Wandering to Titles – Season 4 Kicks Off (August) Episode 39

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Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers Story.

Season 4, Episode 39

The start of this season see’s us play with the newly updated match engine build. I’m unsure how this will affect my team – we will have to wait and see.

We’ve had a solid pre-season and transfer window. I believe we’ve bought and sold well. It’s been to my surprise that we received no bids for our star players. I was sure the likes of Jota, Neves and Mepham would gather interest from teams.

No doubt it helped that Jota signed a new deal with us, removing his £89m release clause in the progress.

The likes of Kimpembe will be thrown straight into the first team. He has a lot of experience and talent, and I expect him to settle in straight away.

We have our first chance of silverware so early on in the season, with a final to be played against Athletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup. We of course are the underdogs, but we are more than capable of lifting the trophy – which would be the first time in the clubs history.

Liverpool are the biggest opponents in the league this month, where we will face them at the back end. I hope we’ve amassed quite a few points by the time we get there – I want a strong start from my team.

Results

Wolves vs Burnley
27/7/2022 Premier League

The new season is finally here, and we kick it off with a match against newly promoted Burnley.

Kimpembe makes his debut while Phillips may make his first appearance from the bench. New boy Onguene is out injured, so he will have to wait for his time to shine.

A bore draw, but not without its controversy towards the end. We had the chances but we couldn’t convert. In an act to push for a win, we set up more offensively during the last 20 minutes.

Substitute Phillips, on for his debut, gave away a penalty on the 89th minute to my dismay. Thankfully Audero was on hand to to save our embarrassment. I hope this doesn’t knock Phillip’s confidence going forward. A tough debut for anyone.


Everton (14th) vs Wolves (15th)
31/7/2022 Premier League

An away trip to Merseyside where I expect better in front of goal. Last time out we lost 3-2 to Everton, so it would be nice to put them back in their place.

We come away with the win, but the match was again not without its drama. Although Haaland got the winner, he could have had a hattrick. He missed two penalties (4th and 77th minute) which has really made me question his ability on these set pieces. Going forward, club captain Ruben Neves might be asked to covert.


Wolves (9th) vs Norwich (13th)
7/8/2022 Premier League

Kalvin Phillips gets his full debut today with one eye on our UEFA Super Cup final coming up and rotation is needed to make sure we have the best squad available to help tackle Athletico Madrid.

Another match where we haven’t been entirely convincing, but we got it over the line. Kimpembe put in a man of the match performance, and capped it off with his first goal for the club in the 89th minute.

He’s been fantastic so far during his short Wolves career, a real leader at the back and this is all without being able to speak English. Hopefully he is putting a lot of effort into his language lessons.


Athletico Madrid vs Wolves
10/8/2022 UEFA Super Cup

We fly to Finland to the Helsinki Olympic Stadium where we play Champions League winners Athletico Madrid.

A fantastic team who beat Liverpool to the trophy last year. It’s our 2nd shot at this trophy as last time in 2020 we lost 1-0 to a superb PSG side.

I’m adopting a defensive approach to this match as I want to control the ball and slowly look for an opening. The line-up:

A classic 4-4-2 is played by Athletico, with the likes off Olmo, Koke and Saul playing. An incredible squad, albeit a surprise to see Koke lining up at centre-back.

A 1-0 victory saw us lift the trophy for the first time in Wolves club history. An historic moment for me and our fans, and I’m so pleased we’re able to pick up another title.

Kalvin Phillips ran the show from centre midfield while Haaland scored the eventual winner on the 72nd minute. My third managerial trophy!


West Brom (14th) vs Wolves (7th)
14/8/2022 Premier League

We have to cut the celebrations short as we face West Brom just 4 days later. Jude Bellingham who we were in for this summer will be on the opposite side.

Onguene is still out from injury, but he’s will make his debut soon, I’m sure.

Another 1-0 win saw us secure all 3 points. We’re making steady progress in the league and Haaland continues to find the net with his 4th in 4 games.

Clearly those penalty misses didn’t affect him.


Wolves (5th) vs Bournemouth (13th)
21/8/2022 Premier League

With 4 wins on the bounce, can we keep up this early good form? We’re yet to come up against a top top side in the league, so we must take advantage of these fixtures while we can.

