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Vauxhall Motors Story: February and March 2017

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Hello folks and welcome back to Ellesmere Port for a fresh episode of my Vauxhall Motors Football Manager 2011 story! This update begins with the first day of February 2017 and will cover all the events that went on until the end of March, a very important stage of the season. As you might remember we were doing pretty well at the end of January despite the injuries to several key players. We were 5th in the Premier League, qualified for the Europa League knockout round and also preparing to face Tottenham in the 5th round of the FA Cup. A lot of fish to fry there, let’s light up the stove!

The first two games of February were considered to be easier league battles but unfortunately we only managed to get four points out of them. We were quite unlucky against Wolves as we had no less than three goals disallowed and several squandered chances but we did well to recover against West Brom by scoring four goals. Ibrahima MBow was still scoring on a regular basis and I was quite pleased with that since our two Brazilian strikers had another month to spend away from the pitch.

Those were just warm-up games compared to what was ahead of us, we had to meet title holders Tottenham before the Europa League double against Dynamo Kyiv and then we had another tough encounter with Chelsea. Let’s go through those games one by one.

Vauxhall vs Tottenham (Premier League)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 10,266 (sold out)

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Julian Marino, Julian Bazzi, Mervin Simon, Javier Godoy – Leandro Velasco, Radek Vecera, Graham Howson, Andrew Surman – Wellington Paulista, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

Tottenham were still in with a good chance to defend their title as they were in 3rd place before the game and not far off the top spot. We were in 4th place though and only one point behind the Spurs, an upset would have pushed us up into the podium! Our first half display surely showed that my lads were fully capable of pulling it off, we dominated for more than half an hour but there were no clear chances for us to be honest. On the other hand the Spurs squandered a pretty good one on a counter attack but then we went on to hit the crossbar twice just before half time!

Half time score: 0-0

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Mark Brown for Vecera, Stephan El Shaarawy for Surman

The Spurs looked a bit more determined to attack after the break but we were still pretty much in control as our opponents were unable to fire a single shot on target until the hour mark. We didn’t show much in attack either, the second half was a lot more quiet but the Spurs could have won the game on a late chance but their shooting continued to be wasteful until the very end. It was a good result overall but we could have gotten more out of the game if we would have scored in the first half.

Full time team talk: Good result!

Man of the match: Julian Marino

Flop of the match: Stephan El Shaarawy

Match Stats

Dynamo Kyiv vs Vauxhall (Europa League 1st Rnd leg 1)

Venue: Valery Lobanovs’kyi Stadium Dinamo

Attendance: 12,397

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Kwabena Quartey, Louis Laing, Mervin Simon, Grant Baddeley – Leandro Velasco, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Andrew Surman – Wellington Paulista, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

The trip to snowy Kyiv was expected to be a pretty tough one since Dynamo were having quite a few very good players in their squad including former Chelsea midfielder Ramires. The first five minutes of the game were totally crazy as the home side took the lead on 2 minutes courtesy of a great volley and then we restored parity on 4 minutes when Leandro Velasco pushed home on the rebound after Ibrahima MBow‘s initial shot had been parried by the goalkeeper. Then we took control of the game, dominated through very good possession, but it was Dynamo who scored again two minutes before the break when their striker breezed past Louis Laing before firing home. I was pleased with our display though, the result was unjust.

Half time score: 2-1

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Shyamdew Weibolt for Howson, Kai Kramer for Surman

We continued to dominate after the break but we were unable to create chances, the Ukrainian defense was looking quite solid. We did deserve an equalizer though and we finally found it on 67 minutes after a pretty good team move: substitute Shyamdew Weibolt ran with the ball on the right flank before floating at the far post where Pavol Vesely touched it first time back into the middle of the area from where Leandro Velasco powered home for his second goal of the evening. We grabbed a good 2-2 away draw and we were the favourites to qualify at that point.

Full time team talk: Good result!

Man of the match: Leandro Velasco

Flop of the match: Louis Laing

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the highlights.

The two goals that we scored in Kyiv were added to an already impressive tally and we were announced that we had just broken a record that was held by mighty Real Madrid!

Record or no record, we still had to face a tricky second leg against Dynamo Kyiv, we had to secure a low-scoring draw or a win to push through.

Vauxhall vs Dynamo Kyiv (Europa League 1st Rnd leg 2)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 10,166

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

Team Talk: Encourage.

