures are as follows: Man Utd (H), Liverpool (A), and Newcastle (H). Ouch. Here’s the results.Transfer Ban mar 2

Transfer Ban mar 9

Transfer Ban mar 10

Not too shabby. The win against Liverpool a particularly impressive one. Although, they are used to losing at home these days. Boom boom. Here’s the table after those results:-

Transfer Ban mar 12

Man if only five of those eleven draws were wins, eh? Still, with twenty-one points still up for grabs the Champions League places are still possible, just. Speaking of the Champions League, lets see how Chelsea faired there.

Champions League:-

In group stage phase 2 (I really don’t miss those days), there is a home tie against Shakhtar Donestsk and a sure-fire battle at the Bernabeu against serial Champions League winners, and general shithouse team Real Madrid.

Transfer Ban mar 3Transfer Ban mar 6

The final group games include a first defeat in this stage for Chelsea against Madrid, just, but it has no bearing on the final group table. Chelsea power through the knockouts. Against the other Madrid.

Transfer Ban cl table

Transfer Ban mar 7

FA Cup:-

Finally for March there’s the next round of the FA Cup. This quarter final is an away tie against the runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City. Yikes.

Transfer Ban mar 4

Ah well. A good effort but ultimately a defeat, and another competition draws to a close for Chelsea this season. Only the Champions League remains for a chance of silverware. And now, onto April.

April

Premier League:-

Chelsea are nine points off of fourth place in the Premier League, but have played a game more than most. Results need to start going their way for any real chance of climbing the table. Four games await, with two at home and two away.

transfer ban apr 6transfer ban apr 8transfer ban apr 22transfer ban apr 26

Wow. Just wow. Four wins on the spin throughout the whole month. Maybe a manager of the month award is on the cards? And what about everyone else?

transfer ban apr 30

Those four wins have really closed the gap on nearest rivals Leicester City. Just one point in it now. The upturn in form is so strong that only Manchester City have lost less games than Chelsea. Considering where they were as the January transfer window approached, this is a run only Frank Lampard could have dreamed of. Speaking of City, they of course wrapped up the title despite just their second defeat of the season, almost mirroring their historic 2018-19 campaign. For now though, its Champions League knockout football. 

Champions League:-

Chelsea powered through to the knockouts alongside Real Madrid, but its to the other end of Madrid for the quarters.

transfer ban apr 1

A 90th minute hammer blow from Joao Felix means Athletico take three away goals back to Spain for the second leg. Never say never, but its a uphill task.

transfer ban apr 13

And by half time, Chelsea are rising to the task! Batshuayi going off is of course a concern, but so far they are on course for a great knockout victory.

stransfer ban apr 15

They have done it! After Kovacic made it 0-3 on the night, Athletico burst back with two goals in seven minutes, which would level the tie and bring extra time. That is until the Chelsea midfielder completed his hat-trick with ten minutes to go for a famous 6-5 win on aggregate. Phew! Next stop, Barcelona!

transfer ban apr 21

May

Premier League

This is it, the final fixtures of yet another Premier League season. A tough away day at Arsenal, followed by a home tie with already-relegated Sheffield United, ending the season with a home tie with Everton. Lets do this…

Transfer ban May 2

That’s one down. A late win but comprehensive in the end. But how does that affect the table?

Transfer ban May3

With two games left it couldn’t be much title, with even second place a possibility. None of which no one would have predicted at the start of the year. Done, done, onto the next one.

Transfer ban May7

Batshuayi’s goals are what have ignited Chelsea’s form this season. These FOUR, including a seven-minute hat trick, means he is on 35 goals for the season. Incredible.

Transfer ban May8

But elsewhere, Leicester leapfrog Man Utd and Liverpool into second place by beating both of them consecutively. A big statement there with leaves Chelsea now just goal difference away from Champions League football guaranteed. And here is how the final fixtures ended.

Transfer ban May9

Sadly, Chelsea’s 4-1 victory is not enough. With Liverpool narrowly beating West Ham 2-1, and Leicester claiming a last-minute victory at Watford, it means Chelsea miss out on Champions League football with an inferior goal difference. By one goal. Gutted. Here’s the final table.

Transfer ban May10

Norwich, Newcastle and Sheffield United drop to the Championship once again. Chelsea’s championship form in the last three months just wasn’t enough in the end. And now, the small matter of the Champions League semi-final.

Champions League

Transfer ban May1

Oh dear. A disastrous start thanks to Christensen’s red card, and Barcelona take full advantage. They will get one hell of a fight at Stamford Bridge, but is this a mountain too tall?

Transfer ban May4

Ultimately, it is. But Chelsea’s performance was superb, with only coming short in the goals department. They can hold their heads high after that. It’s a Liverpool/Barcelona final.

Transfer ban May11

And it’s Barcelona’s once again after an extra time winner. An all-English final in a British stadium might have been a bigger spectacle, but this was a tight, competitive final.

FA Cup Final:-

Transfer ban May6

The closing fixture of the English season is always the FA Cup final. Manchester City were going for a league and cup double against the 2006 finalists West Ham United. A spirited 2-goal comeback from the Premier League champions triggers extra-time, but West Ham have the final say, restoring their 2-goal lead for an unlikely victory.

And that’s the season wrapped up. I do hope you enjoyed it, I am certainly pleased to get it finished so those of you who followed can savour

And that’s the season wrapped up. I do hope you enjoyed it, I am certainly pleased to get it finished so those of you who followed can savour the end. If this is your first instalment, please take a look at the previous monthly segments and let me know your thoughts. Maybe I’ll do another season with 2020-21 data. Cheerio!

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here:-

August September October November December January February

Championship manager and its fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 Season 2 (19/20 Data) – February

“And so, to the transfer market. I think it is time to target the indifferent midfield. It needs an injection of attacking flair and sharpness”

THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.

THE CAVEAT: Chelsea are back in the transfer market.  But as before, any transfer bids must be accepted.

February. That treasured month of the year that was long associated, for all non-Arsenal fans anyway, with many a season’s demise for the Gunners. The Champions League is back. The League Cup final looms. The FA Cup hits crunch time. It’s all happening. For Chelsea, a new look side will enter the fray as the league season also enters the final third. And after all, its the final third that determines the outcome for all.

January Manager of the Month: Pep Guardiola

tenor

Pep does it again. 4 wins and 2 draws (1 of which was against a certain plucky Chelsea side) resulted in City keeping top spot throughout January, as well as progression in the FA Cup. Pep’s side are as currently devastating as they are decisive.

December Player of the Month: Sadio Mane

giphy

Liverpool’s Senegal forward has 18 goals for the season going into February. 7 of those came in January alone, including 2 in the 7-2 romp of Manchester United. Oof. An award never in doubt.

Premier League Fixture #25 – Wolves (Home)

Transfer ban feb 1

Boom. February starts with a bang. Batshuayi continues with his fine form, netting his 21st and 22nd goals of the season in just 25 games. I think Chelsea have found their star forward. Olivier Giroud continues his fine form also with his 15th of the season. Both target men are hitting top form at a great time. Ruben Neves, one of many January transfer dealings for Chelsea, namely from their opponents here, nets his first goal for the club, crowning the victory in the final moments.

Its another defeat that, with Sheffield United pulling off a much-needed victory of their own, pushes Wolves down into the relegation zone in their place.

Transfer ban feb 3

And that is the final action of Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo. In his place comes one of Barcelona’s most decorated players and manager – Luis Enrique!

Transfer ban feb 2

That storming win in the West Midlands means Chelsea keep up the pace on Bournemouth, who also win. What a season they are having. That aforementioned victory for The Blades means they leapfrog Aston Villa as well as Wolves. And while that is a massive step towards Premier League survival….

Transfer ban feb 4

…It appears that a new prospect was more tempting for manager Chris Wilder. Football can be a ruthless and opportunistic world. At the top, City have a tight one against Sean Dyche’s Burnley, but a win is a win. And it’s a win that puts them 7 points clear at the top as all sides reach their 24th fixture. 14 games to go, 42 points potentially up for grabs.

Speaking of ruthless, another manager loses the fight to keep his job. Mauricio Pochettino, with Spurs languishing in 10th on a mere 30 points, has been replaced with…

Transfer ban feb 5

..someone who has at least had a better season thus far. Bournemouth are currently 4 places higher, and 7 points better off. Howe’s win rate is among the top 6 for the season. But, they have also lost almost as many matches as they have won. The problem for both sides is defending, so it will be interesting to see how this develops. Given that the now-abandoned Bournemouth were in a much better position for a European place.

