Welcome to issue 2 of the T100 magazine. The first round of fixtures of season 11 have now been played and managers will be looking to hit the ground running. Before I get into this issue I’ll make a plea if not already done so to make your intentions clear to David Marsden about participation for both the youth cup and club world cup. Both friendly tournaments add to the GW massively imo and should be entered by as many clubs possible, even if your youth side is crap (like my Stuttgart) its just about contributing to the GW. Imo the last few seasons there seems to be a few managers who don’t contribute to the GW fully, just pick their teams and the odd transfer. I know Real life can get in the way at times but we need to keep this GW as the best. Now on to the match reviews..
BARCELONA V JUVENTUS.
Juventus were given the task no one in Division 1 wanted, away to the champions 1st game of the season. A season where DP is surely looking to make an impression on the league title race but walking in to Scott Mckenzie’s back yard is no easy feat for any side, just the 1 side managed to leave the Nou Camp with 3 points last season. The game started in ominous fashion with Messi putting over a great ball which Carvajal really should of done better with on 10 minutes. The let off didn’t last very long as 2 minutes later Messi cut inside the static Juve defence beating 2 men with a drop of that magical left shoulder and played a defence splitting ball to Neymar who drew Schmeichal off his line before dinking the ball over the stranded keeper, 1-0 Barca. Juventus responded well with chances for Mane and Jesus which De Gea was equal to. Messi also had a chance to extend Barcelona’s lead but Schmeichal saved well. The rest of the 1st half played out with both sides cancelling each other out but the game was evenly balanced at half time despite Neymar’s 1st half strike. The 2nd half started as the 1st finished and on the hour mark DP had seen enough and made a triple sub to try and ignite some life into his attack and those changes had an instant impact. Leroy Sane came in off the right flank and laid the ball square to the newly arrived Pepe who sent an absoulute screamer into the top corner from the edge of the box, 1-1 and no more than Juve deserve it has to be said. Sterling and Neymar both had chances to put either side in front before the 1st VAR controversy of the season, Messi and Neymar played a scrumptious 1-2 before Messi slotted between Schmeichal’s legs to send the Nou Camp wild..until the big screen flashed to show VAR were checking for offside…And offside it was by the tightest of margins..2.7cm. Mckenzie was fuming at the officials. He would of been inconsolable if Alonso had managed to connect properly with his chance in the last minute from Sterling’s free kick but he fluffed at the chance and the ball flew wide. 1-1 it finished and it was a fair result.
MANCHESTER UNITED V VALENCIA
Manchester United started the campaign desperately trying to bounce back from their disappointing relegation from Division 1, on the back of 10 straight defeats. The board had given their backing to Nathan Prince and they welcomed Valencia to Old Trafford under the guidance of Paul Thompson who moved from Twente after a highly impressive Division 5 title last season. The game started brightly for the home side with just 6 minutes on the clock when Maier played in Toko Ekambi 1 on 1 with sommer in the valencia goal, Toko Ekambi hit a scuffed effort which deceived the keeper who probably expected a cleaner strike and the ball bounced over the keepers dangling leg and trickled over the line, 1-0 and just the start Nathan would of wanted. Maybe it was the run of defeats last season which had the effect but Manchester United didn’t know how to deal with their early lead stuck between pushing on for a 2nd or holding on to what they held but Valencia came back into the game strongly. Areola in the home goal saved 4 times in the first half from Demiray, Poulsen, Ghoulam and Brahimi as the Spanish side fought to get back on equal terms. United had just the 1 other chance and again Toko Ekambi scuffed at it. Half time and Man United had managed to get in with their advantage. The 2nd half lacked the intensity of the 1st and both sides struggled to get a foothold in the game. That was the case until the 71st minute when Brahimi played a deft touch trough to the on running Poulsen who took the ball on and drilled his finish beyond the outstretched hand of the diving Areola, 1-1 and now the gane was anybody’s. Toko Ekambi again had a chance for Man United before Brahimi again turned provider for Valencia with his neat lay off for Elvedi who strode on to the ball 25 yards out and picked out the top corner as Areola watched on, the force of the shot left the keeper flat footed and he was unable to move across the goal as it nestled in the net 1-2 and Man United were again staring defeat in the face. One final chance was to come the home sides way and again it fell to that man Toko Ekambi who forced Sommer into a decent save to prevent United stealing a late share of the points. FT 1-2 and a fantastic turnaround for Paul Thompson’s men. Nathan Prince will be hoping Man United can kick this losing habit asap.