This time we got off to a very good start and we could have taken the lead after just 10 minutes but the Ukrainian goalie pulled off a great save to keep it goalless. We were piling on the pressure and the reward finally came on 19 minutes when Mervin Simon headed on a free kick cross for Louis Laing who found the back of the net with a sliding finish. Dynamo needed to score twice at that point but we were still dominating the game. They did find a goal however, it was a good flowing move but I was a bit frustrated since it came totally against the run of play. My lads were not too affected by it though, we continued to push forward but the second goal eluded us until half time. We were forced to make a substitution four minutes before the break, midfielder Graham Howson left the field on a stretcher and Mark Brown took his place.

Half time score: 1-1

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Grant Baddeley for Godoy, Andrew Driver for Surman

The second half saw an even better spell of dominance from my players, I don’t think they could have played any better. We managed to send in quite a few shots on target as well while Dynamo were not seeing much of the ball. Our poor finishing could have cost us dearly 10 minutes from time when Ramires fired a wild shot from distance that went past Dean Bouzanis but thundered off the crossbar! That was a close shave but it would have been totally frustrating to lose the qualification like that. We did have reasons to be sad after the game though, Graham Howson‘s injury was serious and we had to do without our best central midfielder for between two and three months…

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Leandro Velasco

Flop of the match: Andrew Surman

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the highlights.

Paris Saint-Germain won their tie against Rubin Kazan quite easily so we were going to travel to the French capital for the next round.

Until then, back to the league where we were meeting 2nd placed title contenders Chelsea in the last game of the month.

Chelsea vs Vauxhall (Premier League)

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Attendance: 40,444

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Julian Marino, Julian Bazzi, Mervin Simon, Javier Godoy – Leandro Velasco, Radek Vecera, Shyamdew Weibolt, Andrew Surman – Wellington Paulista, Pavol Vesely

Team Talk: You can win today!

Chelsea had beaten us 4-3 in December at the end of a thrilling match and I was expecting an equally entertaining display at Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately we were not playing as well as we did in December, Chelsea were outplaying us but we managed to hang in there for a while. We had another injury, I was getting used to that, Wellington Paulista was stretchered off and Ibrahima MBow came in to replace him. Chelsea were not creating chances despite dominating the game but they broke the deadlock on a corner kick and then made it 2-0 on a fine shot from Marek Hamsik 10 minutes later. We had a very poor first half, something had to change!

Half time score: 2-0

Half time team talk: Disappointing!

Half time substitutions: Kwabena Quartey for Marino, Mark Brown for Vecera

The second half was a bit better from our part, we did show a bit of football but Chelsea kept things under control without breaking too much sweat. Our seven-game unbeaten run came to an end but I was relieved to find out that Wellington Paulista‘s injury was not very serious, he was going to be out for only a week.

Full time team talk: Sympathise.

Man of the match: Mervin Simon

Flop of the match: Mark Brown

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the highlights.

We only managed one win in four league games in February and our position suffered as a result, we were down in 6th place at the end of the month but we were virtually 7th since Aston Villa had a game in hand. The table was quite tight though, I was expecting a fierce battle for the first four places. As you can notice Manchester City had secured an Europa League spot as they won the Carling Cup by beating Liverpool 2-0 in the final.

The top five at the end of February shows something a lot more important than the ratings and the goals: Parana and Zé Carlos were close to a return to full fitness!

March was expected to be quite demanding for our group of players since we were starting with a crunch FA Cup match at White Hart Lane before taking on Manchester United at home and then preparing for the Europa League clash with PSG.

Well, I already know what happened in March and I can tell you that there were quite a few spectacular matches in there and also a few surprising results! Read all about them in the next page! ;)

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

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Sears
9 years ago

That was an action packed post Johnny, full of goals! Brilliant win against Utd, you trashed them! I’m anticipating Champions League football next season ;-)

Sibo
Sibo
9 years ago

Well done Johnny!

I think you can win the EC this season, but you should really be looking forward to some ECC action next season!

Also, you seem to be scoring incredible amounts, and playing good football too probably! That’s what I like to see! :D

vaibhavc
vaibhavc
9 years ago

Hey johnny
That was a great two months and that 6-2 win against United sums it up. What a great win! That Everton game must have been annoying for you, with them coming from 4 goals down. Hopefully you can get a Champions League spot.

Jack
Jack
9 years ago

Brilliant Johnny! If you manage to get 4th place, that will be an awesome achievement. Some great results in the europa league too :) I think with the Brazilians back your team are really in the ascendency. That was a great decision to play MBow on the left! Keep up the good work! Also I would like to know if Parana and Ze Carlos have reached their full potentials?

