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Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers Story.
Season 2, Episode 17
After a successful month of fixtures in September, I wanted to take that momentum and fire it down the throats of our next opponants.
Consistency is key in football and we have to grind out matches if we are to move up the footballing ladder.
Wolves (10th) vs Watford (2nd)
3/10/2020 Premier League
Doherty is close to coming back to training again. He hasn’t seen a minute of competitive football due to tearing his abdominal muscle in pre-season.
Watford under new man Steven Gerrard are in fine form. A cautious approach will be utilised even though we’re at home.
We managed a win, but it was a frustrating one. Jack Butland was on fire. We had a total of 26 shots, 13 on target and we were close to not getting past the Englishman.
He scored a rating of 8.1 as he stood between us and 3 points for the majority of the game. He did however make one mistake that eventually cost them the game.
Jota ran onto a through-ball from Neves. Butland thought he could get there first, but Jota’s pace outdid him and he slotted home.
A huge win for us in the context of things and we move onto Leicester next.
Young Adrian Bajrami from Switzerland who is currently on loan at Championship side Bristol City made his debut over the international break.
The news came as a surprise to me.
But a surprise I’m very happy about. I’m glad to see him grab some great international experience. This could be invaluable to his development. His loan move appears to be going very well and he should be one for the future.
Leicester (7th) vs Wolves (9nd)
16/10/2020 Premier League
Quite a gap between this and the Watford game. International duty getting in the way of us trying to find consistency. Hopefully it doesn’t have too much effect.
Leicester gave us a much tougher game than Watford. There wasn’t too much drama involved. We both had chances to win but we managed to convert allowing us to bring home the points.
I expected to take on Leicester without their energetic defensive midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi. He saw a red card the game before against Chelsea, but to my surprise he lined up against us. His red card must have been rescinded.
Wolves (1st) vs Celtic (3rd)
20/10/2020 Champions League Group G
Prior to the match, newly returned to training Doherty was given 45 minutes in an u23 match. Not long in he strained his calf and is now out again, this time for 4-5 weeks. My patience is wearing thin. It’s not his fault, but his injuries are becoming an issue – especially when I’ve been trying to ease in our new RWB.
We continued our winning streak with a 3-2 victory against Celtic. Two minutes in, Griffiths found the net, but VAR came to the resue and cancelled it out.
Not a minute later, we had the ball in their net. They were clearly rattled by the VAR decision and we punished them.
Despite being 3-0 within 17 minutes, we made hard work of it and allowed them back into the match. Sandro Tonali was fantastic in his Mezzala role while Maffeo played a blinder by finding who assists. A good day all round to be honest.
9 points from 9 in the Champions League – we are certainly making a case for that coveted top spot.
Youth Quick Look
Chem Campbell is an interesting central midfielder coming through the ranks. The 17 year old Welshman has been capped at u21 level looks like a very promising player.
He’s a very determined lad, and with the right application to his game, could become a future first team player of ours.
At 17 I believe it’s a little early for a loan move, but next season may be his time, depending on how he is progressing. His natural fitness is a little disappointing, but it’s not the end of the world.
Wolves (7th) vs Stoke (15th)
25/10/2020 Premier League
Newly promoted Stoke was visiting us next. Tiago Djalo would come in for his full debut. Sitting alone side lots of experience, I thought it was the perfect time to give him some game time.
This draw was down to us really. We had the chances to win, but we failed to convert. Stoke’s squad on paper isn’t the greatest. But as a team, they are very compact and are hard to break down.
Our short winning streak has ended, but we cannot win them all. Onto the next one.
Wolves vs Crystal Palace
28/10/2020 League Cup 4th Round
Although Crystal Palace are in the Championship, we should not let ourselves become complacent.
There will be no gung-ho approach, but I believe this is an opportunity for some of our fringe players to get a game and show us what they can do.
A day before our match, Newcastle caused an upset in the competition and beat Manchester City via penalties.
Our performance really showed how heavily we rotated. It was a disjointed performance and we had to rely on a wonder strike from young Djalo in extra time. It’s a shame as I had a few youth players on the bench I wanted to introduce, but the game wasn’t wrapped up quick enough.
Spurs and Man United were left as the biggest threats in the competition. Just our luck as we draw Man United. At least we have a home tie.
Wolves (9th) vs Liverpool (1st)
31/10/2020 Premier League
A home tie against the league leaders. I honestly hate playing Liverpool at the moment. They’re squad is unbelievable, and their goal difference shows that. A positive 25 goal difference from 10 games is staggering. Luck will need to be on our side for this one.
As expected, it was a very tough game. We had a few good chances, but this is what separates us from the big boys – they finish their chances.
Unfortunately, the biggest issue of the day wasn’t the defeat. It was our star man Diogo Jota on the receiving end of a crunching challenge that rules him out for 3-4 weeks.
A tough loss for anyone, let alone us, so I will be relying heavily on Cutrone. He has all the attributes, he just needs to put consistency onto the pitch.
Overview & What’s Next
If you asked me to describe our league position in one word, it would be “congested”.
While we sit in 10th, we’re only 3 points off 4th so anything can happen in a short amount of time. I’m very pleased with this months results. We’ve shown a real fight about our play and I hope it continues.
The Stoke game is the only let down of the month. We should be winning those games, but football is a funny old sport.
Jota was in fine form this month and we will miss him over the next few weeks.
I just wanted to turn your attention to our Under 23s Division 2 table as the recent 6-2 win versus West Ham caught my eye.
Our young players are flying at the moment in their respective division. Donny van de Beek putting in an almost flawless performance as he comes back from a slight injury.
While you should never get carried away by how well the youth are doing in their league, it’s nice to see them putting in solid performances. If they keep it up, I’m sure a few full debuts will be handed out.
November is currently scheduled as a quiet month. Only 4 games in total are in the calendar. This may change, but for now, here is what we have lined up;
In my eyes, these are all winnable games. Wins against both Celtic and Ajax will be huge and will secure top spot in Group G going into the final game against Dortmund – that’s the aim.
As always, thank you for reading. Please share with your friends, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for the latest updates; @ExtraTimeFM. Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.