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The Alex Ferguson (SAF) Challenge

  1. The Alex Ferguson (SAF) Challenge

    Hi guys,

    Welcome to my new story/challenge, which is the SAF Challenge. A lot of people have done the life of Alex Ferguson where they manage East Stirlingshire, Aberdeen and Manchester United. However, this is different. This is based solely on what he did at Manchester United.

    He took charge on 6 November 1986, when Manchester United were 19th in the Premier League and it took him six years to win his first title, so the rules of the challenge are:
    • Holiday the game until 6 November, and take charge of the team in 19th place;
    • Stay at that team until you have achieved 'domination';
    • Buy only 8 players per season, as that was the highest number of first team players he ever signed in a season, and the max spend was £62m a season;
    • Have a focus on youth development like Ferguson e.g. the Class of 92 whilst also buying players to strengthen the squad in the first time.
    The targets for the challenge in terms of competitions are:
    1. Win a domestic cup within 4 years
    2. Win a league title within 7 years
    3. Win a league and cup double within 7 years
    4. Win a league, cup and Champions League treble within 13 years.
    All of these achievements above were all successfully accomplished by Ferguson during his reign.

    Now, to make this clear, this is not an Alex Ferguson appreciation thread; I'm a Liverpool fan and in short, I despised the bloke, but there is no doubt his achievements were and still are unprecedented in English football. The scale of the challenge is appealing for me, and I'm looking forward to it.

    Check back for more updates; the next one will be the holiday result, and a squad overview.

    [To see the full thread on the SAF Challenge, you can find it here:] The SAF Challenge - Football Manager 2013 Forum (FM 2013) - Neoseeker Forums
    Last edited by TouchyFM; 28/01/2015 at 12:18 AM.


  3. Interesting challenge mate!

  4. Thanks, can't really get into a long term save so this should keep me going for a while haha

  5. 6th November 2014

    So we've holidayed to November 6 and let's just say, it was an absolute shock to see who we'd been given, take a look at the table below.

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    As you can see, we'll be managing Tottenham Hotspur. This coincided quite nicely as Mauricio Pochettino was sacked on the 4th, so I wasn't replacing a manager. I have to say I'm incredibly surprised that I got such a good team and it should make it easier to build a legacy and hopefully win trophies. I'll have a chance in the FA Cup this year but as you'll see from some screenshots that I'll post, we're already out of the League Cup. Here's the recent results and the team overview.

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    To be fair, MP had quite a few difficult fixtures in the opening 10, such as Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United. But poor results against teams such as Swansea and Burnley are a tad unforgivable. The squad is clearly a strong one, with players such as Lamela and Yarmolenko on the wings and Hugo Lloris in goal. But for me, the best in the squad is Christian Eriksen, he is a simply brilliant CAM and we will look to build the team around the attacking midfield three. The big worry for me right now is the lack of a clinical striker, Soldado is suspended whilst Kane and Adebayor have injuries, so a new man upfront is key for January, and potentially a new centre back to partner Kaboul, whilst a creative central midfielder could be considered, but I think Dembele can do a job for us there.

    Key Players

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    The next update will be the results in November, our fixtures are:

    Sparta Praha [EL] (a)
    Southampton [BPL] (h)
    Leicester [EPL] (a)
    Ast. Tripolis [EL] (h)
    Stoke [BPL] (h)

    I'll be looking for two wins in the Europa League and 7 points from 9 in the Premier League. I believe all of the games are winnable but morale is extremely low, and we've only won one league game all season so it's best not to over-estimate the task here. Targets wise, I'll be looking for a top 7 finish in the Premier League, to reach the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup and the Europa League.
    Last edited by TouchyFM; 28/01/2015 at 01:53 AM.
    Average Joe likes this.


    Our first month in charge of Spurs, and our first game came on the day I was appointed in the Europa League against Sparta Praha. I said I wanted to win both Europa League games and get 7 out of 9 points in the Premier League, can we do it?

    Sparta Praha 2-1 Tottenham
    (Konate 48', Bednar 49' | Chiriches 28')

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    So our first game in charge was hugely disappointing. We took a deserved lead through the unlikely source of Vlad Chiriches and to be honest we could have been 3-0 up at half-time. However, our lack of striker (we used Yarmolenko) proved to be our downfall, as two pieces of sloppy defending gifted them two quick goals to give them the lead, and they defended well until the end to seal the three points, that left us top with 9 from a possible 12, a win against Tripolis would see us through.

