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Vauxhall Motors Story: December 2016 and January 2017

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Hello friends and thanks for coming back to read another episode of the Vauxhall Motors Football Manager 2011 story! As you might remember we were in 6th place in the Premier League table at the end of November 2016, with one or two games in hand on most of the other teams but without one of our best players as Parana picked up a nasty injury that was going to keep him sidelined for around four months. This post will take you through what happened in December 2016 and January 2017, it might be quite long but I hope you will enjoy it.

December started with three easier matches but we didn’t manage to get three straight wins unfortunately. First we demolished Slavia Sofia in the Europa League, that was quite easy even with mostly backup players on the pitch. Ibrahima MBow netted a hat-trick and centre back Louis Laing helped himself to a double, it was a pleasing match to watch. We’ll go into more details about the Europa League later, all I’m going to say right now is that we still needed a good result in the last group match to qualify. Then we managed to extend our winning streak in the league to six consecutive games as we beat Millwall 2-1 in a game that we dominated. We should have scored quite a few more there but the three points were safe after scoring the first goal. I was expecting another win against Ipswich but that didn’t happen, a combination of bad luck (Ipswich had just 1 shot on target) and wasteful finishing resulted in a disappointing draw.

Now let’s get on to the tough matches, there were plenty in store for us in a very busy December. First we were meeting 3rd placed Aston Villa away from home, a very difficult match considering that Aston Villa had just lost the top spot a few days earlier (we were in 5th place before that game, 3 points behind them).

Aston Villa vs Vauxhall (Premier League)

Venue: Villa Park

Attendance: 38,000

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Kaka, Julian Bazzi, Mervin Simon, Ray Davis – Leandro Velasco, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Andrew Surman – Zé Carlos, Pavol Vesely

Team Talk: You can win today!

We enjoyed a pretty good start to the match, we were dominating but it was Aston Villa who had the first clear chance. Fortunately Dean Bouzanis handled that well and then we managed to create a good opportunity of our own, Pavol Vesely was clean through on goal but his powerful finish went inches wide. The first half ended goalless but I was pleased with the display.

Half time score: 0-0

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Javier Godoy vs Davis, Marcelo for Velasco, Andrew Driver for Surman

The second half started in the best possible way for us, we had the kick-off and never lost the ball until we scored! It was a fine move actually, Graham Howson played a neat back heel touch for Vesely and the striker’s shot went in with the help of an unfortunate deflection from one of the Aston Villa defenders. The home side started pressing forward after the goal and we were unable to do more than defend until the 80th minute. We managed to hang in there with a bit of luck and then regained composure during the last 10 minutes, we kept possession very well during the final moments and grabbed the very important three points!

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Mervin Simon

Flop of the match: Marcelo

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the highlights.

Let’s return to the Europa League now. Koln beat Olympiakos in the last game and that made the situation quite complicated. We only needed a draw against Koln to qualify but the top spot seemed off limits for us as Olympiakos were meeting Slavia Sofia at home in the last game and everybody was expecting them to get the three points.

We had beaten Koln 6-3 in a spectacular away game but I was expecting a difficult game at home since the German side was having the likes of Lukas Podolski and Freddy Adu upfront.

Vauxhall vs Koln (Europa League Group I)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 8,368

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Julian Marino, Louis Laing, Mervin Simon, Javier Godoy – Leandro Velasco, Radek Vecera, Graham Howson, Andrew Surman – Pavol Vesely, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: For the fans!

We started the game well again, we appeared to be in control but I wasn’t looking for a goalless draw, I always want to score goals. Pavol Vesely came close on the half hour mark but his good finish came back off the post, that was the biggest chance in a rather quiet opening half.

Half time score: 0-0

Half time team talk: For the fans!

Half time substitutions: Shyamdew Weibolt for Vecera, Andrew Driver for Surman

We kept on pushing forward and the reward finally came three minutes before the hour mark when Vesely played in a good ball for substitute Andrew Driver and the left winger fired a low drive past the German goalkeeper. It was his first goal of the season and I was very happy for him since he had just recovered from a severe injury. Koln reacted immediately and they created a good chance moments later but Dean Bouzanis kept us ahead with a good save. That was all they had to show though, we resumed our spell of dominance after that scare and finally managed to make it 2-0 five minutes from time courtesy of a rather fortuitous corner kick goal from Mervin Simon.

Full time team talk: Pleased to have qualified.

Man of the match: Mervin Simon

Flop of the match: Andrew Surman

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the highlights.

We were through to the next round but we also finished top of the group! Olympiakos recorded a shocking 3-3 draw against Slavia Sofia in the last game so they dropped into second spot!

Time for the draw then and I guess we were not too fortunate: we will meet Ukrainian side Dynamo Kyiv in the first knockout round. They had finished third in their Champions League group but behind Sevilla and Manchester City, they have a very good team.

