Football Manager – Taking The Dolly Blues up the Leagues to into The Champions League  – Season 15

I’m into season 15 with Lancaster City and this is our 4th Premiership season where we have improved each year finishing 17th, 6th and then 2nd which means we can only do better this year by winning it which I would like but top 4 is our aim.

To improve on last year I would like a couple more players but unless we sell, I don’t think I need much as we have a good team that’s young and improving and we spent £150m last January on 2 star players including a striker that ended up our joint top scorer after only playing a few months as he got 16 in 18 games so if that continues this year he could score the goals to win us the league.

Ideally there is a young left back and right back that are both English and look fantastic that I would like to sign but I’ve only got £50m to spend and it would cost more to sign just one of them. If I don’t get them, I would like some English players as squad players to replace some of the foreign squad players but they usually cost too much and I’m reluctant to over spend on squad players but I’ll see what’s available.

I do have some players I’m happy to sell if the right money comes in but it would take big money so I can use it to spend big on the players I want.

My first signing of the season was a 23 year old World Class Brazilian striker for a bargain £16.5m due to his release clause. He is a striker that I’ve been trying to sign for 3 years but he would never talk to me and luckily now he would he hasn’t moved anywhere and his cheap release clause is still valid and will partner my £80m striker.

As I signed another striker I decided to sell my young £20m Turkish striker who was a record signing a couple of seasons ago but has never put in the performances that his stats warrant as he looks good on paper but rarely had a good game. I wanted to make a profit on him but in the end I accepted £20m so I didn’t lose anything, just his high wages over 2 years.

I then decided to sell a load of fringe players and players that I’ve signed for free but then loaned out as I needed to increase my transfer funds so I sold a 25 year old Finnish defender we got for free while in the Championship for £1.2m, a 23 year old Serbian right back we got last summer for free as he didn’t play much and we got £7.5m for him, a 20 year old Belgium right winger we got for free last summer and loaned out was sold for £14.75m, a 20 year old Brazilian right winger who also came for free and was loaned out was sold for £11m, a 20 year old Spanish striker was another we got for free last year and loaned out has brought in £12.75m, another right winger sold was a 22 year old Slovakian we signed for £800k in our first Premiership season was sold for £15m and a 22 South African left back who has been good for us in the last 4 years but was now back up was another we got for free and he was sold for £12.75m.

I’ve also loaned a few players out that either I couldn’t sell or who are future prospects than need games so including loan fees and those sold I’ve brought in £104m.

That money has given me a nice boost in transfer funds and as most didn’t play much for me last year the only position I’ve weakened is at left back but once I got the money I’ve broken my transfer record again and signed a 20 year old English left back wonderkid for £90m, his stats are amazing but the fee is more than I’d have liked as English players usually cost more than foreign players would.

I did get a bargain English player too as I signed a 20 year old defender than can play across the back 4 who only cost £2m but he will probably only ever be a back up player but a solid back up player as he has potential to be a good premiership player.

I also picked up a 19 year old Romainian midfielder and 19 year old Belgium midfielder both for free but they’ve been loaned out for a decent loan fee and will probably be sold in the next couple of years for a profit.

It was then our first friendly game and we have signed 2 players for the first team squad and sold or loaned out 19 which hasn’t depleted the first team and we won our first pre-season game 8-0.

I then brought in another player signing a 21 year old Danish centre back/right back for £18m. I nearly signed him in January for £35m but pulled out as I needed the money for other signings so it was good to get him now for a lot cheaper, he’ll be playing centre back as 3rd choice to start with but he could become first choice.

I was wanting a 21 year English right back/centre back from Norwich that has immense physical stats and already has 25 caps for England but they will only accept an offer that matches his £95m release clause up front, I’d pay that much as he’s world class but I don’t have the money to pay up front so I’ve gone for my second choice which is a 19 year old English right back wonderkid that has cost me only £26m and has the potential to be world class but is good enough to be my first choice.