    Tottenham 2-0 Southampton
    (Chadli 2', Soldado 76')

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    Our first Premier League game saw us win pretty comfortably 2-0 against high flying Southampton. Nacer Chadli settled any nerves two minutes in with a great header from a Yarmolenko cross, and Roberto Soldado (yes, him) scored after a clinical counter-attack with ten minutes to go. It was a very pleasing victory as we limited them to very few chances, whilst creating a few openings of our own.

    Leicester 2-2 Tottenham
    (Knockaert 56', Chiriches (OG) 60' | Soldado (pen) 37', Yarmolenko 70')

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    I thought we were going to have a repeat of the Sparta Praha game here. We battered them first half but we could only get the one goal through a Soldado penalty. Then we were poor defensively (much like Spurs in real life) and it allowed them to score twice, one was an horrendous own goal from our best centre back, which says a lot about the strength of this team. However, a lovely 20-yard strike from Yarmolenko spared our blushes and got us a deserved point.

    Tottenham 2-0 Ast. Tripolis
    (Townsend 39', Kane 83')

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    The first aim of this month was completed here; qualify for the knockout rounds of the Europa League, and it was a mightily comfortable game. Again we were clinically inefficient, Townsend giving us a 1-0 lead at half-time but it could have been three. We pressed more in the second-half but it was a fantastic counter-attack and then finish from Harry Kane that wrapped us up the points.

    Tottenham 0-1 Stoke
    (Bojan 35)

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    After some really positive results, this one sent us crashing back down. The FM legend Bojan scored a great solo goal with their only shot on target after Fazio was caught square. Whilst the stats may suggest we dominated, we failed to create any meaningful opportunities and Stoke probably deserved to win.


    We failed to meet both of the targets that I set out to meet this month. Despite winning three out of six points in the Europa League, it was enough to qualify, and the five out of nine Premier League points were enough to take us off bottom place into 18th (I don't have a screenshot of the league table as I accidentally forgot to screenshot it before I played the first two December games).

    Player performances were pretty average, the likes of Soldado, Townsend and Yarmolenko flourished, whilst Lamela and Eriksen were poor, meaning they may be dropped for a while; whilst December is a month where we could pick up points, but there are some tough games:

    Manchester City (a) [BPL]
    Sunderland (h) [BPL]
    Rapid Wien (a) [EL]
    Everton (a) [BPL]
    West Brom (h) [BPL]
    Arsenal (a) [BPL]
    QPR (h) [BPL]

    The busiest month sees us visit two of the top teams, City and Arsenal plus a tough trip to Everton, but other than that the games are winnable, I'd like 10 out of 18 points and a win in our Europa League game. It's so tight in the bottom half we could easily jump to 12th/13th with some consistent performances.
    Average Joe likes this.

  7. Are you going to try and win more league titles then united??

  8. I could try, was it 13 in the end that Ferguson won?

  9. This is pretty good mate, Spurs always seem to do really well in my saves so I was surprised to see them in 19th!

  10. Yeah I always see them top 5 for most of the season, I was kind of hoping it would be someone a bit harder but breaking the dominance of United, City and Chelsea will still be very tough

  11. Quote Originally Posted by TouchyFM View Post
    I could try, was it 13 in the end that Ferguson won?
    It was something like that,


    With a mix of winnable games and games where we will probably lose, December really is a month where table climbing is possible. Games such as Sunderland, West Brom and QPR should all be winnable, whilst Manchester City, Arsenal and Everton will be tough.

    Manchester City 0-1 Tottenham
    (Lamela 30')

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    What can I say about this result? Absolutely epic. This was a game that in all honesty I thought we'd be absolutely battered in. The stats suggest the game was close and it was, but it was a game of two halves. Lamela scored a nice finish from a Ben Davies cross after half an hour, and we completely dominated the first half. The second half was much more defensive from our point of view, and Lloris had to make two great saves from Jovetic and Aguero, and that was paramount for winning the three points.

    Tottenham 2-0 Sunderland
    (Yarmolenko 1' Kane 43')

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    A nice solid result to follow up from the 1-0 win at City. This was a game we controlled and we were never really threatened by Sunderland. The goal after 43 seconds really helped and Kane's finish just before half-time pretty much sealed the win. We went more defensive in the second-half to conserve energy and there were no more clear chances.

