Division 2 looks a little stronger this season with Genoa(91) and Leverkusen(90) joining from Division 1 along with Augsburg (89) Flamengo (89) and Sporting (89) being promoted from division 3 plus the relegation of Newcastle(88), Galatasaray (88) Sevilla(88) and Roma (88) to division 3
I spent some time in the close season trying to exchange some older players for youths and exchanging youths, in order to reduce the average age of the team and to build for the future. I also made 4 players available at minimum value to division 4/5 clubs, and sold two. I will however keep Dimitri Payet until he retires as he is only worth £2.4M and may not go down again for a while as he is playing well for Marseille. Apart from him, my oldest player is 28.
(1) My first deal was with Paddy (Anderlecht) which saw Luis Pizzi(90) 32yo leaving United and Sardella(82) 19yo and Nelson(83) 22yo joining us. This releases an older player for 2 youngsters with a future
(2) My second was an external transfer in “Naoufal Bannis” a 19yo Feyenoord player, replacing Edison Azcona who is 18yo.
(3) I made a mistake and had Taylan Antalyali(85) 27yo on the transfer list rather than for exchange so I had to accept the offer from the “The Godfather” at Lyonnais
(4) Due to (3), I had to take on Juan Ramirez(85) a 28yo Free Agent, who will be a squad player covering both defensive and attacking midfield
(5) I finally decided to let Jovic(90) 24yo go to Paddy at Anderlecht with Fred(90) 28yo and Diawara(88) 24yo coming the other way. This will bolster our Defensive midfield position and allow us to bring in Baumgartner to the first team into an attacking midfield role
(6) I sold Reggie Cannon(83) 23yo face value to Independiente of Division 5
(7) Sebastien Caceres(83) 22yo left us for division 5 side Olympiacos in a face value deal
(8) I agreed a deal with Paul at Dynamo Moskva for Andrea Belotti(91)28yo
with Fran Beltran(87) 22yo and Reece Oxford(83) 23yo coming to United
(9) Anton Evremov(73) 18yo was sold external to create a space for Oxford
Some people say I don’t do any deals or bring in youths, but thanks to Paddy and Paul I have.
We still have an average rating of 89.0 for the best starting 11, (87.77 for our best 18) and therefore would expect to finish in 15th place or generally between 10th – 17th. We have only managed to swap first team players around and have not received any rises for the existing ones, but I hope to finish between 6th – 14th this season as I was unsuccessful in trying different tactics and formations last season trying to combat 4231B.
My main target will be to avoid relegation from which will be a tough division in season 17. I have also received the following message “This season your Chairman expects you to avoid relegation”. It’s great when the targets are aligned between Chairman and Manager. Looking back over the last few seasons, 47 points should see us safe.
The new season started very well for us commencing with a 1-1 draw at home to Santos followed with a 3-0 win away to Everton, a 2-1 win at Monaco, a 1-0 win at home to PSG, a 2-0 victory away to Flamengo, a 2-0 home win against Schalke and a 1-1 draw away to Anderlecht . Our good run finally came to an end with a 0-3 home defeat to the 4231B of Valencia. Still top, but only on goal difference. Rodrigues Fred, one of our new signings and returning to United, had scored 6 from 7 from a defensive midfield role.
We have just reached mid season and from our 19 games have achieved W8, D5, L6, and 29 points, which is exactly the same as at this stage last season and leaves us in 7th place in the league. Our predicted finishing position is 15th so we seem to be doing ok, however, we were in a similar position this time last season and we just avoided relegation. We have only achieved 17 points from a predicted 24 at home, but away we have achieved 12 of a predicted 2. Overall, we have achieved 29 points from a prediction of 26, so all is looking good for a higher finishing position than last season, but we need to improve our home form.
How am I doing at United? – This is my third season
Promotion in my first season with United from division 3 was not a bad start and reminds me of my start with Besiktas. I had achieved the highest league position and points total for the 4 seasons that United had been in division 3.
Season 16 in division 2 was alright but we found it tough, just avoiding relegation. We finished 12th, which was within our target range for the team.
Season 17 has started well, but the form has started to tail off a little and so is a concern