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[FM18] - AS Monaco; A Fountain of Youth

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AS Monaco FC

-Les Rouges et Blancs-

For my first FM18 save, and particularly to use just for the beta, we’re taking he reigns of one of Europe’s leading clubs of producing outstanding talent.

Introduction to the team

The man in charge

Firstly, I’d like to introduce the manager who will be taking this team forward; Jean ‘Not Pablo Escobar’ Escobar:

nkxIvx6.png?1

This man boasts tremendous determination and operational resilience, an ability to get the best out of youngsters who will listen to and do his bidding. He’s a master negotiator who will go to any means to make sure he gets what he wants and comes with a fierce reputation of being a bit of a disciplinarian. An ex-goal keeper in his native land, but his poor shot-stopping forced him into retirement.

A quick message from our new man:

IsTilV0.png?1

A match made in heaven I’m sure.

The first team squad 

Already over the 17/18 transfer window AS Monaco have been a busy side getting stripped of a host of title winning assets. The likes of Bakayoko, Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy, all leaving for the cash and stardom of the Premier League, and of course Kylian Mbpappe leaving to rivals PSG for an eyewatering £160m. However, they were able to hang on to some big names such as Thomas Lemar, Fabinho and Sidibe. There’s a strong core of players there, and one I’m sure our man can get the best out of.

With those outs came some ins, notably; Keita Balde, Youri Tielemans Terence Kongolo and Stevan Jovetic.

Let’s look at the first team squad as a whole (note: the star ratings are current ability and judged by my assistant).

Goalkeepers

Danijel Subasic – 32 – Croatian - Distributor

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Digeo Benaglio – 33 – Swiss - Shot Stopper

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Analysis; an aging pair of GKs, but certainly enough quality and experience to include them in the squad for this season.

Defenders

Djibril Sidibe – 24 – French – Full-back; Physical

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Almamy Toure – 21 – Malian – Full-back; Technical

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Jorge – 21 – Brazlian – Full-back; Technical

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Terence Kongolo – 23 – Dutch – Full-back; Physical

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Kamil Glik – 29 – Polish – Central defender; Leader

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Jemerson – 24 – Brazlian – Central defender; Physical

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Andrea Raggi – 32 – Italian – Central defender; Leader

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Anaysis; a very young defence outside of Glik and Raggi, but with the potential to be an absolutely outstanding backline once they start to further develop. A lot of 3.5*+ players once they’ve hit their potential. I think there’s really good depth and quality in there, especially with a lot of players being able to play in numerous positions.

Midfield

Fabinho – 23 – Brazlian – Central midfielder; Physical

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Joao Moutinho – 30 – Portuguese – Playmaker; Technical

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Youri Tielemans – 20 – Belgian – Playmaker; Technical

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Thomas Lemar – 21 – French – Winger; Creative

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Keita Balde – 22 – Senegalese – Winger; Physical

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Boschilla – 21 – Brazlian – Winger; Technical

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Rony Lopes – 21 – Portuguese – Winger; Creative

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Soualiho Meite – 23 – Ivorian – Central midfielder; Physical

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Rachid Ghezzal – 25 – Algerian – Winger; Physical

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Adama Traore – 21 – Malian – Playmaker; Creative

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Analysis; this is where the team can really flourish. Again, outside Moutinho, an extremely young midfield, but one which is full of energy, pace, power, creativity and a load of potential to grow. We’ll need to give these guys as much playing time as possible to really see what they can turn in to.

Forwards

Radamel Falcao – 31 – Colombian – Complete forward; Intelligent

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Stevan Jovetic – 27 – Complete forward; Technical

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Guido Carrillo – 26 – Target Man; Leader

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Adama Diakhaby – 20 – Complete forward; Technical

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Anaysis; much more experience upfront, and hopefully we can make that count. Falcao will obviously be #1 choice, and looks very capable if you present him with any given opportunity.

Overall, a strong first team squad, with some incredible talents across the pitch and also waiting in the youth teams as well.

Transfers

Transfer budget: £35.65m

Wage budget: £21k p/w remaining

Looking at the line-up I’m not sure where desperately needs to strengthen. I think giving this team at least half a season without any radical changes will show if any investment is needed.

Tactics

A control and a counter tactic will be on the cards. We have the technical and creative ability to break a lot of sides down I reckon, and when teams sit back it will limit counter attacking opportunities. Our likely game-to-game formation is most probably going to be a 4-2-3-1 in this regard.

