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FM 2011 Newcastle, august to October 10/11 – Darren

Hey guys, welcome back to my Football Manager 2011 journey with Newcastle. During the last post we looked at my signings and pre-season going ons. After bringing in two new faces and evaluating my squad, I was ready to start the season. I am hoping for a good start from Enyeama in goal and my other new boy Araujoupfront. With an expectation of ‘avoiding relegation’, my first season will be based on establishing Newcastle in the top flight. Anyway, on with the post and my first three months of football.

August to October results

The must do, for any newly promoted side is get off to a great start. Once the momentum and confidence is behind you, anything is possible. I guess success from then on depends on how long your run continues. However, starting badly can make for a long and scrappy season. Its near impossible to get out of a rut when your in a new league, at least that is in my experience. My first four games looked like an ideal start, Wigan, Spurs, Wolves and Bolton. Newcastle started off well against Wigan, winning 2-1 at Saint James Park. Then the 1-1 draw against Tottenham was not a bad result either. After these two results my form took a dip though, BothWolves and Bolton beat us on our travels. I needed something to change and soon, otherwise my side would be risking some bad morale. This was when the lads really shocked me, they put in two fantastic performances to beat both Everton at home and Manchester City away. Aston Villa held us to a home draw, while Stoke beat us away from home, these two results just confirmed my worries on inconsistency. Next up was Fulham away, another worrying match, and yet my side came out on top 3-1. The last two games in October were terrible. Chelsea knocked us out of the League Cup using a weak lineup at home, then Arsenal embarrassed us at home as we went down 2-0. I was happy with some of the unexpected victories, but very disappointed with the sides performances against mediocre teams.

Great performances

There are two things you will learn about me through these stories. One, I am the worlds biggest pessimist, I always say ‘prepare for the worst and embrace the best’. Two, I prefer to concentrate on the positives when possible, there is nothing more depressing than analysing a bad loss rather than a great victory. Therefore the matches I will talk about from now on, will be my sides best performances. Today I have three in particular I want you to see.

Newcastle 3-0 Everton, Premier League

(Having problems seeing the above video? See it on my YouTube channel.) After suffering a few bad results, I had my worries leading into this game. However an outstanding solo performance by Araujo won us the game with ease. Unfortunately this match was the only one in which the wonderkid played well. In fact this was my sides best performance as a team so far as well. Everton just could not break down my defence and then were countered with blistering pace. This match was just how I want my 4-5-1 formation to work this season.

Manchester City 1 – 2 Newcastle, Premier League

(See this video on YouTube if it won’t show.) My boys defended very well during this match as Manchester City dominated possession. You know what they say, it doesn’t matter how many shots you take if the ball doesn’t hit the net. Well this game just highlighted that as City launched attack after attack, but then paid the price when countered. Joey Barton spearheaded this victory and scored the winner to top off a great performance. Ben Arfa and Jonas exploited the gaps left by Man Citysattacking mentality to lethal effect, both players will be very important to any success I may enjoy this season. That is of coarse if the Frenchmen can stay on the pitch for 90 minutes :)

Fulham 1 – 3 Newcastle, Premier League

(Watch this video on YouTube if you cannot see it.) Following Ben Arfa’s suspension, I had to include Lovenkrands on the left wing. He may have scored the penalty that started Newcastle’s domination, but Andy Carroll was the true hero. He bullied the Fulham defence and not only scored, but assisted a goal as well. Joey Barton also put in a great performance, his passing and tackling ripped Fulhamin two. Such a shame that we had to end the month by losing miserably to Arsenal rather than this great result.

League table and squad stats

After a tough start to life back in the top flight, I find myself in 11th place on fourteen points. Not too bad considering I see the last three months as below par. If we can reach the sort of standard you saw against Everton, Man City and Fulham on a consistent basis then I’ll be hoping for mid-table. If not, well Newcastle may be drawn into a relegation battle.

I guess my players stats are expected to be low after a few bad performances. However, Enyeama, Barton and Carroll seem to have played quite well so far. The squad are still adapting to my 4-5-1 and trying to blend as a team. To help these issues a long I will keep using the 4-5-1 and try to find my best first eleven as soon as possible. My main problem position is upfront, both Andy Carroll and Araujo seem to look brilliant one game, then ineffective the next. Hopefully one of them will jump to the front soon and I can use the other as an impact sub.