If we get past the Ukrainians we will meet either Paris Saint Germain or Rubin Kazan, not easy at all. Anyway, back to the league as we had two cracking matches coming up against Arsenal and Chelsea.

Vauxhall vs Arsenal (Premier League)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 10,266 (sold out)

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Julian Marino, Julian Bazzi, Mervin Simon, Grant Baddeley – Leandro Velasco, Radek Vecera, Mark Brown, Andrew Surman – Zé Carlos, Pavol Vesely

Team Talk: You can win today!

Arsenal were just behind us in the league table before this game, we were 4th and they were 5th! The Gunners looked like the better team in the first half, much better than us to be honest. They had a good chance early on and then finally scored a well-deserved goal after a fine move on the half hour mark. I was hoping for a reaction from my lads but there was none, we were lucky to be just 1-0 down at the break.

Half time score: 0-1

Half time team talk: I want to see more from you!

Half time substitutions: Stephan El Shaarawy for Velasco, Shyamdew Weibolt for Vecera, Andrew Driver for Surman

The team looked a bit better after the interval, we started to show some good things in attack and we were finally rewarded on 73 minutes when Mervin Simon pushed in a corner kick header from his mate Julian Bazzi. The final minutes were quite thrilling, both sides were trying hard to score the fatal blow. We could have snatched the three points in the very last minute, substitute Shyamdew Weibolt tried his luck from the edge of the area but the ball hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced back off the ground, then hit the crossbar again before being cleared out of danger… We could have won it with a bit more luck but I was satisfied with the draw. I wasn’t so happy after the game though and that was due to yet another injury. As you can see from the match report screen shot Zé Carlos was taken off during injury time and his problems were quite serious: he was going to be out between two and three months! I don’t know what I did to deserve this but my best two strikers were out (Parana had another three months on the sidelines), not the best of things that can happen during a season…

Full time team talk: Pleased.

Man of the match: Julian Bazzi

Flop of the match: Pavol Vesely

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the highlights.

Vauxhall vs Chelsea (Premier League)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 10,266 (sold out)

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Julian Marino, Louis Laing, Julian Bazzi, Javier Godoy – Leandro Velasco, Radek Vecera, Graham Howson, Andrew Surman – Connor Wickham, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

Chelsea were in 2nd place before the game, I was looking forward to a tough match. I wasn’t expecting too many goals but I had reasons to celebrate after just eight minutes: the lads started the game with good determination and we were rewarded when a powerful cross (or shot) from Leandro Velasco deflected off Andrew Surman‘s back before beating the goalkeeper! We continued to dominate the game, Chelsea were not looking too well out there. That was until the 23rd minute when we gave the ball away much too easily and the Blues punished us on a swift counter attack. We continued to play very well though and we deservedly got back in front two minutes before the break when Ibrahima MBow delivered a fierce left footed shot from inside the penalty area. I was already making plans for the second half but Chelsea turned them upside down as they pegged us back instantly with a goal on the stroke of half time…

Half time score: 2-2

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Ray Davis for Marino, Mervin Simon for Bazzi, Shyamdew Weibolt for Vecera

I was forced to replace three players at half time due to fatigue but I was still hoping to get a good result. Those hopes were badly shattered after just five minutes though, centre back Louis Laing was receiving medical care on the sideline and Chelsea took full advantage of the temporary numerical advantage… My lads didn’t give up though and the remainder of the game was extremely entertaining as we were pushing forward and Chelsea were trying to hit on counter attacks. I was hoping for an equaliser and that finally came on 69 minutes when Shyamdew Weibolt found Graham Howson with a superb long pass and my favourite midfielder made no mistake from inside the penalty area. We were back on level terms and the game seemed to be heading toward a draw as the minutes of play were running out. There were just two minutes of injury time, not too many in general but one too many on that occasion as Marek Hamsik gave Chelsea the three points with a sensational last-gasp shot. It was quite frustrating to lose like that but I have to admit that Chelsea‘s players seemed to be from a whole different class during certain moments.

Full time team talk: Good effort!

Man of the match: Andrew Surman

Flop of the match: Javier Godoy

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the highlights.

Our fans didn’t have a very merry Christmas after that defeat but we brought the smiles back on their faces on Boxing Day as we fought back from 1-0 down and beat Fulham thanks to an assist and a goal from Ibrahima MBow before an injury time goal from Stephan El Shaarawy. The medical report after the game was quite disturbing again though: Julian Marino out for 2 weeks, Graham Howson out for three weeks…

We had two more games to play before the end of the year, away at Manchester City and at home with Liverpool. More about those in the next page where you will also find out what happened in January, both in terms of results and… transfers!

Go to the next page to read the rest of the story.

