SC Internacional Season 5 run-down and Season 6 preview

SC Internacional Season 5 Run-down and Season 6 Preview

Welcome to the SC Internacional Season 5 review. After finishing their maiden Division 2 season in a very respectable 10th place, The Brazilian outfit went into season 5 amid very mixed expectations. With only a season’s worth of experience in Top100’s 2nd tier and pre-season transfer business favouring the capture of younger talent at the expense of some of their established names, it was unknown how the Colorados would fair amongst a wealth of strong teams.

The club’s chairman offered only the demand that they avoid relegation, inferring that a top 10 finish was not expected.

Top100’s resident Stats and Facts Analyst predicted Internacional to be relegated and finish 18th. While myself as manager taking all things into account predicted a 13th place finish, anticipating a 2nd season struggle but to still comfortably avoid the drop. So let’s see how it went…

The Season
The team got off to a very respectable start to the campaign with 4 wins, 3 draws and 1 defeat from our first 8 games that saw us flying high near the top of the table. Notable 3-2 and 4-3 victories over Southampton and Benfica respectively showed we could compete with the heavyweights of the league and it showed we could score. Alassane Pléa and Edin Višća scored some important goals and proved to be a potent attacking duo, contributing to some promising early season form.

As most managers have at some time experienced, you should never rely on good form, and for no reason at all results will swing in the opposite direction. Sure enough came a winless streak of 9 games, including 2 lots of 2 consecutive defeats to Leverkusen and Genoa, and then Fenerbahçe and Sporting CP. This sent us plummeting down to the bottom half amongst a tight battle with play-off hopefuls and survival clubs.

Pléa: Man on fire

A much needed 3-0 win away at Fiorentina stopped the rot and should have provided a much needed confidence boost for the lads, but it was followed by a narrow defeat to promotion chasers Atletico and a 3-0 thumping from bottom of division Spartak Moscow.

Despite a couple of changes mid-season with the captures of Luisão, Cheikhou Kouyaté and Ryad Boudebouz we still couldn’t find the form or consistency that guided Internacional to 10th place last season.

If nothing better, a temporary upturn in fortunes followed with a 5-0 thumping over struggling Southampton to complete the double, with Pléa bagging 4 goals – this was the highlight of our season.

More stuttering form pursued throughout June with 3 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats, still better than no wins at all. A notable 2-1 over title hopefuls Internazionale and a 2-0 win over an in-form Sunderland were the big positives from the month.

July started off quite well with a hard fought win over a strong Leverkusen, a thrilling 3-3 drawwdraw with Genoa and 3 points against Lyon, culminating in a 5 game unbeaten run – a season best. July continued with inter-changeable results of wins and losses, including a 2nd double loss of the season against Fenerbahçe and Sporting CP (who seem to be our bogey teams), between 2 important wins over Wolfsburg and Fiorentina which guaranteed our survival in a close bottom half.
Our end of season run-in finished in style with a vengeful 3-1 victory over relegated Spatak Moscow to hoist SC Internacional up to a Top100 best finish of 9th in Division 2.

Final Division 2 standings

Scoring Charts

 The goals chart for the team is shown here. Alassane Pléa has once again been sensational, topping the goals chart and beating his tally from last season. He finished with the 4th highest goal tally in Division 2. Yussuf Poulsen also contributed well in his lone season at Internacional.

The assist tally for the team is shown here. Pléa was nearly as good at setting up goals as he was scoring them. His average match rating was 7.39, higher than any other player. He’s definitely earned his Player of the Season award.

Season Facts

  • Games lost by a single goal – 11
  • Games won at home – 3….(the word “fortress” not to be used here!)
  • Games won away — 11…Wow!
  • Winless streak – 9 games… it was a bad run
  • Biggest win 5-0 Southampton 
  • Biggest loss 3-0 Spartak
  • Never won consecutive games!
  • Worst losing streak – 2 games (3 occasions)
Not much to cheer about at the Beira Rio

Some frustrating facts there that has contributed to a very difficult season. Always looking over our shoulders at the relegation zone feeling close enough to be pulled in. Thankfully we did enough for a strong finish but the facts suggest not in the most orthodox way!

Mid season risers
In my last post on the blog I predicted the rises of the Bundesliga contingent of Willi Orban, Marcel Sabitzer,  Alessandro Schöpf and Yussuf Poulsen all from 87 to 88. Gladly all of them came in for Internacional!  This immediately strengthened the team all round and statistically changed them from relegation candidates to mid-tablers. It took a while to find the right line-up but form started to improve.

Internacional’s star player Alassane Pléa rose from 88 to 89 to give us a stronger centre forward and a player rated worthy of topping the scoring charts.

Mikel San José got a surprise rise from 89 to 90 to further strengthen our central midfield.

Our born and raised goalkeeper Becker Alisson also got a shock rise from 88 to 89 to give our team a great advantage over many of the division’s others.

Finally, Japanese forward Yuya Kubo got a deserved, albeit unexpected rise from 85 to 87. This gave the team a good fall back option in attacking positions and a great young asset in their ranks.

Mid-season arrivals
Cheikhou Kouyaté – 89 – D,DM,M(C)

The Sengalese defensive midfielder was signed to add strength to the middle of the park after struggling for possession in most games in the first part of the season.  He can also be a stronger option in central defence.  Bought from Man Utd for David Lopez and Ivan Ordets.

