Tag Archives: Transfer

1st Quarter of Everton Season Complete in FM16

I figured the quarter-point of the Premiere League season was as good a point as any to put up an update post on my latest Everton season in FM16.

My season overall has gone reasonably well as the below shot of the table would indicate: (notice where current league leader Leicester sits)

BPL Standings
Standings through 10 games of the BPL 2015/2016 Season

I have been going through a ton of injuries so far, and will most likely need to drop training intensity as I’m consistently having to cycle through players, so I haven’t really settled on my top 11 yet.  I’m got a couple key positions to decide on as I know both Coleman and Mirallas would bring in some nice fees, but without the right people to back fill I can’t really cash in on them.

I did end up making a couple more moves that while not making a huge windfall of profits, the reduction of salary and transfer fees made sense for these moves since the players were never going to find the pitch.  Now that my wingers are getting back to reasonable health and was able to bring some young players, both Kone and McGeady became expendable.  Both of these were high wage players that were just not going to see the pitch, so I figured to get stronger I needed to reduce the team.  The addition of Hjulsager was one of those scouting whims that I took a flyer on since he was cheap and incredibly versatile.  You’ll see that I did loan him out, but included the recall option such that if I get into trouble I can bring him back into the squad.

Final Transfers
Final Transfers for 2015/2016 season

As for the results themselves, I feel like we’re finally starting to get on a bit of a roll.  I lost 3 out of the first 5 matches to start the season, but now have a 5 game un-beaten streak going which includes wins at both Arsenal and Southhampton.  Following the Manchester City game, that West Brom result was very painful but I think I was pushing too hard to get a big away win to right the ship as opposed to playing a more controlled effort.  The Capitol One Cup game was a nice way to shake things up a bit and get some other players a run.  It also was a chance to play some decent football as the scoreline really doesn’t tell the whole story of that game in which I dominated.

But from the onset of the season, I looked at the back to back away games at Chelsea followed by a trip to Arsenal as a good test for the team.  Chelsea proceeded to blow my doors off to start the game, and I feared we’d be blown out.  However, the boys rallied and came back to within 1 goal with loads of pressure to finish the game.  A draw really wouldn’t have been out of the question and probably the fairer result.  But that trip to the Emirates might have been the turning point as my defense held solid and I was able to get that winning goal on a counter.  It also wasn’t a totally lopsided effort, while I was out shot and out possessed, I still put 4 shots on target to Arsenal’s 6.

1st Quarter Results
Results through the first quarter of the 2015/2016 season.

Hopefully by the start of the next window, I’ll have a better feel for where my top 11 is and what players can be let go.  I have roughly 23 million in loan buyout clauses that I’d really like to make happen but will have to move players out most likely to do it.  I’ve been lucky so far in that at this point in the Everton season, I don’t have anyone standing out as performing horribly as well as a decent goal distribution as you’ll see from the stats below:

Stats_Top_1
1st Quarter Stats, top half of team
Stats_Bottom_1
1st Quarter Stats, bottom half of team

For the most part, I feel good about how the team is playing but my starting trio on defense of Jagielka, Stones, and Galloway are clearly under-performing and I’ll be curious how it changes when Baines gets back healthy.  My midfield and attackers are providing pretty decent play and I’m finding quite a few options.  Come January I will have a good problem to solve as I’ll have some nice selling options as opposed to needing to bring someone in.

As for the next quarter of my Everton season, which will conveniently take me to the start of the winter transfer period, there’s a pretty decent mix of challenging games and what should be easier games for me to rotate some players in.  Away fixtures with Man. United and Tottenham along with the Merseyside Darby against Liverpool will all be challenging but I also have both tilts against Leicester which could also prove very dangerous.  The other thing that should be in my favor is a lack of match congestion, so I should be able to get a better feel for my top 11.

Upcoming 2nd Quarter
Upcoming 2nd Quarter of the 2015 /2016 Season

One aspect I’m starting to dive a bit deeper into this season are the analysis tools FM16 provides and I’m going to talk about those in my next post as I try to implement some of the things I’ve learned in this next set of fixtures.

What has happened to Everton?

I thought today was as good a time as any to put some thoughts out there about my favorite soccer team, Everton.  And yes, I know I’m using the wrong term but when following both American and world football, it is easier and less confusing to call one football and the other soccer, so that’s what I do.  The timing works out well as this is sort of mid-season and in the heart of the January transfer window, not to mention a crucial semi-final match today against Manchester City.

I had pretty high expectations coming into the year with the addition of Deulofeu and the ability to keep a hold of the strong youth talent this team has.  And for the most part, the youth has performed reasonably well.  Lukaku is among the league leaders in goals.  Deulofeu seems to be serving up delicious crosses every time he touches the ball.  Barkley has had his ups and downs but is still electric.  Stones has been solid for the most part, although he’s had some rough games like any youngster will.  Even Brendan Galloway performed well in his replacement role while Baines recovered from his ankle injury.

The issue, or at least one of them, has been the performance of the veteran leaders.  Now some of this is certainly due to injuries (although every team gets them) but clearly the loss of Baines and Jagielka has hurt the team.  And even when they’re in the lineup, the loss of time has put them further behind the rest of the team.  Barry has not been the same pillar of strength he was, and lets just move on from talking about Howard.  It is no surprise that with Baines, Jagielka, and Howard all struggling that the Toffees are sporting a horrific defensive record and are especially awful late in games.  That trio of leadership and confidence used to ripple through the team, and without it we’re starting to see things crumble.

Another huge hole in this team is the midfield which has been pretty lackluster this season.  I’m not entirely sure what has happened to McCarthy this season, but he just doesn’t seem to be having as much impact as he has in the past.  Of late, our best midfielder (outside of Barkley) has been Besic, which shocks me as I had more or less written him off as a red-card waiting to happen extra body and not a contributing player.  Sadly I’m not sure there’s a real easy fix for this problem out there.  I don’t think Ryan Ledson is ready to step in, but at this point I’m also not sure there’s all that much to lose in trying him out.

The last piece of the puzzle that many are jumping on is the coaching, feeling that Martinez has run out of ideas.  I’m not ready to jump to that conclusion quite yet, but there certainly are some warning signs.  I feel it is always hard to really know what portion of poor play (in any sport) is due to the coaching and what blame should be laid on the players.  Usually, it is somewhere in the middle, however there are some things that are red flags for coaches.  When the same things keep happening over and over again, that’s not just poor luck or bad play, the coaching staff is not doing something right.  And in Everton’s case, not protecting leads is becoming a routine event.  I’m not going to claim to know all the stats, but I’m willing to bet they’re near the top of goals conceded in the last 10 minutes of the game, and actually probably pretty close to the top of those scored during that time too.  So while they’re great at late dramatics, it seems like they forget about defense once that happens.  Sure there have been some unfortunate calls (Chelsea) but to even allow that to happen time and time again is just bad coaching.

While this is a rather pessimistic look at the team, I still have hope for a productive season finishing in the top half of the table.  I highly doubt they’ll push high enough for Europe and I’m not sure they have the team depth to be able to handle it if they did qualify.  If they can get some more stability in the back, fix their late game disasters, and then bring in a couple young guys during these next 2 windows they could be right back ready to make a strong run next year.  As an avid Football Manager player, I do have ideas for how to fix Everton, but that’s for another post.  And who knows, they might be able to hold off Manchester City and get a shot to win some hardware this year!