Premier League Fixture #26 – West Ham (Away)

Transfer ban feb 6

After an unbeaten January, it feels surreal enough to go a further 2 games unbeaten. Let alone win 2 in a row. This Chelsea side is hitting top form perhaps a little too late in terms of the Premier League. However, its perfect for the remaining cup competitions. The only blemish is the injury to top scorer Batshuayi. Nevertheless, this is away win number 5 of the season.

Transfer ban feb 7

So, its 2 weeks out for the Chelsea top scorer at such a key time. He will miss the home game against Spurs and the FA Cup 5th round tie against Aston Villa. But far more significantly he will miss both Champion’s League group stage ties against Borussia Dortmund.

Premier League Fixture #27 – Tottenham Hotspur (Home)

Transfer ban feb 8

Unfortunately, nothing to report here. Any dropped points at home can be considered a failure of sorts. Given Spurs were on the back foot throughout, with Hugo Lloris literally saving them from defeat, that narrative rings true once again. Looking on the bright side, its another point added to the tally. Next up is Dortmund at home.

Champions League Phase 2 Group A: Fixture #3 – Dortmund (Home)

Transfer ban feb 9

Unprecedented. Unthinkable. Unbelievable. What. A. Win. Dortmund are completely dominated from start to finish. Even with it being pulled back to 2-1 at one stage. Any other outcome simply wouldn’t have been right. It almost eclipses the 5-1 drubbing of Real Madrid, but this performance was better. 7 points from this tough group so far. Amazing.

Transfer ban feb 10Transfer ban feb 11

In more domestic news, Sheffield United have replaced the departed Chris Wilder with Lee Bowyer. Down on the coast, Bournemouth have hired Paul Lambert to fill the Eddie Howe void. Lambert is typically a more conservative manager, it will be interesting to see how much the Bournemouth dynamic changes at this crunch time of the season.

FA Cup Fifth Round – Aston Villa (Away)

Transfer ban feb 12

Phew. This was a close one. On the back of the tremendous Dortmund victory, Chelsea looked tired in this cup tie. But even with Christensen having to go off early on, Chelsea’s turn of the year resolve continues, with the incoming Pedro snatching a win at the death. We go on!

Transfer ban feb 13

As for the rest of the round, no replays and very few surprises. Newcastle’s woeful league campaign is masked as they proceed at the expense of Paul Lambert’s new side Bournemouth. Norwich’s rocking defeat at home to Championship side Fulham is the biggest shock of the round. Wycombe Wanderers of League One gave it a good go against Eddie Howe’s Spurs, but just lose out.

Transfer ban feb 14

It was inevitable. Man City are far and away the best team in the country, and are very unlikely to be caught in the league. But this is a different chance to have a small margin of bragging rights domestically. And just like that, it’s back to the Champions League.

Champions League Phase 2 Group A: Fixture #4 – Dortmund (Away)

Transfer ban feb 15

Another close one, with Lacazette’s second half double looking to have settled the tie. That is until five minutes from time, when Giroud pops up with his fifth goal in this Campions League campaign to salvage a point. Chelsea remain unbeaten with 2 games left and in pole position to qualify. Fuck yeah.

Transfer ban feb 16

Over in Spain, in the same group, Real Madrid unload on Shakhtar Donetsk after their 2 previous defeats. They could even afford for their self-proclaimed talisman Sergio Ramos to go off injured. To be fair, they were already 7-0 up, plus Shakhtar were already 5-0 down when they went down to ten men. A walk in the park for the competition’s most successful club.

Premier League Fixture #28 – Watford (Away)

Transfer ban feb 17

Jorginho has been in scintillating form, and this match was more of the same from him. A stunning free kick gave Chelsea the lead, and a brilliant by-line cross meant an easy headed goal for Giroud. Another man whose form cannot be understated. Batshuayi is back. His assist for Pulisic at the death capped another fine away win for the boys in blue.

Transfer ban feb 18

Elsewhere in the gameweek, Man City take another step to Premier League glory. Their easy 5-0 away win at West Ham is topped by Man Utd only managing a draw at home to Lee Bowyer’s Sheffield United, who are desperate for Premier League survival. Eddie Howe’s Spurs are gradually improving, and their win over Everton puts them just below his previous side Bournemouth. Liverpool maintain their chase for Champions League placing with their 17th win of the season, which keeps Arsenal at arm’s reach away from a similar placing. More good news for Chelsea, that.

Premier League Table, end of February

Transfer ban feb 19

Man City’s lead at the top grows to 9 points, and look unstoppable right now. February was indeed a month of some real progress for Chelsea. One place gained, with 10/12 points obtained. The Champions League placing gaps could be too much, but with 30 points up for grabs, it’s still possible. But it is certainly worth noting that Chelsea’s last defeat in the league was against Everton in December. That was 10 games ago. There are 10 games left. After utter inconsistency, we finally have consistency. Now more than ever, there is no room for complacency. See you next month.

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here:-

August September October November December January

Championship manager and its fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.

 

 

 

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 Season 2 (19/20 Data) – January Transfer Bonanza!

“And so, to the transfer market. I think it is time to target the indifferent midfield. It needs an injection of attacking flair and sharpness”

THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.

THE CAVEAT: CHELSEA CAN BUY PLAYERS AGAIN. Any transfer bids must be accepted.

Following the decision last month to reduce Chelsea’s transfer ban, we’re back in the transfer market once again. Time to refresh and replace in order to contest some silverware. Hang on tight.

December Manager of the Month: Pep Guardiola

Guess who is back, back again. How many times is that now, Pep?

giphy.gif

After beginning the month with a 2-2 draw against local and title rivals Manchester United, six straight wins followed. It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

December Player of the Month: Moise Kean

tenor

Dancing aside, Kean has been on fine form for the blue side of Merseyside. Key performances include, naturally, his 2-goal man-of-the-match performance in the win against Chelsea.

And so, to the transfer market. As close as November I was thinking of hunting for a new striker, but Michy Batshuayi really has hit form since then, with 6 goals just in the last month. I think it is time to target the indifferent midfield. It needs an injection of attacking flair and sharpness.

Unfortunately, and inexplicably, Chelsea have been left were a mere £1.25m to spend on players. What happened? Wages happened, along with 2 or 3 major contract renewals. £40m came in, but just shy of £40m also went out. Including recieved transfer fees.

Now at first glance this looks like a disaster. If the team cannot be strengthened, then a disappointing season is surely on the cards. However, with the squad having depth in numbers, its time to offload the stagnant for some more vibrant talent. Championship Manager style. But first, back to the football.

Premier League Fixture #21 – Leicester (Away)

Transfer ban dec 1

Finally some resilience. Despite being pegged back by Pereira’s penalty in the first half, Chelsea kept up the pace with the one-time leaders of the Premier League throughout. Having being second best against most sides above them this season, this is a sign of Chelsea’s capability. Now just to hopefully add some quality too.

Transfer Funds Required

The problem this season has been goals. As mentioned before, Michy Batshuayi’s place is cemented with a great run in the first team so far. But he needs help. Pedro is on and off, Pulisic only seems to have a decent game from time to time. But furthermore, some of the younger players with high value could be the key. After all, I won’t be buying anyone with just £1 million in the bank.

First let’s take a look in the reserves. Old Antonio Conte favourite Victor Moses is still at the club and I wasn’t the only one that didn’t realise it. He is rated at a cool £7 million too. Unfortunately in Championship Manager you have to be ruthless, so on the transfer list he goes. Marco Van Ginkel is one of Chelsea’s many European youth purchases, joining the club at just 20 years of age. After a career-threatening anterior cruciate ligament injury, the major of Van Ginkel’s Chelsea career has been on loan at other clubs. Again, a handsome valuation of £5m will help towards first team reinforcements. Both are listed for sale, with immediate interest from Wolves and Tottenham respectively.

But what about the first team? I look at Callum Hudson-Odoi, a great youngster no doubt, but that £12m valuation just screams ‘sale’ to me. He simply hasn’t performed to the standard required. So, on the list he goes. Ross Barkley is another under-performer who will be shown the door for the right fee. Given the current state of Chelsea’s season, the managerial position is definitely on the line. There is still Champions League qualification up for grabs. There is still an FA Cup to win. There is still the Champions League itself to win. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

And now, it’s time for the FA Cup run to begin.

