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Darren: FM 2011 Brighton couldn’t have wished for more, Aug-Dec 2013/14

Hey guys, welcome back to the south coast and my FM 2011 story with Brighton. During the last post you witnessed me build towards a brighter future, the 2013 pre-season saw a record amount of cash spent but also some quality players to warrant my bold decisions. With the squad looking strong and full of youth I was prepared to launch Brighton towards a European place. Whether that be the Europa League or Champions League remains to be seen, but there’s one way to find out. Today we’ll be learning my results from August to December, including our Europa League campaign.

Premier League results – August to October

With the opening match upon us, I started to worry about that dreaded second season syndrome. My thoughts were justified as West Brom scored two first half goals on Brighton’s own patch. However, a tough team talk and two super subs led to the Seagulls winning 3-2. We then beat Birmingham 2-1, Blackburn 5-1 and Liverpool 1-0. All these results were massive and Giuliano seemed to hit the ground running.

Brighton’s first loss of the season came in a close encounter as Arsenal beat us at the Emirates 2-1. There was no time to sulk though and my boys jumped straight back up to beat Blackpool 3-1. This result seemed enough to rejuvenate some morale as we despatched Newcastle 5-1 and Manchester United 3-0. Bakambu scored four goals in these two matches and was starting to look very, very dangerous.

Premier League results – November to December

Brighton enjoyed such an incredible start to the season I felt a little dumbfounded. Was this pure luck and misleading, or should I really be aiming for a top three finish? Either way I couldn’t let this confusion disrupt the teams rhythm and decided to keep everything the same. Brighton showed their first signs of complacency during a 1-1 draw to Wolves. We were very poor during that match but revived our form quickly beating Burnley 4-0, Everton 2-1, Aston Villa 3-0 and Fulham 4-1. Bakambu was stunning, but unavailable as we drew 3-3 to Tottenham in our next match. We then beat West Ham 3-1 but also lost to Man City 2-0 after some defensive frailties. December finished on a high as we beat Wigan 3-0 and Sunderland 2-1.

Premier League table

After the most shocking start Brighton found themselves in unknown territory. 18 games played, 44 points on the board and top of the table can only be summed up as overachieving. The top six are still tightly knit and despite the amazing form I haveno grandeurs of a title challenge and even feel pessimistic over a top four finish. To be honest I am just trying to play every game on its own merit and ignore the teams around me. On a side note Brighton were eliminated from the League Cup early on due to my weak starting XI.

Europa League results

Brighton still had one more qualifying round before the group stages. But this was little more than a formality as AEL were beaten 5-1 on aggregate. When the group stages were drawn I didn’t know what to make of my opponents. Out of the hat came Turkish side Eskisenhirspor, Spanish side Sevilla and the French club PSG. An interesting group but one I could aim to qualify from for sure.

Brighton were exceptional during five of our six matches thanks to some set piece prowess. Verkhovtsov and Spence made sure of victory against Eskisehirspor home and away, Sevilla home and away, then PSG at home after losing the away tie. Five victories from six and some very nice displays along the way. Not to mention I rested a few key stars during these matches.

The table says it all, Brighton finished top with 15 points scoring 14 goals and conceding just one. An awesome achievement and my reward is a knockout round tie against Trabzonspor of Turkey.

Squad stats and finances

A lot of players deserve praise after such a start to the season, but I’ll pick a handful to highlight. To start with, you may notice my top four players are defenders. This is slightly misleading due to Spence and Simek playing against the easier opponents. Verkhovtsov is top dog at the back scoring 9 goals and reaching an average rating of 7.93. Bakambu is starting to look more and more like Sanogo with every game, the Frenchman has scored 14 goals from 16 starts while Torres follows behind him with 12 goals from 13 starts. Charlie Adam has also done well with 13 assists while Giuliano likes to score from the right with 9 goals already to his name.

Player of the post: Verkhovtsov

Where the goals came from: John Fleck

Things couldn’t be better on the pitch, but off it is a different story. Brighton are in dyer straights financially, part of my grand plan was to get to the Champions League no matter the costs and then build from there. However, this plan has left Brighton £26 million in the red and not making much money with the months that pass. I could finish the season breaking even, but I may need to evaluate the finances before spending big again in the summer. One thing is for sure, Brighton will not be investing in the squad come January.

