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Celtic story - with a difference

  1. Celtic story - with a difference

    As the title suggests, I'm going to be managing Celtic, but probably not how you'd imagine.

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    Celtic have won the Scottish Premiership with ease this season, 106 points and undefeated for the season with a wopping 30 point lead on 2nd place. They're also on course for a domestic treble, already with the league and Scottish League cup in the bag, they have the final of the Socttish cup to come against Aberdeen.

    It's been easy for them!


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    So i want to see how they'll fair in the big leagues ... The Premier League.

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    To make easy, I've simply swapped places between Celtic and Sunderland, meaning Sunderland will contest the Scottish Premier League next season but we'll gloss over that.


    Celtic have been superb this season and have some very good players but if we're honest, we don't know how good as the quality up in Scotland has been poor now for a number of years.


    I've no doubt that in years to come Celtic could be a top 8 club in England but the question is, can they do this straight away? Can they even stay in the league long enough to challenge? Will the current group of players get found out?


    We're about to find all of this out and see how far we can take them.
    Tracz and issteo like this.

  2. Interesting idea mate,
    Will ve following.
    PaperClipFMer likes this.

  3. So, my first job is to check on the squad I'll be working with.


    GOALKEEPERS
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    Craig Gordon – Plenty good enough for the Premier League and one of few players to have Premier League experience having been at Sunderland for 5 years. He’s 33 but still should have another couple of good seasons in him.

    Dorus De Vries – Probably someone who won’t get a lot of game time, he should offer decent backup to Craig Gordon but isn’t someone who will be challenging for the number 1 jersy.


    Overall – I think we’re fine in goal, we could possibly bring in a younger lad to challenge Craig Gordon a little bit more but I’m guessing we’ll have bigger concerns in the squad than this.




    Center Backs
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    Kolo Toure – Despite his age he can still do a job for us this season, possibly his last season before retirement. Another one with Premier League experience and even a Premier League winners medal.

    Derek Boyata – I’m really not sure about Boyata, great things were meant for him when he was a youngster at Man City but he’s never really kicked on. He’s 25 now and will want game time, something I’m not sure we can really offer him.

    Jozo Simunovic – A young center half with bags of potential, he was at the club last season but didn’t feature too much due to injury. He’ll be wanting to put this right this season.

    Erik Sviatchenko – Will probably be our first choice center back, is the right age and should fit into the Premier League.


    Overall – We have a few options at center back without any of them being brilliant. We also have Efe Ambrose in the reserves to add further depth. If anything we could possibly bring someone in with some more Premier League experience and maybe look to move on Derek Boyata.


    Full Backs
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    Kieran Tierney – Has to be the standout full back in the squad, even at 19 years old. He really has the potential to be standout Premier League full back and must be first choice.

    Emilio Izaguirre – Will be competition for Tierney but I’d seriously worry if we had to play him for any real length of time. Been at the club a long time but simply not enough for this level of football.

    Mikael Lustig – Dependable as they come on the right hand side, plenty of experience with over 50 international caps and over 100 appearances for Celtic.

    Cristian Gamboa – Similar to Izaguirre, Gamboa will be a back up player but I’m not convinced he’s even good enough for that.


    Overall – Our first choice full backs are plenty good enough, however I seriously worry about the squad depth here. If either Tierney or Lustig were injured for any length of time then we’d really be struggling.



    Center Midfield
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    Nir Bitton – A decent enough midfielder who’s more defensive minded than anything else, only 24 so can improve but I wouldn’t want to start every game with him.

    Scott Brown – Club captain and the heartbeat of this team. Been here for 10 years and will probably be the first name on the teamsheet. The only question mark I have is how we’ll do in the Premier League having never played there, we shall see.

    Stuart Armstrong – More of an attack minded player but again I’m not sure he has Premier League class that’s needed, especially playing further forward.

    Tom Rogic – Very similar to Nir Bitton although possibly more adaptable as can play more attacking if needs be. Again though, I’m concerned he lacks real quality to start in the middle of the pitch.

    Kouassi Eboue – A young lad I have high hopes for, only 18 years old but looks quite a prospect. I’ll give him as much game time as needed but a loan move may suit his development more.


    Overall – I feel we’re lacking here which needs addressing, it’s arguably the most important area of the pitch so at least one new signing will be needed.