FA Cup Third Round – Burnley (Away)

Transfer ban dec 2

As soon as youngster Dwight McNeil is shown a red card for a dangerous two-footed lunge on Christian Pulisic, with Batshuayi putting away the subsequent penalty, this FA Cup third round tie is plain sailing for Chelsea. Marcus Alonso comes in and bags himself the cherry atop an easy third round victory. And now back to transfer news….

Transfer ban dec 3

And it isn’t the good kind. Olivier Giroud, a somewhat peripheral figure, yet useful, figure this season, could be on his way to the other part of north London. It wouldn’t be a popular move for sure, given the number of years spent at Arsenal.

Transfer ban dec 4

Or not, as the Frenchman quickly clarifies. This doesn’t happen very often in Championship Manager, but with some big games to come, it is a welcome decision by the forward.

Transfer ban dec 5

Spurs also tried a move for the transfer-listed Ross Barkley, with similar results. What a steaming pile of Hotspur.

Transfer ban dec 6

There is success for Spurs however with Marco van Ginkel. Off he goes to north London. Did Spurs have any players in the first place?

Transfer ban dec 18

Now it’s Chelsea’s turn. Time to inject some new blood and crank things up. Wolves’ Ruben Neves is hopefully one that is capable. At just over £6m, its a chance worth taking.

Transfer ban dec 8

Tottenham’s back again, this time for another out of favour midfielder, Danny Drinkwater. Despite winning the Premier League with Leicester, Danny’s career has nosedived ever since, and regular football just hasn’t happened for him. Hopefully this move to Spurs will work for all parties. It certainly does for Chelsea’s transfer balance.

Transfer ban dec 10

Another sale, this time of reserve starlet Reece James. A cool £4 million in the bank. Thank you to the blue side of Merseyside.

Transfer ban dec 7

Following the formality at Burnley, Chelsea next face a home tie against League One opposition in Ipswich Town later in the month. Hopefully a good chance to proceed further. And now, back to some actual football.

Premier League Fixture #22 – Manchester City (Home)

Transfer ban dec 11

A big fixture against the league’s form side. Chelsea were so, so close to getting the win. Man City found their saviour in Sergio Aguero with just a few minutes to go. Proof that one goal is often never enough.

Back to transfer news, a quick check on expiring contracts prompted a punt on another Wolves midfielder, Joao Moutinho. Instrumental in getting Wolves into the Premier League, and ensuring they have remained there, Moutinho has opted to move to the blue side of London from next season. Chelsea’s midfield is looking stronger day by day.

Transfer ban dec 12

Transfer ban dec 13

And what of Tottenham? Following bids on various Chelsea players, a further surpise emerged in that Dele Alli showed up on the interested transfer listings. Upon further investigation it appears Dele is having an awful time. Out of action, out of favour and now, out of Tottenham. Dele Alli is now a Chelsea player.

Premier League Fixture #23 – Brighton (Home)

Transfer ban dec 14

Batshuayi’s form could not have hit at a better time. Brighton might not be the strongest opposition, but putting teams to bed has been a problem for Chelsea all season. A hat trick for the Belgian secures a dominant home win. Let’s hope for more wins than draws as the season hits the final 15 games.

Transfer ban dec 17

Back to transfer developments, and it looks like more money for the Chelsea transfer kitty. Wolves have come in for the transfer listed Victor Moses. The bid was of course reluctantly accepted….

Transfer ban dec 15

…and splashed on Everton’s Lucas Digne almost immediately. The left back position hasn’t been secured by anyone consistently this season, so some major competition can only be a positive step.

Transfer ban dec 19

The squad is looking transformed already. Certain signings are also resonating with the rest of the squad also. Positive vibes all around. An its about to get better…

Transfer ban dec 20

Hudson-Odoi was the first player placed on the transfer market in this window. His £10m price tag seemed a bit much, and was left as a hopeful money earner. Now it has come in big. Thank you AC Milan.

Transfer ban dec 21

BREAKING NEWS: Tottenham confirm they have officially lost the plot with a counter offer of £12.25 million for Callum Hudson-Odoi. The player decides to stay in London, with close to an additional £3m going into Chelsea’s bank. Booyah.

Transfer ban jan keane

And so comes a final signing. With the departure of Rudiger earlier in the season, a cool £5m on England international Michael Keane should help bolster the defensive line nicely. I think Chelsea might be ready.

New Squad Tactics

Transfer ban Jan new tatics

Now that is looking much better in terms of balance. As the season has progressed Mason Mount has emerged as the partner for Jorginho, who sometimes steps in Kante’s role when he is unavailable. Batshuayi and Giroud are on form up front, and Alli loves the number 10 role. Things are looking up.

Premier League Fixture #24 – Bournemouth (Away)

Transfer ban dec 22

Blimey. What a start for Deli Alli. Within 20 minutes of his first appearance as a number 10, he is off the mark for Chelsea. Despite the topsy-turvy score-line this was a match Chelsea were always in control of, and more importantly, winning. A month unbeaten for the boys in blue.

FA Cup Fourth Round – Ipswich Town (Home)

Transfer ban dec 23

Another easy cup victory. Another 4 goals too. Good to see defenders getting a share of the spoils too. Onto the next round against Aston Villa!

Transfer ban dec 24

Transfer Round Up

To start out with the disappointment of having virtually no transfer money, and concluding with the signing of 4 key players could really turn the season around.

Transfer ban jan players out

What of the departures? With so much sale activity, the return of Ross Barkley to Everton was completely missed. £82m raised, and just £24.5m spent. I’d say that’s pretty good business.

Transfer ban dec 25

Elsewhere, across the globe, the Inter-American cup, otherwise known as the Copa Libertadores, came to its conclusion. River Plate came up trumps after a penalty shootout against Monterrey.

Premier League Table, end of January

Transfer ban dec 26

2 big wins and 2 good draws opens a gap between the top 7 and everyone else. Chelsea are by no means going to win the Premier League this season. But 5th is now only a 4-point gap. Hopefully Chelsea will also finally get that 10th win of the season.

At the top, City continue to dominate. The battle for 2nd is more interesting, with just 3 points between 3 teams. At the bottom, Newcastle looked doomed with just 2 wins all season. But somehow they are only 6 points from safety. Relegation zone mainstays Southampton and Sheffield United remain in trouble, with Wolves and Villa perilously close to the bottom also.

14 games to go. 42 points up for grabs for all. With the return of European competition also, its a make or break month for a new-look Chelsea. Until next time, TTFN!

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here:-

August September October November December

Championship manager and its fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.

 

 

 

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 Season 2 (19/20 Data) – December

“The game is long gone before his hat trick is complete, but that makes it all the more worth it against shithouse Sergio Ramos and company. This result has been a long time coming.”

THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.

THE CAVEAT: This time, they can’t buy it. Any transfer bids must be accepted. No players can be purchased.

November Manager of the Month: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Well, it was never going to be me, was it? I had a feeling on this one, and yet upon inspecting the stats, I’m inclined to question it. Of their 6 matches in December, only 2 were wins. 3 draws (albeit 2 of them against City and Leicester) were also clocked, as well as their first defeat of the season against a mid-table Spurs side. Hmmm.

tenor

Alright then, dickhead.

November Player of the Month: Sergio Aguero

giphy (1)

As far as Premier League memories go this past decade, Sergio Aguero already takes the crown with his now-iconic 2011-12 title-sealing effort. Now in his ninth season at City, the Argentine attacker continues to cement his legacy in Premier League folklore. The 4-time champion has taken the monthly award 6 times, so this is simply another one for the cabinet. 2 keys goals, an assist as well as an 8.3 average rating make him the best player for November.

Transfer ban dec 2

As for Chelsea, the board seem a little happier than “satisfied”. Quite surprising considering the stuttering league form. Speaking of which, next up is Norwich away.

Premier League Fixture #14 – Norwich (Away)

Transfer ban dec 3

As Jurgen Klopp once famously said “Boom”. This one was over in the first half, a fact cemented following the red card to Norwich keeper Fahmann. Only another injury scare to Kante being a blemish on the day. Thankfully he is out for just a few days. And now…..

Transfer ban dec 4

Remember this? It is likely going to one of the season’s defining moments.

Transfer ban dec 6

Bit of a problem there Jody, HE LEAVES THE CLUB IN TWO WEEKS.

Transfer ban dec 7

And just look at this. He was the club’s top scorer, played every match, then took the Barca bait. Yes, I subsequently dumped him in the reserves as a result. But pleading that the move is to acquire first team football? Good one pal. You had your chance. 

