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Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers Story.
Season 6, Episode 62
We’re finally underway with season 6. After an interesting summer transfer window where we’ve spent less than we’ve actually sold (again), I think I’m at a stage where the squad is progressing very well. We have a relatively young squad with just 3 players in the senior squad who are 30 years or older.
The Premier League is by far and away the biggest spenders of all the leagues in the world. The revenue streams the Premier League creates are unmatched and the gap only appears to be getting wider.
We may not possess the best individual players in the league (as evident by the ‘media dream eleven’), but we own a strong team that works well as a unit. Individuals may win you a match, but they won’t win you a league title – a “team” will. I believe we have one of the strongest teams in the league.
Our formation remains unchanged from the past few years. It’s been a winning formation and our whole squad is built around this.
As of right now, this is my current ‘best XI’. The centre-backs have all played with each other for two years now and their partnership is fantastic. Elsewhere, Ruben Neves and Tonali provide a formidable partnership in the centre where they both dictate the tempo of the game.
Up front we have a new boy amongst our ranks who I hope will settle in quick, despite just being 20 years old. The Premier League is a big step up from Primeira Liga in Portugal, but I have faith in the lad.
vs Spurs – I was confident heading into this game. Spurs are without European football this season, and they sold a lot of quality while bringing in average players like Jamaal Lascelles. Joaquim Neves had to wait for his debut as he’s still at the Olympics. It was our first home match at Villa Park and it showed. We will have to get used to it, fast!
vs Crystal Palace – We tried our luck here today and had to rely on Goncalves to save the day. Not a good performance.
vs Chelsea – Another reunion with Haaland. It’s all the media could talk about, yet again. New manager Bruno Lage opting for a classic 4-4-2 formation. Young Joaquim Neves grabbed his full debut today as Goncalves once again saved the day. A trio of 1-0 wins. While I’m happy to have all nine points, it’s concerning how poorly we’re playing. We’ve been lucky so far. Something must change.
And with that, I’ve reached 300 games in management. A slew of trophies has followed in my wake of management, and long may that continue. We’ve failed to win a trophy in just one season of my previous 5. The board here are very happy with my management and there’s no end in sight at the moment.
September has rolled around quickly and it’s time for the Champions League group stage draw.
We’ve been handed one of the toughest groups in the competition this season with all teams capable of going through. We will have to be at our best in each of these games. Elsewhere, current Champions, Manchester United, have drawn against Sevilla, PAOK and Legia Warszawa. If only we had their luck.
vs Stoke – Stoke had started off the season brightly with two wins from three. We had to be cautious of this, but we should still be winning. Just three goals from our first 4 matches is not acceptable and it’s definitely a concern.
vs Burnley – In an effort to start scoring more goals, I removed the instruction to ‘play out of defence’ and ‘work ball into box’. This will allow us to transition the ball forward more quickly. It paid off as we romped home to a 4-1 win. Goncalves with a hattrick, who is in scintillating form while Joaquim Neves got his first goal for the club – I am delighted!
vs Schalke – An even game on paper, but we took our chances and they didn’t. It was a very good performance considering the rotation and it’s great to see Pellegri get on the score-sheet.
vs Arsenal – A bore draw that we really should have won. Arsenal played a very defensive flat 4-1-4-1 formation and offered virtually nothing up front. We had a few chances and failed to put any away. Disappointing.
vs Aston Villa – Of course we draw Aston Villa in the League Cup. Theoretically, we were both at home for this match, given we are sharing a stadium this year. I felt a little sorry for managerless Villa today, but we were sensational. Joaquim Neves showed us what he is capable of today. A marvellous performance. We luckily draw League One Rotherham United in the next round.
vs West Brom – We are brimming with confidence and Goncalves’ hattrick brings him to 50 career goals for Wolves in just over a season of playing for us. Incredible. The Joaquim Neves and Goncalves partnership is really starting to blossom.
vs Lazio – We continue strongly in Europe. The front partnership is flourishing and in these early moments, I think I made the right call to bring in someone different to partner Goncalves up front. The real test for us will be our next European match against PSG. A team that won the competition 5 years ago.
vs Leicester – No highlights to speak of until the 93rd minute where Jose Lima was found open on the right flank for him to them slot the ball past the Leicester keeper. We got away with a poor performance today.
vs Everton – The 2nd poor performance on the bounce, but this time we came away with nothing. Everton were hardly great either, but we just couldn’t string a pass together. It’s worrying form as we head into the PSG match.
vs PSG – We were back in form as we took on PSG to control the group stage. The attack and defence equally played their part in the win and Phil Foden came on to score an absolute screamer.
vs Norwich – A frustrating afternoon as Norwich largely outplayed us. Did we have a European hangover? I thought we had won it with a 85th Joaquim Neves goal, but we gave away a penalty minutes later allowing them to convert. We are letting Liverpool run away with the league right now. Things must change.
vs Rotherham – My worst moment as Wolves manager. We succumbed to a penalties defeat to League One Rotherham. I’m furious. While it was a heavily rotated side, we still had the likes of Pellegri, Mason Mount, van de Beek, Onguene still in the side. This is unacceptable and the lads know it. Well done to Rotherham. They defended well, but the onus is on us.
Where We Stand
Overall, it’s been a good start to our sixth campaign.
We’ve had a couple disappointing results in the league which has lead us to slip into a 7 point deficit already. Liverpool have been fantastic and relatively new manager, Manuel Pellegrini, has done an amazing job since he came in last season in February. He’s currently boasting an 85% win-rate across 35 matches.
Manchester City are in all sorts of bother and Jurgen Klopp could be the first manager to be sacked in the Premier League if he continues like this. He spent big money in the summer (£206m), and so far, it’s not working out.
Goncalves has started with 10 goals in 10 matches in the league. A phenomenal start for the young Portuguese. His form cannot go without thanks to new-boy Joaquim Neves who has 5 goals and 3 assists in 12 matches. A good return for a player getting himself acquainted with life in England.
The Champions League table is looking a lot healthier as a 2-0 win over PSG away from home was really a surprise. We of course have a very good chance of progressing first in the group. No real surprises in the competition so far.
No doubt you’ll be curious to find out who Patrick Cutrone is getting on after his big money move to Juventus.
He’s started off very well with 4 goals in 8 in the league and 8 goals in 11 overall. It’s not of too much surprise has he has all the attributes to be a wonderful football player, but for whatever reason, he couldn’t quite cut it in England. It’s good to see him doing well. I’m sure he feels a lot more at home.
Things to Come
We could wrap up the Champions League group next month with games against PSG and Schalke. In the league, we must strive for all 9 points. We cannot drop more to lesser teams than us. Brighton have started off the campaign very well, but we still should be expecting 3 points.
A lot has happened over the course of a few months and expect big things as we move forward. I hope the partnership between Joaquim Neves and Goncalves continues to flourish.
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.