Just a short blog here with lots of piccies due to work stuff, but as the title says we only went and bloody did it, winning the league by 11 points and also the FA Cup in an absolute battering of Everton who barely had a shot on target, oh yeah baby 🙂
It would be easy to say that this was mostly due to my change in tack to go down the #prodigalsons route by recalling and playing a bunch of the youth players this year, as per the last two blogs, Our Prodigal Sons Part 1 and Part 2, and to be fair, it was.
As expected, they gave us a much-needed rotation option which rested our key players. They also played sooooo goddamn good when I did give them a game that at times I was picking them on merit over my 1st team players. Yes, there was the odd mishap (such as when I played 5 of them in the Carabao final against Leicester due to injuries when we lost 3 -0), but in general I am in no doubt that this was the missing link that was required for us to crack on and win the league. As I don’t want to labour the point but want this blog to be a yearly review instead, let me put a knot on it here by just showing you the season stats for the kids so we can move on, followed by my next actions with regards to the #prodigalsons.
Final #prodigal sons summary
First off, here are their key stats, which make very good reading:
Also, here are the targets I set in the initial blog, which as you can see we have far exceeded in the list below (the goal target alone has been smashed, with 31 in 87 starts, totaling 35%, and when you confine that to just the two strikers it’s 91%, or almost a goal per game) :
That said, here is a summary of their final stats for the year for the sons (not including Elsom, the non-played GK):
- APPS: 87 starts (avg of 12.4 each), 81 subs (avg 11.6 each)
- MOST PLAYED: Antoine Henry
- LEAST PLAYED: Ron Elsom (GK, couldn’t risk it as he’s too low in CA)
- AVG RATING: 7.06
- GOALS SCORED: 31
- ASSISTS: 16
- PASS COMPLETION AVG: 24.94
- TACKLE COMPLETION AVG: 85%
Next actions for the Prodigal sons angle:
- More of the same, giving the 7 outfield players more game time
- Loan out the GK Elsom
- Review and recall other loanees (I have a winger at Barca who cost me 8 mil but is now worth 54)
- Keep adding to the stock with new 5* PA purchases
As stated, we won the League and FA Cup double and lost the Carabao. Sadly, we also faltered at the Semi final stage of the Champions League when we got battered home and away by PSG. Oh the irony, Utd fans as they hammered us away 3 nil then held us to a 2-2 draw back at New Bank Street, a score which flattered us immensely if I’m being honest.
No matter though, as at least it gives me something to aim for this year as I think if we had won the treble the save would be done for me.
Conquering City (and Liverpool and hmmm .. Chelsea)
If you’ve followed the save throughout, you’ll know that the biggest story has been our so far weak attempts to overcome City and to a lesser extent Liverpool and Chelsea, with them dominating during the save in turn and finishing above us every year. With the difference being almost always just the sum of our 6ptr games each year, I knew that I needed to win those crucial games if we were take the league from their grasp. That said, this is how we fared against them both, in both the League and other comps:
As you can see, apart from the debacle that was our two defeats against Liverpool (booooooh) we picked up 4 points from both City and Chelsea, meaning a return of 8 from a possible 18. not brilliant, I admit, but given we got none last season and that it coincided with us being stronger elsewhere with less draws it was enough to give us 14 pts more than last year to give us the league. If you want to hear one of the best games in that gorgeous 4-2 demolition of City at the Emptihad then here is the full commentary on my sounfcloud blog:
I also had the ecstatic joy of smashing both City and Liverpool out of the FA Cup and Carabao respectively, which was nice 🙂
End of year squad review
So as the hols have begun, this is a snapshot of how the team looks at the end of the season. As you can see we are pretty pretty decent throughout and with a lovely 171 mil budget from the board for the first time in the save I can’t think where to spend it. That said, it might be best to keep investing about a third of it in youth and start to improve the finances for a change.
Plans moving forward
As I said, due to work nonsense this is only a short one so I’ll just finish with this quick summary of our aims for next year:
- Go for the treble
- Review the prodigal sons in greater depth with some movers and shakers e.g. by loaning GK Elsom on and recalling some good performers to add to the stock
- Continue to work on improving the affiliates (they won 5 titles this year and have gained 171 league places since we started but even more would be nice)
- Keep beating City!!!
Thanks for stopping by and keep your eye out for the soundcloud version of this blog which will be on my soundcloud home page here: https://soundcloud.com/user-979206064
Daz, aka @FMheathen everywhere