Champions League 2nd Group Stage Game 2 – Real Madrid (Home)

Transfer ban dec 5

Now here comes the boom! Giroud is preferred in the striker role, and the return is Champions League gold. The game is long gone before his hat trick is complete, but that makes it all the more worth it against shithouse Sergio Ramos and company. This result has been a long time coming.

Premier League Fixture #15 – Sheffield United (Away)

Transfer ban dec 8

ARGH. More frustration on the return to the domestic front. Sheffield United simply had the answer to almost everything Chelsea threw at them. The introduction of Champions League hero Giroud gave them a chance, but Chris Wilder’s men held off Chelsea for a great win in front of their own fans. The indifference continues.

Transfer ban dec 9

In other results, Manchester United get another win, and relegation-threatened Southampton pick up a vital win against European-placed West Ham. So, a chance for Chelsea to catch up is lost for now. Bottom of the table Newcastle are well beaten yet again, and Spurs maintain mid-table mediocrity with a high-scoring thriller at Wolves. And now news from the upcoming third round of the FA Cup….

Transfer ban dec 10

Could have been a much easier draw for sure. Turf Moor is rarely an easy place to go. Could be interesting.

Transfer ban dec 11

Big transfer alert! French international striker Alexandre Lacazette is on his way to Germany for a big fee. He has surprisingly only featured in 2 fixtures for Arsenal this season, and with Aubameyang running away with the goals this season, Lacazette is taking his chances (hopefully) at his compatriot’s former club.

Transfer ban dec 12

In the league cup, Chelsea’s next challenge will be away at Wolves in the quarters. Another difficult prospect. And it is up next.

League Cup Quarter Final – Wolves (Away)

Transfer ban dec 13

And so, the first cup elimination of the season. Hopefully the last of course. A topsy-turvy first half ends all-square, but Wolves come out on top in a tight second half. I guess you can’t win them all.Transfer ban dec 14

The other London club playing the same evening also go out at the quarter final stage, after a more comprehensive defeat to Sheffield United, who have started December very well.

Transfer ban dec 15

Over in Japan, Champions League winners Liverpool take on Boca Juniors, following their own Copa Libertadores glory. And it’s the Premier League side that come out as World Champions. Nice.

GettyImages-1189865020

And now for more transfer news…..

Transfer ban dec 16

Blimey. As far as transfer fees going in CM 01/02, this is as big as they come. Not content with turning Tammy Abraham’s head, Barcelona bring back the Brazilian moody midfield marauder to La Liga.

And now, title-chasing Manchester City await….

Premier League Fixture #16 – Manchester City (Away)

Transfer ban dec 17

Nothing. Not even a sniff. So far this season it has been blank after blank against the top 3. Not even a goal. Let’s move on to other results.

Transfer ban dec 18

That win for City cements 2nd place behind Leicester, who obliterate lowly Newcastle United, who surely look doomed. With both Manchester United and Liverpool drawing in their respective matches, the top 2 pull away a little bit more.

Transfer ban dec 19

With just 4 wins all season, this comes as no surprise. What is a surprise is the timing, with Southampton on a 2-match winning streak when the trigger was pulled. Will Southampton come to regret this decision?

Premier League Fixture #17 – Burnley (Away)

Transfer ban dec 20

A disastrous first half saw Chelsea well behind at 2-0. Thankfully swapping out the awful Pedro for Pulisic at half time sprang the midfield into life, as Chelsea clawed the game back for a draw. Jorginho, after securing the draw, is out for a few days with a twisted knee. With 3 matches left in this month alone, could it be a costly few days?

Premier League Fixture #18 – Everton (Away)

Transfer ban dec 21 The answer is… sort of. Chelsea are not short of quality in midfield for sure, but Jorginho has certainly been key to any success. Unfortunately, it is Kante who has a stinker, and is removed before being removed by a second yellow card. Once again shot to goal conversion rate is the big question mark here – the team simply isn’t delivering on the chances they are creating week in, week out.

Transfer ban dec 22

Well now, this is an interesting appointment. Gerrard has had enough of the dizzy heights of the SPL and jumped at the first available Premier League job that came up. I guess we’ll now see what he is truly made of.

Premier League Fixture #19 – Arsenal (Home)

Transfer ban dec 23

4 goals? That’s fantastic! Problem is, after going 3-0 with a little over 30 minutes to play it obviously went to Chelsea’s head. The missed penalty obviously wasn’t a heeded warning, as Arsenal go on to score with almost every attack. You know, to see it unfold on your screen, 6 goals scored in what felt like less than 60 seconds. The lead truly was too good to be true, but thankfully there was enough resolve to scrape a last-second draw. Phew. We’re halfway through the Premier League season, and Chelsea literally sit halfway in 10th.

Transfer ban dec 24Other picks from the gameweek include a demolition at Carrow Road as Man City hit them for FIVE. They also move into top spot for the first time this season, as the battle between 2nd and 3rd ends in a stalemate.

Steven Gerrard’s first match as Southampton boss also leaves them hit for 5 at home, by Sheffield United. Ouch. Newcastle lose yet again at home, this time to Bournemouth. It doesn’t look good at all for Steve Bruce. Maybe it’s time to return to penning football-related mysteries. One can but dream.

Transfer ban dec 25

Now this is a strange one. There was no news article advising Nuno Espirito Santo had left the club in any capacity. So, what on earth happened? A quick search for Wolves’ most important manager in decades shows he has moved onto the Portugal national job. Huh.

Premier League Fixture #20 – Burnley (Home)

Transfer ban dec 26

This one deserves a big poof of the cheeks. Only the second win in 7 league matches in December. Not the best month by a long way.

Premier League Table, end of December

Transfer ban dec 27

That last win puts Chelsea back up to 8th. Looking at Spurs in 14th, they have 2 games in hand which could see them nudge out Chelsea. The departure of Nuno from Wolves actually shows they’ve been left perilously close to the relegation zone, with just 4 wins all season.

Speaking of which, Villa, Southampton and Newcastle are locked at the bottom. They are also in danger are falling further away from the rest of the league.

And now, time for a potentially season-changing piece of news……

That’s right, Chelsea are back in the transfer market! Tune in next time for a bumper January review and transfer special!

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here:-

August September October November

Championship manager and its fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.

 

 

 

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 Season 2 (19/20 Data) – November

“Hey board, how’s that transfer ban appeal coming along?!”

THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.

THE CAVEAT: This time, they can’t buy it. Any transfer bids must be accepted. No players can be purchased.

Plenty to reflect on from an eventful October; Champions League stage 2 qualification is in the bag, but domestically goals, and more importantly wins, are proving harder to come by. Time to roll the sleeves up.

October Manager of the Month: Pep Guardiola

Good old Pep. Even by his own high standards, City have took a while to get going. But 4 straight Premier League wins takes Pep’s side within 3 points of the summit. Simples.

October Player of the Month: Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy hosted his own party for current title leaders Leicester. 5 goals in 3 matches, including 2 man of the match performances from the in-form striker. I could do with one of those.

Transfer ban nov 1

Transfer news now, with Rudiger looking certain to leave after last month’s offer from Bayern Munich. Cry. Hey board, how’s that transfer ban appeal coming along?!

Transfer ban nov 2

And there it is. No messing about. This could be another tough month.

Transfer ban nov 3

Oh dear. Talk about kicking someone when they’re down. “Satisfied” is Champ Manager code for “sort it out”.

Premier League Fixture #10 – Man Utd (Away)

Transfer ban nov 4

Big blow, this one. Second best from beginning to end, and even with the lack of goals of late, Kante’s injury creates further frailty in the defence. Could this be the beginning of the end for Chelsea’s domestic hopes?

Transfer ban nov 5

As am I. United are certainly on form currently, but Chelsea are so far off in terms of quality. This match simply highlights that fact.

Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 6 – Zenit (Away)

Transfer ban nov 7

A meaningless fixture for both sides, but for Chelsea a chance to try and improve on recent performances. Despite giving just that, once again it is taking chances that becomes the issue. Tomori, filling in for the departed Rudiger, is also very unconvincing in defence.

Transfer ban nov 8

And so, the final phase 1 group table. Atletico got the vital win they needed against Zagreb in their final fixture to make it through in second place.

CL draw

And so, with all qualifying teams decided, the draw for the next round takes place. Dortmund, shithouses Madrid and Shaktar, huh? There is never an easy Champions League fixture, so naturally they’re only going to get tougher.