That’s 3 English players signed which will help me with the Europe home grown quotas for the Champions League.

The rest of the friendlies went well as we won them all scoring in total 22 and conceding 1 in 6 games.

Checking the season preview and we are much better than the last few seasons as we are now predicted to finish in 11th and are 50/1 to win the title which is good.

Our first game of the season was away to Fulham who are predicted to finish 9th ahead of us but there was a big difference in the ability of the teams as we beat them 5-2, we were 4 up then they scored 2 poor goals before we got a 5th.

We then had the clubs first ever Super Cup after winning the Euro Cup last season and we play Liverpool who won the Champions League and we started great scoring an early goal and then all highlights were us attacking until they equalised from their first highlight and it remained 1-1 until a penalty shootout where they missed their 6th pen and we scored all ours to win the shootout and get our first trophy of the season.

After cup success we had some poor league games as we first drew 2-2 at home to Arsenal and then drew 0-0 away to Everton which should be good results but the goals conceded against Arsenal were from more poor defending and against Everton poor defending nearly cost us if not for our keeper.

I’m not sure what’s going on as last year we were good defensively and I’ve improved the full backs so we should be better but we keep getting caught out by long balls clearances going to the opposition players through on goal, I might need to look at changing something.

We then had the Champions League group draw and as we were runners up in the league last season we are part of the 1st seeds which will give us 1 less big team which is good. The draw wasn’t too bad as we got Athletico Madrid, RB Salzburg and Zorya which could have been a lot worse as there were bigger clubs in the other pots and the group we have means we have a chance of qualifying in the top 2.

On transfer deadline day I wasn’t planning on making any more signings although I did have money to spend and when Arsenal put in a £52m offer for a 22 year English Elite attacking midfielder I’ve been scouting I decided to match their offer and sign him as I didn’t want to miss out on someone that good and English, I’m just surprised he joined us over Arsenal.

It does however mean a change in tactics, I was already thinking about a change as so far my 2 strikers haven’t been playing great together as only 1 or other seems to score so as my Brazilian striker is also 5 star ability as a left inside forward I was planning on moving him wide and now I’ve got a good attacking midfielder I can play a 4-2-3-1 formation using the same team instructions as I have been, the attacking midfielder can also play left inside forward as another option.

If anything it gives me 2 tactics I can use and I’ve more options in case of injuries and squad rotation.

Our first game in September I played the new tactic and although our Brazilian striker was injured I played a back up on the left and while we were only playing Burnley at home we had a good game beating them 5-0 with my new attacking midfielder getting 2 assists and my £80m striker playing on his own up top getting all 5 goals.

We followed that big win up with another big win beating Leeds away 4-1 before playing in our first Champions League game at home to Athletico Madrid where we won 1-0.

Another good league win followed beating Wolves at home 3-0 but then we lost our first game in all competitions as Norwich beat a reserve side 4-2 in the Carabao Cup.

Our next league game was the first game this season where we had all our best 11 players fit to play. We are at home to Leicester and fell behind after 17 minutes and looked poor, I was expecting a better performance but it looked like they were the better team until we got a 41st minute penalty which we scored and half time it was 1-1. The second half was much better as as we took the lead and after they equalised we pushed on and got 2 more to win 4-2.

Better than the result was both my star attackers scored as my new Brazilian made his first start as an inside left forward and scored twice while my star striker scored our 4th and his 12 league goal in 7 games.

We started October with our second Champions League game where we had a bigger win beating RB Salzburg 4-1 away and then we had a narrow 1-0 away win in the league to Brighton.

8 games in and we are the only team unbeaten in the league but we are only second 1 point behind Man Utd who are the only team to score more than we have as they have 25 goals to our 24, we are also starting to pull away from 3rd early in the season, the way we are both playing could mean it being a two horse race but it also means we can’t afford to slip up if they don’t.