Fixtures, November to December

The next two months will shape my season. Either we’ll push on and look good for safety or leave ourselves lots to do. One thing is for sure, I have a great chance to gain at least eight points in the first four games. West Brom, West Ham, Blackpool and Blackburn will all be down there with me come the end of the season. Lets just hope I can take advantage as the next six games are very tough.

Well that is it for today’s post guys, thanks for reading and please feel free to comment below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the site via email. This can be done by entering your email address at the top of the right sidebar. This way you will not miss a thing. I look forward to reading your comments and hope you’ll be back for a busy X-mas!!

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Arjuna
Arjuna
10 years ago

Hey Darren,
You’re doing pretty well for a club with almost no transfer budget! I think that if you can win at least 3 out of 10 (West Brom, West Ham, Blackpool) you should have done reasonably well. However, I do feel that you can also win against Blackburn, Sunderland and Birmingham!
Arjuna
managerstoriesfootball.blogspot.com

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Arjuna

Hey Arjuna, I definitely expect to pick up a minimum of 10 points over the next two months. This would leave me in a decent position to avoid relegation. Anything more will leave me very confident going into the last three or four months. Thanks for the comment

Lye
Lye
10 years ago

Hi Darren,

I think that’s not a bad start. You are able to win against Everton and Man City. I believe your Newcastle team has more potential. Things should get better and better for you. Good luck for next month.

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Lye

Thanks Lye, I think your right about the teams potential and we’re not yet fulfilling it. However I am not getting much help from my assistant and the players haven’t settled into my tactics yet, so hopefully things will get better. My expectation was avoid relegation and this is the minimum we’ll do so Im quite happy.

Sam
Sam
10 years ago

Hey Darren!
Your team deserves to be in a higher position and not in the current position. I’m sure the players will fins their form and play much better against the smaller teams next time.
Good Luck mate!

Sam
Sam
10 years ago
Reply to  Sam

btw, Tottenham and Aston Villa are awesome in your game!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Sam

Thanks Sam, I hope your right about the players finding their form. They have been too inconsistent, leaving me wondering what will happen in EVERY match. Im hopeful of a turn around soon though…I hope :)

warren
10 years ago

Hi Darren

Some good results mixed with some not so good results much like how Newcastle are playing this season. I am sure as soon as you fix your consistancy then you will be fine. Good luck for the rest of the season

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  warren

Thanks Warren, its been like watching Newcastle in real life lol, winning tough games but losing the easy ones!! Hopefully the consistency will straighten out soon though.

Laxeyman
Laxeyman
10 years ago

Hi Darren, pretty decent start there, you side obviously has potential after beating Man City and Everton (although surely Araujo was offside for his first goal!), so hopefully you can gain more consictency and climb up the table. Good luck!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Laxeyman

Thanks Laxeyman, I agree with you on two fronts there. My side definitely have more potential than their showing and Araujo’s first goal was 100% offside :) :) Dont you just love football and its contraversy!!

Sears
10 years ago

Hey Darren,
bearing in mind that your predicated to struggle this season, that’s an impressive start. You’v laid a good foundation so hopefully your team can pick up more wins as I think you can challenge for a top 10 finish. Good luck mate.

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Sears

Thanks Sears, I was a little disappointed at the time when we lost those easier away games, but we’re doing OK. A better winter is needed though.

GS Fan
GS Fan
10 years ago

Darren,

Looking good! Like you say, once the team blends more consistent results should come through.

Just a thought, have you thought about playing Kevin Nolan right in behind the strikers as AM at home games?

Barring any serious injuries (knock on wood) you should have a comfortable mid table finish.

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  GS Fan

Hey GS Fan, you read my mind…I have been toying witht the idea of using Nolan in the AMC role he adopts in real life. I think this will happen soon during the easier home games. Im hesitant to use it though as FM10 destroyed this tactic for me. Maybe Ill try it out though…we’ll see.

Johnny Karp
10 years ago

That’s not a bad start at all Darren, you should be a bit more optimistic. The team surely showed some quality and although I can’t see you challenging for a top four spot I can’t see this team in the relegation battle either. Good luck!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

Hey Johnny, looking back on the results I guess your right…not bad especially seen as its a new game as well. I reckon a mid-table finish will be about right.

GS Fan
GS Fan
10 years ago

I think you should give it a go.