For a counter-attacking inspired tactic I think we’ll go 4-4-2. This leaves us with 2 dangerous strikers upfront ready to pounce, and pace on the flanks to hit the transitions once in possession. We can stay compact, then hit with incredible speed and attacking flair when the break arises.

For now, these are TBC.

Philosophies and objectives

-          Attacking football; either by dominating possession and chance creation, or through an aggressive counter attacking approach

-          Focus on the youth; given how many prospects Monaco already have, it would be silly to not carry on this tradition and nurture them into the first team squad

-          Sell on hype; we won’t be against selling some of our biggest stars for the right price. The intention is to have a system in place where all players are replaceable given time.

-          Challenge; we should be challenging for the league from the off, and then the focus is on Europe

I think for a day-one write up this’ll do. I haven’t even looked at the backroom staff yet, or gotten used to the new shiny buttons of this years version. So for now, Au Revoir.

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That's a class opening post @R-D. Excited to see where this leads.

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Sensational stuff. Can't wait to see how this progresses. 

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Thanks both.

Hopefully I can get a small tactical piece up this eve, and a few more behind the scenes updates (team comparison, staff comparison, dynamics (may do this end of transfer window), affiliates, finances etc.) to paint a bit more of an overall picture of how the club looks.

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Brilliant introduction there. With your track record I cannot imagine it will take you long to create a Monaco side that can be dominant in Europe, especially when the Mbappe money comes through.

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SAInrHX.png%5B

2017/18 Transfer window

£35m to spend, and I didn’t feel we needed any major overhauls at this stage of the season. A couple million went on shipping out and bringing in new staff.

Ins:

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Angel Correa – Loan (optional future fee: £12.5m) – 22 – Argentinian – Attacking midfield; Creative

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The Argentine international was our highest profile signing and has been brought into the squad to add some additional creativity and unpredictability. We’ve opted for a loan initially to see what we can get out of him, but if he performs £12.5m will be a snip.

KO4Y7Ue.png%5B

Correa is going to feature for us in that attacking midfield spot, and should be able to dictate play from higher up the pitch and play in our forward and widemen with pinpoint passes.

Alexandr Golovin - £13.25m – 21 – Russian – Playmaker; Creative

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A young and exceptionally talented player who already has a host of caps for Russia, Golovin was picked up for his release clause at £13.25m. In a couple seasons time I think we’ll have a superstar on our hands. Undecided yet whether I want to develop him in a deeper midfield role, or further forward.

Lucas Tousart - £8.5m – 20 – French – Central midfield; Leader

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Another young purchase, and one largely for the future, Tousart was brought in from rivals Lyon for a relatively cheap fee considering the potential and current ability of Lucas. He looks a very capable player already and I think he’ll have a part to play this season.

Total expenditure: £21.75m

Outs (main):

Andrea Raggi - £2m – Everton

Adama Traore – Loan; £150k p/m – Genk

Rony Lopes – Loan; £250k p/m – Derby

A small bit of unrest in the squad with the sale of Raggi. At 33 I simply didn’t have space for him in the team with two already great CBs and promising youngsters I’d rather us.

Squad Dynamics

With that unrest, let’s have a look at how the squad dynamics are looking going into the season

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Not a lot of surprises here bar maybe Benaglio as an influential player seeing as he was brought in this season. I expect our new signings to start making their way up the ladder.

Tactics

With the transfer window done and dusted, and equally a few games of the season, this is how we’ll be lining up for majority of the season.

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A deep 4-2-3-1 utilising one of the new roles in the Segundo Volante – I’ve left the first XI off as we’re got too many injuries for it to be accurate.

Most games we’ll start on Standard – Fluid/Flexible and use the following instructions:

-        More direct passing; I want active forward movement, to supply our forwards movement

-        Play out of defence; not to needlessly bump long

-        Work ball into box; in the hope of reducing the longshots

-        Whipped crosses; to utilise our forwards pace and movement

-        Push higher up; to help with the high press, not to leave too many gaps in midfield

-        Close down much more; high pressing

-        Prevent short GK distribution; reduce the options for the opposition defence

August Results

Trophée des Champions

PSG 1 – 1(p) AS Monaco

The first semi-competitive game of the season, last season’s league and cup winners. It was certainly a testing game to see how strong our inevitable league title challengers would be. Relatively even, although you’d have to concede PSG probably edged it. Neymar caused a ruckus, but they couldn’t find the quality in front of goal.