Our next game seemed like we would have more of a challenge as we had Man City at home who took an early lead and I thought it would be a hard game but we scored 3 goals before half time. After half time it was 4-1 and we were comfortable until we gave the ball away twice and they countered and scored but we got a late 5th to settle the nerves and get another win, the 3rd time we’ve scored 5. At 4-3 I was thinking we would throw the win away as they only had 5 shots on target and scored 3 while we were battering them, we ended up having 21 shots, 14 on target and an xG of 3.57 while their 5 on target came from 11 shots but they only had an xG of 0.87 so it we could have had a bigger win than it ended up being.

I played my reserves in the next European game and they beat Zorya 4-1 away and then after that we lost our first league game away to third placed Chelsea. It wasn’t just a loss but a 4-1 loss where they scored 4 from 5 shots on target, at one point they had 3 goals and an xG of 0.27, it was higher at the end as they ended up having 11 shots, 7 on target and an xG of 1.63 but when they were 4 up it looked like they could have shot from anywhere and it would have ended up going in.

It wasn’t like we deserved to lose by that much either as we had 20 shots, 8 on target and an xG of 1.74, we also has more possession, more clear cut chances as they had none, they didn’t even have a half chance, not sure how they managed to score 4 goals and we only got 1.

Defensively we seem to be conceding with most shots on target against us, even speculative shots and those that produce a low xG which is annoying.

That loss has put us down to 3rd now after 10 games, 4 behind Man Utd in top and 1 behind Chelsea.

We then rescued a home draw with a last minute goal against Tottenham which shouldn’t be a bad result against the reigning champions however we conceded another goal from their first shot on target which had an xG of 0.12 and then we battered them the rest of the game and should have scored more than 1 if not for their keeper doing his best impression of superman.

We did pick up another win in Europe afterwards as my reserves got a 2-1 home with against Zorya which means 4 wins in 4 and we have guaranteed to qualify from the group.

Going into the international break we had bottom club Birmingham at home so I was hoping for a big win and we got it winning 6-1 although I still wasn’t totally happy as they only had 2 shots and scored from the first one yet again as our defender gave the ball away after our corner and they countered and scored. Even getting 6 was disappointing, I might be nit-picking a bit but we had 34 shots and 19 on target and they were down to 10 men the last 20 minutes but we wasted too many chances.

After the international break we had a big game away to Liverpool, so far against the big teams we have created a lot, put 5 past Man City but lost to Chelsea and drew to Tottenham so this game could go either way and thankfully it went our way as our domination got us a 4-1 win with our Brazilian inside forward getting a hattrick including a 40 yard volley straight from their keeper kicking it to him.

We’ve now scored 41 goals in 13 games which is crazy as it’s over 3 goals a game which I don’t think I’ve ever had a team scoring that many, it’s 1 more goal than we scored in our first Premiership season which shows how much we have improved in just over 3 seasons.

Although we’ve only lost 1 game and scoring loads of goals, we’re still only 3rd in the league behind Man Utd and Chelsea who are both having a good season while Arsenal are 4th only behind us on goal difference and Everton are only 3 points behind us so it’s tight at the top.

We then ended November with a 2-1 loss away to Athletico Madrid as I played the reserves who were rubbish, we are still top of the group on results against Athletico due to getting an away goal.

Our first game in December was away to 17th Southampton so after putting 4 past Liverpool I was expecting another game where we could score a few and after having 20 shots, 9 on target and an xG of 2.13 it ended goal less as we missed a penalty and their keeper got man of the match.

We followed the poor draw with 2 league wins beating Norwich 2-0 and Watford 2-1 where in both games we should have scored more based on the number of chances we created and then the reserves beat RB Salzburg in our last group game 7-0 to top the group.

The 7-0 win is a new club record and has been coming all season as we’ve been creating a lot of chances but in too many games we’ve encountered super keepers keeping the score low but not in this game as we scored 7 in 22 shots with 13 on target.

