Heathens resurrected #10: megs and a sexy tickbox

It’s Gavin the brew boy’s day off so without anyone to massage my feet and rub oil in my .. ahem .. temples, let’s get on with my season 4 mid season January review.

I’m going to use this opportunity to reevaluate the squad and see how we can continue to improve leading towards season end, so let’s see where I started the season by looking at my original planning mindmap (now with added sexy tickboxes):

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If you can’t be bothered deciphering it here are all my objectives and whether or not I have achieved them, minus the league promotion objective which is of course ongoing:

  • CUPS: Get to 2nd round of FA Cup and Carabao and qualify out of Checkatrade group – YES – 2nd for Carabao and 3rd for FA Cup
  • PLAYER SALES: make money from player sales – YES, made 500k from Michael Dal Basco (see Heathens resurrected #8: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Michael Dal Basco)
  • SQUAD REVIEW: prune back underperformers, renew good loans, target weak (ie defensive) areas – YES 
  • COACHING: Review and improve coaches in general – YES

So all said and done, I’m happy at this stage, but where does it leave us in the league, which is the true measure?  Not too bad, lying 11th, though underperforming as we were predicted 5th 😦 In addition, for the first time ever in this save I don’t have any players in the top 3 for anything, which really pisses me off.

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If you’re wondering why we are here instead of in 5th, look again at that table and the answer should be clear.  Draws, draws and more draws.  In fact we are top of the league for draws with 12 and we still have a third of the season to go.  This compares with Jose’s first year at Utd when he topped the table with 15, but that was for the WHOLE YEAR!  But other than that we’re playing … hmmmm … ok, with exciting football that is so engrossing I end up watching a lot of the matches on comprehensive.  Here’s an example of 1 of the goals, with (I think) the first nutmeg I have ever seen in the 3d engine (excuse the shit quality, from phone) 🙂

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Here’s another indicator, the League One team stats view, showing how we are top for crosses, headers, passes and possession without bloody scoring enough:

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So the answer is clear, we need to SCORE MORE FUCKING GOALS! 

With that in mind, I headed hopefully into the transfer market to try to bolster the squad with a striker with a better SoT ratio than my current strikers (all excellent when they score their stunners but that’s the main problem).  I then signed .. wait for it .. nobody, apart from a defender and a midfielder on loans, to add to the too-many loans that I already have, which means they will struggle to get a game.  I know, Wtf?  I asked myself the same thing.

The problem was, it was just one of those windows you get where no matter what you do you just can’t sign anyone that suits.  If you are interested, here are the loanees, both excellent for my team so joking apart they should do a job but they’re not the 9/10 SoT strikers that I need.  Alfie Jones is purely for cover and Rakeem Harper has outstanding physicals and he can bring the ball forward, which I love.


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So with just those two ins, the next thing is to look at tactics to see how to get those shots in.  I’ve been playing a 442 all season with versions for home and away + the odd dalliance with 532 for defensive purposes which has (almost) worked really well, with me only losing the 3rd rd of the FA cup against Hull to a last minute pen.

Here is my original 442 home tactic that I have been using for most of the season. The way this looks in game has been short distribution from the back, leading to a goal from either a long string of passes or balls through the channels. The trouble is it is very forward-reliant, meaning if they’re having an off day I’m knackered.


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As you can see, with a DLP defend and a BWM support it is cautious, which comes from basically me being worried about losing games, hence the high possession.   It also comes from having my two most creative midfielders currently injured so it’s not all my fault.

So, that said and with loads of shots from my forwards but many off target I have decided to just try to be a lot more positive and double this number if possible, the thinking being that the shots on target (and therefore goals) will increase as well.  Here is my new tactic, which is generally more positive with an IF attack and a W support.  I am also playing higher with offside trap and the physical beast that is Rakeem Harper is the new hope in that BBM position:



After four games the result of this has been quite incredible, with the exception of the 2-0 home defeat to league leaders Portsmouth here are the results:

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As you can see two were of those wins were away and we scored a total of 10 goals or 2.5 a game, so I’m very pleased indeed.  Three of the games were also against higher opposition.  If we take my aim to just generally increase the shot rate (thereby increasing SoT as well) in our last game we got 23 shots away with 9 on target, much higher than I’ve had before.

All that done, the new complicated objectives for season 4 pt2 are as follows:

  • Score more goals
  • Don’t draw as many games

And that, my friends, is it 🙂  so see you soon (hopefully in the Championship).  Now, .. where was Gavin with that massage oil?




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