Premier League Fixture #11 – Aston Villa (Home)

Transfer ban nov 11

At last. A first win in 5 for Chelsea. A close call, but a win nonetheless against strugglers Aston Villa. A much-improved performance from Tomori – with a goal to boot – being one of a few positive signs for Chelsea.

Transfer news at the top now, and another big wave made from title-chasing Manchester United.

Transfer ban nov 15

Stalwart Dembele, previously of Celtic fame under Brendan Rodgers, already had 2 goals in 5 for Lyon before making the jump to the Premier League. On paper, United certainly have the firepower to maintain their form. Ho hum.

Premier League Fixture #12 – Southampton (Away)

Transfer ban nov 16

What’s this? 2 wins in a row for Chelsea?! It’s been a long time coming. It’s worth pointing out here the switch from Olivier Giroud to Michy Batshuayi – who was previously in the reserves – has so far proved dividends. Have Chelsea finally found their replacement for Tammy?

Transfer ban nov 17

Elsewhere in the gameweek, Leicester lose again, this time narrowly at Spurs. With both Manchester Clubs winning, the top of the table is becoming a 3-horse race, with Liverpool not far behind either. Chelsea up to 7th. And now, the return of the Champions League….

Champions League 2nd Group Stage Game 1 – Shaktar Donetsk (Away)

Transfer ban nov 18

No disrespect to them, but on paper Shaktar Donetsk looks to be the weakest team in the group. To that end, this is the side Chelsea need to score maximum points against. However, given the second half onslaught from them, and Kepa thankfully being on fine form, this is a good point for Chelsea in the end. Just the matter of Real Madrid next. Eek.

Transfer ban nov 19

One of the few players this season to ask for a contract extension, Pedro, receives just that. He replies in kind. Thank you, sir.

Transfer ban nov 20

With the League Cup rearing its head again, a quick update on the current results of the round. Premier League side Burnley fall to the blades of Sheffield United at home, while the Seagulls of Brighton swan in and out of Wales with an away win at Swansea. West Ham far from hammer their way through to the fifth round against Wigan, but a win is a win.

Premier League Fixture #13 – Crystal Palace (Home)

Transfer ban nov 22

A single shot on target for Crystal Palace nets them a draw that ends Chelsea’s tiny win streak. Moreover, after Palace scorer Dann is later sent off, Chelsea fail to capitalise despite strong pressure. Once again Batshuayi gets on the scoresheet, making it 7 for the season so far, overtaking Abraham’s tally from earlier in the season.

Transfer ban nov 23

Come on Kante. In fairness, Chelsea haven’t done too badly without him.

League Cup 4th Round – Leicester (Home)

Transfer ban nov 24

Another tie, another table topper. But a blitzing first half from Chelsea, along with a goal from the returning Kante, see them through easily. The possibility of a domestic cup triumph can only boost them further.

Transfer ban nov 25

The first potential sacking of the season is upon us. Southampton are not bottom of the league, but very close to being. And not a 0-9 in sight here.

Transfer ban nov 26

More good news, with consistent performer Emerson signing on for another 6 years. Cheers, man.

Transfer ban nov 28

Uh-oh. Barcelona are back again. This time for Willian. Not much I can do about it either. A sour end to the month.

Premier League Table, end of November

Transfer ban dec 1

November was a mixed yet mostly positive month for Chelsea. 20 points away from the top of the table, with the heavy defeat to Manchester United all but proving they are struggling to compete with the elite. But 2 wins and a draw mean a climb up the table, with 2 games in hand that could mean a further climb to 5th place. Progression in both the Champions League and League Cup followed also. All in all, a better month.

Manchester United are still unbeaten, with a game in hand that could claim top spot anytime now. As they average over 2 goals a game, they stand in good stead to do just that. Leicester still looking strong despite a minor hiccup, and now share the league’s best defence along with Liverpool, who have also found form.

At the bottom, Newcastle are 4 points from safety, and only 10 points separate them from all the way up to 11th place. Southampton hold the record of having the most defeats, hence the public backing of manager Ralph Hasenhuttl. Nothing is defined as the league heads into one of its busiest periods; anything can happen. See you next time.

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here:-

August September October

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.

 

 

 

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 Season 2 (19/20 Data) – October

“In the list of ‘things that could only happen in a Championship Manager game’, that is certainly one of them”

THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.

THE CAVEAT: This time, they can’t buy it. Any transfer bids must be accepted. No players can be purchased.

A very indifferent September domestically for Chelsea, with 2 wins, a draw, but 2 defeats. Thankfully that form was countered by a stronger stance in European competition, remaining on course to qualify from a far from easy group. To then go into another group. The blurst of times indeed.

September Manager of the Month: Brendan Rodgers

Brendy

Ah Brendy Rodgers. From being just 2 points away from the Premier League title to the sack just over a season later with Liverpool, Rodgers has been on the up and up ever since. An unprecedented (even for Scotland) double treble with Celtic followed and is now flying high with 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City. The same applies to the land of Championship Manager, the only exception being that here they sit very pretty at the top of the table. 6 wins out of 6 made sure of that.

September Player of the Month: Ryan Fraser

AFC Bournemouth v Leicester City - Premier League

The 2018-19 Fantasy Premier League hero has had quite the month. When August was said and done, Bournemouth were winless and bottom of the pack. As September ended, they finished 10th, earning 10 points from a possible 15. One key player to that rise in form is Ryan Fraser. 3 goals across those 5 matches, along with two 10/10 performances means the monthly accolade is deservedly his.

Transfer Ban Oct 1

I’ll tell you what, “the board”, if you honestly believe Hazard would come back to the club he just left (yeah, right), then get working on that transfer ban appeal, eh? Nevertheless, a decent start to the season. I wouldn’t say I was pleased just yet.

Premier League Fixture #7 – Liverpool (Home)

Transfer Ban Oct 2

Alisson Becker is the main man in this scoreless effort. A hard-fought draw for both teams, but nothing exciting. The signing of Josef Martinez was highlighted previously as a significant threat for Klopp’s side, but who’s this coming off the bench in the second half? Sheffield Wednesday has-been Fernando f**king Forestieri?! In the list of ‘things that could only happen in a Championship Manager game’, that is certainly one of them.

Transfer Ban Oct 3

And here’s another. Manchester United storming the league, within just 3 points of top spot. Ludicrous. Surreal. Fantastic that I can say safely say that these days.

Transfer Ban Oct 5

But in fairness to this football simulation, Man Utd are genuinely hitting all the right notes. Signing Fulham’s powerful and passionate Serbian striker will only add fuel to that title-chasing fire.

Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 4 – Dinamo Zagreb (Home)

Transfer Ban Oct CL

Yet another blank from Chelsea. Not for the want of trying however, this Zagreb’s keeper is the one who plays a blinder. Still in contention for the next stage for now at least.

Premier League Fixture #8 – Newcastle (Away)

Transfer ban october newcastle

Another even match, with a crazy 20 minutes where Newcastle took the lead twice. Problem with that is, Newcastle are BOTTOM of the league, with Chelsea scraping a draw at the end. I appear to have a reactive team as opposed to a pro-active one.

Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 5 – Athletico Madrid (Home)

Transfer Ban Oct 7

A commanding performance. It comes at a time when Chelsea have been managing anything but, so it is certainly most welcome. Especially at this key stage of the European competition. Olivier Giroud proving his worth as the new top No.9 in the side also. Could this be the turning point of the season?

Transfer Ban Oct 8

Well, certainly a tick in the positive column, that’s for sure. 3 wins out of 6 usually provides a good chance of qualification, and wins against Zenit, Zagreb and group favourites Athletico Madrid have secured that. Unfortunately it isn’t all good news…..

Transfer Ban Oct 9

It could be a long month.

Premier League Fixture #9 – Watford (Home)

Transfer Ban Oct 11

The ever-reliable James Milner moved to Watford from Liverpool just before this match, for a tidy £800k. As ever, he proves his worth with a strong performance. Chelsea’s strong first half lead (and performance) is cancelled out in the second half, with Watford unlucky not to walk away with all three points. Home performances, even more so the results, are becoming a real issue for Chelsea.

Transfer Ban Oct 12

Elsewhere, a cracker of a fixture at The Emirates Stadium. A 2-0 lead to Liverpool is swiftly cancelled out by half-time, but by the final whistle Liverpool scrape an equaliser after Arsenal take a second half lead. You gotta love football, right?

