Wandering to Titles – Two Trophies Up For Grabs (May) Episode 36

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 36

A huge month for the club as we battle for 4th, try to reach yet another Europa League final and win it (again), and also try to win our first FA Cup trophy since 1960.

As mentioned in the previous episode, the squad’s morale is at an all-time high. Our incredible win streak just goes to show what this team is capable of.

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Southampton (19th) vs Wolves (5th)
1/5/2022 Premier League

A must win for us as we sit 2 points behind United in 4th, but we have a game in hand. Southampton are 5 points adrift of safety with 3 games to go, so they will be fighting until the end.

A tough afternoon to say the least. They fought until the final whistle, and in all honesty, they were the better team on the day.

Our winner came as a result of a mistake, and Jota nodded home. We find ourselves back in the top 4 with two games to go. Manchester United have Man City and Leicester left while we have West Ham and Liverpool. Times are tough!


Loanee Title Winner

Young midfielder, Chem Campbell, has been on loan at MK Dons all season, and is considered their ‘key player’.

He’s had an okay season, but he has helped them win League 1 and are promoted to the Championship. He’s considered a potential Premier League talent, and while he’s some way off right now, he’s a determined lad who will hopefully make the best of his opportunity.

Another loan spell may be on the cards for him next season, and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for a Championship side for him.


Monaco (1) vs Wolves (2)
5/5/2022 Europa League Semi-Final 2nd Leg

We travel to the beautiful city-state of Monaco, with a 2-1 lead on aggregate.

This is our chance at two European finals in three years. The only thing we have to get through, is the next 90 minutes.

The players are focused and raring to go. Star Monaco striker Andrea Belotti is having a fantastic season with 33 goals in 47 appearances. We must pay close attention to him.

No new injuries to speak of. We will adopt our deeper tactic, playing a DM instead of an AMC to help soak up pressure.

We’ve done it! Our 2nd European final in three years.

The game was on a knife edge until the dying moments. Any goal from Monaco would send them through if we didn’t score.

But magic Bruno scored a peach of a goal on the 89th minute while Cutrone was sent racing through a one-on-one as Monaco desperately pushed for a goal.

Spurs await us in the final as they easily dispatched Athletic Club 5-2 on aggregate.


Wolves (4th) vs West Ham (8th)
8/5/2022 Premier League

The magnitude of the last few games has been incredible. Each one has significant importance to both teams. While we’re continuing our fight to stay in the top 4, West Ham are 8th and have an opportunity to grab a Euro II or Europa League spot.

The Manchester derby was played a day ahead of us and City trounced Manchester United 4-0.

With a win over West Ham, we will secure 4th place with one game to go. What a turn around for us.

A comfortable win considering what was at stake. Ruben Neves made his first start since his injury and put in a match winning performance. He’s so vital to our team. A world-class talent.

So it’s become official. We have qualified for the Champions League. Not for the first time, since we did so last time through the Europa League, but it is the first time through our league position.

This see’s us 4 years ahead of schedule. No doubt the board will be delighted with what this team has achieved so far.

Owner Guo Guangchang was swift to inform me of our budgets for next season.

Season2022/23
Wage Budget£2.2m p/w
Transfer Budget£82.53m

A hefty sum that will allow us to bring in Champions League quality players to give us the best chance of survival in the competition.

My initial thought is to bring in a quality centre-back to partner Mepham and Boly. It’s our weakest area of the pitch and it must be addressed.


Liverpool (1st) vs Wolves (4th)
15/5/2022 Premier League

My worst fear was that we had to go into this match needing all 3 points to secure 4th. Thankfully, as we’ve seen, we have secured 4th with one game to go.

The only thing riding on this match is our win and undefeated streak so it gives us a little incentive to keep things going, considering this game doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things.

Liverpool picked up their 3rd league title in a row with one game spare, and a guard of honour will be shown from our players prior to the match to celebrate their achievement.

Liverpool have been completely dominant and it’s going to take a special team to relinquish the title from them.

We finally lose after an incredible spell of 21 games without defeat. I’m really proud of the lads. We’ve continued to increase our league points tally year-on-year.

We were so close to seeing the game out as a draw, but Boly was clumsy and bundled Salah over in the box.

But we now have 2 cup finals to think about. First up, Manchester United, in the FA Cup Final.


The Final League Table

The league table ends up looking like this. Liverpool have been so impressive while it’s sad to see Huddersfield go down as record signing Jimenez will join them – unless he attracts offers to leave. He’s far too good for the Championship in my eyes, but he didn’t have the best of seasons this year with only 6 goals in 33 appearances – not good enough for a £30m outlay from his team.