It was then time for the youth intake assessment and I’ve got used to not getting a golden generation or even more than one decent player this time it’s slightly better than usual as we could be getting 2 decent players as it says one centre back looks promising and there’s an attacking midfielder to keep an eye on.

We then had Sheffield United away just before Xmas which was another game where we battered them and they had a super keeper, we eventually broke them down in the 86th minute and won 1-0 but our xG of 3.46 showed we warranted more goals again.

Since scoring 41 goals in 13 games, we’ve now scored 5 in our last 4 despite creating just as many chances and have good expected number of goals it seems teams have either given their keepers performance enhancing drugs, there’s something happening in the match engine to limit our goals so not to hammer teams too often, or more likely we have got to the stage in a season where other teams adjust their approach to games and due to our good form and high number of goals I’m putting it down to teams now upping their game and working harder to limit us scoring goals, it’s just starting to get a bit annoying seeing us having that many chances and high xG but struggling to score.

After the game we had the draw for the first knockout round of the Champions League and as first seed I was hoping to avoid the bigger teams in the unseeded teams but we didn’t and got drawn against Real Madrid which looking at their squad and seeing it full of world class players its going to be hard to get past them.

We have 2 more games to play this calendar year, first away to lower table Derby on Boxing Day and then at home to top of the table Man United 3 days later so I decided to rest my best 11 and play the reserves against Derby and hope to get a result and then I can put a fit first 11 out against Man Utd.

The Derby game wasn’t great as expected playing my reserves but we did get a 1-0 win, it’s interesting though how we only got 1 when we didn’t create much as we only had 3 on target and an xG of 0.80 when you compare it to the previous game we won 1-0 where we had about 4 times as many chances and xG. At least we picked up 3 points while playing a weakened side and didn’t drop points which is good as it put us ahead of Man Utd by 1 point briefly before they won their game later in the day to go back top.

A win at home to Man Utd would take us top going into the New Year but it didn’t happen as we lost 3-2 in another game that pissed me off a little bit as their 3 goals came from 5 shots and an xG of 0.61 and their third came from our attacking throw in which I analysed and could see that my players weren’t where they were supposed to be as we had 1 player staying back instead of 4 and my player threw it straight to their player and one long ball later they scored.

I would have rather have been hammered 5-0 without creating much while being dominated, it would be a worse defeat but at least a justified defeat instead of dominating and losing to a stupid throw in bug, a super keeper and conceding though shots that have a low expected chance of being scored.

That loss puts us down to 3rd, 2 points behind Chelsea and now 5 points behind Man Utd going into the New Year.

I don’t plan on signing anyone in the January transfer window, I spent a lot last January and in the summer so I’ve not got much money and for all my frustrations with the game where we aren’t scoring or losing to stupid goals, my team is playing well, dominating games and creating lots of good chances with a high xG so I can’t see how I can improve anything by signing players.

The New Year got off to a good start as we beat Fulham 3-1 in what was looking like another frustrating game after they scored from their first shot on target and for a long time we couldn’t get past their super keeper but we did eventually score 3 from our 16 shots on target. What made the result better though was that Man Utd lost their game and Chelsea draw which put is back up to second 2 points behind Utd.

The win was followed by our second loss in 3 games and 3rd of the season as Arsenal beat us 2-1 away. After we took the lead in the 2nd minute they pulled one back from a speculative shots, surprise surprise it was their first shot of the game and then 10 minutes later our centre back for some reason had the ball on the left side of the pitch and stood there to let their player take it off him and run through on goal.

I may be pissed off with the game at the moment but it seems like 90% of our goals come from us playing good football while 90% of the goals conceded start with us giving the ball away for a soft goal. I can’t look at the stats for errors leading to goals as stats are currently bugged in game, one of many bugs in FM21, so the section for errors currently has no information at all yet I know we have made lots of mistakes leading to goals as I see it happening all the time.