Transfer Ban Oct 13

No. I hate football. It’s all coming apart.

Littlewoods/Rumbelows/Coca-Cola/Worthington’s/Carling/Capitol One/Carabao/Mickey Mouse Cup 3rd Round  – Nottingham Forest (Home)

Transfer Ban Oct 15

So it seems that anywhere other than the Premier League, Chelsea can actually score more than one goal. Not only that, but win a game, too! A tough cup tie against the Championship leaders, with a last-gasp winner keeping a Chelsea domestic trophy hope alive.

Transfer Ban Oct 16

Elsewhere in the round, Man City, Villa and Newcastle are out, falling to the sword of all-Prem ties. No other surprises on offer in a straightforward League Cup third round.

Premier League Table, end of October:-

Transfer Ban Oct 14

3 draws in all 3 fixtures doesn’t make for much progress for Chelsea. 12 goals in 9 is however much more worrying. In truth freezing out Abraham due to his upcoming move could well be a mistake. But I believe in the courage of my convictions, given the other attacking talent on offer also. Still, only 8 goals conceded means Chelsea have the 4th best defence so far.

Leicester finally lost a game, courtesy of fellow title chasers Manchester City. On the other side of Manchester, United remain the only unbeaten side, and could go top due to being a game in hand. Newcastle remain bottom, with just 1 win so far. Sheffield United and Southampton join Steve Bruce’s side, although there are 4 teams on 8 points so its tight at the bottom.

Until next time, TTFN!

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here:-

August September

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.

 

 

 

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 Season 2 (19/20 Data) – September

THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.

THE CAVEAT: This time, they can’t buy it. Any transfer bids must be accepted. No players can be purchased.

Last month the season exploded into life. Everton, Leicester and Chelsea hold 100% records in the Premier League, albeit through each side playing 1 more game than the next. Champions League Qualification is complete. And so far, just 1 player is leaving the club, albeit the current top scorer, Tammy Abraham. We go again.

Champions League Clarification

Speaking of the Champions League, the group draw is very tasty. The 1st phase group draw for Chelsea consists of Zenit, Dinamo Zagreb and finally Diego Simeone’s big boys Athletico Madrid. But what’s that I hear you say? 1st group phase? What’s that?

Allow me to clarify. Back in 2001/2 the Champions League was a different beast. Instead of the winners and runners up from each group going into the knockout phase we know today, they instead moved onto another phase of groups. These 4 groups once again duke it out in the same home/away format, with those 8 heading onto the Quarter Finals, and so on.

This format last for 4 seasons, ending with the 2002/3 season. It was tiresome, particularly the overkill of group stage football. The quality of matches have definitely improved over the years with the introduction of the World Cup-style knockout round. Anyway, on with the season. Awards time!

August Manager of the Month: Marco Silva

No surprises here. 3 wins, top of the league, 9 goals scored. It’s worth pointing out of course that in all those wins, Everton took the lead. 25 games and only 5 points from losing positions is the reality of this overblown manager. 3 Clubs in just 2 years tells a much clearer story imo.

Silva.gif

August Player of the Month: Lucas Digne

Everton’s best player in reality is unsurprisingly replicated much the same in CM 01/02. Two assists in a 4-1 drubbing of Arsenal, as well as consistant performances throughout the month make for an easy monthly award. And now, for September.

TeemingSecondaryAltiplanochinchillamouse-size_restricted.gif

Premier League Fixture #2 – Brighton (Away)

Transfer ban Sept 1A story of both sides at their best and worst in this one, but an entertaining high-scoring draw nonetheless. The introduction of US international Christian Pulisic for the ineffective Pedro reinvigorated Chelsea after going in behind at half time. Up stepped Tammy Abraham’s striking replacement, Callum Hudson-Odoi. His goal 5 minutes after the restart broke through a resolute Brighton defence and levelled matters. In the end however Kovacic had to rescue a point with another equaliser with just 12 minutes to go. Brighton were simply superb thoughout, particuarly on their left side of defence, with Chelsea simply finding no way through. Still, it means the resulting 2-2 draw is definitely a point gained for Chelsea.

Untitled

Elsewhere in the gameweek, Leicester’s 100% record continues with an easy 3-goal romp over Woy’s Crystal Palace. Game of the day has to go to the 8-goal thriller at the Vitality Stadium, where Sheffield United pegged Bournemouth back three times, before being finished off in the final fifteen minutes.

Transfer ban Sept 2

Just three days later, seven Saturday kick-offs take centre stage. Leicester’s run continues with an impressive away win at Arsenal (actually, is that impressive anymore?), and Everton maintain their run too. Ole’s Manchester United are also finding form with 2 wins in a week. And now for Sunday….

Premier League Fixture #3 – West Ham (Home)

Transfer ban Sept 3

A convincing win, despite the low scoreline. Pedro once again is unconvincing in attack. Ross Barkley’s winning goal is his second in 2 Premier League games, both coming in the the 68th minute. Lets have a few more, Ross. And now, the Champions League group stage beckons….

Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 1 – Athletico Madrid (Away)

CL1

Transfer ban Sept 4Cracker of a game this one. Both sides were excellent, with Athletico making the chances count more than Chelsea. The ineffectual Hudson-Odoi is replaced at half time by Olivier Giroud for his first appearance of the season. His heading ability brought Willian into the game, who equalised with a magnificent strike after a great run. Unfortunately ex-Man City starlet Gundogan had plans of his own, poaching the winner as the ball ran free in the box. It could have gone either way this, and despite the excellent performance, Chelsea come away with nothing. Plenty of games to go yet. Oh look, the Premier League is back.

Premier League Fixture #4 – Wolves (Away)

Transfer ban Sept 5Once again, a game that could have gone either way in terms of chances, but it’s goals that matter most. Wolves were superb at the back, halting all means of Chelsea attack. As simple as that. A first defeat of the Premier League season then, but will 2 defeats in a week be something to think about already? Well, with a third game in just 6 days coming up, it could get worse….

Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 2 – Zenit (Home)

Transfer ban Sept 6

Blimey. Hopefully it was something I said. An absolute powerhouse performance, with the match ball going home with Olivier Giroud thanks to a man of the match, 4-goal haul. Magnificent. Maybe Tammy’s true replacement has arrived. Off the mark in the Champions League at the second attempt.

Transfer ban Sept 7

Well very f*cking hell.

Premier League Fixture #5 – Leicester (Home)

Transfer ban Sept 8

Frank

PUT. THE. BALL. IN. THE. NET.

Well, its time for some… better news.

Transfer ban Sept 9

Thank you Olivier for becoming the first player to remain after accepting an offer elsewhere. Let this be a hopeful turning point even at this early stage.

Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 3 – Dinamo Zagreb (Away)

Forgot 2Its finally good to see one of these going Chelsea’s way. After the early goal and then subsequent injury to Emerson, Chelsea hold on in yet another end-to-end fixture. Really struggling to get control in most games. Something to work on.

Transfer ban Sept 11

Swiss saluter Xherdan Shaqiri is already on the move from Liverpool after just one full season. Well, hardly a full season of appearances anyway. The two-time Champions League winner heads to France.

Elsewhere, the increasingly-irrelevant League Cup rears its head once again. A home tie against a Nottingham Forest side that are currently top of the Championship. Tasty. And now, back to the Prem.

Transfer ban Sept 12

Premier League Fixture #6 – Spurs (Away)

Transfer ban Sept 13

Fixture number 5 of Chelsea’s domestic season, and for once, it couldn’t have been much easier. Spurs, other than keeper Gazzaniga, mostly rolled over in a nice away win. Ending the month on a high.

Transfer ban Sept 14

Speaking of highs, here’s a rare one for Arsenal. 3-1 down in the second half and coming away with three points. Not bad at all.

Premier League Table, end of September:-

Transfer ban Sept 15

As Brendan Rodgers would say:-

“I use a quote with the players,’Per aspera ad astra’, which is Latin for ‘through adversity to the stars’.”

Actually, that wasn’t the quote I meant, but its a good one nonetheless. Nobody who speaks Latin can be stupid.

“We showed great character.” 

That’s the one, Brendan. Cheers. Leicester lead the way with 8 wins out of 8, but Man Utd are on a 100% run of their own, with 7 wins so far. The 50% win rate for Chelsea could be much better. 9 goals in 6 games isn’t very encouraging either. What is encouraging however is Bournemouth, who if you remember were bottom at the end of August. 3 wins and a draw propels Eddie Howe’s side into 10th! Newcastle now occupy the bottom of the table, having lost all 6 of their matches so far.