    Rapied Wien 1-3 Tottenham
    (Alar 15' | Yarmolenko 16' Chiriches 86' Kane 90+1')

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    This result may have looked comfortable but it really wasn't. After going behind I though it would be one of those days but a Yarmolenko header straight after put us back in the game. Harry Kane missed some absolute sitters but Chiriches' finish from an Aaron Lennon corner surely gave us the win, and then Kane rounded it off in injury time following a Wien corner. 15 points out of 18 in Europe and top spot in our group.

    Everton 0-1 Tottenham
    (Townsend 90+3')

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    Blimey this was nerve-wracking. We outplayed them first-half but we didn't create any clear cut chances, and they had the best chance midway through the second-half when Mirallas hit the post. But Townsend picked up the ball from Eriksen's pass 25 yards out and curled a wonder goal past Tim Howard, continuing our good form this month.

    Tottenham 0-1 West Brom
    (Brunt 53')

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    It just wasn't our day, we dominated but they hit us on the break a lot. They also missed a penalty through Berahino which could have made the scoreline worse. Disappointing, but if we play like this we'll get victories 9 times out of 10.

    Arsenal 1-4 Tottenham
    (Cazorla 68' | Kane 3' Eriksen 18', 44' Yarmolenko 43')

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    BOOM! We were 4-0 up at half-time and we led the shot count 12-8. Second half we just played on contain and invited pressure, where they were able to score just once. Kane opened the scoring with a simple header from close range after a great Davies cross. Eriksen scored a fantastic free-kick before Yarmolenko headed in a Townsend cross. Then Kane intercepted a pass from Giroud, drove forward and squared it to Eriksen who passed it into an empty net. Cazorla scored from a well worked move but we held on comfortably, recording easily our best win yet.

    Tottenham 3-0 QPR
    (Bentaleb 36' Townsend 50', 60')

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    It's nice to win at home again after the West Brom defeat, and it rounds up a hugely successful month for me and Spurs. Bentaleb scored an absolute worldie to open the scoring as we struggled to break them down. Townsend took advantage of two mistakes at set pieces to make it 2-0 and 3-0.


    FA CUP:
    3rd round vs Liverpool (A)
    Europa League:
    1st Knockout Round vs Villarreal
    Europa League: 2nd Knockout Round vs Dynamo Kiev or Inter


    There is no doubt this month was absolutely incredible. Victories over Arsenal, Manchester City and Everton were completely unexpected but were overshadowed by the 1-0 home defeat by West Brom. I'm hoping next month we can get a victory vs Liverpool in the FA Cup as I see that as our only realistic chance of a trophy. We only have 3 league games against Crystal Palace, West Ham and Manchester United. We have United at home so there is a decent chance of winning. I'm hoping for 9 points but I won't be too disappointed with 5.

    League Table

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    December Results

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    Last edited by TouchyFM; 28/01/2015 at 04:44 PM.

  13. Great idea, great start!

  14. Quote Originally Posted by DeanHehe View Post
    Great idea, great start!
    Thanks a lot! It's looking good so far

  15. Brilliant idea this mate, should make for an interesting read...great start as well, will be following mate!!

  16. Quote Originally Posted by Dean Wilkes View Post
    Brilliant idea this mate, should make for an interesting read...great start as well, will be following mate!!
    Thanks a lot, I was struggling for a save that wasn't my YouTube one, and saw this challenge which should keep me entertained. The start couldn't really have been much better in all honesty!
    Dean Wilkes likes this.

  17. love this challenge idea, one of the best I seen. I thought at first it was a Ferguson emulation but well don for something different. keep it up & good luck although seems luck is with you with Spurs being 19th haha.

  18. great month there apart from that 1 game! I was surprised to see it was Spurs lol

  19. TouchyFM
    The Spurs thing was the biggest shock, I was hoping for a team like Sunderland or Hull, decent sides but not as big as Spurs. An thanks MourinhoFM, it's not my idea but I haven't seen it done since FM13 so I thought I'd try and bring it back and get people who can't seem to find a save that they can get in to a save that could be quite enjoyable.
    MourinhoFM likes this.