    Wingers
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    Patrick Roberts – Another young lad with bags and bags of potential, unfortunately we’re unlikely to see that potential as he’s only on loan from Man City. Looks a good player already despite only being 19 and can play either wing which always helps.

    James Forrest – Probably the biggest challenger to Patrick Roberts as they both look incredibly similar in terms of current ability. Possibly about to hit his peak though at 24 years old.

    Scott Sinclair – The stand out player in these positions and possibly even the whole squad. Only just signed after being relegated with Aston Villa, had relative success with Swansea in this league though before a big money move to Many City didn’t work out.

    Callum McGregor – Simply not good enough. We can hopefully bring in a couple of million for him which we can invest much better in the overall squad.

    Kris Commons – Again, simply not good enough. Currently injured but when fit we’ll look to move on. Also is one of the top earners so may be difficult to shift.

    Gary Mackay-Stevens – See Kris Commons.


    Overall – I’m pretty happy with us here, if I’m being really critical then another winger would be useful. Especially if we sell the 3 mentioned that only leaves us with Sinclair, Forrest and Roberts which may not be quite enough.


    Strikers
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    Leigh Griffiths – My scouts and coaches seem to think this lad is good enough to start but I have my reservations, having never performed at Premier League level. Having said that he was never really given a chance at Wolves, scoring 12 goals in 4 years for them (all in League One).

    Moussa Dembele – Another young lad who could become really special. He could genuinely move to a top 4 side in the next few years. My only concern is whether he can perform consistently every week when he’s only 19 and has played very little football in the past.



    Overall – We’re desperate for signings here, certainly one and possibly two. Even if Griffiths and Dembele hit the ground running we’d still need further competition, especially if we play 2 up front.





    Squad overview:

    Overall, we need a lot of improving, we possibly have enough already to scrape past a relegation battle but I want better than that. We certainly need another striker, center half and central midfielder and could possible do with another winger and back up players for both full backs and goalkeeper.


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    naterr and Bakez like this.

  4. Like the idea of this mate, even as a Rangers fan! Be good to see how you're team get on without more than say; 5 transfers.

  5. I will be following this. I have always found that Dembele is hit or miss but Griffiths always performs for me, he even managed a couple of Golden Boot awards in the Prem.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by 1magine View Post
    Like the idea of this mate, even as a Rangers fan! Be good to see how you're team get on without more than say; 5 transfers.
    Haha thanks mate! I can't see me bringing in more than 5 to be honest, really struggling to bring anyone in at the minute!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bullardinho View Post
    I will be following this. I have always found that Dembele is hit or miss but Griffiths always performs for me, he even managed a couple of Golden Boot awards in the Prem.
    Really? I didn't think Griffiths looked good enough but may give him a chance now

  7. Your Salford City story was one of the first I ever really got into properly and was gutted when it ended lol. Been keeping an eye on this one having done this exact scenario as a simulated season. In my season Celtic got relegated so as long as you finish above 18th then consider yourself a better manager than Brendan Rogers haha

  8. Quote Originally Posted by Bakez View Post
    Your Salford City story was one of the first I ever really got into properly and was gutted when it ended lol. Been keeping an eye on this one having done this exact scenario as a simulated season. In my season Celtic got relegated so as long as you finish above 18th then consider yourself a better manager than Brendan Rogers haha
    Cheers mate! The Salford save was probably my most enjoyable one, with Danny Webber up-front! I'd be pleased with 17th or above to be fair, the more I look at the squad the more I think it needs improving!

  9. After going through the squad, it was time to meet with the board:

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    I really think these are fair expectations and ones we should meet fairly easily.

    The league speaks for itself, just stay up at any costs!

    The two cup competitions are always hard to judge as a lot depends on the draw and how seriously we can afford to take them both.

    I actually expect us to perform better in the Champions League than just 'reach the play off', i would be really disappointed not to reach the group stages here, but again a lot depends on the draw and how quickly the side can gel.





    We then moved quickly in the transfer market for a couple of players ...

    First up was a center half ...

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    Phil Jagielka became our first summer signing for a fee of £2million.

    He's obviously getting on a bit and is the wrong side of 30 but he brings so much experience, over 300 Premier League games (most as captain) and over 40 caps for England, again some of these as captain as well.

    He hasn't lost his legs yet though and with him just signing a one year deal I don't really see any risk with this signing.


    But Jagielka wasn't enough ...