I was raging again in the next game as we were 2-0 down at half time at home to Everton as they scored with their first shot on target, I’m getting sick of saying it now but it’s happening all the time, they then scored with their 3rd shot on target, 2 goals with an xG of 0.24 while we were battering them. A half time bollocking happened and in the second half they didn’t have another shot while our pressure and relentless attacks saw us score 4 second half goals that we deserved.

We ended January with a few routine, less rage inducing games as we beat Burnley away 3-0, Leeds at home 1-0 both in the league and then we beat Championship side Blackburn away 3-0 in the FA Cup fourth round.

And then it was transfer deadline day and although I hadn’t planned on signing anyone in the transfer window, I did earlier sign a 18 year old Brazilian striker and a 21 year old Uruguayan striker on free transfers as they were released by their clubs, they both have potential but they are just really players that will make us a profit when we sell and have both been loaned out straight away for loan fees.

Then on deadline day I ended up signing 2 players for money, 1 is a 18 year old Uruguayan midfielder for £9m who will be a squad player now and a 18 year old Argentinan striker also for £9m who I’ve loaned out but he will be come a squad player next season, both have 5 star potential so could be future stars.

I also tried selling my 23 year old Chinese midfielder as he wanted to leave due to not playing but we only got offers of £5m when he’s worth £22m and also worth a lot in commercial value so won’t be sold for cheap, I did however loan him out for £230k a month as my new Uruguayan midfielder will replace him in the squad.

There were no permanent transfers out of the club in January but we did end up sending 9 players out on loan. We are beginning to resemble real life Chelsea with having loads of players out on loan and also signing players with no intention of playing them, just loan them out for loan fees before eventually selling for a profit, it’s financially a good way to do things.

Our first game in February away to Wolves I played my reserves and they won 4-1, I played reserves as we have games Saturday, Tuesday, Friday before playing Real Madrid the next Tuesday so squad rotation is needed.

While we won, Chelsea beat Man United putting us only 1 point behind top and it’s now looking a 3 horse race as after Chelsea then won their game ahead of my next game they went top having played 1 game more which put us 3rd 2 points behind them but we are 9 points ahead of 4th with a game in hand.

We had a chance to go top in the next game away to Leicester as Man United only drew their game so we would go ahead of them and Chelsea by winning our game in hand. Leicester unsurprisingly scored with their first shot on target, we then got 2 goals and controlled the game until the 79th minute when we had an attacking throw in and as you could guess from my previous rants the ball was thrown to their player who ran from inside their own half past 3 of my players to score what was only their 3rd shot of the game and after that nothing happened and the game ended 2-2.

Another game where we have conceded from our attacking throw in and another game where they have scored through a low number of shots and their 3 shots all game were on target with an xG of 0.20 so they shouldn’t even be scoring them, their first goal had a 0.05 xG so basically no chance except when it’s against us.

After our reserves beat Brighton at home 1-0 we had the away leg to Real Madrid which I was expecting to be a hard game and I thought it was going to be a big defeat when in the 18th minute we had a free kick to the side of their area, they cleared to their striker who only had 3 defenders to beat, he beat one then the closest to him ran away to let him get past then ran after him and fouled him giving away a pen

Real scored the pen which like most games this season was their first shot of the game, you can’t make it up, it’s nearly every game it seems to happen. Luckily it was their only shot on target all game and we equalised just after half time, we could have won if not for another team having a super keeper stopping our domination scoring more goals.

3 days after that game for some reason we play Chelsea at home on a Friday despite playing away in Europe mid week when Chelsea didn’t have a mid week game which means we play the team at the top 2 points ahead of us when they have a fully fit team and our best players are tired.