  20. TouchyFM


    A lot of people call January the most important month for struggling teams; they get the chance to bolster their ranks. I would definitely class us as struggling in terms of league position, but not in terms of form. This month we faced 4 league games and 1 FA Cup tie against Liverpool. The games against Crystal Palace, Hull and West Ham are winnable, Manchester United and Liverpool I'm not so sure about, but let's jump straight into the January transfer dealings.

    January transfers

    Player From To Price Paid
    Emmanuel Adebayor Spurs Marseille £6m
    Alexandre Lacazette Lyon Spurs £12m

    I felt we needed more strength upfront but I only needed three strikers. I could have gotten rid of Soldado but he's actually done okay but recently got injured. Lacazette was my number one target and at first I was quoted £18m. I decided not to follow up with any offer until two weeks later, when I offered £12m which was accepted. I definitely see him as a first team player and with just a £49k pw wage, he's on half of Adebayor's salary. However, Lacazette recently got injured for four weeks, ruling him out until mid-February which is a big loss. I am still searching for players such as a CB and a creative CM, but they will have to wait until the summer.

    January matches

    Tottenham 1-0 Hull City
    (Yarmolenko 64')

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    A tight game which we just about edged. Hull had the much better of it in the first half hour, and should have gone 1-0 up when Ben Arfa forced a good save from Lloris whilst one on one. However, we seemed to buck our ideas up after that and we took the game to them, so when Allan McGregor parried a Townsend shot to the feet of Yarmolenko, the Ukrainian couldn't miss; a decent 3 points to keep the league form going.

    FA Cup: Liverpool 4-2 Tottenham
    (Balotelli 26', 28 Sturridge 45+2', 52'| Townsend 46' Chiriches 54')

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    This was a brilliant game and in all honesty we were very unlucky to lose. We dominated but we were hit on the break, and if you have two quality strikers in Balotelli and Sturridge, you'll take your chances and ultimately win. The Sturridge goal just before half-time killed us, if it was 2-0 then we could have had a chance, but the third goal just knocked our confidence. A better performance second-half was encouraging and Townsend and Chiriches continued to perform. Being knocked out in the FA Cup is disappointing, but we gave it a great effort.

    West Ham 0-3 Tottenham
    (Eriksen 68' Chadli 76' Maxim 88')

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    This was another game where we had a lot of the ball and I think by the time it got to 65 minutes, they were knackered and we were able to tear them apart. We're looking so good down the flanks which was epitomised by Yarmolenko's cross being nodded down by Kane for Eriksen to lash home. Chadli then grabbed a goal heading in a perfect Ben Davies cross, and Maxim put gloss on the scoreline with a beautiful left-foot strike from 20 yards out. Our persistence and desire in this game was brilliant and it was probably our best team performance yet.

    Tottenham 4-0 Crystal Palace
    (Kane 38', 50' Eriksen 57' Chadli 81')

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    When I said the West Ham game was our best performance yet, it was quickly replaced by this one. We were wonderful in the second-half as I gave the players more freedom to roam. Kane scored some beauties whilst Chadli and Eriksen were brilliant throughout. We don't seem to be missing Lamela too much who's been out injured for a while; and we're looking pretty formidable, I couldn't have been happier after this game.

    Tottenham 2-4 Manchester Utd
    (Kane 49' Soldado 68' | Falcao 13', 39 van Persie 48' pen 80')

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    I couldn't have been unhappier about this game. Our centre-backs just didn't seem to want to mark Falcao and van Persie and they raced 3-0 in front. What annoyed me more was that it took the third goal going in to actually get us to even come close to playing well. Kane and Soldado set up a tense finish, but Zapata gave away a penalty and was sent off; the penalty was scored and there was no way back into the game for us.


    Despite the disappointing results to Liverpool and Manchester United, I think we can be pretty positive about performances; we're dispatching teams smaller than us comfortably, and we've already proven we can beat the big teams. Although we stay 9th we're only 2 points off 5th. I told the board I could get a top half finish, but more worryingly I've told Eriksen if we don't get Champions League football this year, then he can leave, all the more motivation to get into the top 4.