And on that bombshell (sponsored by Sports Direct), tune in again for the October review, in 2 weeks time!

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here:-

August

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.

 

 

 

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 Season 2 (19/20 Data) – Pre-season/August

THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.

THE CAVEAT: This time, they can’t buy it. Any transfer bids must be accepted. No players can be purchased.

The amazing community over at the CM 01/02 website have done it again. Thousands of football and management sim fans can rejoice once again, with the arrival of the 2019/2020 data for freeware classic Championship Manager 01/02.

Back in February 2019 Chelsea Football Club were hit by a lengthy transfer ban. The 6-time Premier League champions (yes, football did exist before 1992) last won the title in the 2016-17 under Antonio Conte, then the first side to do by winning 30 games in a 38-game season.

Last season, despite a Europa League triumph and a strong 3rd place finish in the Premier League, coach Maurizzo Sarri found the lure of Juventus too strong after just one season in charge. The glory-hunting prick.

There may be little doubt that the inevitable sale of one Eden Hazard to Real Madrid for a cool £86 million, plus no chance to replace him due to the transfer ban may have also played a part, but still. The glory hunting prick.

As for the 2001/2 season of this video game in its original form, Chelsea’s season will no doubt be seen as building for the future, in hindsight anyway. Again, a new coach was installed in Claudio Ranieri, who in turn oversaw the arrival of one Frank Lampard, as a player of course, for just £11m. How important he would of course become as both a player and now, as their manager in this 2019/20 season.

But that is not the case in this challenge. Mr Transfer Ban is the manager installed, with the task of managing the squad as is. No additions allowed, with the added issue that the club will accept any bids for any players. It’s going to be interesting for sure……

 

Transfer ban expectations1

So the board expect a “respectable” league position. One would imagine the same as Frank himself is doing currently. Lets have a look at the squad.

Transfer ban 1st lineup7

It’s not a bad XI at all, is it? Chelsea are strong in all departments, with at least 2 reserves for every position, all of a similar quality. That ever important determination stat is in the high teens for almost every player too. So vital.

Tammy Abraham gets the nod ahead of both Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi, the latter of which had to be drafted out of the reserves. Kante and Jorginho are inter-changable, plus there is still Willian and Hudson-Odoi as attacking-midfield options from the bench.

Transfer ban transfers2

Naturally, moves are happening before the season starts. But not in the land of Chelsea. Cheaters never prosper.

Transfer ban Scholes3

Now this is hilarious. Because it went so well at Oldham. The knobhead.

 

Transfer ban bury4

Now this is a bittersweet touch. Bury FC of course went under this season for real, so this annoucement only brings back all the terrible shenanigans the clubs ownership enacted, ultimately dissolving such a staple football league club. Such an uvavoidable tragedy.

Transfer ban CLqual5

So onto the first order of business: Champions League qualification. Hopefully a foregone conclusion that Chelsea qualify. Anything else against the Greek side would be preposterousalopalous.

Transfer ban irony6

Back to the transfer ban, (because you know, plot device), the board sent me this nugget. YOU SOLD HAZARD, NOT ME. And now I can’t even buy him back in a fantasy game. ITS THE RULES.

source

Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round 1st Leg – Olympiacos (Home)

Transfer ban CLQ leg1 8

The initial draft XI remained unscathed in training, so this served as a perfect test for them. They did not disappoint, with Tammy Abraham smashing through the Olympiacos defence for a first half hat-trick. Jorginho crowned the victory with a second half volley to give Chelsea a foot in the Champions League group stage draw door. On to the Premier League.

Transfer ban Com shield 9

But before that, a nice little interlude. In the Community Shield, Liverpool fight back to win late against the reigning Premier League champions. Raheem Sterling was also substituted early in the second half, presumably because he was lost in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s pocket once again. Don’t f*ck with Liverpool, Sterling, eh?

Premier League Fixture #1 – Bournemouth (Home)

Transfer ban PL1 10

Same line-up, almost a mirror of the Olympiacos result. The game changer was the introduction of Ross Barkley, words I never thought i would muster. Nevertheless, after adding the second, Barkley’s introduction galvanised the attacking threat. Abraham and Jorginho also added to their open tallies for the season. So far so good.

Transfer Ban GW1 results

Elsewhere on the first matchday of gameweek 1, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United won the bitter North West derby against European Champions Liverpool. Could they fair better in the virtual world than the current reality? Unai Emery’s Arsenal faced arguably the toughest opening day fixture, with a narrow defeat to Pep’s Premier League champions. Very early days of course.

Transfer ban 11

In transfer news elsewhere (obviously), an interesting (and expensive) move for Major League Soccer striker Josef Martinez. For real-life context, Martinez has just finished his 3rd season in MLS, scoring a total of 77 goals, as well as 4 trophies, including the coveted MLS Cup. Don’t be surprised if the prolific Venezuelan doesn’t make a move to one of Europe’s top 5 leagues very soon.

As for the price, the highest transfer record in the world in 2001 was the £46 million Real Madrid paid for one Zinedine Zidane. The British transfer record was £28 for Juan Sebastian Veron, with the closest being Steve Marlet’s move to Fulham for £13.5 million, so £9.25m is pretty high.

Transfer Ban 12Transfer ban 15Transfer ban 16

In the background, results have been coming thick and fast. Some sides played their 2nd matches before some had even opened their account. I forgot how crazy it was back then. From these results, the early pace setters appear to be West Ham, Leicester, and Everton?! Crazy.

Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg – Olympiacos (Away)

forgot

Well, that’s that job done. Liverpool reject Lazar Markovic’s 22nd minute dismissal made it all the more easier, but in truth Tammy had already put it way beyond the Greek side’s reach in the third minute. Onto the Champions League! And the Super Cup is just 2 days away!

Uefa Super Cup – Liverpool

Transfer ban 17

As tight as a match could be, Liverpool manage to knick it in extra time. Adrian put in a man of the match performance, pushing out all Chelsea’s 7 shots on target. Much like the conclusion of the real 2-2 Liverpool penalty shootout win in real life, Adrian was once again the hero. First chance of a trophy gone. Otherwise, things are going well….

 

Transfer ban 19

Bugger.

Well, you know what? No one said I couldn’t try and keep players by other means. Let’s get a new contract on the table, Tammy knows how valuable he is to the club and no way would his immediate success enable him to think he could do it anywhere else. Especially a bigger stage like the Camp Nou.

Transfer ban 20

F*ck it.

Transfer ban 22

So, its ta ta from Tammy. At least he is available for another 3 or so months, although I really should start re-building around a different striker to keep some consistency. A real big test in just the first month. C’est la vie.

Premier League Table as of end of August:-

Transfer ban 23

After the first month of the season, the table shows a mixed bag. Chelsea, with only 1 match played, are still 8th with the win against Bournemouth. In contrast, Bournemouth have played 3 and lost them all. Everton with 3 victories lead the pack going into September. And Spurs are 15th, better off than 5 clubs below them, and haven’t played a minute of football yet!

Stay tuned for September! THREE Champions League fixtures! FIVE Premier League fixtures! See you then!

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.

 

 

 

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 (16/17 Data) – April ’02

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool.

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. This Coutinho is a loyal one.

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted. Although the window is over, players can still be approached for end of season moves.

April. FA Cup Semi Final. Liverpool STILL top of the league. Some European competitions also happening, or something. They don’t matter till next season. On with the show.

Before the monthly awards, in March I missed the small matter of just the 2nd sacking of this Premier League season. David Moyes finally departs Sunderland, who are rock bottom and doomed anyway. Shrug.

2nd Sacking

There was also the small matter of the League Cup final. Liverpool exited at the 3rd round stage to Derby, who lost 4-0 in the next round to Everton. Huh.

In this final, the far superior Spurs win convincingly, despite a scare at the end when Iheanacho pulled a goal back in the last minute. I expect Spurs to drive Liverpool to the wire in the Premier League; this will only aid that momentum.

League cup final

March Monthly Awards:-

Well fucking hell. Finally some recognition. Former Liverpool striker Christian Benteke on the other hand has had an impressive month. 4 goals scored in Crystal Palace’s 2 wins and a draw. 4 more than he ever managed in a Liverpool shirt in a single month.

March MotmMarch potm

Another month, yet another injury. Given it’s the captain, it does make it more significant. Hendo has been fantastic all season.

