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Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers Story.
Season 5, Episode 57
I’d like to put our indifferent form behind us and continue with how we played against Schalke. We’re two points behind Chelsea and we cannot afford to continue dropping points in the league.
Diogo Jota continues to be unhappy at the club and with good reason. He hasn’t played much this year and for his career to be stagnating when he’s in his prime, it must be hard. He’s a team leader and it’s not a good look to have one of them be so unhappy at the club.
Chelsea have a tougher month in March as their European campaign continues so the added pressure of that will weigh heavy.
Norwich (15th) vs Wolves (3rd)
2/3/2024 Premier League
A full strength team is at the ready to face Norwich. We cannot afford to drop points so at this stage, while I’m unsure of our form, we will play the best team possible. Norwich have mustered up a couple of wins last month so it will be interesting to see what they can throw at us.
Jude Bellingham, a player I’ve had my eye on for a long time, will no doubt take to the pitch. The 20 year old is yet to earn an international cap.
Phil Foden has been instructed to dribble more with the ball in an effort to use his talents more effectively.
A very comfortable win today. Norwich had the guts to attack us, but they couldn’t stem the flow of assaults we made as the likes of Goncalves and Vinagre surged up the pitch. Bellingham and Max Aarons, who have both been on my shortlist in the past gave good accounts of themselves. Are they good enough for a top team? I’m unsure, but a solid performance nonetheless.
Wolves vs Blackpool
5/3/2024 FA Cup 5th Round
An interesting tie today as we host League One side Blackpool. It’s quite rare we see a League One team in the 5th round of the FA Cup, but here they are. They currently sit 12th in the table and this gives us a good opportunity to completely change my starting eleven.
10 changes from our last match have been made. I’m looking forward to this one. I expect a lack of cohesion in the squad, but they’re professionals and their talents alone should bring them through.
A difficult first half as we struggled to create any semblance of cohesion. But as the minutes ticked on, we grew into the game and came alive as soon as the first goal went in. It could have been six or seven had it not been for their keeper.
With Jota’s hattrick, he’s now scored 100 goals for the club. A fantastic achievement. Are we to see a new lease of life in Jota in this 2nd half of the season? I sure hope so.
Arsenal (5th) vs Wolves (2nd)
9/3/2024 Premier League
Arsenal had a great start to the season, sitting in 1st place for 10 gameweek’s in a row until they hit a very bad patch of form that saw more draws and losses than wins.
Ruben Vinagre has picked up another injury in training, a reason why we’ve sought out the likes of Cristian to help fill the void when he’s missing. It’s such a shame. Another 3-4 weeks he will be gone. The last 5 matches, he’s averaged a rating of 7.82, scored 3 and assisted 2. Incredible numbers for a left wing-back. A huge blow for us today.
Cristian returns to face his old club who he left for us in January. A big day for him, personally.
A cagey match in truth but what a result in the end. It’s moments like this that can define a season.
In the 88th minute, Cutrone was through on goal and had the chance to seal all three points. He missed his opportunity and I thought that was it. But a bursting run to the byline from Jose Lima saw him pick out Goncalves for a 94th minute snatch and grab win. The whole Wolves bench erupted. One to saviour for our fans.
Another Poor Round of Youth Intake
We’re not well known for attracting quality youth intake, and this year is no different. I struggle to understand why we can never attract a fantastic crop of talent consider we have ‘excellent youth recruitment’.
I will continue to hound the board to keep improving facilities in an effort to increase our luck.
Gregg Scott appears to be our most highly regarded player and unfortunately he’s a winger (a position we don’t use).
One day I hope we can produce some fantastic talent of our own. Until then, we must scour the market for deals.
Wolves (2nd) vs Aston Villa (18th)
16/3/2024 Premier League
Aston Villa are a team in a relegation battle, going 14 games without a win until the last two matches, where they beat Spurs and Blackburn. A new lease of life may have just hit them and we have to be cautious of that fact.