In my Newcastle game I use Nolan as AMC and Tiote as DMC. I know there is going to be a bit of a gap in the middle, I try to accomodate for that with pressing and direct passing.

I also spread the play out to the wings. It’s been working OK so far

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  GS Fan

Hey GS Fan, seems like you’ve got your tactics sorted. The problem is I could only use Nolan as a AMC in my 4-5-1, but this would require the wingers dropping back in line with the central midfielders. Unfortionately this just doesnt get the best out of my tactic. I will experiment eventually, but for now I need to stick with what I know and avoid a bad run. Maybe next season Ill have a play around. Thanks for the info though and Ill remember that.

Frank
10 years ago

Hi Darren,

Your team has shown it can compete against the big teams with your wins other man city and everton but like you said they do well against the big teams but struggle against the small teams. I think you could achieve a top half finish. Good Luck :)

afootymanager.blogspot.com

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Frank

Hi Frank, Im hoping for a mid-table to top half finish so hope your right. I’ll have my next update posted on Sunday I reckon. Thanks for commenting.

Calin
10 years ago

Pretty nice, Darren, you’ve managed to grab some good results, especially when defeating Man City ( I actually loved your team’s second goal – lucky, but really nice, I would’ve certainly been jumping around in my room when that happened :D). You have some tough games coming in the next couple of months, but I am sure you’ll be able to get more than 10 points from the fixtures! Good luck, mate!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Calin

Hey Calin, the Man City game was a real thriller and I wasn’t expecting the outcome we managed…jumping up and down is an understatement for how I felt lol :) The first four games are very important next month. Then it will be all out defence during December. If we can come through the winter with 32 points or more Ill be happy.

Mike505
Mike505
10 years ago

Hi mate. I was just wandering what role do you play araoujo. do u play him as a target man that runs on to the ball ?

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Mike505

Hi Mike505, thanks for commenting. I use Araujo as a poacher, but also set him as the teams target man and through ball supply. Unfortionately he has only provided one good game so far but Im optimistic towards his potential. Thanks again for commenting.

Sayam Khan
Sayam Khan
10 years ago

Hi Darren

Sorry for not commenting on your website for quiet a while. It’s looking great.

Also well done for your achievement regarding FHM

It is pretty good start considering you just got promoted. I see the player that you signed for 200k is your best player!

Good luck

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Sayam Khan

Hi Sayam, dont worry about not commenting. I was really happy with the FHM mention and a little surprised but thanks mate. Regarding my Newcastle game, a ‘pretty good start’ really sums it up. I cant complain, but certainly expect a little more as well. Enyeama is by far the best cheap player on FM 2011, what a bargain. Thanks for commenting mate and Im looking forward to your next post.

bri h
bri h
10 years ago

hi darren im new to tour site but i have to say i love it.Im newcastle daft so i chose to start a toon game using your tactic.only played 5 games but im sitting top of the prem.i tweaked a bit ie joey barton running with ball rarely works wonders as he just gets the ball and pings it around i beat chelsea away 2 0,ive also changed to fluid and that seams to work too.what do ya think about tiote in the game? i think his stats should be a bit higher.love the site and your tac.

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  bri h

Hey Bri h, Im glad you found the blog and its always nice to hear from a fellow Toon fanatic. Glad you like the tactic mate, the beauty of it is you can customise it to your style. Sounds like you have done very well so far, I may take a leaf from your book and stop Barton dribbling if he isn’t already set that way. Im not sure about Tiote, he probably should have better stats, but I think he kind of blends into a game and never makes a huge impact. Although saying that, I do play him with Barton and Nolan. Thanks for the compliments mate, and thanks for commenting.

kevin
kevin
10 years ago

Hello Darren
Agree with everyone else that it’s a pretty decent start for you and i’m sure the next couple of months will find Newcastle in a more acceptable position. Bt the way i’m using your 4-5-1 with Wrexham. Hope you don’t mind as im useless with tactics :)

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  kevin

Thanks Kevin, I hope everyones right, but agree that we will probably improve over xmas. Glad to hear you can make use of my 4-5-1 tactic, it has served me well…you’ll probably find that you can win games without dominating possession. Thats the main reason I use it, good results with minimal risk because of over attacking. Anyway you more than welcome to use it mate. Thats why I shared a post about it.

Birdy
Birdy
10 years ago

A nice start after the pre season

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Birdy

Thanks Birdy, Im hoping to build on this start though.

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