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Aaron
Aaron
9 years ago

First comment! Haha. Well done on tow great months and running the big guns close! Did you get any big offers in January? I’d be suprised if you didn’t. Can you give me any tips on scouting for players? I’m managed to turn Norwich City into European champions but I want young regens to replace aging players.

Aaron
Aaron
9 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

I’m currently playing 2010, will it still work?

hils
hils
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,Good 2 months there!!!!!!!!!! Your doing well in europe!!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!

vaibhavc
vaibhavc
9 years ago

Hey Johnny
Pretty good two months there. Good wins against Liverpool and finishing first in the Europa League table shows this.Hopefully your FA Cup run can continue. M’Bow seems to be playing really well, hopefully he can continue his form and give Parana and Ze Carlos some competition!

Laxeyman
Laxeyman
9 years ago

Very good couple of months Johnny, you’re now in a good position to challenge for a Champions League place, and maybe even the title as you’re not too far off. You’re doing well in the Europa League too, and I reckon you’ve got a good chance of winning it. Good luck!

Darren Smith
Admin
9 years ago

Great set of results in my opinion. Your side seem to be playing some sexy football and strength in depth is starting to shine through. So unlucky with injuries and yet the team keeps ticking over. I really hope you progress in the Europa League, but it could ultimately come down to injuries and fatigue. You should aim for the top six this season and maybe even hope for fourth. Good luck mate

Stromson
9 years ago

Another great run Johnny! You’re making an awesome run through the Europa, and still managing to remain competitive in the league. It’s a shame about the injuries, and it says something about the depth of the squad to still be able to pull out some respectable results. I have to wonder: have you ever been headhunted by a larger club?

Sayam Khan
9 years ago

Excellent second season in the Premier League so far! You’ve managed to cope very well with the injuries to your main forwards, for some reason, i really like Pavol Vesely. Good business with the strikers situation. Good Luck!

Ana Garcia
9 years ago

Good going Johnny!!

Some really impressive wins especially against Liverpool and Birmingham. Your Europa league campaign is going really well also.

Injuries are adding up! Hopefully they wont de-rail your performances so far, and a couple of good new additions, but all in all very good so far!

Good luck for the remainder of the season.

Erick Wolf
Erick Wolf
9 years ago

Good two months!
It’s a shame that Manchester City managed to win against you though.
I really wish Vauxhall were in FIFA now…

kevin
kevin
9 years ago

Hi Johnny
As there were three stories up when I checked in I printed them all and read them on the subway ride home. Saving them as a PDF first seems the best way to get them printed, so thanks a lot!!
So tough loss to Chelsea but a fantastic win over Liverpool and despite losing both Brazilians up front you still seem to be challenging strongly and have a great shot of a CL place I feel. Good luck in the FA Cup to..so far so good :)

Alex
9 years ago

Hey Johnny,

Brilliant stuff from your team, topping your Europa league group and the prospect of Champions League football next season. As a Man Utd fan I loved seeing you demolish Liverpool, I still can’t imagine Vauxhall beating Liverpool by five goals!

Good luck, I expect at least a double from your team this season ;)

CsAtlantis
9 years ago

Noooooooooooooo Johny surely Connor Wickham cannot fail…………….

:P oh well, I suppose you should sell him and get someone else

Some good results against some big clubs, losing to Chelsea isn’t that big a deal, they have some very big names in their side……………, a very good win against Liverpool

5th is a good spot to be in, but I think you can overtake Aston Villa, after all you did beat them away, only 3 points to make up too :D

Good luck with your injury list, hopefully your physios can help them with their recovery (oh yeah, how many physios can you employ?)

Stef
Stef
9 years ago

I think it’s important to have 3 goalkeepers in 1st team… 2 capable of playing top games, 1 young and OK, and maybe 1 more… usually a prospect.

I happened to have 1 suspended/away, 2 injured before a match!

Lye
Lye
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,

I can’t believe the bad luck of injuries on your key players. Even without the two Brazilians, you are grinding out results especially the 5-0 win against Liverpool. I agree with some of the comments here, you are probably not the favorites for the title but you look good to spring some surprises on top. I am looking for a Champions League finish. Good luck.

Excessive
9 years ago

Another solid couple of months there Johnny, your right on track with the boards expectations and if you can further progress in the Europa League while pushing for that Champions Leauge spot, you’ll be the legend from Elmsmere for some time to come ;).
Especially with that 5-0 romp of Liverpool!

Good luck! :)

Excessive
9 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

Haha, I live 20 miles away.. You’d bank on me knowing how to spell/pronounce it..

Anyway, you know where im coming from ;)

David Dooley
David Dooley
9 years ago

Quality story Johnny, inspired me to start one with the mighty Blyth Spartans. hope it goes half aswell as yours.

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