Wandering to Titles – Solid Progression (March) Episode 10

Missed the squad report in our first episode? Head over to Episode 1 “The Dawn of a New Story – Squad Report” to catch up

Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers Story.

After no Premier League February wins, we had to get back to winning ways. I’m eager to cement our place in the top half.

We also have the 2nd knockout round against Red Bull Salzburg in the Europa League. A tie I’m confident of, however, we all know knockout competitions can be ruthless, and just one mistake can send us out.

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01/03/2020 Wolves vs Burnley
Premier League

Burnley were up first. They sat at the foot of the table. They weren’t far off getting out of the relegation zone, so they certainly haven’t given up the season just yet.

We had to make do without Jota and Jimenez today as they were coming back from injury and not fully fit. An unfamiliar partnership took to the field in the shape of Cutrone and Neto.

Donny van de Beek continued his impressive form, netting the only goal of the game. From our 26 shots, we could only muster 1 goal. Disappointing from a clinical perspective, but more than happy to bag all three points.

04/03/2020 Crystal Palace vs Wolves
FA Cup 5th Round

Away at Crystal Palace was certainly winnable, but with the League and Europa League considered more important, and the added fact that our core players were jaded from all the fixtures, I went with a rotated side.

I gave a few minutes to a couple lads who were coming back from injury.

Perhaps too much rotation was made. We just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. The 5th round is nothing to be scoffed at. It was our minimum requirement by the board.

07/03/2020 Southampton vs Wolves
Premier League

A frustrating game of football to watch from the bench. Southampton were not having the best of league campaigns, so it was a must win for us.

While we did win, it’s our finishing at really let me down today. Kevin Danso was sent off early with a silly challenge. We capitilsed quickly through Neves, but that’s all we could do. We had a total of 35 shots, but could only grab one goal.

We sit 18th in the league for shot conversion rate. It’s truly been the story of our season.

Liverpool continued their dominate form with an absolute thrashing of Newcastle. Now 10 points ahead of Manchester City with 9 game to go, it’s their title to lose.

07/03/2020 Wolves vs Red Bull Salzburg
Europa League 2nd Knockout Round First Leg

Our first big game of the month was upon us. I didn’t sleep much the night before. As previously mentioned, they had young wonderkid Erling Haaland, someone we must keep an eye on, both for this match and transfer wise.

A great game all round. 2 goals for us and we didn’t concede an away goal. Perfect. A goal just before half time was ideal. But Salzburg came out flying in the 2nd half. We had to weather the storm.

Mepham sealed his first goal for the club. One of many important goals I hope. We had an incredible 8 clear cut chances, let’s hope we don’t regret not putting in more come the 2nd leg.

Youth Candidates

I finally had an opportunity to take a closer look at the youth candidates coming through. The initial report was pleasing, however at first glance of the players I’m a little disappointed.

There are only two prospects that have any sort of potential – albeit not a huge amount.

Keith Dudley

A young goalkeeper with a little bit of potential. Keith Dudley has a few good attributes with Bravery and Handling.

Greg Southern

Greg Southern is our next best prospect. An aggreesive lad who has good tackling ability. The main draw to Greg is his utility to play across the entire backline. He could become a useful squad player in the future.

Raiding Benfica, Again

We went back to Portugal to pick up another little prospect. This deal fulfills the club culture of signing Portuguese players, something the board are devastated by that we haven’t signed more. I wish they’d understand we have registration requirements to meet. Anyway, welcome Tomas Azevedo.

A £1.2m deal. I doubt he’s ready for Premier League action next year, so maybe a loan move would be ideal.

12/03/2020 Red Bull Salzburg vs Wolves
Europa League 2nd Knockout Round Second Leg

An unchanged side was played in the 2nd leg. We had the momentum and we needed to take it forward.

A loss on the night, but we made it through. A huge Jota goal set us on our way. The away goal was crucial – Salzburg now had to score 4 to beat us.

Amazingly, we’re through to the Quarter Final of the Europa League! Lazio beat PSV 6-1 on aggregate and await us in the next round. A massive test for us, especially since they’re doing so well in Serie A. They trail Napoli, who are first in the league, by 1 point.

FA Cup Upsets

I thought I would highlight two FA Cup upsets that just occured.

Barnsley who sat 21st in the Championship beat Manchester United 2-0 at Old Trafford, while Southampton beat high flying Liverpool on penalties.

It’s Arsenal’s trophy to lose in my opinion and had we not lost to Crystal Palace, we could of really had a chance at winning the FA Cup this year.

22/03/2020 Bournmouth vs Wolves
Premier League

Bournmouth were on an incredible run this year. They saw themselves in 4th in the League, currently on a 13 match unbeaten run. They were flying!

We had to be at our best. Van de Beek pulled his knee ligaments a day before, which through out my initial game-plan.

A hard fought draw, with a special thanks to Jota and Jonny who were incredible this match. I’m very pleased to have come back from 2 goals down. Carles Alena, our loanee from Barcelona, still hasn’t found his feet. Coming in for the injured van de Beek, we just haven’t seen enough from him. Premier League life may be too much for young Carles.

31/03/2020 Wolves vs Spurs
Premier League

We capped off the month with possibly the most boring match this year.

Spurs were chasing the lucrative 4th spot, but they barely mustered any chances. But I can’t say too much about us either. But a point nonetheless. The only thing of note this game was that Doherty strained his groin and is out for 3-4 weeks. Not ideal!

League Standings

We sit comfortably in 10th. The table is tight and it could all change very quickly in a couple of fixtures.

With a goal difference of just 2, our finishing has let us down this year. We have the 6th best defence this year, but find ourselves 4 places below that in the overall standings.

I’m hoping for a strong finish to the campaign.

Results Overview

We picked up some great points this month in the league, while continuing our campaign in Europe. The boys did well and I’m looking forward to our Quarter Final with Lazio.

April Fixtures

We’re coming to the tail end of the season. Our finishing must improve if we are to consider this season a success.

Thanks for reading, and until next time, remember to follow me on Twitter: @ExtraTimeFM