We did, however, take the lead initially on 34 mins, but conceded within a minute. It stayed that way until the shootout where we won 3-2, PSG missing 3 pens and us 1.

Ligue 1

AS Monaco 2 – 0 Toulouse

Dijon FCO 1 – 0 AS Monaco

FC Metz 0 – 1 AS Monaco

AS Monaco 3 – 0 Olympique de Marseille

Match Focus

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Going to focus on the impressive 3-0 win over OM and ignore the 1-0 defeat to Dijon (it was poor, we were poor).

We went into the match vs. OM the much fresher side with OM playing a strong team for their Europa League playoff vs. Fimleikafélag Hafnarf Jardar, or “FH” for short, and the fresh legs certainly paid dividends given the times in which the goals came.

We were on the possession front-foot from the off, and at points within the first 20 mins we had circa 70% of it – however we didn’t do anything with it. Marseille sat deep and compact and looked to use their reserved energy on the break, where they did look dangerous. Before the first half was out, where no real highlights were noteworthy, we were resorting to ambitious long efforts which summed the half up.

Second half, and was surprised to see they didn’t make any changes, and with their players condition drastically degrading, we had a much more express and fruitful half. We pushed higher, we pressed more, and made smarter, more dangerous runs.

The opener came from a simple corner, where Glik rose highest and put us 1 up. From here we controlled to an even greater degree. After 60 mins I brought off two of our attackers in Keita and Jovetic, as they flattered to deceive, and on came big man Carrillo and wide man Ghezzal. Ghezzal especially turned the game around and ended the game with 2 assists, which Carrillo held the ball well and made some key passes.

Lemar put us 2 up and out of sight on 60 mins, with Ghezzal playing the ball across from outiwde a minute after his arrive. Marseille were dead on their feet and I was hoping we’d put a few more past them, but it took until 84th before Lemar got his 2nd in similar fashion to his first.

A good win overall against tough competition.

League Table

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Not an outrageous position after 4 games, still expect us to be there or there about come end of season. PSG still yet to concede…

Champions League Group Stage

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For being first seeds this is incredibly harsh.

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@Cannabis has a worse group than you :P 

What happened away at Dijon?

Similar tactic to mine but you have a deeper player in the AM role (compared to my 2 strikers). How is the Segundo Volante working out for you? I tried it in a couple of my games but i don't think I have the quality in players to make it effective. 

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Regardless of them playing midweek that's a great result against Marseille. The Dijon defeat doesn't look as bad as it first seemed either when you look at how they've started the season. 

The Champions League group is great too, looks like a walk in the park IMO :ph34r:.

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34 minutes ago, Stan said:

@Cannabis has a worse group than you :P 

What happened away at Dijon?

Similar tactic to mine but you have a deeper player in the AM role (compared to my 2 strikers). How is the Segundo Volante working out for you? I tried it in a couple of my games but i don't think I have the quality in players to make it effective. 

I don't remember ever having a tougher group when seeded first. Hopefully rotation in the league will give us a good chance to field a first XI in those games. We're expected to reach the first knockout round as well.

We just didn't turn up. A couple injuries and under-performers and we were shot out of ideas. Their goal came from a set piece, which was the only way either team was going to score really. Their strikers finished on a 6.1 and 6.2. 

The SV has been very good for me, I love the potential of that role. I've got Fabinho playing it and he's flourishing as my highest average rated player so far. You're right, it does require a specialist to perform it well given how demanding of a role it is physically, mentally and technically.

31 minutes ago, Cannabis said:

Regardless of them playing midweek that's a great result against Marseille. The Dijon defeat doesn't look as bad as it first seemed either when you look at how they've started the season. 

The Champions League group is great too, looks like a walk in the park IMO :ph34r:.

Yeah Dijon flying early doors, second top scorers in the league (10) after EA Guigamp (12). 

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SAInrHX.png 

2017/18

September to December Results

Ligue 1

cmoGLCR.png 

We have been on outstanding form, winning 12 league games in a row. Absolutely flying. Not many highscoring results, but when your defence is as good as ours you only need 1. Naturally disappointed by the FC Nantes result, especially coming after the biggest win of the season vs. PSG.

League Table

cqzA2hp.png 

No surprise to be sitting pretty at the top, and by a very healthy 10 point margin no less.