Chelsea didn’t score in this game with their first shot as it was off target, however their second shot was on target and they scored. Chelsea then sat back and defended as they barely had another shot while we couldn’t get past their keeper but once I went more attacking and put 3 up top along with attacking wingers and attacking midfielders and no one in actual midfielder we got 2 goals in the 84th and 87th minutes, I then went cautious and dropped players back a bit and we got a 3rd in the 93rd minute to win 3-1.

Up until the last 6 minutes it looked like another game where they score with their first on target and have a super keeper but we eventually got the goals we deserved. They only had 1 more shot on target after they scored a goal and had an xG of 0.32 yet nearly won it which I wouldn’t have been happy with.

We didn’t go top though as Man Utd won their game which takes them back top ahead of us on goal difference and we are both 1 ahead of Chelsea who are 12 ahead of 4th with 10 games to play.

It’s getting beyond a joke now and I know I’m started to sound like a broken record and I’m tilting a bit and maybe need a break from the game before I lose my sanity but we’ve just been knocked out of the FA Cup away to Championship side Newcastle after they got a 1st minute penalty so scored with their first shot of the game and then they done nothing but defend and have a super keeper as we lost 1-0. Yes I know it happens in real life but not this often and it’s not like it’s a game you see in real life where teams dominate but don’t create clear chances or have lots off target, in this game we had 28 shots, 16 on target and an xG of 3.42, we should have scored.

Never mind, onto the next game which starts a run of hard games as we have Man City away, Tottenham away, Real Madrid at home then Liverpool at home, if this run goes bad it could end our season.

The run got off to a good start against City as it was our turn to take an early lead as we scored with our second shot on target in the 4th minute but again they equalised with their first shot on target from a 24th minute corner and then took the lead with their second shot on target in the 28th minute from the edge of the area. We then equalised in the second half but then their right back scored his first goal of the season with their 3rd shot on target from about 25 yards out which the commentary says was an optimistic effort.

Again another game that’s pissed me off as we lost 3-2 where in the end they had 8 shots, 4 shots on target and an xG of 0.94 and score 3 goals while we had 27 shots, 11 on target, an xG of 2.76 and scored 2 with their keeper getting man of the match. Their matching winning goal came from a right back that hadn’t scored in 36 games this season but pops up with a wonder goal to win the game.

Maybe it’s my goal keeper that’s rubbish letting everything in even though he came 3rd in the world’s best keeper award, is described as a commanding goalkeeper and has brilliant stats yet can’t seem to make a save.

We had a much better result away to Tottenham as we won 3-0 but we weren’t the better team as Tottenham had more and better chances and it was our keeper that had a man of the match display. It seems like games we dominate we can’t score and concede from most low xG shots on target but a game like this when we aren’t the better side we get a much better result.

The win has taken us top of the table as Man United lost away to 15th Sheffield United and Chelsea could only draw at home to 9th Leeds which has put all 3 of us on 68 points, we are top with a goal difference of 43, Man Utds is 42 and Chelseas is 37.

Mid March we got the youth intake and the initial assessment made me think we were getting a good defender and a good attacking midfielder but we only got a decent attacking midfielder and not much else, although with the team we have now even 2 or 3 star potential players might else up being ok so I’ve offered contracts to those that had ok stats to see if they do develop.

It was then the home leg against Real Madrid and after getting a 1-1 draw away I was hoping we would do better at home, especially as we were much the better team in the first leg. The game went our way as Real were poor and rarely tested our keeper and we were 2-0 up after 69 minutes but it did get nervey at the end as they pulled one back in the 89th minute and I had flashes of being FM’d as an injury time goal would have knocked us out, especially after seeing their keeper make 3 world class saves after they scored and when they broke away from our corner in the last minute I expected a goal but my defender took their player out before he could get anywhere near my goal and the game ended 2-1 to us and 3-2 on aggregate.

