Good afternoon and welcome to the preview for the upcoming Season 3 in the Top 100 1st Division. Last season seen Barcelona romping to the title by 10 points from 2nd placed Bayern Munich, with Real Madrid a further point back in 3rd.
The following preview should, of course, not be taken seriously and especially the predicted finishing positions. The finishing positions were calculated using a formula that I wont even try to explain and therefor there may be a couple of surprises. As I say, do not take it seriously as it is only a bit of fun.
I do not guarantee 100% accuracy in the preview text and if anyone wishes anything changed then I will happily do so.
Anyway here we go for this season’s preview:
TEAM: ACF FIORENTINA
MANAGER: MISTER DINOSAUR T-REX MALCOLM
LAST SEASON: 11th
STADIUM: ARTEMIO FRANCHI
KEY PLAYER: Borja VALERO
BEST SEASON: 11th (Season 2)
A successful first season in the top flight seen Fiorentina finish in a safe mid-table position and although Season 3 may be a bit tougher, they should still stay clear of the bottom 4. They will be looking to Valero to run the midfield and provide the strikers with ammunition as well as chip in with a few goals himself. In Mister Malcolm they have a manager who knows how to grind out wins when needed and a mid-table finish should once again be the result.
MISTER MALCOLM: My ambition for next season in all seriousness is not to get relegated. Why? Well I had to sacrifice a lot to get promoted in season 1 and also to survive this time so now I have money in the bank but the team is aging badly. So some old timers and some droppers have to go. I will be opening up a few slots for either risers or players I intend to gather from other sources. So to sum up, I don’t want to get relegated and want to build a stable younger side.
MALCOLM’S TITLE TIP: BARCELONA
PREDICTED FINISH: 13th
OPENING FIXTURE: JUVENTUS (H)
TEAM: ARSENAL FC
MANAGER: MICHAEL BOWES
LAST SEASON: 8th
STADIUM: EMIRATES STADIUM
KEY PLAYER: Gareth BALE
BEST SEASON: 8th (Season 1, Season 2)
Two 8th place finishes have left a question mark over Arsenal’s ability to become a title chasing side. After Neil Jones was sacked just 5 games into the season, Michael Bowes took the reins and he made an instant impact as Arsenal lost just one of their next seven games but once the honeymoon period was over Arsenal dropped too many points to teams they should have beat. The addition of Wanyama will add a certain amount of depth but there has so far not been a top class signing since the end of the season. Gareth Bale will be a vital part of the campaign once again but a top six challenge may be the best that Michael can hope for.
MICHAEL BOWES: By finishing 8th it equalled our position the season before. As a manager I always look to improve on the season before, so 7th place will be my target with the top 6 on my mind and something I will be looking to break into.
MICHAEL’S TITLE TIP: BARCELONA
PREDICTED FINISH: 8th
OPENING FIXTURE: BAYERN MUNICH (A)
TEAM: ATLETICO MADRID
MANAGER: THE DOCTOR
LAST SEASON: 9th
STADIUM: VINCENTE CALDERON
KEY PLAYER: Julian DRAXLER
BEST SEASON: 6th (Season 1)
Atletico Madrid found Season 2 a bit tougher than Season 1 but a 9th place finish was still reasonable. The squad is not as strong as many of the others so The Doctor has done a great job in making them a top ten side. Atletico are a side that is being built for the future and this may see them finishing outside the top ten in Season 3. 24yo Jordy Clasie recently signed and instantly became one of the six oldest players in the squad. A tricky season could lie ahead but they shouldn’t find themselves in any danger.
THE DOCTOR: My ambition for next season will be to qualify for European football and win a domestic cup. The Youth Cup as always will be a secondary priority. A new set of tactics could be deployed from the tardis memory banks.