Champions League

bLvPEbu.png 

For this group, I’m delighted with how we performed, 5 wins and a draw is unbelievable from us (granted both Spurs games we didn’t deserve a point let alone a win in one of them). Dortmund absolutely pathetic.

Champions League Table

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Top of the group, and meeting the board’s expectations of qualifying for the first knockout round. Based on these results, I’ll be disappointed not to get through another round.

Coupe de la Ligue

OmBUYTe.png 

Bit of a nothing comp. Supposed to play 6 or 7 of players who featured in previous two games. Played 4 at most, but wanted to rest players and give some rotation/youngsters a chance, and they surprised me and we strolled this match to a full strength looking Marseille.

Hit or Miss

FkEdT0l.png 

So we’re half way through the season and it’s time to look at who my Hit and Miss of the season so far are.

Hit

So coming in as my most impressive player of the half season so far is…

Quote

 

That’s right, the crown jewel of this side, one of my favourite players I’ve used in quite some time; Fabinho. A complete midfielder, has it all and can do it all.

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Apps: 25

Goals: 7

Assists: 2

POM: 5

Av. R: 7.43

 

Honourable mentions go to: Tousart (cemented himself in the first team), Sidibe, Jorge, Glik, Jemerson (entire defence is outstanding).

Miss

That brings us onto the Miss of the season so far, and the player spending most of their time in the dunce corner.

Quote

It’s not the first time in his career he’s come under scrutiny for his lack of goals. Radamel Falcao is my Miss of the half season.

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Apps: 18

Goals: 7

Assists: 1

POM: 1

Av. R: 6.81

What a cunce.

 

Honourable mentions go to: Jovetic and Correa.

And so that takes us to the January window. The board put extra funds into the coffers, so they’ll be money to burn should we wish to. At the moment my only concern is goals. There’s no reliable forward in the squad, and the attacking mid trio are pitching in but not to the extent needed. If an attacking option becomes available we’ll have a look into it.

Edit: I wanted to have the above bit in spoiler tags, but doesn't look like you can have multiple as they just embed within eachother? 

Edited by R-D
spoiler tag cancer
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3 hours ago, The Palace Fan said:

Have a day off @R-D you're going to win the champions league in your first season at this rate xD

Haha, this Monaco side are really good!

I forgot to mention, but we pulled Atletico Madrid in the first knockout. A classic 4-4-2 side, one I'd expect us to overcome with the bodies in midfield, but oh wait who was the last team we faced at 4-4-2, oh yeah that's right FC Nantes, and that ended well.

Since my public cunce humiliation of Falcao, Jovetic and Correa, Falcao has bagged 3 in 3, Jovetic 2 and an assist in 1, and Correa 5 assists in 4. 

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SAInrHX.png

2017/2018

January Results and Transfer Window

Entered the window with little to no ambition of signing anyone unless a real talent was available, plus always good to have a scout of players with 6 months left on their contract, but more on those at a later update. Having said that, we did make a couple of signings to call out.

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Martin Odegaard - £8.75m - 19 - Norwegian - Attacking midfield; Creative

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One of the most recognised u21s in world football by name and reputation alone. At £8.75m, I think this could be a real bargain. Big wage for someone so young, but I expect him to feature a lot for the squad over the coming years. I did look into bringing Correa in for his £12m fee to get an idea of what his cost would be, and he wanted astronomical wages, so he'll be gone in the summer.

Dayot Upamecano - £12.5m - 19 - French - Central defender; Physical

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We've had some issues with CB options for rotation and injuries, and when I saw Upamencano available we snapped at the chance to take him off Redbull Leipzig's hands. He looks brilliant for his age and certainly one capable of staking a claim for a first team spot in the future. 

Total expenditure: £22m

No outs of note.

Ligue 1

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Another perfect month where we played 8 matches in total (9 if we're including the Lyon game, which I am). More goals conceded this month, which is expected with rotation and tiredness, but we improved on our goalscoring. Falcao putting in a shift for a change, looking to rid himself of the end of season cunce cap. Odegaard also netting on his debut, where we played the game with 10 men from the 10th minute after a Glik red card. 

League Table

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13 points is the gap now. We look unstoppable in the league at present. Real quality in the squad and the depth we have is impressive.

Coupe de France

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A competition the board expect us to win. We enter in the 9th round, meaning if we get to the final there's 5 matches between us. Very comfortable. Jovetic finding his level.