Anderson Luisão – 89 – D(C)

Even at the age of 36, the veteran Brazilian is always a reliable defenceman who can score some goals along the way. Pursuit of our highly coveted Portuguese teenager Diogo Dalot from then-Nuno’s Benfica led to an irrefuseable offer of Luisão plus Alec Georgen. Luisão carried on his captaincy duties for Internacional and scored 2 goals in our successful evasion of relegation.

Ryad Boudebouz – 89 – AM,F(RLC)

The versatile Algerian attacker had just risen to 89, and we sacrificed some depth by offering Sunderland 2 88 rated attacking midfielders in Remy Cabella and Edin Višća. The offer was rejected at first but Black Cats boss Wayne changed his mind a week later and decided to accept the offer. A decision that worked out well for both sides. Despite not getting many goals in his first half season here I’m willing to give him more time. His versatility will be useful and I’m convinced I can get him firing with the right tactics.

New season arrivals
Diego Laxalt – 88 – D,DM,M(L),AM(RLC)

The 24 year old versatile Uruguayan has long been a target of ours to fill our left back slot, as a young left back is a position that has always eluded us. The price was quite big to diminish interest from other clubs, so a deal was agreed with Sampdoria for them to receive Andujar Coke and Lucas Mendes. The 2 defenders played a big part in our season but with age and potential not on their side we were happy to let them go.

Emerson Palmieri – 88 – D,DM,M(L)

In our pursuit of a left back we made a few offers for different players after the last game of the season. We tied up the Laxalt deal then 2 weeks later we receive news that our bid for the 23 year old Italian Palmieri had been accepted by Man Utd. We lost a winger/ striker with Yussuf Poulsen going the other way, but it enabled me to move Laxalt into midfield so no harm done. Pleased to have Palmieri on board, he will continue to rise as long as he stays first choice left back at Roma.

Players to Watch
Who stands the best chance of rising before the end of Season 6 ? Here’s my predictions:

Willi Orban – D(RC) – 88>89
The centre back and club captain of Leipzig was a starter for their entire 2nd place maiden Bundesliga campaign, and will be playing Champions League football this season. Assuming Leipzig do 80% as well as last season he’s looking at a rise. I’m fending off bids for him left right and centre.

Marcel Sabitzer – AM,F(RLC) – 88>89

Same as Orban above, Sabitzer was a regular for the Bundesliga runners-up in the 2nd striker role. With the UCL and another league season to build on his abilities,  as well as being a fully fledged Austria international, he should get a +1.

Emerson Palmieri – D,DM,M(L) – 88>89 – As stated before, he’s a starter for Roma and he rose from 82 to 88 in his first season as he helped them finish 2nd in Serie A. If he carries on performing he’s bound to rise further and should cement his position as first choice left back both from Roma and for us for many seasons to come, (unless Frank Hirst tries to recruit him to his Italian army at Genoa!)

Ibrahim Amadou – D,DM,M(C)
 – 85>87

Despite Lille having a poor season, Amadou was one of the team’s best performers and was inexplicably overlooked by SM for a rise. Still a starter for Lille under Marcelo Beisla’s revolution and with greater expectation on the team, it would be ridiculous if he didn’t get a rise next time.

Joris Gnagnon – D(C) – 83>86

An undisputed starter at centre half for Rennes at the age of 20, Gnagnon has another season to solidify his reputation as one of the best under 21 defenders in the league. With Rennes bringing in some promising new recruits for the 2017 season, Gnagnon’ s next rise is dependent on how well the team performs, but I’m guessing they’ll do well and he’ll get a +3.

Benjamin Bourigeaurd – DM,M(C) – 83>86

Another Rennes recruit, signed in the off season from RC Lens. We picked the 23 year old the Ligue 2 highflyers a few months ago hoping his side would be promoted but they narrowly missed out. However Rennes snapped up the talented midfielder and put him straight in the starting XI for the 2017 season. Best case scenario could see him rise to 86 but it all depends on his performances before the next review.

Adrien Hunou – M(C),AM(RLC) – 85>86

Yet another Frenchman from Rennes, who became a more regular player in the starting line-up towards the end of last season. The 23 year old started the season opener so I think if he keeps his place he’ll certainly get a +1 at least.

Other players who I think have a SMALLER chance of a +1 rise in the ratings IF they perform well are: Becker Alisson, Diego Laxalt, Marcel Risse, Alessandro Schöpf and Nemanja Radoja. As ever I will be looking forward to the next review of the big 5 leagues!

Next Season?
Despite a tiring season of ups and downs with no continuity whatsoever,  we have managed to exceed my own expectations and certainly our less ambitious chairman’s too. My predicted 13th place finish in season 5 turned out to be an actual 9th place.
We have a good group of young players with good potential,  with many other managers eyeing up targets. A lot of our players have risen this season and should show similar form in real life to last season,  potentially earning further rises as previously mentioned.
With those factors in mind, plus the increasing difficulty of Division 2 and the improvement of other teams in the Division, I can see it being another difficult season.
However in some aspects I expect us to do better, for example, we need to win more games at home and we must put some kind of streak together at some point.
My personal aim would be to make the playoffs as a best case scenario, but I would hope to not have relegation worries and finish no lower than 11th realistically. I hope we can find a formation and tactical approach that generally works, as I feel experimentation during the season always causes a dip in form.
If i can find that then i feel we have a great group of young players to go far and with a bit of luck we can establish ourselves as promotion hopefuls rather than relegation candidates.

Thank you for taking the time to read about SC Internacional. I have enjoyed reading all the recent blog entries from other managers, so i hope you have liked this  Good luck to all for the new season, and long live Top100!

Cheers, Robérto Downinho
(Aka Robert Downing)

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