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    Joe Ledley became our second signing and first big money move!

    £6million (potentially rising to £8million) is huge money for us and puts real pressure on both the club and the player himself. He's another player with both Premier League and International experience and having come off a fantastic Euro 2016 with Wales his confidence will be sky high.

    He's already spent 4 years with the club between 2010 and 2014 and racked up over 100 appearances for the Bhoys.





    We tried for one more before our first game of the season, a Champions League first qualifying round against Dudelange fc from Luxembourg ...


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    Sadly though we couldn't get this one over the line.

    We agreed a £6million package with Sunderland for striker Jermain Defoe, sadly though he made the transfer impossible due to his £100k per wage wage demands, not something we can even get close to!

    Ideally our top wage will be around £30k, this may have to be increased if we start having sucess but £100k per week is way in excess of what we want to spend.

  10. Despite only being at the club a couple of weeks, I was thrown in at the deep end with a Champions League qualifier against F91 Dudelange from Luxembourg. Not the greatest opposition but with very little pre-season done this could be harder than the think ...


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    My first game as Celtic manager then and it got off to a good start, albeit against very very poor opposition.

    The game was never in doubt though with two goals for Moussa Dembele and an own goal which could have been classed as Scott Sinclairs with a little more luck.

    We take them back to Celtic Park next week with the tie all but won already.


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    A pretty poor performance despite the win. We laboured to a 2-0 win with goals from Leigh Griffiths and Scott Sinclair, we got the win though and through to the next round of qualifying.





    Getting past Dudelange put us into the Champions League 3rd qualifying round, against slightly better opposition against Norwegian side Rosenborg with the first leg being played away from home ...

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    A much harder test than the last opposition, and it showed in another frustrating performance.

    We scrambled to a draw with a last minute equaliser from Moussa Dembele. With 2 away goals though we’ll be a massive favourite to progress into the next round.


    Needing just a low scoring draw, we took them back to Celtic Park for the second leg ...

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    This was much harder than it probably should have been.

    Despite an early goal from Patrick Roberts we failed to impress despite the win.

    Scott Brown saw red just after half time which didn’t help us and means we’ll be suspended for the final play off game to qualify for the Champions League group stage.





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    Early days so far but this is the formation we've been using! I'm still not totally convinced by it but so far it's served us well results wise and has got us to the brink of qualifying for the Champions League group stage.

    We've been drawn against Romanian side AFC Astra in the final play off game, a game which we should win quite comfortably over the two legs.


    With this busy period now out of the way, our Premier League adventure starts in a weeks time with a game against Watford coming first.
    naterr likes this.

  11. After an up and down start to life at Celtic, we now faced a massive game! The final qualifying round for the Champions League group stage ...

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    This should see us home and into the group stage!

    Dembele, Hooper and Forrest the scorers. It was still a little frustrating with only 1 goal in it until the last few minutes but two late goals saw us finish comfortable winners.

    The opposition were poor and offered very little but you can only beat what's in front of you!


    We now take them back to Celtic Park for the second leg ...

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    We just went through the motions here really in the second leg with the tie already won from the first leg.

    Nir Bitton missed a penalty midway through the second half but we’re through and will eagerly await our Champions League group draw.


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    After claiming victory here I couldn't wait for the group stage draw which could see us come up against the biggest and best clubs in Europe ...

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    Wow!!

    I'm not sure we could have been put in a more difficult group than this if I'm honest.

    Spanish giants Barcelona and Seville obviously steal the show and will go in as big favourites to quality for the knockout stage.

    My only hope is that I think we can beat Basel so we should be looking at Europa League football at the very worse case scenario.

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    At least we start with a home game, against Sevilla before we travel to Basel and Barcelona in a row.

    Our home form must be good if we have any chance of progressing.





    We've done brilliantly to qualify for the Champions League group stage but we must now forget about it and move onto the Premier League which starts next week ...

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    Potentially not a bad start to our Premier League life! Very winnable games to start against Watford, West Brom and Middlesbrough. Tottenham will be tough but then again, more winnable games with Hull and Bournemouth finishing the opening period.

  12. August 2016

    We now had to forget about the Champions League for a while and turn our attention to the Premier League. We kicked things off with a home game against Watford ...

    Despite us getting some decent results in the Champions League qualifiers, our performances weren't great! Still, we lined up with the same formation and same side.