Our next league game was another hard game at home to Liverpool, or at least on paper it should have been a hard game but we were loads better than them as we had 20 shots, 9 on target, an xG of 2.37 and had a penalty compared to their 5 shots, 1 on target so by those stats you’d think I’d have won but they also had a super keeper who got a rating of 9.3 and it ended 0-0, I’m just surprised they didn’t score with their only shot on target.

We stay top despite dropping points but only because Utd and Chelsea played in the FA Cup so now have a game in hand over us.

I played the reserves in the next game at home to struggling Southampton and it looked to have backfired when they took the lead through a 70th minute penalty against the run of play but we scored 2 minutes later and then got a winner in the 92nd minute.

We were then back in Europe and the reason I rested players in the last game was that we were away to the number 1 ranked team in Europe PSG. Looking at their team they should be much better than us but I thought that about Real Madrid and just like the Madrid away game we came from behind to get a deserved 1-1 draw and really should have won it as we missed a 94th minute penalty.

Inbetween the PSG games our reserves beat bottom club Birmingham 2-0 putting us 5 clear at top albeit having played 2 games more than others and then we had the home leg of the PSG tie and for once a team didn’t have a super keeper as we took an early lead, they equalized a few minutes later but we scored 2 more before half time. A second half goal extended our lead and although they had a man sent off it ended in a 4-1 win to take us into the semi finals where we will play Man Utd.

Then after going behind away to Norwich as they scored with their first shot of the game we came back and won 5-1 keeping our 4 point lead at the top still having played 2 extra games.

Man Utd and Chelsea both won their first game in hand cutting our lead to 1 over Chelsea and 3 over Utd though we have a better goal difference over both but not by much.

Our reserves continued our winning run as we beat Sheffield United at home 3-0 and to make it better Man Utd lost 4-1 away to Arsenal which puts us 6 ahead of them and they only have 1 game in hand. The win also guaranteed Champions League football again next season as we can’t finish lower than 3rd.

Next is the Champions League semi final first leg against Man Utd and we are at home, ahead of this it was announced that our u18s had just beat Man Utd in the u19 Champions League final, now it’s down the senior team to emulate them.

The first leg was possibly our greatest game of the season as our domination was rewarded with goals and by half time we were 3 up. We scored an early second half goal, they then went down to 10 men before we got a 93rd minute 5th goal before missing a 95th minute penalty with the game ending 5-0. They only had 3 shots all game with 1 on target and never looked in the game, we should, unless something really goes wrong in the second leg be in the final.

We had a home game against 16th Derby which should be an easy win but despite the fact they have only scored 35 goals in 36 games they took the lead with their first shot, then doubled it from the penalty spot with their second shot, we pulled one back before they scored again with their 3rd shot and we were 3-1 down at half time, other than the penalty the other goals came from mistakes by our players.

We started better in the second half scoring right after half time then equalised before they then scored a fourth goal. We then got a fourth and had a goal disallowed and the game ended 4-4 which may have ended our title hopes as Chelsea now have 3 games in hand on us and are 5 points behind, we need them to slip up in at least 2 games now.

Derby got 4 goals for the first time in a game all season for them having averaged less than a goal a game, they only had 6 shots all game, 1 player got only their second goal of the season while 2 players got their first goals of the season, sometimes I wonder if FM does that on purpose to piss people off.

After the league game we were back in Europe with the second leg of a tie that should be over and while Man United scored an early and late goal, we scored 2 inbetween and the game ended 2-2 taking us to the final against Tottenham.

Chelsea won 2 games before our next game putting them back top by 1 point still having a game in hand so we really need to win our last 2 games and our second last away to Watford looked like a 0-0 draw but after 23 shots, 11 on target and their keeper putting on a superman display we eventually got the winning goal with our 24th shot of the game in the 93rd minute putting us temporally back top by 2 points but Chelsea are back to having 2 games in hand which if they win they will win the league.

Man Utd also have 2 games in hand and are 9 points behind us, if they win their games in hand they will be 3 points behind us and we play each other at their ground which could be the decider for runners up place if they close the goal difference by then.