Our 4th 1-0 victory of the season in such a short space of time. While we’re getting the wins, there’s slight concern from the back of my mind. We cannot ride 1-0 wins through the whole season. Sooner or later they will catch up to us. We need to dispatch teams with more authority.

Jota is yet to hit the back of the net. We need all our strikers firing, like they were last season.


Stoke vs Wolves
24/8/2022 EFL Cup 3rd Round

We next travel to Stoke for the 3rd Round of the League Cup. A competition we’ve never had much interest in, and nothing has changed this year either.

It’s a chance to rotate the side and give minutes to some of the fringe players of the squad.

Onguene has recovered from his injury and will make his debut.

Goncalves, Gibbs-White, Longstaff and Djalo are all given a chance here to show me what they can do. A disjointed side, possibly, but one that has enough quality to win.

A poor performance all round, to a Stoke side who sit 20th in the league. It’s not the end of the world getting knocked out, but I would much rather it be against a decent team where we put up a good fight.

Tonight, we were not good enough. Everyone is back in training, first thing in the morning.


Liverpool (7th) vs Wolves (3rd)
27/8/2022 Premier League

We end the month of fixtures against Liverpool, a side who have been the best team in England over the past three years.

They sit with 8 points from the first 5 games, and have just been knocked out of the EFL Cup by fierce rivals, Everton. I hope we can take advantage of any potential vulnerability.

We didn’t turn up today. I cannot for the life of me figure out why we play so poorly against Liverpool. Yes they’re a strong side, but we should be putting in better performances against them. They’re becoming our bogey team.

We have a slight striker issue with Jota not finding the net in 8 games now, while Cutrone has played 7 hours of football without finding the net.


Commercial Success

Our recent seasons have propelled us into a position where we can nearly call ourselves one of the ‘big teams’ of the league. We’re some ways off commercially, but it is rising.

Manchester United’s commercial interest is astounding compared to the rest of the league. They have so much financial firepower behind them. No doubt Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be required to lift a trophy soon.


Player Production

We’re also heading in the right direction in terms of player production that play their trade in the ‘elite divisions’. Producing home-grown talent needs to be at the forefront, and we’re on track to complete the improvement of our youth facilities at the start of next year.

Again, we’re some distance behind the ‘top 6’, but we’re moving in the right direction.

Player NameClubAgeValue
Danny BathStoke31£425k
Jack ScottAngers SCO (On Loan)19£2.7m
Morgan Gibbs-WhiteWolves22£18.5m
Sandro GoncalvesWolves19£22.5m
Pedro NetoWolves22£24.5m
Sandro TonaliWolves22£49m
Ruben VinagreWolves23£32m
Renat DadasovStoke23£15.5m

It’s great to see the majority still at Wolves, and I expect them to play a big role in the years to come.


Champions League Groups

We’ve been handed a horrid Champions League group. None of these games can be taken lightly, and it’s probably best in hindsight that we were knocked out of the EFL Cup.

These games are going to be brutal, and we’re going to have to be on top of our games every time if we are to get out of this group.

We’ve already shown this year we can beat the big teams (Athletico Madrid), we just need to prove we can do it consistently.


Manager’s Player of the Month

I’ve taken this season to award players my own player of the month. An added incentive for players as these awards come with monitary bonuses.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Erling Haaland is to be awarded my first player of the month award.

With not many goals scored this month, we’ve had to rely on his goals (4) to seal vital wins – especially his goal in the UEFA Super Cup which saw us lift it for the first time in our history.

Congratulations, Erling, I hope for more of the same.


Looking Forward

We’ve had a good month, result wise, but performance wise we need to step it up.

6 goals in 8 games is very poor, despite managing 4 league wins. If we don’t step it up soon, we might be in real trouble.

Haaland and Jota have a good partnership, but Jota may be dropped in the coming matches if he doesn’t start chipping in.

We sit 3rd in the league while Spurs have made a perfect start to their campaign under Galatasaray legend, Fatih Terim’s tutelage.

We start our incredibly tough Champions League campaign next month, fighting off each of our group opponents.


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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