Coupe de la Ligue

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A competition purely for rotation and youngsters to feature in. Cruised to the final where we'll face PSG. 

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Also if anyone's interested, here's how some of the other leagues are faring at the end of Jan.

Premier League

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Championship

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Bundesliga

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Serie A

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La Liga

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Eredevisie (mon the Gron)

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Monaco are far too aesthetically pleasing.

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Would you not bother with Correa then? I want a number ten at Leicester and I'm not sure who to go for. Not had a proper look yet. Got an eye on Ramadan from Stoke.

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6 hours ago, Dan said:

Would you not bother with Correa then? I want a number ten at Leicester and I'm not sure who to go for. Not had a proper look yet. Got an eye on Ramadan from Stoke.

Andre Horta. 

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11 hours ago, Dan said:

Would you not bother with Correa then? I want a number ten at Leicester and I'm not sure who to go for. Not had a proper look yet. Got an eye on Ramadan from Stoke.

I won’t bother now. For the £12m or whatever he can be got for I think you’d have a great player and one with resell value. However, he wanted £140k p/w plus high bonuses, so binned that idea off. Anything half of that and I’d have gone for it.

Much like last year, go for a hunt through the Portuguese league. Rife with affordable talent.

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10 hours ago, Stan said:

Andre Horta. 

On loan at Braga as things stand, I want one to come in and start.

I want a number ten and a right back, and possibly a left back. I'm thinking Kovalenko, Arias and possibly Tremoulinas.

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4 hours ago, R-D said:

I won’t bother now. For the £12m or whatever he can be got for I think you’d have a great player and one with resell value. However, he wanted £140k p/w plus high bonuses, so binned that idea off. Anything half of that and I’d have gone for it.

Much like last year, go for a hunt through the Portuguese league. Rife with affordable talent.

Yeah I'm not going for that kind of wages. I'd only pay that to an absolutely top class player. Might be worth a go on loan mind.

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2 hours ago, The Palace Fan said:

I have to ask. Where do you get these awesome graphics from?

Which graphics do you mean? The logo and face packs?

8 minutes ago, Dan said:

Yeah I'm not going for that kind of wages. I'd only pay that to an absolutely top class player. Might be worth a go on loan mind.

If it’s first season then definitely give him a try on loan. Can be a bit of an Ozil type (irl ozil). I briefly recall now seeing a news item saying Atletico offered Correa a contract, I don’t think it came into my inbox though, but this could have been what drove the wages up when I went into contract negotiations.

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Just now, R-D said:

Which graphics do you mean? The logo and face packs?

If it’s first season then definitely give him a try on loan. Can be a bit of an Ozil type (irl ozil). I briefly recall now seeing a news item saying Atletico offered Correa a contract, I don’t think it came into my inbox though, but this could have been what drove the wages up when I went into contract negotiations.

I think I'd rather go for someone permanently in all honesty. I've got £24mil to spend, £81k a week free in wages (which if I sell Benalouane, Musa and Ulloa I'm going to nearly treble) and I ultimately want my players to grow in value. I don't want to grow Correa for Atletico. I'll see how much Shakhtar want for Kovalenko and then make another decision.

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25 minutes ago, Dan said:

I think I'd rather go for someone permanently in all honesty. I've got £24mil to spend, £81k a week free in wages (which if I sell Benalouane, Musa and Ulloa I'm going to nearly treble) and I ultimately want my players to grow in value. I don't want to grow Correa for Atletico. I'll see how much Shakhtar want for Kovalenko and then make another decision.

Unless the update has changed it, Correa can be had for £12m-ish, arguably less upfront with clauses. Kovalenko does look the business though, release clause as well so no hassle if you just want to go for it.

Some other names you might be interested in: Bruno Fernandes, Matias Vargas (low release clause), Samu Castillejo. Also depending how you like your #10s Savic from Lazio can be got for the top end of your budget and he looks amazing as a goalscoring #10.

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4 hours ago, R-D said:

Unless the update has changed it, Correa can be had for £12m-ish, arguably less upfront with clauses. Kovalenko does look the business though, release clause as well so no hassle if you just want to go for it.

Some other names you might be interested in: Bruno Fernandes, Matias Vargas (low release clause), Samu Castillejo. Also depending how you like your #10s Savic from Lazio can be got for the top end of your budget and he looks amazing as a goalscoring #10.

Kovalenko has no release clause on mine.