LEVANTE V STOKE CITY
Levante welcomed newly promoted Stoke City hoping to step up from their 12th place finish last season, only 2 points off the play off spots but a disappointing season for a talented squad. Stoke having finished 2nd in Division 4 on GD were looking to make steady progress in the 3rd tier with their young squad, only 3 of which are 30 years and older. Goulart had the 1st chance of the game for the visitors but his blistering shot whistled past the right post with the home keeper stranded. The home side then took control of the game with Milik twice forcing Zoet in to decent stops before Delaney narrowly fired over from a free kick on the edge of the box following a clumsy challenge from Castillejo, a challenge which earned him a yellow card. Then one of Stoke’s golden oldies stunned the home crowd with a finely taken goal. Hugo Mallo did much of the donkey work before playing the ball acroos the box to Kagawa who hit a fantastically struck shot which curled in to the top corner, Pacheco in the home goal was full length but he couldn’t reach the shot and the newly promoted side had the lead 0-1. the 1st half drew to a close with Stoke defending what they had. The 2nd half will leave questions being asked of Dario Saviano’s side as despite having the majority of the ball they failed to test Zoet apart from a couple of long range efforts which barely registered as a shot in truth, Stoke on the other hand defended majestically depriving the home side any space but they looked dangerous on the counter, Pacheco was beaten all ends up from El Haddadi but his shot just went past the post. To add to Levante’s misery they will be missing Milik for a game after his wild lunge at Castillejo with 5 minutes remaining, how he receives just a 1 game ban for such a challenge is beyond me. A superb win for Stoke. 0-1.
ASTON VILLA V RIVER PLATE
Aston Villa welcomed last season’s play off losers River Plate to Villa Park in a battle of 2 sides both looking for promotion. Villa have the youthful side put together very well by Nick Justice whereas River have the more experienced legs and will be looking to bounce back from their devastating end to the season where they narrowly missed out on a 2nd promotion in 2 seasons, firstly missing out on an automatic promotion spot having looked assured of one at one point, then losing the play off final to add to their misery. The game started in an hesitant fashion, both sides feeling each other out and sharing a yellow card each before the only goal of the game came in the 22nd minute. Allan Saint-Maximin, sporting his new gucci headband, skipped past a couple of challenges down the left hand side before cutting in to the box, a swift nutmeg of Clyne followed before he laid the ball into Kahveci’s path who calmly rolled the ball into the bottom corner. River responded well to falling behind and wilson should of made more of his effort when presented well by Lemina before Lemina himself got off a decent effort which Strakosha did well to see off. Xeca then played a lofted ball over the top of the defence which was cleared by Strakosha but with the keeper stranded after the clearance Ismaily really should of done better but his chipped effort went well over the bar. HT 1-0 to the Villa. The second half was a scrappy affair, another 3 bookings in a niggly match. Bernard and Lemina both putting wide when in good positions either side of a great save from Fabianski from Saint-Maximin. In to the final minute of the match and River carved open Villa, subsitute Ruiz delivered an inch perfect ball into Callum Wilson who took an immaculate 1st touch before sending his shot just wide of Strakosha’s post. FT 1-0 and a good start to the season for Villa.