THE DOCTOR’S TITLE TIP: Refused as, being a time traveller, he already knows
PREDICTED FINISH: 11th
OPENING FIXTURE: BAYER LEVERKUSEN (H)
MANAGER: SCOTT McKENZIE
LAST SEASON: 1st (Champions)
STADIUM: CAMP NOU
KEY PLAYER: Lionel MESSI
BEST SEASON: CHAMPIONS (Season 2)
Barcelona coasted to their first Top100 title last season by a clear 10 points. They suffered just one league defeat all season and enjoyed an unbeaten 47 game league run stretching back into Season 1. It’s not easy to find someone who doesn’t think that Barcelona will retain their title but I always believe that defending a title is a lot harder than winning it. The signing of Alaba from Borussia Dortmund further strengthens the team but their seems to be a lack of depth and this could come back and bite them this season. Scott will be going all out to defend his title and will do so like a dog guarding a Sunday joint but I think he might just fall short.
SCOTT McKENZIE: My ambition for next season would be to successfully defend my League Title. I would also like to try and go one better and finish the season undefeated, but I know that would be a miracle after this one off season I’ve had. You don’t get those kind of seasons every year, I would like to add another trophy as well but not fussed although a double sounds nice.
SCOTT’S TITLE TIP: BAYERN MUNICH
PREDICTED FINISH: 3rd
OPENING FIXTURE: SS LAZIO (A)
TEAM: BAYER LEVERKUSEN
LAST SEASON: 15th
STADIUM: BAY ARENA
KEY PLAYER: David SILVA
BEST SEASON: 15th (Season 2)
It was a tough first season in the top flight for Leverkusen after an impressive Season 1 that ended with automatic promotion from Division 2. After the departure of promotion winning boss Mike Scalotti, Leverkusen brought in Noisy hoping they could take them forward. I suppose that by keeping them in Division 1, Noisy did in fact move them forward no matter how slightly it was and his next task is to continue that work. The signing of Alex Galvez hardly set the world alight and unless the squad further improves, this looks a long hard season for the German club. Survival would be deemed a success.
NOISY: Improving our league position is our number one target. We shouldn’t have been battling relegation last season and that is something we want to avoid this season. A realistic aim for us would be a top ten finish. This can be a breakthrough season for some of our talented youngsters and we plan to give players like Boufal, Brandt and Jedvaj more minutes to see what they can do.
NOISY’S TITLE TIP: REAL MADRID
PREDICTED FINISH: 20th
OPENING FIXTURE: ATLETICO MADRID (A)
TEAM: BAYERN MUNICH
MANAGER: GURSIMRAN BAR
LAST SEASON: 2nd
STADIUM: ALLIANZ ARENA
KEY PLAYER: Cristiano RONALDO
BEST SEASON: 2nd (Season 2)
Bayern Munich are growing in strength every season and they are definitely ready to challenge Barcelona as the best team in Top 100. Their 3rd place finish in Season 1 was improved upon by 14 points in Season 2 and that was good enough for them to finish runners-up to Barcelona. Gursiman added Matuidi and Manolas at the end of last season and this gives extra depth. The only risk could be that of Kevin Trapp in goal. His inexperience at this level could be the downfall of Bayern but if he can produce the goods then there is no reason why Bayern cannot be Champions at the end of Season 3/.
GURSIMRAN BRAR: My ambition for next season would be to at least match my haul of 3 trophies which could be 4 with us playing in the SMFA Champions cup final against MU tomorrow. However, most importantly it would be to win the Division 1 Title as that’s the most coveted title of TOP 100.
GURSIMRAN’S TITLE TIP: BARCELONA
PREDICTED FINISH: CHAMPIONS
OPENING FIXTURE: ARSENAL (H)
TEAM: BORUSSIA DORTMUND
MANAGER: LEE REYNOLDS
LAST SEASON: 1st (Division 2 Champions)
STADIUM: SIGNAL IDUNA PARK
KEY PLAYER: Marco REUS
BEST SEASON: 18th (Season 1)
Borussia Dortmund are back in the top flight after just one season away and they did it in style by winning the Division 2 title. Manager Lee Reynolds will be determined that Borussia don’t become the yo-yo team of the Top 100 and he has been revamping the squad. The signing of Marco Reus could possibly be the best signing of the close season and with Allan and Hector amongst others also being signed then I think it could be a decent season for Dortmund and maybe even a European place at the end.