Definitely going to have a good look at Fernandes and Vargas. Vargas is excellent value for money, Fernandes I think we'll end up paying through the nose, I'm not sure I could as Leicester manager send more money Sporting Lisbon's way, it's a jinx.

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I've plumped for Gustavo Scarpa.

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SAInrHX.png

2017/18

February to (some of) April Results

Ligue 1

5dfdWN0.png

Another very good set of results here keeping 6 cleansheets out of 8. Very difficult to be aggrieved by that. 

An under-performance vs. Angers, just one of those games. But followed up with a good win vs. a tricky Dijon to get us back on track.

Obviously, the result that stands out the most here is the 2-0 defeat to PSG. This came shortly after a CL game, and the rotation and tired legs had taken its toll. I'd be more worried by the result if we hadn't had such an impressive run prior. 

League Table

JgvvUvL.png

Not much you can say about that. 9 points clear with a game in hand. 7 points to guarantee the league. Another reason I wasn't too concerned with the PSG defeat given the gap we had.

uFS5iWO.png

Here we can see the title run in. Almost an identical set of final fixtures. SHOULDN'T be a problem to wrap the league up...

Champions League 1st Knockout Round

srAAE0bOnCppUrlbJpFiHQ_96x96.png

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid 1 - 0 AS Monaco

The first leg didn't go to plan, as we walked away with a defeat. It was an even game on the face of things, but A. Madrid's top two of Griezmann and Diego Costa caused us all sorts of problems. A very complete partnership. The 4-4-2 caused us issues again, even with the added bodies in midfield. Griezmann with the one and only goal of the game on 21 minutes. We couldn't respond.

AS Monaco 2 - 0 Atletico Madrid

The difference a home leg makes! And this was where we really made the numbers in midfield count. Madrid started the game with pretty poor fitness on their players, so was important to make most of that by making them chase the ball. We dominated from the off this time round, creating chance after chance, but went into the break at 0-0. Still pretty confident going into the second half, especially with their depleted fitness. Our first came on 57 through a lovely finish from Moutinho to tie the leg up. 65 mins and Atleti had taken both Griezmann and Costa off, what a sight.

We did leave it mighty late to get the winner as it came on 84 minutes through Toussart, who's becoming one of my favourite players.

Final result: AS Monaco 2 - 1 Atletico Madrid

Champions League Quarter Finals

pQ22vb4LuIOzYKtILzmLnQ_96x96.png

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham 1 - 2 AS Monaco

Our group stage compatriots. A win and a draw there puts us mentally in the lead. The game starts and Kane scores after 8 minutes. Fuck. I thought our luck vs. Spurs had finally run out, the group tage results were quite fortunate. However, Spurs were their own worst enemies, gifting us a penalty early in the second half.... And then another on 88 minutes. Fabinho slotting both home. Cheers, Spurs.

AS Monaco 2 - 1 Tottenham

A repeat result, except this time it was us to get the early goal as Boschilla scores on 9 minutes. We put ourselves two up with the last kick of the half. Crushing for Spurs. 4-1 on agg. at this point and not much in the way of a comeback. Our home performances are very strong, we dominate most sides regardless of quality. On 70 mins I made a couple of subs to rest some key players, and then we instantly conceded... But held on with little difficulty.

Final result: AS Monaco 4 - 2 Tottenham

Champions League Semi Final Opponents

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Champions League Story So Far

A quick 'tree' look at how the other fixtures have fared from the first knockout round.

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Coupe de France

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Since the 7-0 win vs. the farmers of France, we played, and beat, Dijon in a tightly contested game, and some more farmers in Marignane Gignac - a game I'm pretty disappointed to have only won 2-0 given the absolute vast difference in quality.

That brings us on to Brest, I think it's fair to say these draws have been pretty nice for us.

 

Coupe de la Ligue

Final

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AS Monaco 1 - 1(p) PSG

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We played a mix of first team and rotation/youngsters as this fell only a few days before the first match vs. Spurs. PSG the better side in all and field a very strong XI. Disappointed to have not won given the extremely late equaliser - the last thing we really wanted was ET and forced us into some changes to bring first teamers on. However, the usual Mr. Reliable from the spot was the only to let us down, and we miss out on a trophy nobody cares about on penalties.

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The game only a number of days before the CL game I decide to rest most of the squad except a select few first teamers. Well you know what's going to happen to those guys then...

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We lost 2-1 as well and the nerves are kicking in.

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