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    Gary Hooper just pipped Leigh Griffiths to partner Moussa Dembele upfront.

    My main concern though is the lack of movement and pace we have in central defence, plenty of experience but both are now in their mid 30's and the legs must be starting to go.

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    A much much better performance here but sadly we couldn’t get the win.

    Dembele and Sinclair both came close but couldn’t make the breakthrough despite having very good chances. Watford offered very little so it’s a wasted opportunity for us. At least the defence held up which puts some worried to bed slightly.


    Next up we had another very winnable game as we traveled to The Hawthorns to face West Brom ...

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    A very good win here as we recorded our first goal and win in the English top flight.

    Another late goal, this time in the 91st minute from Leigh Griffiths which came completely against the run of play as once again our opponents had the majority of possession and arguably had the better chances.


    The final game of the month saw us come back to Celtic Park against another team expected to struggle this season, Middlesbrough ...


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    This was a very, very close game which really could have gone either way.

    We picked up our second win in as many weeks though thanks to a thunderbolt from Scott Brown from 25 yards out. We then held on as Boro applied the pressure late on but our defence did brilliantly and recoreded our 6th straight clean sheet!




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    It was a busy month with 3 games also being played in the Champions League qualifiers this month!

    I'm pleased with how we've got on but we haven't really been tested yet! The 3 leagues game have all been against lower sides and we were expected to win all the Champions League qualifiers fairly easily.

    The next month is the test though with some tougher games in the league as well as the Champions League group stage to start.

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    Very early days but our early form has put us in a Europa League spot!

    Leicester have carried on their good form from last season to put another potential title challenge in. Let's see where we are in another 5 or 6 games though, I would still take 17th as a finish.




    Player of the month:

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    PHIL JAGIELKA

    With us failing to have conceded a single goal all month, this award had to go one of the defenders. New signing, Phil Jagielka has been superb since joining and i would say the main reason we've had such a good start.

  13. Transfer deadline day

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    After a busy August, deadline day came upon us far too quickly! We still had a decent budget left and I was keen on bringing in at least one more if not two or three.

    It was a day of frustration initially anyway, as we just couldn't get anything over the line.


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    We first up decided to pull out of a deal to sign Crystal Palace winger, Bakary Sako. He hasn't featured yet this season so agreeing a £3million deal with Palace was fairly straight forward.

    We then saw his wage demands ... £75k per week! IS this lad insane! I then noticed he was already on £55k per week and honestly couldn't believe it! I expected to pay him about £25k!

    We aren't going to break the bank for anyone, especially a lad who's barely good enough for the Premier League.


    Another failed deal came hours later ...

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    Liverpool forward Danny Ings was another one we couldn't get over the line.

    Again, the deal was easily agreed with Liverpool but this time Danny Ings rejected to join us. Preferring to stay at Liverpool and fight for his place.


    With just 5 hours to go, we finalised our first deal of the day ...

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    Jonathan Biabiany became our fourth summer signing after joining from Inter Milan for £3.5 million.

    Blistering pace but possibly struggles with his final ball and his decision making. Hopefully his pace alone can cause enough problems.

    I felt we needed some more attacking options with us struggling to score goals, our defensive performances have been brilliant, it's at the other end we seem to be struggling.

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    There was just enough time for one more ...


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    Abdelhak Nouri was our fifth and final summer signing for £4.4 million from Ajax.

    The lad's only 19 but already has some impressive stats. It's a risky purchase though as he hasn't really made it into the Ajax first team yet. Hopefully we can turn him into something special.


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    As soon as the deal was done, it was time up meaning this was our lot until at least January.

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    The only notable departures we had were Gary Mackay-Steven and Callum McGregor both moving to the Championship.
    ManicBadja likes this.

  14. September 2016


    With a decent points tally in August, we moved in to what look like a much tougher month in September! Especially with the Champions League group stage starting this month.

    September started with our first real test, Tottenham away from home and I was really worried. Our performances haven't been close enough to win a game like this yet!

    I therefore totally changed formation:

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    We went with 3 at the back with two wing backs, three in midfield and continued with two upfront. It was a toss of a coin to start either Hooper or Griffiths but Hooper just got the nod for the Spurs game.


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    Our change in formation worked brilliantly! Tottenham were poor but this was by far our best performance of the season against a side with a 100% record so far season.