We’ve cracked the top 6 for the 3rd season in a row. Does the Premier League consist of ‘the big seven’ now?

I’m so pleased we managed to grab 4th. Although we have an opportunity to reach the Champions League through the Europa League final, it’s nice to beat our own selves as the past two years we have finished 5th.

Onwards and upwards!


Wolves vs Manchester United
21/5/2022 FA Cup Final

It’s been a relatively easy road to the final on paper (bar the Chelsea match). We’ve dominated the average player ratings for the competition with no less than 6 players in the top 10.

Cutrone also leads the goals chart with 7 in the competition.

Road To The Final

RoundOpponantScore
3rd RoundNewcastle1-0
4th RoundBurnley3-0
5th RoundReading3-2
Quarter FinalHull City6-1
Semi FinalChelsea5-0
FinalMan UnitedTBD

Haaland is finally back from his injury, and although he’s our top goal scorer this season, I don’t think he’s ready to start. He will make an impact from the bench if needed, I’m sure.

The last time Wolverhampton Wanderers won the FA Cup was in 1960. A long 62 years in the waiting this moment has been. I hope we can deliver.

The stage is set. The pitch is looking immaculate. There has been chatter among journalists that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s job is on the line.

“The Manchester United hierarchy appear to finally be losing patience with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Voetbalzone

With United missing out on the Champions League, time might be up for Ole if things so south in this final.

FA Cup Final Lineup

Here are how the teams line-up. United have a lot of fire-power at their disposal. But I hope our compact line-up will nullify their opportunities.

Result

A disappointing defeat that just showed the sheer quality of their attacking outlets.

It’s no wonder they have the 2nd best goal difference in the league, even though they finished 5th.

We pegged them back very quickly after Greenwood’s initial goal. But in truth we were always chasing the game.

Jota was fantastic while Cutrone couldn’t find his way into the match.

Mason Greenwood is a special talent. A hattrick in the final is not something you hear every day, and he will be mightily important to United and England over the next decade, considering he is only 20 years old.

We’ve passed expectations by getting to the Final and I believe the board and fans are happy despite the loss. It just wasn’t meant to be.


Wolves vs Spurs
26/5/2022 Europa League Final

Our season is not over though. We cannot dwell on the FA Cup Final defeat, we have another trophy to contest.

Last time we played in the Europa League two seasons ago, we beat Arsenal 2-1 in the Final. Can we add another London club to our list?

We’re considered favourites for the match by the media.

Road to the Final

Round COpponantScore
GroupN/A1st
2nd Knockout RdSevilla8-2 (agg)
Quarter FinalBayer Leverkusen7-1 (agg)
Semi FinalMonaco4-1 (agg)
FinalSpursTBD

We’ve had some fantastic results along the way, especially against Sevilla and Bayer Leverkusen over two legs.

We travel to the Stade de France. An 81,338 capacity stadium that is sure to produce a bumper crowd.

I have faith in the boys to get this one over the line. We don’t want to end the season trophy-less after our incredible win streak that saw us pip Man Utd to 4th in the league.

Europa League Final Line-Ups

A couple changes to my line-up with Haaland replacing Cutrone and Vinagre comes in for Augustinsson to give more pace to our left flank.

On paper, I believe we have the better team. Ben Yedder is one to watch out for. I’m excited to get this one started.

Result

We’ve done it, and incredibly, beating them with 10 men for the vast majority of the match.

Haaland rewarded me by putting him in the starting line-up while Tonali lost his head and received a red card 19 minutes into the match.

I was disgusted. But what followed was an astute and disciplined performance that will make every Wolves fan on earth proud.

We even had chances to make it 2-0. Spurs fans I’m sure will be absolutely gutted they couldn’t take their chance.

I’m sure Tonali will learn from this mistake. He’s an exceptional player, but he lacked a bit of experience today.

With this result, we see ourselves 2 years ahead of schedule from the boards point of view which was to win silverware.

“Even as perennial contenders for the UEFA Europa League, surely no-one would have expected Wolves to have triumphed again.

BBC WM

And with that victory, brings an end to our 21/2022 season. A remarkable season where we went on a record-breaking win streak (15 matches) towards the end that propelled us into 4th position.

A hard fought FA Cup defeat that saw Manchester United lift the trophy and an almost unbelievable Europa League victory where we played the vast majority of the match with 10 men.

Next episode will be a season review. We will take a look at the likes of our squad, competitions, club vision and some brief thoughts on where I would like to strengthen the squad for our upcoming Champions League campaign.

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.

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