Another masterclass from Goncalves. Aston Villa were very poor, but they did make it difficult to get the breakthrough. Referee Andy Madley went on a bit of a yellow card spree today, dishing out no less than 10 yellow cards. There were 5 yellow cards within the first 13 minutes. A poor performance from him as he didn’t let the game flow at all.
Wolves On The Expansion
The board and I agreed that we should expand our stadium to help meet the demands of tickets. We currently sit 12th in the average attendance leaderboard with 100% capacity and 30,852 seats. This is far and way not high enough for a club now considered to be a title challenger year-on-year.
The board have agreed to boost our stadium up to a provisional capacity of 37,458 which would sit us just below Chelsea in 10th. Stadium expansions is a long process, and we have to be very patient if we are to start hitting the 60,000 number. Perhaps a completely new stadium would be on the cards in years to come.
Schalke (0) vs Wolves (4)
19/3/2024 Champions League 1st Knockout Round 2nd Leg
After thumping Schalke in the first leg, we’ve afforded ourselves some good leg room to allow us to play a simple game. We don’t need to do anything drastic. Just attempt to control the game and if we manage to grab an away goal, it’s game over for Schalke.
Neves is suspended and Onguene is one yellow card away from a suspension, so he will sit out also. I’d rather have him for the next round (should we make it there).
Well, what can I say? The first 20 minutes we were devastating. From the first goal, Schalke folded like a cheap suit and we cruised into 2nd gear. Another two goals followed quickly after we from then on we were able to take our foot off the gas to avoid any unnecessary injuries.
An 8-1 thrashing on aggregate and Schalke well and truly know they’ve been bested.
The next round has been drawn and we face an in-form Atletico Madrid. A tough game as they sit 1st in La Liga. Should we get through this match, we would face either Arsenal or Inter Milan in the semi-final.
Chelsea vs Wolves
24/3/2024 FA Cup 6th Round
I have a poor record against Chelsea (winning 5, drawing 5 and losing 3), but if we get past this test we have a fantastic chance to retain our cup as only Arsenal and Leicester City are the only sizeable teams left in the competition.
It’s come to my attention that Goncalves sits one goal away from Haaland’s 32 goal season. Should he get a brace today, he would break a new record for Wolves – and what timing it would be, to do it against the man himself, Haaland.
Goncalves couldn’t get in the scoresheet today but we got the all important victory. For large parts of the game we were on the back foot, but our counter-attacks were swift and efficient.
Haaland had the opportunity to get Chelsea back into the game with a penalty on the 58th minute, but big man Audero was on hand to deny him. A great day all round and the Wolves fans certainly enjoyed this one, taunting the young Norwegian as he was hauled off the pitch for Timo Werner just 10 minutes after the penalty miss.
The board were even delighted with this victory and let me know I had achieved a club vision of challenging for silverware 5 years ahead of schedule. My ambitions may be slightly higher than the boards as I do not think an FA Cup semi-final is good enough. We need to be in that final.
We face Championship side West Brom in the semi-final. Crystal Palace face Arsenal in the other tie.
We’ve had an exceptional month, progressing strongly in all three competitions. Goncalves has been world-class of late and it’s to no surprise that he picks up both the Player of the Month and Young Player of the Month.
The win against Chelsea was sweet, especially away from home. It’s an exciting end to the season with a famous treble on the cards. Of course that feat is far from likely, but I’m very glad to still be in a position that it could happen.
We’re looking strong in the league, but Manchester United and Chelsea are pushing us all the way. Manchester United are on a quest to regain their title of ‘most times champions of England’ after Liverpool took that away from home a couple years ago.
Spurs have really fallen away of late and are really looking like a mid-table side.
April is looking incredibly busy as we fight on all three fronts again. I’m very glad to see such an easier opposition in the FA Cup semi-final. I mean no disrespect to West Brom, but it allows us to field a rotated side against them since fatigue may be setting in after our Atletico 2nd leg match.
If there is anything within the save you would like to see, drop a comment below and I will add it in the next episode.
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