First post of the second season. Quick recap: we've been promoted to Ligue 1 in our first season through a 2nd place in the league, and I managed to bring in 11 new players during the summer transfer window. Read all about those players here, or if you want to know more about the whole Journeyman project, yoy can read more here.
Before telling you about how the first part of the season has gone, I'd like to thank all of you. Every single reader, user who retweet or like, and people whom otherwise spread the word just inspires me to write more. Thank you!
So, in this post we're embarking on a journey through the first part of the 17/18 season, and I'll start by showing how we did in our pre-season friendlies.
We were invited on a Dutch tour but one of the friendlies got canceled, so it wasn't much of a tour per se. However, we did pretty well, even against larger teams, so I wasn't worried about squad harmony once the season started. However, I didn't know half a team could be concerned about the new captain I chose, and whether or not he is fit to lead the team. Aron Gunnarsson is the best leader in my squad, so it was only natural to switch an aging Douchez out, whom I didn't plan to field anyway now that Costil and Kamara are here. But it happened anyway, even with literally every player having "thinks Aron Gunnarsson is a good player" in their respective profiles, so that was sort of frustrating.
I will show you the league table, and the fixtures, as of December 31st, 2017 in a moment because I have something else I'm pretty proud of.
In the stats department, we have the most passes completed, best passing rate, and Gomis is the top goalscorer. Gumbau has a passing rate on 91% which is pretty impressive.
Here are Gomis's stats so far (from Feb 3, 2018):
Also, as mentioned in the previous post, I've sent Julien Romain home from loan. I've been using Tarashaj on the shadow striker position rotating with Novak, and it's going great. So there weren't much room for Romain, and he asked for a termination of the loan which I naturally accepted.
Before I show you the league table, have in mind that the media predicted us to finish 15th. Which can still happen if we totally collapse. However, things are pretty different, and voila - we're freaking 2nd!
The quick may have spotted that we've lost a wee bit of games too many. And it's really only PSG who're playing well. And the fact that we're 2nd is only because other large teams are playing shit aswell. Which is mostly correct. I even predicted us to struggle for a midtable finish in the first season up. But apparently we're playing okay football, and if we can keep it up we'll play Champions League football next season. So this is probably the best scenario right now. I mean, PSG are flirting with Eden Hazard right now. We don't have that kind if pull and/or money for those kind of players. So next season will be about minimising our losses, and see if we can trick PSG at least once, to win the title.
I've had a few job offers this season. And if I didn't enforce the rule about having to win the league before moving on to the next country, I'd switched to one of them. Maybe not the French offers, though. I've had offers from:
- AS Monaco
- Olympique de Marseille
- Stade Rennais
- Girondins de Bordeaux
- VFL Wolfsburg
- Eintracht Frankfurt
- Borussia Mönchengladbach
- Torino FC
- Celta Vigo
As we're 2nd in the league I'm feeling very optimistic. If we can cut out that period around March where all the players starts forgetting tactics and how to play football, then I'm confident we'll get continental football next season. Which is way above my own expectations for this first season in Ligue 1. I was hoping for a season where we'd aim for mid-table, and etablish a solid foundation for the next season. But these players, and my 3-4-3 just clicks well together. The only reason why we're losing is because of defensive errors. I'm trying to cut them out, but I'm becoming more and more sure I'll have to replace a couple of players before it can happen.
Also going forward is some of the talent from last season's youth intake. My youth system seems to have produced the new Pirlo, as Alessandro Barbetti looks like a huge talent:
Actually, I've felt frustrated with him. He's turning 16 in a jiffy, which means I can actually use him. Because of the French rules, I'm not allowed to field players younger than 16 years of age. And trust me, I really want to give him a few games. Big clubs have also tried to sign him. Manchester United even offered €5m up front, while Juventus and Arsenal offered slightly less. Which is just another confirmation that this kid is going somewhere. But as of now, he'll develop in one of the finest academies in French football.
So that concludes this post. It won't be long before I have the next post ready