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As part of my Champions League or bust preparations for Everton, I stumbled into a reboot of the old Ajax '96 team and spotted that today's Everton have the players (almost) to make it work.
Season one, if you aren't as aggressive in the transfer market or would rather save pennies, you'd play Osman in CML, Fellaini CM and Gibson CMR.
First season I've brought in Dzagoev (free in January), Anderson (part exchanged Junior) and Kirchhoff (Sold Distin, Pienaar, Anichibe, Vellios, Hibbert, cashed out all my transfer bonuses from Rodwell and my first born. Had the board very upset that I lied to them about how much I was going to spend on wages. They forgave me when I won the League Cup).
Second season I lied again and told them I could qualify for the champions league and bought Ryan Shawcross. Which I regret because he can't get in the team. Jags and Kirchhoff average 7.9 each, how can I drop them? I should have picked up a striker, a right wing back or a backup sweeper.
Although so far the team is bailing me out on that one.
Playmaker depends on who I'm playing, unless the right back is world class, I set Baines as the playmaker and change my attacks to go down the left. If not, I nominate Dzagoev and go through the middle.
My first season I had a terrible start (first 5 games I stuck to a 4-5-1 and lost 4, drew 1) and got knocked out of the FA Cup by Peterborough.
Then I started the wholesale changes and came up with this formation, initially to try and stem the avalanche of goals I conceded. Took an unbeaten streak of 22 games to the end (too many draws though) Won the League Cup and am doing well in my second season.
Carling cup last 32. Problem Mancini?
I think the system works so well because Heitinga is a natural in the sweeper/libero position (a good sweeper is hard to find) Kirchhoff and Jagielka are beasts. Baines and Dzagoev are close to, if not world class and everything we have goes through them down the left. Fellaini is a face biting maniac and breaks down possession well and Seamus Coleman, well, he looks good in the team photo...
Next transfer priorities are;
1) Backup right wing back
1) Striker to help Jelavic who isn't a converted winger. (Gueye, Mirallas and Naismith.)
3) Backup sweeper (though if Heitinga is injured/suspended I play Shawcross in a flat back three)