The Green Army
The Green Army
9 years ago

That was great few months for you and 6-2 win over united sums up the brilliant performance by your players. Also the your only 7 points away from 1st and you have some easy fixtures apart from Aston Villa and Arsenal so not only a champions league place by the title could be obtainable.

Darren Smith
Admin
9 years ago

Well done Johnny! the two Brazilians are back, you thrashed Utd, got to the quarter-final of the Europa League and have an excellent chance for 4th. Amazing stuff and I think you’ll get that Champions League spot unless complacency creeps in. Good luck mate

vikingmarius
9 years ago

Wow you had a fantastic run at the end there including that amazing win over United, Ze carlos is officially back. You are also doing quite well in the europa league, you are doing very well but you seem to let in a lot of goals, but I guess that will gt better the older your defenders get :)

Joe lance
Joe lance
9 years ago

Business end of the league and you’re doing so well. 6-2 against Man Utd, that was fantastic. Even Barca will be proud of that. Do you ever tell your team their performance was sensational? That kind of result, i’d be telling them sensational or fantastic, not welldone.
I really hope you win the Europa League. It will be awesome. A champions league spot or maybe a late tittle challenge won’t hurt either.

CsAtlantis
9 years ago

Ah Shearer’s managing Tottenham, great result against Man Utd, and I think you stand a good chance against Zaragoza, just take it one game at a time, you’re also in the running for a Champions League spot Johnny, good luck! Your Brazilian pairing up front are doing very well together with M’Bow

Excessive
9 years ago

Well done mate that was a great update! The win against United was the obvious highlight, and its nice to see the Brazilian pair back in action :).
All sets up for a thrilling finale to the season though, a great chance in the Europa League with an equally good battle for 4th.

Cant wait :)

Stromson
9 years ago

I can’t help but wonder if we’re on the verge of witnessing some Europa glory! That was a great run of results, and it’s amazing how solid Tottenham is in FM11. It’ll be a tight race, but hopefully you can secure that final CL spot.

Erick Wolf
Erick Wolf
9 years ago

Well, that was certainly a thriller!
Your defense seems to be leaking goals though.
I don’t think you’ve gotten too many clean sheets lately.
You’re also getting lots of injuries! Quite worrying!

Erick Wolf
Erick Wolf
9 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

Do you think it has anything to do with training?

Johnny Karp
9 years ago
Reply to  Erick Wolf

No, I don’t think so. Take Parana for instance, his foot got broken following a tackle and that surely has nothing to do with his training. Plus, I have been using the same training schedules and workloads as in the last six seasons and I never had so many injuries.

Erick Wolf
Erick Wolf
9 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

Good point mate. Just bad luck it is then!

Lye
Lye
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,

I have confidence in your team since the the samba players came back once again. Look at what they have done to Man Utd. You will surely finish in a champions league spot.It’s a good draw against Zaragoza. You have a great chance of reaching the Europa final. Good luck.

kevin
kevin
9 years ago

Hi Johnny
6-2 win over United. What a win which all of a sudden arguably now puts you in with a shot at the title and definitly a Champions League spot. Very unlucky in the FA Cup but now you have the Samba rhythm going on up front again you have a great chance at winning the Europa league too!

Ana Garcia
9 years ago

Great post!

Lots of action am not sure where to start!

Well done on beating Real Madrid’s record! And for reaching the latter stages, Zaragoza are beat-able especially with your fantastic Brazilian duo!

League form is going well and you could push for a champions league place and hopefully you can keep hold of Ze Carlos I see he is wanted!

Good going Johnny and really good luck!!

:)

hils
hils
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,great 2 months there!!!!!!!!!! Great 6-2 win vs united!!!!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!!!

Sayam Khan
9 years ago

You seemed to be best equipped in the position where I am not! Up front, great to have a striker that can bang in 20+ goals a season despite not being first choice. You must be embarrased to leave him out when the two Brazilians are fit!

I love the victory against United, both strikers scoring hat tricks is more than satisfying for a manager! I predict you should get to the semi in europa. Great season so far, good luck!

Alex
9 years ago

Hey Johnny,

Your strikers are brilliant, you are going to finish 3rd this season and secure a group stage position in the Champions League.

What a victory over Man U! That was so surprising, but in a good way :). You will get to the semis of the Europa League, but Juve might be too tough to handle, although beating United in such a manner means anything is possible! Good luck, I look forward to the next post.

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