Their first game in hands ended with Chelsea losing 4-1 and Man United winning 5-1 which means the title goes down to the last game of the season but still in Chelseas hands. Their second game in hands ended with Chelsea drawing 0-0 away to Leicester and United winning 4-2 at home to Fulham.

Those results meant going into the last game of the season we are top on 85 points with a goal difference of 54, Chelsea are second on 84 points with a goal difference of 43 and Man United are 3rd on 82 points and a goal difference of 47.

We win the title if Chelsea don’t win and we don’t lose by 4 or if we both draw, Chelsea will win if we don’t and they do, Man Utd will win if Chelsea don’t and they beat us by 4 or more.

The games started off unexpectedly as Chelsea, away to 14th Southampton fell behind after 2 minutes and were losing 2-0 after 6 minutes and then we took the lead in the 10th minute. Man United equalised in the 22nd minute so at half time with Chelsea losing and us drawing we were still top.

In the second halves, we had a 50th minute goal disallowed, Chelsea pulled a goal back in the 63rd but Southampton scored again 2 minutes later. Man Utd then took the lead in the 92nd minute and Chelsea then scored again in the 94th minute but when the games ended, their loss and our narrow loss confirmed us the title on goal difference to Man Utd.

The title was lost by Chelsea as they lost 3 and drew 1 of their last 4 games not that I’m complaining as their poor ending has handed the title to us, the first Premiership title for Lancaster City.

After 38 games we won 26, 2 more than last year, drew 7 the same as last year and lost 5, 2 less than last year giving us 85 points, 6 more than last year’s runner up position. Our 85 points wouldn’t have been enough to win last season and wouldn’t have won many seasons but this was also the closest season of any previous ones.

The biggest difference this season was getting 20 more goals last year as we scored 94 goals, the most in the league while our 41 conceded was 5th best but 1 more than last year.

My winger who is now classed as an elite winger won Footballer of the Year, Players Player of the Year for the second year running and Young Players Player of the Year for a third year in a row and made the team of the season.

We also had our goal keeper, both centre backs, our left back, left inside forward and midfielder in the team of the season making up 7 of the 11 players.

And I won Manager of the Year for the first time as we won 68% of our games. The manager points (not sure how that’s worked out) was 1414 which seems a lot compared to previous winners as none have been that high and some as low as 600/700.

A very good season but also frustrating as we conceded more goals that we should have, especially too many goals from teams first shots, low number of shots and low xG shots while we should also have scored more if not for super keepers. In the end it didn’t matter as Chelsea threw it away but had they won their games in hand those issues would have cost us the title.

Now the leagues over, we have Tottenham in the Champions League final which also happens to be my 800th game in charge of Lancaster which adds extra pressure and often milestone games don’t go my way.

The final got off to the best start as it only took us 2 minutes to take the lead and we doubled it on the stroke of half time. The second half was all us but we couldn’t get a third goal while Tottenham didn’t create anything, they only had 5 shots and 1 on target all game and I was expecting a better challenge but we have easily won our first Champions League trophy.

Although this was our first Champions League we won it too easily, even when we had the big teams we drew the away legs we got big home wins without looking in danger of going out.

To be fair we have spent a lot of money over the last couple of seasons and have a team full of wonderkids, elite players and promising youngsters so it’s not that surprising we have done well, FM does start getting easy once established in the Premiership and the wonderkids start coming into the side. It’s why I usually move back to the lower leagues when it gets easy to win things but I’m going to try and stay and win things over several years before I move on, I wanted to stay at the club to become number 1 on all the hall of fames but if every season starts getting too easy I might not last that long.

Saying that I do still have the FA Cup and Carabao Cup that I’ve not yet won so I’ve still not achieved everything yet.

Next season will be a big one trying to retain trophies and maybe win the domestic cups I’m missing.

I’ll be back with an update after next season.

– Sparko Marco

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