Wandering to Titles – Neves, Leader Like No Other (September) Episode 28

If you’ve missed an episode, why not take a look at my Episode Guide. Here you will find all the episodes of this story all in one place.

Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers Story.

Season 3, Episode 28

I’m eager to continue our blistering run to the season. While we didn’t play the best in the league last month, we still showed what we’re capable of by dispatching teams comfortably.

Liverpool provides our toughest test, and they’re up next. We all know how good they’ve been over the past two years.

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Wolves (2nd) vs Liverpool (5th)
11/9/2021 Premier League

To combat Liverpool’s incredible attack, I will drop a striker back to a DM role. Hopefully we can catch Liverpool on the break.

Salah misses out due injury, which is of course good news for us.

“Wolves go top of Premier League”

We set out to nullify Liverpool, and nullify we did. Previous matches had seen them completely dominate the match in terms of possession and shots.

But with the added midfielder soaking up pressure, we didn’t offer them many decent chances on goal. I’m absolutely delighted.

Vinagre came in for the injured Augustinsson and carried on from where he left off. What a great duo we have at left wing-back.

Athletic Club vs Wolves
16/9/2021 Europa League Group C

Team morale is sky-high. Our first European trip this year is away to Athletic Club. They sit 13th in La Liga with 4 points from their opening 4 games.

Slight rotation will be used. This is a squad game – the campaign is very long.

We have thoroughly been brought back down to earth. We just didn’t turn up today. A strange game all things considered. Athletic Club played fantastically, and we couldn’t match them.

Disappointing, considering the start to our season, but these things happen.

In hindsight, it may have been a mistake to start Pablo Maffeo. He’s been unhappy since the arrival of Mbabu. If he’s not willing to fight for his position, maybe he doesn’t have what it takes to be a success here?

West Ham (10th) vs Wolves (1st)
19/9/2021 Premier League

I expect some sort of reaction after our mid-week loss. A close to full strength team is ready to take on West Ham.

Our blistering start to the season has definitely come to a halt. Do we seem complacent already? These two performances have been unacceptable. Once the third goal went in, we then decided to turn up. An odd performance, again.

Back in training Monday morning as we prepare for a 3rd round tie against Watford.

Wolves vs Watford
22/9/2021 League Cup 3rd Round

We must get back to winning ways. Although it’s only two without a win, the demands from me are much higher if we are to progress as a team.

Watford will see us field a tough squad, but Neves will get a rest.

Haaland bullied Watford’s defence tonight. He was an absolute handful. A shame we couldn’t complete the match with a clean sheet, but nonetheless, I’m happy we’re back on winning ways.

Sheffield United are up next in the 4th round. A more favourable fixture for us. They currently sit 16th in the Championship in these early stages.

Bournemouth (11th) vs Wolves (3rd)
27/9/2021 Premier League

Next up is a Bournemouth team that will most likely sit deep against us. We are at full strength and I hope the players are fired up.

We face Napoli next, but there’s no need for lots of rotation just yet.

Another late goal, but this time it meant something. A wonderful solo goal from Fraser to equalize. I’m still mad we allowed him to have a shot on goal as we had plenty of time to take him down and pick up a quick booking.

Mepham scored against his former employee’s. Something that happens more often that you’d think.

Wolves (3rd) vs Napoli (2nd)
30/9/2021 Europa League Group C

Our toughest test in the group is up next, but in truth they haven’t started the season off well. Three wins and three losses from their opening six league matches leaves them in 11th – now is the time to take advantage.

Andre Horta got his chance to start the season with Fernandes coming back from a slight injury, and he’s taken his chance well. He plays today.

Given we lost our first match, this is almost a must win. We certainly can’t lose. That would make it very hard to get out of this group.

Neves and Haaland were nothing short of sensational again today. It’s such a breath of fresh air to have someone like Haaland in the box who can dispatch crosses with ease.

We pegged back Napoli quickly after their equalizer, and we had to weather the storm for 12 minutes as they tried their hardest to get back into the game. They threw everything but the kitchen sink at us. It was nail-biting.

Player Performances

It’s been a quiet month off the pitch. No injuries to really speak off. No player upsets. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the current best performers of campaign so far.

These are the current crop of players that are averaging above a 7.00 rating.

Augustinsson was in flying form before his injury. I hope he comes back just as strong.

Neves is taking his new leadership role to new levels as he has carved out 9 assists from 9 games. Incredible. It helps he’s on set piece duty, and the fact Haaland is such a big target man, but I hope this long continues.

Looking Forward

The results were not as great as our first month, but that was to be expected. A few hiccups along the way, but defeating Liverpool & Napoli goes along way to show what we could achieve this season.

This set of results leaves us joint 1st in the league, along with 4 other teams.

Crystal Palace are the biggest surprises here as they sit 2nd while Arsenal and Tottenham endure rough starts to their campaign.

October has a nice run of fixtures for us with arguably our hardest dates at each end of the month. It will be interesting to see just if Crystal Palace are the real deal or not.

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.