LEE REYNOLDS: Some may think survival should be my aim but qualifying for a European competition is what I am looking at and that, of course, means a top ten finish.
LEE’S TITLE TIP: BARCELONA
PREDICTED FINISH: 10th
OPENING FIXTURE: REAL MADRID (H)
TEAM: CHELSEA FC
MANAGER: JAMES McKENZIE
LAST SEASON: 7th
STADIUM: STAMFORD BRIDGE
KEY PLAYER: Robert LEWANDOWSKI
BEST SEASON: 7th (Season 2)
Chelsea showed improvement last season and managed to finish a respectable 7th in the table. They are more than likely punching above their weight but look a solid outfit that is hard to beat. The addition of Lewandowski near the end of the season was a great buy and it is him that Chelsea will look to goals for. Manager James McKenzie is currently in the shadow of his brother and it is doubtful that it will change soon. The depth is not there with James preferring to put a lot into youth but despite that, Chelsea should still be in the European places without threatening the top sides.
JAMES McKENZIE: My ambition for next term will be to break into the top 4. I also want to keep hold of my Euro Shield up and until I make the top 4. I would like to do well in this season’s Youth Cup also.
JAMES’S TITLE TIP: BARCELONA
PREDICTED FINISH: 7th
OPENING FIXTURE: MANCHESTER UNITED (A)
TEAM: FC PORTO
MANAGER: ANDRE GUERRA
LAST SEASON: 5th
STADIUM: ESTADIO DO DRAGAO
KEY PLAYER: Iker CASILLAS
BEST SEASON: 5th (Season 2)
FC Porto were the surprise side of Season 2. To finish in 5th place after only gaining promotion through the Division 2 play offs was a fantastic performance and, quite rightly, Andre Guerra took a lot of the plaudits for the way his side played. In fact if it wasn’t for the tremendous season that Scott McKenzie had with Barcelona then Andre would have won the manager of the season. Of course the question is can Porto repeat their feat this season? Well, Andre has decided to go with the same squad with youth player Patrick Roberts being the only addition during the close season. Other teams will be more aware of Porto but I don’t think that will change much. A top 6 finish for Porto is on the cards once again as long as Casillas is on top form.
ANDRE GUERRA: My ambition is to do at least as good as last season, but realistically I think a top 10 finish would already be a positive season for us.
ANDRE’S TITLE TIP: BAYERN MUNICH
PREDICTED FINISH: 6th
OPENING FIXTURE: VALENCIA CF (A)
TEAM: FC SCHALKE 04
MANAGER: SAMEER ARSHAD
LAST SEASON: 3rd (Division 2, Promoted)
STADIUM: VELTINS ARENA
KEY PLAYER: Henrik MKHITARYAN
BEST SEASON: 3rd (Season 2, Division 2)
Schalke make their debut in Division 1 after finishing 3rd in Division 2 and earning the last automatic promotion space. They could find themselves struggling at the wrong end of the table but they have decent depth in their squad and plenty of experience to boot. That in itself may be enough to keep them up but I wouldn’t be surprised if they had to wait until the last game of the season for them to be safe. The rumour coming out of the Veltins Arena is that boss Sameer Arshad will resign if he can’t lead Schalke to a European place and if that is true then Schalke will be looking for a new manager for Season 4. Mario Suarez is the only addition to a squad that could succeed or fail depending on whether they decide to offload Tevez and bring in a different striker. I think they survive ….. just.
SAMEER ARSHAD: We are an ambitious club so we set our targets high. This season we will be looking to get into the European places. It will be difficult but I know we have the squad to do it.
