Hi guys, welcome back to my FM 2011 Ultimate European Challenge story. The aim is to win a title and domestic trophy in England, Germany, France, Italy and Spain as well as winning the Champions League twice with any club. My progress has been swift so far and the last post showed how AC Milan prepared during pre-season 13/14. I am very hopeful of another successful season, hopefully ending with the Serie A title. Today’s post will show you how I managed during a difficult three month period. It’s the start of a long season and my second year in charge in the Rossineri. Lets get straight down to business and see what happened in the league.
Serie A results, August-November
A fantastic start indeed. We only dropped two points away from home to Parma and managed some very impressive wins. The highlights of these came against three top class sides, all away from home. My first difficult game was away to Roma where Silva, Pirlo and Vella showed their class as they guided AC to a 3-0 victory. I was also extremely impressed with my players performance away to Palermo. Alexis Sanchez showed there is more than pace to his game, after scoring twice and guiding us to another 3-0 win. The third performance that caught my eye was away from home again to Udinese. Milan’s lethal counter attack led to a 4-1 thrashing as Kadlec staked his claim for first team football as a substitute. From these three games I could only pick one to show you, so here is my favourite performance from Serie A.
Top notch performance – Palermo 0-3 AC Milan, Serie A
I set my side out using a 4-5-1 and standard strategy during this game. While I used the usual very slow tempo and very narrow width, the defensive line was moved forward to slightly high. Alexis Sanchez scored two very similar goals, the first a long range effort, the second a darting run followed by another long range finish. Witsel made it a hat trick of screamers with an outstanding effort.
While Witsel has shown some glimpses of talent I am not entirely sure he’s been used to his full potential. Add to this that fact that Defour is struggling and I think the two need switching around. Witsel will be tried as a supporting midfielder and Defour as the advanced playmaker from now on.
A fantastic run of form sees my side top of Serie A by three points and still with a game in hand. I have already played some tough sides away from home, but it seems to be the home fixtures we’re struggling in. Lets just put that down to complacency and hope for bigger margins sometime soon. Inter Milan and Juventus look very strong this season, Huntelaar has scored 15 goals already for Juve.
Champions League results and group
As Wazz pointed out in my last post, this group is by no means easy. However, I have a good track record against Real Madrid and Leverkusen. I had the tactics in mind to beat both sides at home and my players duly delivered two great results. The 3-2 victory over Leverkusen was very touch and go, but I did field my weaker squad. The 4-5-1 with standard strategy paid dividends. The same tactic was used against Real Madrid but with a counter strategy. The Spanish side couldn’t cope when we countered and that provided a memorable victory too. This was proceeded and followed by my weaker players overcoming Romanian side Steaua. They are my wife’s favourite side, so I had the laptop on an angle so she couldn’t see the results. ;)
Top notch performance – AC Milan 3-1 Real Madrid, Champions League
Like I said the 4-5-1 with a counter strategy was used here. I opted for counter rather than standard because Real have a solid defence. Therefore drawing them onto me would offer better opportunities to attack. I kept the width as very narrow and tempo as very slow, however I did change the defensive line to slightly high. This is because Real Madrid have the most creative players in the world, although their fast, a deep defensive line wouldn’t help. They could just get closer to goal and pass their way through or score from outside the area. Where as a slightly high defensive line would leave my attacking players with less work to do and stop Real’s attacks from the source (there midfield.) As you can see this worked like a gem and Real Madrid couldn’t handle my attacking players.
While Pato won man of the match and looked the best player for his two goals and one assist, I was most impressed with Vella. His off the ball movement and commitment was refreshing to see. The winger tracked back to stop Ozil and created all kind of problems with his dribbling and passing. This victory set us up nicely in the group for our crunch tie away from home to Leverkusen.
I have all but qualified from my group now, but crave top spot. This should provide an easier route to the quarter-final stage and keep my sides momentum going. Leverkusen and Real Madrid are yet to play their game in hand. To be honest I would rather see Leverkusen win, this would see Real Madrid eliminated and my last game will be the top spot decider either way.
Surprisingly my right back Schwaab is top for average ratings with 7.5. The strength of my defence is shown by 3 further defenders appearing in the top seven. Sanchez seems to have settled quickly with 6 goals and 5 assists, but I am expecting more consistency from the winger as he settles in. Kadlec has done well from the bench with six goals where as Paloschi has failed to impress with just two. My two new Belgian midfielders need time to settle as displayed by recent performances, but Ronaldinho is still refusing to show signs of age with 4 assists.
The next post will be based on December to February. Our first four games are all away from home and this could see an end to my unbeaten run. I think the League table should take shape after January and hopefully AC Milan will still be top.
Well that concludes today’s update. I hope you all enjoyed the read and I look forward to your comments. As always thanks for stopping by.
If you want to join us all in the Ultimate European Challenge, please follow the link and read the rules. Its very simple and should get us all into different cultures and styles of Football.