BREMEN V CRUZEIRO
Last season was one to forget for Wayne Bullough and his Bremen side, they finished 4th in season 9 before suffering relegation in season 10 and he hopes for an instant return to Division 4. Cruzeiro under Josh Mcmillan had made some progress after a big turnover of players and finished 15th last season, they will be hoping for some of their players to push on again this season. The game was only 6 minutes old when Bremen delivered a message of intent for the season, an out swinging corner found Barbosa just inside the box and he unleashed a fine half volley which flew past the helpless Casillas in the Cruzeiro goal. A fine start for the Germans. Cruzeiro managed to compose themselves and matched their counterparts for the remainder of the first half, chances of note for both sides from Pereiro and Patrick but the score remained 1-0 at half time. The second half was one way traffic, whatever was said at half time worked a treat for the home side as they took apart the Brazilians at ease. Tameze played in Dost who with a clear run at goal took his time, composed himself before finishing under the despairing dive of Casillas. 2-0 and the floodgates were being breached here. Casillas was being over worked here and despite saving from Pereiro just moments before he was left wrong footed by the same player on 64 minutes as the Germans went 3-0 ahead. Dost then hit the post on 70 minutes with a superb deft flick which had Casillas beaten all ends up, Dost was denied again 10 minutes later as Casillas blocked well with his body before he was beaten for the final time on 81 minutes from a superb free kick from MOTM Pereiro, who smashed the ball through the poorly organised wall to grab his second of the game. FT 4-0 and Bremen will take some stopping on this performance.
In The Hot Seat With…
Next up in the Hot Seat series of interviews with managers of T100 is…well me!! Stuttgart’s well travelled manager Norman Little.
What is with all the moves in T100? Well what can you say, Technically I’ve been in charge of 8 clubs over 9 changes of managers (West Ham twice, once for 1 game) and for all but 2 of the clubs I never really found my feet. The full list of clubs I’ve managed are West Ham, West Brom, Twente, Newcastle, Fenerbache, Atalanta, River Plate and finally Stuttgart. Some moves were enforced after failing with Newcastle and West Brom, and I had a couple spells away from T100 when I’ve needed time for personal issues. I’m back for the duration now though as mentally I’m in the best place I’ve been for years. Who’s to say that will be sorely at Stuttgart though?
Biggest regret in T100? Well I’ve two, firstly failing with Newcastle. I know it’s just a game but when managing your club it means just a bit more, I’ve always been a lover of doing deals but sometimes I do far too many and I think that was the problem at Newcastle. The second is the one I regret even more, River Plate. After they had finished bottom in Division 5 season 8 I left a good Atalanta side to take on the challenge of rebuilding the Argentinian giants, 1st season we won the title, my finest achievement in SM let alone T100. second season hadn’t long started when I wasn’t in a good place and needed a break from a few things, I needed to take a step back and just relax so I quit all SM and took a few months break from this and some forms of other things. Before long however I was wanting back in and I’m slowly loving the game again.
Aims for Stuttgart this season? To improve the squad and maybe a run at the play offs. I inherited a decent squad, but an ageing squad. I want to cut numbers down to around 42-44 players ideally but that’s not always possible with the amount of youngsters everyone chases. The 1st team squad will be a maximum of 22 players by the end of the season.
Best player at Stuttgart? Well I would have to say Miggy Almiron, I love the little fella. I know IRL stats aren’t helping him at Newcastle but believe me the kid is tremendous. He doesn’t stop running and once that 1st goal comes he will maybe relax a touch. I also have another favourite of mine in Ben Arfa, a magician. No one in 10 years has come close to getting me as excited at a game than him, everytime he got the ball you knew something special could happen. Witnessed some absolute great goals by him.
Real life club and hopes for the season? Everyone knows its Newcastle, and the aim is simply to see the back of Mike Ashley. League position is irrelevant. Steve Bruce isn’t anyone choice as a premier league manager but it isnt his fault he got offered the job, Great win at spurs yesterday on the back of the worst performance in 3 years at Norwich last week, I get the feeling inconsistency will be the key word for us this season.
That’s all for this issue, hope you all enjoy the read and if you have any suggestions feel free to get in touch, the magazine will be weekly, I don’t have the time to do one every game. Some issues will have manager interviews(be ready for questions falling into your message box), some will have features on youth cup/club world cup, some may have other features dependant on time etc.