Hendo injury

PFA Awards:-

The prolific Harry Kane takes the Players Player of the Year award, with Zlatan and Benteke in behind. The goals from all 3 have certainly been the reason for their respective teams’ league positions.

PFA

The PFA team of the season is pleasing from a Liverpool perspective. Although Roberto Firmino has been Liverpool’s main striker all season, this team has him in midfield. Ryan Shawcross improved an already solid Liverpool defence, but it was also his Stoke performances that caught my eye in the first place. Loris Karius has also played a massive part of the best defensive unit in the league.

Overall the side is dominated by sides at the top, with 9 of the players coming from Liverpool, Spurs and Man Utd respectively.

PFA team of the season

FA Cup Semi Final (iPro Stadium, Derby):-

FA cup semi

It may have been only 2-1, but Liverpool were by far the better team. Palace quickly canceled out the opener by Sturridge, while Firmino was rested. Firmino was introduced following an injury to Sturridge at half time, but it was Klavan’s header that settled the tie. Given the absences of captain Henderson and Lovren, Klavan and Sadio Mane covered perfectly.

Liverpool go onto the FA Cup Final!

Fixture #32 – Watford (Away):-

Match 32

This is a hiccup Liverpool simply cannot afford to have right now. Dropping 2 points to a side almost certain of relegation is potentially disastrous at this stage of the season.

april 10

Elsewhere in gameweek 32, Spurs pick up a big win in the North London derby. They’re chipping away at Liverpool’s lead at the top. And the games just keep on coming.

Fixture #33 Leicester (Home):-

Match 33

Fuck. It’s all tumbling down. Leicester keeper Zieler has the game of his life, keeping out Liverpool’s TWELVE shots on target. Leicester manage 2 and score from 1 of them. Even down to 10 men Leicester’s resolve could not be broken. As a result Liverpool’s title dreams could be just that.

And the other gameweek scores:-

April 13

Holy shit. Spurs win at Bournemouth. That’s 5 points gained in 2 successive matches. By my reckoning that puts Spurs level on points with Liverpool WITH A GAME IN HAND. Liverpool have 5 games left. I can’t cope.

Oh christ here comes another match.

Fixture #34 – Crystal Palace (Away):-

Match 34

Ok, this is better. Karius earning his stripes in this one, keeping out everything Palace had to offer. It’s at this stage, now more than ever, that players need to stand up and be counted. Even then i don’t think my heart can take it.

April 17

Spurs don’t play for another 3 days, so the pressure is back on them for now. Hull Lose yet again, dragging them closer to the bottom 3. West Ham maintain 4th position with another home win. Arsenal cement mid table in a catastrophic season with defeat to Mourinho’s Man United to remain in the Champions League spots.

Fixture #35 – Southampton (Home):-

Match 35

Liverpool took a couple of bad results following the injury to Jordan Henderson. James Milner, having only featured sporadically all season, has stepped up the plate in Hendo’s spot. A 10/10 performance is exactly what is required.

april 20

A Kane-less Spurs come up short at the Hawthorns to give Liverpool a lifeline in the title race. United win again. Hull lose again. Manager-less Sunderland appear determined to drag Burnley down with them. The season is unraveling week by week now. Squeaky bum time.

Fixture #36 – Burnley (Away):-

Match 36

Another tight result against a team at the bottom. Only Liverpool could do this to its fans. Sadio Mane, brought on at half time for the isolated Wijnaldum, makes the difference with the match winner. He hasn’t featured all season, but this could be the goal that secures the title. Just keep winning. Just keep winning.

April 27

Unfortunately that’s what Spurs keep doing. Winning. They’re pushing Liverpool to the wire. Elsewhere, Man Utd have improved dramatically since dropping out of Europe. That’s 11 goals in 5 games for them. Liverpool have scored 6 in that time. But they’re still in pole position. Watford and Sunderland truly look doomed after defeats yet again.

In the Championship, Newcastle and QPR are back in the Premier League next season after achieving promotion.

QPR promoted

Newcastle promotion

Final table after April:-

April table top

Should Spurs win their game in hand, only Liverpool’s superior defence keeps them top of the table. The top 4 sides are now confirmed, it’s a battle for 3rd place between Man Utd and West Ham. West Ham having their best ever season in the Premier League era with 21 wins and only 6 defeats. Southampton are a side that have slipped under the radar a little. They are having an excellent season, currently in 5th place, heading above the declining Everton.

April table bottom

Down below, Hull are now in the drop zone themselves. They have lost more games than Burnley and Sunderland. Plus, Burnley’s 38 goals almost doubles what both Hull AND Sunderland have combined. So any 3 of these 4 will go down.

It’s tight at the top. With only 2/3 games left of the season, every point gained/lost will have repercussions. Next month: The conclusion of the Premier League season!

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here: Pre-Season August September October November December January February March

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2016 data update was used.

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 (16/17 Data) – March ’02

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. Forever the dream, right?

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. This Coutinho is a loyal one.

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted. And the window closes this month.

March heralds the end of the transfer window. It could also spell the end of cup and title runs should form dip dramatically. Lucky i’m not playing as Arsenal.

February Monthly Awards:-

Well i can’t believe this. Once again Spurs get all the monthly awards. Apparently being top of the league since day 1 of the season doesn’t count.

Little complaints on the player awards. Harry Kane and Debbie Alli of the White Harts have certainly been superb.

Feb motmfeb potm

Fixture #29 – Everton (Home):-

Match 29

It’s one hell of a Merseyside derby. Firmino breaks a toe shortly after his 16th minute opening goal. Emre Can is red-carded for a high, two-footed hack on Funes Mori. Everton equalise through the resulting set piece. Maarten Stekelenburg has a howler of an afternoon, gifting both Firmino’s opener and Clyne’s winner on 38 minutes.

We come out on top. We go on. The FA Cup quarter final is next.

Firmino injury

FA Cup Quarter Final (Away):-

FA Cup QTR

With Firmino out for a few days, i’m a little weary of Sadio Mane’s work permit renewal. So it’s the perfect time for him to show his worth, given he hasn’t been a regular all season.

The resulting performances of many are, as ever, very pleasing. The Hawthorns is no easy venue to go to, with many a top side becoming unstuck. But it’s the introduction of Daniel Sturridge that makes the difference. His winner with 10 minutes left halts West Brom’s revival of the tie just a few a minutes earlier.

On to the semi-final!

FA cup semi drawGreat. Liverpool’s bogey team. Should be interesting. It couldn’t be more neutral a venue either, at Derby. How it should be done. Not this Wembley semi-final rubbish.

Fixture #30 Tottenham (Away):-

The biggest game of the season so far. A defeat here could mean surrendering top place for the first time this season. Possibly for the rest of the season, given Spurs’ form.

Here’s how Liverpool lineup:-

Here we go

Except for Emre Can’s suspension and Firmino returning from his broken toe, Liverpool are at 100%. Milner fills in at left back as he has done effectively on occasion. Sturridge deputises for Firmino. This is a big ask, given the handful of appearances this season, but his goal return has been vital regardless.

Match 30

The battle of wits is won by the side at the top. David Silva’s stunning half volley just before half time clinches a crucial title race victory. Eight. Games. Left.

Elsewhere that week, Man Utd’s European campaign is over. Despite taking a 1-0 lead to Lyon, De Gea’s sending off opened the floodgates. Lacazette bagged a hat trick as Lyon hit United for 5.

Utd europeInjury update now, and this is annoying. Especially when key players get injured in international friendlies. Irritating.Lovren injury march

Well that’s the transfer window closed for the rest of the season. No further bids means no further transfers. No more distractions except for potential injuries.

Phew

Fixture #31 – Manchester United (Home):-

Match 31It could have been worse. It also could have been better. Hardly a spectacle, which is usually the case, but 2 points lost really. Spurs’ next match isn’t until next month, but fingers crossed for a decent result.

Final table after March:-

March Table top

Seven games left. Liverpool completed the double over their nearest rivals. 5 points clear but Spurs have a game in hand.  Liverpool are still in control of their own destiny, although that’s been the case in the past….. The pressure is real.

2 wins and a draw for Man Utd keep them in touch with the top 2. West Ham also continue their push for a European place, losing only 6 matches all season. Oh how Bilic would love that form right now!

March table bottom

Chelsea’s decline continues, after 3 straight defeats in March. Hull remain just 3 points above Burnley, with Watford and Sunderland looking more desperate week by week.

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here: Pre-Season August September October November December January February

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/  

For this blog the October 2016 data update was used.