    League table

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    January results

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    Remember to follow me on Twitter @TouchyFM and to subscribe to my YouTube channel: Thanks.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The Alex Ferguson (SAF) Challenge-tottenham-v-southampton_-overview-overview-2.png  

  21. Love the idea mate! After all that you're only 7 points off the top 4! Good luck

  22. TouchyFM
    Quote Originally Posted by PaperClipFMer View Post
    Love the idea mate! After all that you're only 7 points off the top 4! Good luck
    Thanks! There's no doubt it's been a solid start

  23. TouchyFM


    The overview for February is here! A few big games against Liverpool and Chelsea whilst some potential tough matches against Swansea and Newcastle don't make this an easy month at all, plus we have our Europa League 1st Knockout Round tie against Villarreal, and there are some massive results!

    Swansea 0-2 Tottenham
    (Chadli 14' Clyne 86')

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    A potentially tough tie was negotiated really professionally by my players. Chadli, who wants to leave, still seems to be able to perform for us. In a game which we were very dominant, it was a Nathaniel Clyne cross that sealed us the win, we're getting good at holding a 1-0 lead until the last 10 minutes and they we get a goal on the break.

    Newcastle 0-3 Tottenham
    (Eriksen 13' Kane 29' Lamela 51')

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    A 3-0 scoreline flattered us completely. We relied on Hugo Lloris massively to A) keep a clean sheet and B) win. We were opened up too many times, but fortunately for us, so were Newcastle. All three goals were pretty simple finished but the movement from the front four was really pleasing to see, and Newcastle's inability to pick them up meant we were able to create chances.

    Tottenham 1-1 Liverpool
    (Yarmolenko 25' | Balotelli pen 23')

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    This was so frustrating. We dominated the play, and Liverpool who set up with just one striker (Balotelli) in a 4-3-3, I assigned Chiriches to mark him the whole game, and he managed one chance, a bloody penalty. To be fair, it was a goal saving challenge, which didn't really save a goal. However, an excellent goal from Yarmolenko earned us a point. Mignolet was absolutely epic this game, something you don't hear very often.

    Europa League: Villarreal 2-3 Tottenham
    (Moreno 36', 78' | Yarmolenko pen 13' Chiriches 19' Kane 69')

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    This game annoyed me so much. At 2-0 we were in complete control, but the game opened up and we lost all control. I thought we had the two goal advantage sealed with Kane's goal with 20 minutes left, but some very sloppy defending allowed Moreno a second. The thing that really infuriated me was that they played 80 minutes with ten men. Three away goals and the victory is a bonus.

    Chelsea 0-5 Tottenham
    (Yarmolenko 9' Lamela 34', 45' Kaboul 42' Townsend 85')

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    Wow. I don't even know what happened here, but it was damn good. Our set piece threat was just incredible, but our front four were so damaging again, and Mourinho's notorious defensive strength was nowhere to be seen. Again the roaming of the attacking force overwhelmed the opposition, and Lloris had very little to do, seeing Kaboul score was also a joy to behold.

    Tottenham 3-1 Villarreal
    (Lamela 9' Kane 36' Eriksen 72' | dos Santos 56')

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    Boy Villarreal are stubborn, but we were just too strong for them. The 2-0 lead at half-time was key, we had to be aggressive and take the game to them. dos Santos made things very nervy but an Eriksen free-kick sealed things for us, and set up a 2nd Knockout Round tie with Inter Milan.


    What an incredible month for us, I could never have expected an unbeaten month especially with Chelsea away. We were extremely professional (and perhaps lucky) in the games we were expected to win. I'm happy to be through to the next round of the Europa League, and I really am aiming to win that. The win against Chelsea will probably be the highlight of this years FM for me, I rarely see teams go to Stamford Bridge in the first season and win 5-0. Next month sees us play all bottom half opposition and our Europa League tie against Inter. Also, being 5th in the league is incredible after we were bottom before my first league game, quite a meteoric rise.

    League Table

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    February Results

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    Remember to follow me on Twitter @TouchyFM and to subscribe to my YouTube channel: Thanks.
    Last edited by TouchyFM; 30/01/2015 at 12:05 AM.

  24. Wow what a great turn around!

  25. TouchyFM
    I know, it's incredible. To be fair we shouldn't have beaten Newcastle but you need the rub of the green sometimes.