SAMEER’S TITLE TIP: BARCELONA
PREDICTED FINISH: 16th
OPENING FIXTURE: PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN (A)
TEAM: FENERBAHCE SK
MANAGER: SCOTT ‘BROON’ BROWN
LAST SEASON: 10th
STADIUM: SUKRU SARACOGLU STADIUM
KEY PLAYER: Franck RIBERY
BEST SEASON: 10th (Season 2)
Fenerbahce defied the odds by not only comfortably staying in the Division but by qualifying for this season’s Euro Shield. It took them 3 managers to do it but they got the job done. After Noisy left to manage Leverkusen, Norman Little came in and done a good job but he then left for FC Twente in Holland, so they turned to Scott ‘broon’ Brown and after a shaky start he managed to get them a top ten finish. Broon has been busy in the transfer market trying to make the side his own while at the same time improving the team. This is going to be a much tougher season for him as he tries to juggle the league along with European competition and results may suffer. Once you are down at the bottom it is tough to recover and I fear that Fenerbahce may not be able to do that. Division 2 football in Season 4 is a strong possibility.
SCOTT BROWN: After the success of reaching the Euro Shield last season our aim has to be trying for a top 4 finish and a Champions Cup place. We believe that is within our capabilities.
BROON’S TITLE TIP: BARCELONA
PREDICTED FINISH: 18th
OPENING FIXTURE: LIVERPOOL (A)
TEAM: JUVENTUS FC
LAST SEASON: 4th
STADIUM: JUVENTUS STADIUM
KEY PLAYER: Antoine GRIEZMANN
BEST SEASON: 4th (Season 2)
Juventus are a top class side and after finishing 5th in Season 1, they improved to 4th last season. Can they make the jump from Champions Cup qualifiers to title challengers? That target may still be beyond them so a domestic cup may be their best bet for their first trophy. Manager, DP91 is always busy trying to improve the team and the signing of Cuadrado will strengthen the defence while Batashuayi could add enough depth to see them lift the domestic cup or shield. Another season beckons of always being near the top without looking like serious title challengers and it could be as you were for Juventus when the season ends.
DP91: We go into this season on the back of our 4th place last year which was better than the 5th in Season 1. We feel we have a squad that can at least repeat our 4th place from last season although the standard of competition will make it even harder.
DP91’S TITLE TIP: BARCELONA
PREDICTED FINISH: 4th
OPENING FIXTURE: ACF FIORENTINA (A)
MANAGER: GORDON ‘GINO’ KINNEAR
LAST SEASON: 16th
KEY PLAYER: Alexandre LACAZETTE
BEST SEASON: 16th (Season 1, Season 2)
Liverpool were hoping for a better campaign in Season 2 than the 16th place finish in Season 1 but a poor start seen Clive Short sacked and they turned to Gordon ‘Gino’ Kinnear, hoping he could take them forward. Kinnear almost stripped the squad, bringing in his own players and for a while it looked like he could earn Liverpool a top half finish, however, a disastrous collapse seen them lose their last seven games and they dropped from 8th place to saving their status on the last day of the season. This meant another 16th place finish but with the addition of El Shaarawy and the experienced Moutinho, Liverpool could at last show improvement especially if Kinnear can get the best out of striker Lacazette. A higher place finish for Liverpool shouldn’t be too difficult but it probably wont be by much.
GORDON ‘GINO’ KINNEAR: Until the last 7 games collapse we were in with a good chance of a Euro Shield place so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect to finish in the top half of the table.
GINO’S TITLE TIP: BAYERN MUNICH
PREDICTED FINISH: 14th
OPENING FIXTURE: FENERBAHCE SK (H)
TEAM: MANCHESTER CITY
MANAGER: WILL TRAFFORD
LAST SEASON: 12th
STADIUM: ETIHAD STADIUM
KEY PLAYER: Diego COSTA
BEST SEASON: 11th (Season 1)
Will Trafford took over at the Etihad just as the season started but after a promising start City lost their way and had a run that returned just 1 win in 13 games. Will, however, kept at it despite being under heavy pressure and managed to guide them to a safe 12th place. Perhaps surprisingly, Will has decided to keep faith with his squad and has not brought in any big name players over the close season although Bravo could make a difference in his first full season with the club. Staying up will be the biggest challenge but I think they should manage to do that ok.