Well that concludes the update, I hope you are enjoying the ride and will be back to see how the season finished. Until then please feel free to ask any questions below and I look forward to reading your comments. You can also vote for who I should manage in FM 2012 below. I am now accepting votes for which two European clubs will join Norwich and QPR in the final poll. Thanks for reading :)

Darren Smith: "Which team should I be managing in FM 2012?" European poll

  • Malaga (Spain) (48%, 130 Votes)
  • PSG (France) (21%, 57 Votes)
  • Roma (Italy) (19%, 51 Votes)
  • Napoli (Italy) (13%, 36 Votes)

Total Voters: 270

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Kevin
9 years ago

Hi Darren
What a brilliant first half to the season losing just two games along the way. Bakambu is really on fire for you and I can see some sliver ware coming your way if you keep this form up.Good luck!!

Birdy
Birdy
9 years ago

Hey Darren

Very good start, you are playing some beautiful football which is great. Good luck for the rest of the season, hope you win !

rolando
rolando
9 years ago

Hi Darren

Absolutely stunning start to the season, have never ever seen anything like this. The squad looks well balanced, both Bakambu and Torres look like a real deal :) I certainly believe you can take your guys all the way to the top 3 now, especially when you’re already past the tough December fixtures. Hope you can grab Europa League title as well ;)

junior
junior
9 years ago

1)darren are you still using the manchelona??
2)are u going to use the Y2G system in this game??

great post..team is looking good..

vaibhavc
vaibhavc
9 years ago

Hey Darren
Wow! Just amazing. I would never have expected for you to be first. Bakumubu is amazing and just cannot seem to stop scoring. But Granero has been ok for you, but I wanted him to be near the top of the list, not near the bottom.

Lye
Lye
9 years ago

Hi Darren,

It’s always pleasing to find your team on top but that was a brilliant run by the Seagulls. Your strikers are banging in the goals and your defence looks solid. I am feeling this is going to be your year already. Keep it up and good luck for the rest of the games.

Laxeyman
Laxeyman
9 years ago

Brilliant is about all I can say Darre, amazing form! Hopefully you can stay top and Bakambu and Torres can keep scoring, good luck!

Johnny Karp
9 years ago

Woohoo, that’s an absolutely phenomenal first half of the season! You’re in for a title shot and that is simply amazing considering that it’s only the second season in the top flight. Well done mate and best of luck for the second part of the season!

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

Hi Darren,
Amazing first half of the season, Bakambu is a goal machine and you’re exactly where you deserve to be. Keep it up!

Nicholas Phipps
Nicholas Phipps
9 years ago

Ridiculous start and your young team have a serious chance of the title. Good luck and also nice run in the Europa League :)

Sam Pettitt
Sam Pettitt
9 years ago

Hi darren :)

Wow! an amazing start to the prem mate, also looking good in the Europa League! Good luck and well done :)

Sears
9 years ago

Superb start to the campaign Darren, wouldn’t be surprised to see you winning the title and the Europa League. Good luck!

riggsy
riggsy
9 years ago

Excellent work so far Darren! Top of the league is a massive achievement considering it is only your second season in the EPL! Verkhovtsov has been sensational so far and I’m sure you can continue this form into the second half of the season! Good luck mate! :)

Martin - F.M.J.S
9 years ago

Darren that is amazing, what a start in your second season in EPL. Bakambu has settled well, Lets hope he can keep scoring and Verkhovtsov and Galeano stay strong at the back for you. Good Luck with the second half of the season.

George Dobson
George Dobson
9 years ago

Well done Darren great results great in the europa league too bakambu has been brilliant :D !!!!!!!!!!!!!

MDTM
MDTM
9 years ago

Great start to the season! Looks like you players are really stepping up to the EPL challenge. Best of luck for the Europa matches against Trabzonspor and for the rest of the league season!!

Mikey
Mikey
9 years ago

Well done Darren…things worked out nicely on the pitch for you. The financial status is other thing, but one – two good transfers might do the trick, also if you will finish in top 4 + CL you will get nice sum of money together with TV rights.

I started my 2nd season in championship, changed tactics, 2-3 additions and so far so good. Didn’t conceded so far and just wins. Will see in the end.

Martin
9 years ago

Wowzas! great start to the season! the title could be heading to Brighton if you keep that up and results go your way! amazing darren. looking forward to the next update.

picks
picks
9 years ago

howv are you so good at football manager!!!! lol takes me many seasons to take a club like brighton to the top fair play m8 and im managing malaga atm really enjoying it 3rd season just done and finished 3rd so champs league for me next season :) im hoping ur win the league and the champ league b4 fm12 im confidient u will :) look forward to ur next post

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