  26. Wow. I'm stunned by your achievement. Great job. Who knows, you might push into the UCL places. Good luck with that. Will definitely be following

  27. TouchyFM
    Quote Originally Posted by agieluma View Post
    Wow. I'm stunned by your achievement. Great job. Who knows, you might push into the UCL places. Good luck with that. Will definitely be following
    Thanks, I'm really hoping we can push for it, the gap is pretty big but it's bridgable.

  28. TouchyFM
    How's the layout for you guys? I don't mind changing it but monthly updates I think make it easier to follow our progress, but I'm open to suggestions.

  29. Great so far, Lacazette yet to score for you ??

  30. TouchyFM
    Quote Originally Posted by MourinhoFM View Post
    Great so far, Lacazette yet to score for you ??
    3 in 6 so far I think

  31. TouchyFM


    This was probably the most important month for us, we needed to get as many wins as possible in our push for a Champions League spot, mainly so we can keep Eriksen! Even if we fail to get the Champions League, we could probably get a lot for Eriksen, and Maxim isn't a terrible replacement. We also have our second knockout round tie in the Europa League against Inter, massive.

    Tottenham 2-1 Aston Villa
    (Kane 16' 22' | Delph 31')

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    I know we won and that's brilliant blah blah blah but this was terribly frustrating. We absolutely battered them yet we could only win 2-1. Harry Kane's early double meant we were always in control but a Fabian Delph screamer got Villa back in the game. Fortunately, they offered very little creative threat and we were able to see it out, but we really should have had 8.

    Europa League: Tottenham 1-0 Inter Milan
    (Kane 13')
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    A win is nice but again it's only by one goal, and in this competition, against a team like Inter, one goal isn't always enough. It was an open game and both sides should have scored three. So I'm happy to win and I'm even happier to see Kane continue his rich vein of form.

    Southampton 0-1 Tottenham
    (Lamela 6')

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    I honestly think this was the one game where we have been completely outplayed, yet we still won; and we have Hugo Lloris to thank for that. He was absolutely outstanding and I can't believe Southampton weren't able to score. Harry Kane didn't score this game, but we all know Lamela knows where the goal is, and he found it today, a solid 3 points, but a disappointing defensive performance overall.

    Europa League: Inter Milan 2-0 Tottenham (AET) (2-1)
    (Hernanes 19' Icardi 109')

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    Damn. Our last chance of a trophy has gone and I can't say we didn't deserve it. Inter outplayed us on the day and we did well to take it to extra time. I was hoping we could hold out for penalties as I never really thought with the way we were playing that we could get a goal. The disappointing thing is that Icardi's goal came from a terrible Eriksen corner. Winning the Europa League would have meant a place in the Champions League, but now we have to rely totally on our league form.

    Tottenham 2-0 Leicester
    (Chiriches 69' Lacazette 84)

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    Boy this game made me nervous. Our horrendous finishing was just horrible to watch, Kane could have had a hat-trick and eventually I replaced him. The ever dependable Vlad Chiriches grabbed himself another goal, and Lacazette sealed the win 5 minutes from time. It's nice to see him score, and a decent win kept us in the hunt for a Champions League spot.


    Again our league form was excellent, winning all of our games, even though Southampton should have battered us. The one disappointment was failing to qualify for the quarter finals of the Europa League. However, as you can see we're well in the mix for 4th place, If we can win 6 of our last 8 then I think we can get that Champions League spot, which will be a massive turnaround when you compare us to where we were on the 6th November.

    League Table

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    March Results

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    Remember to follow me on Twitter @TouchyFM and to subscribe to my YouTube channel: Thanks.

  32. looking gd so far

  33. seemingly easy by getting Tottenham tbh but I would really like to keep a close eye on this one

  34. Loving the idea of holidaying and taking over someone stuck in 19th. Could have ended up with Burnley or something!!! Great idea though and top season, shame you wont bag a trophy but sets nicely for next season

  35. TouchyFM
    I'm actually annoyed I got Spurs, really wanted more of a challenge, and not winning a trophy is frustrating but hopefully we can get one next season.

  36. TouchyFM
    I'll hopefully have the April update out later tonight and May's tomorrow!

  37. TouchyFM
    Sorry for the massive delay on this guys. I've had absolutely loads of uni work to do the past week but I've got a pretty free weekend, so there will definitely be an update out this evening, and then hopefully one Sunday night.

  38. Yay!

  39. Wanna try this challenge, but what experience does every set them self's as?

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