WILL TRAFFORD: We will do well to stay up again! Some of the teams in the division have vast amounts of top quality players and resources. We have recruited well and just need to carry on the rebuild.
WILL’S TITLE TIP: REAL MADRID
PREDICTED FINISH: 15th
OPENING FIXTURE: SSC NAPOLI (H)
TEAM: MANCHESTER UNITED
MANAGER: JOE JORDAN
LAST SEASON: 6th
STADIUM: OLD TRAFFORD
KEY PLAYER: Wayne ROONEY
BEST SEASON: CHAMPIONS (SEASON 1)
Joe Jordan led Manchester United to the Champions Cup on the back of their title winning Season 1 but their league form seemed to suffer because of the burden. It is interesting to note that after a Champions Cup game, United won just 4 of 12 league games. This resulted in a 6th place finish so getting back into that top 4 will be one of the targets for this season. Jordan seems to be keeping faith with last seasons squad and while I think they can have a better season, I also think that the Top 4 will be missing their name.
JOE JORDAN: My aim for next season is to get back into the top 4. A Champions Cup place is what this club deserves.
JOE’S TITLE TIP: BARCELONA/ REAL MADRID (couldn’t split the two)
PREDICTED FINISH: 5th
OPENING FIXTURE: CHELSEA (H)
TEAM: PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
MANAGER: GARY NAYLOR
LAST SEASON: 4th (Division 2 play off winner)
STADIUM: PARC DES PRINCES
KEY PLAYER: Thiago SILVA
BEST SEASON: 17th (Season 1)
Paris Saint-Germain bounced back to the top flight at the first time of asking thanks to a Play Off Final win over Wolfsburg. You would think that would make them favourites to be heading back down again but I don’t agree. Boss Gary Naylor will have learned a lot from the relegation in Season 1 and I think along with players such as Ibrahimovic and Verratti, PSG have a sound basis to build a good season on. Better organisation this time round and a little bit of luck can see the French club surprise a few people and a top ten finish could be the end product.
GARY NAYLOR: Our main aim this season is to finish in the top ten. That may be asking a bit much considering we were relegated in Season 1 but simply targeting survival will set the wrong tone for the players, fans and the club as a whole.
GARY’S TITLE TIP: BARCELONA
PREDICTED FINISH: 9th
OPENING FIXTURE: FC SCHALKE 04 (H)
TEAM: REAL MADRID
MANAGER: ROY KEANE
LAST SEASON: 3rd
STADIUM: SANTIAGO BERNABEU
KEY PLAYER: Junior NEYMAR
BEST SEASON: 2nd (Season 1)
After setting a high standard in Season 1, many at Real Madrid will have been disappointed at only managing 3rd place last season. They did of course have the World Club Cup to cry into but I am sure they would rather have had the title. Real have arguably the best squad in the Division and the fact that they have still to win the title may put question marks against Roy Keane’s reign if they should fail to win it a third time. Keane has added two highly talented youngsters in Tolisso and Alcacer but has not managed to bring in a game one starter. I think Real will be up at the top challenging once more and may even sit top of the table for a while but, while another cup may come their way, come the end of the campaign I think it will be another non-title season.
ROY KEANE: We only have one aim and that is to win the treble of course.
ROY’S TITLE TIP: BARCELONA (because I am not allowed to tip myself)
PREDICTED FINISH: 2nd
OPENING FIXTURE: BORUSSIA DORTMUND (A)
TEAM: SS LAZIO
MANAGER: FRED DODGER
LAST SEASON: 14th
STADIUM: STADIO OLIMPICO
KEY PLAYER: Arjen ROBBEN
BEST SEASON: 13th (Season 1)
SS Lazio have flirted with relegation in both Season 1 and Season 2 but have always managed to do just enough to be safe. When Fred Dodger took over about 8 games into Season 2, Lazio fans felt that they were on their way to better things but Fred struggled to get the consistency required to get clear of the battle at the bottom until a good run near the end seen them safe. Lazio have done next to nothing on the transfer front and that could lead to problems. They are an ageing squad and I think Fred will have a tough time getting the wins needed to stay clear of the bottom. Relegation could be the end result and Lazio may also think it’s time for someone new at the helm.
FRED DODGER: I’m hoping for a top 4 spot. Some may say ambitious but with a good pre-season I think it’s possible.
FRED’S TITLE TIP: MANCHESTER UNITED
PREDICTED FINISH: 19th
OPENING FIXTURE: BARCELONA (H)
TEAM: SSC NAPOLI
MANAGER: ROB RYAN
LAST SEASON: 2nd (Division 2)
STADIUM: STADIO SAN PAOLO
KEY PLAYER: Gonzalo HIGUAIN
BEST SEASON: 2nd (Season 2, Division 2)
Napoli reached the big time at the second time of asking after being unlucky in losing the Play Off Final in Season 1. Ross Larkman resigned and Rob Ryan was given the job of getting them up. It turned out to be a great appointment as Rob led them to a second place finish and automatic promotion. Now the new challenge ahead is to keep them in Division 1. Rob has recognised that additions to the squad would be required and he has done well to bring in top players Turan and Ramires. Genter has also been added to give extra depth to a squad that looks good on paper but struggles in the age column. Rob will give it 100% in dedication to the job at hand but I fear he will be involved in a relegation struggle and it is one that could see Napoli run out of steam and just lose out, maybe even on the last day. It will be a brave effort but I think it is one he will lose.
ROB RYAN: My aim for this season is firstly to put 40 points on the board as soon as possible, have at least one sustained cup run (preferably to a final), then build up to European competition if possible. The optimist hopes for a top 6 finish, the pessimist is happy with 17th.
ROB’S TITLE TIP: BARCELONA
PREDICTED FINISH: 17th
OPENING FIXTURE: MANCHESTER CITY (A)
TEAM: VALENCIA CF
MANAGER: DAVID SENIOR
LAST SEASON: 13th
STADIUM: MESTALLA STADIUM
KEY PLAYER: Cesc FABREGAS
BEST SEASON: 7th (Season 1)
Valencia had an impressive first season under Simo and managed to finish 7th in the table ahead of some more illustrious clubs. Season 2 was not going as well and Valencia were struggling and near the bottom end of the table. The Valencia board moved swiftly and axed Simo. The new boss was David Senior, something of an unknown quantity, but their gamble paid off and after a sticky start, David guided them to not only safety, but a 13th place finish and, thanks to favourable Cup winners, a Euro Shield place. David has added some experienced players and will hope they can help Valencia into the top 10. A top 10 finish may be too much to ask but they wont be that far away in the end and a mid table finish looks a good bet.
DAVID SENIOR: The first thing and the main aim is to avoid relegation and after that then we have to aim for a European place.
DAVID’S TITLE TIP: BARCELONA
PREDICTED FINISH: 12th
OPENING FIXTURE: FC PORTO (H)
So, that’s the Division 1 preview for Season 3 and remember it is only a bit of fun so don’t be offended if I have tipped you for relegation. What to do is prove me wrong and then stick two big fingers up at me although you won’t have to broon, as you are going down. The managers have also spoken and have backed Barcelona, by a majority, to retain their title. A summary of the votes is below:
BAYERN MUNICH 3
REAL MADRID 2.5
MANCHESTER UNITED 1
It just remains for me to wish everyone good luck for the new season and good luck to everyone in using the new UI. Hopefully this time next year we will be wondering what all the fuss was about and will still be loving the best game world in Soccer Manager. The Top 100, its the world to be in and the world to be seen in. Let’s keep it the best.
Thanks for reading