    Leigh Griffiths came off the bench at half time, replacing a poor Gary Hooper, and struck the winner just before the hour mark. It was a wonderful team move, set up by strike partner Moussa Dembele.


    We then had to quickly turn our attentions to the Champions League with Seville the first visitors to Celtic Park. It'll be a tough test with them expecting to qualify, along with Barcelona, fairly easily out of this group.

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    Another special evening at Celtic Park and another brilliant win to follow up the performance against Tottenham.

    Another tough test against one of the best sides in European football, we went with the same 3 at the back formation and once again it worked to perfection.

    Moussa Dembele got the only goal of the game but really it’s the defenders who deserve credit here, in particular Phil Jagielka who blocked everything that came his way in a man of the match performance.



    With Barcelona smashing Basel 6-0 at home, it was us who occupied the top two spots, I just hope it finishes like this now!

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    After this it was back to the grind of the Premier League and a visit from Hull, again another very winnable game ...

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    New signing Abdelhak Nouri made his debut here replacing Stuart Armstrong and once again we were brilliant with an early goal from Moussa Debele. Nir Bitton then doubled the lead with a penalty with 20 minutes to go.

    This is now 9 games we’ve gone without conceding a single goal!


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    This result also takes us top of the league, albeit after just 5 games! I fully expected a relegation battle this season but that's certainly not how we've started the season!

    The games continue to come thick and fast, this time yet another competition in the EFL cup against Championship side Newcastle.

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    We made a few changes here before playing the Championship leaders and it almost backfired. A poor game with very few chances eventually went to penalties with Newcastle missing 2 of the 5 taken, Scott Brown then won it for us with his spot kick.

    This now makes it 10 games without conceding a goal which must be some sort of club record.


    We then shared a thriller back in the league with Bournemouth ...

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    We started brilliantly and raced into a 2-0 lead with two early goals from Moussa Dembele, Bournemouth then pulled one back before Gary Hooper restored our 2 goal lead.

    This was the first goal we’ve conceded in 935 minutes. We then totally collapsed and allowed Bournemouth to come back into the game and equalise. We had a couple of late chances but in the end we had to settle for a point.



    Then a must win game back in the Champions League against the weakest side in our group, Basel ...

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    Another brilliant performance and most pleasing was the clean sheet after our collapse against Bournemouth!

    An early goal from Kolo Toure got us on our way with Moussa Dembele doubling our lead not long after.

    Things got much harder though with Kieran Tierney seeing red after 25 minutes, he’s been really dependable so far but a straight red here means he’s banned for the Barcelona game.


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    A bit of a surprise in the other fixture with Seville beating heavy favourites, Barcelona which really bunches up the whole group

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    It does though mean we go top of the group with Barcelona to come next!





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    It was a really busy month but one where we coped absolutely brilliantly, failing to lose a single game which takes our unbeaten record now to 11 in all competitions.

    Most pleasing for me though has been our performances and results in Europe. I worried that we'd struggle in that tough group but after 2 games we're top and already beaten one of the favourites, just Barcelona to go now to complete the first round of fixtures.

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    Too early to be looking at the league table, but here it is anyway!

    6 games in and we're a single point of top spot and are firmly in the Champions League qualifying places.





    PLAYER OF THE MONTH:

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    MOUSSA DEMBELE


    5 goals in 6 games speaks for itself. He's been unbelievable for me, i knew he had it in him but at just 20 years old I wondered how he'd cope with Premier League football.

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    His performances didn't go unnoticed elsewhere either with him just being pipped by Diego Costa for the player of the month award.
    naterr likes this.

  15. October 2016

    With us still unbeaten, we went into October with a tough round of fixtures but we were determined to keep up our fantastic form!

    We started the month with a home game against a decent Everton side who have had a mixed start to their season.


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    A really special win in another game I was slightly worried about, especially after they beat Man Utd in the previous game.

    We fell behind after Lukaku opened the scoring after a very dull first half. This seemed to wake us up though as we really pushed on from that point.

    Abdelhak Nouri scored a special goal for this first for the club to draw level. He took the ball in his own half on the right wing, cut infield to score from the edge of the box. I though Everton were going to re-take the lead when Kevin Mirallas rounded our keeper only for his effort to hit the post late on.

    Moussa Dembele though scored the winner deep into injury time with a thumping effort from 8 yards out. We now go joint top with Man City on 17 points.



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    A defeat to be expected really against a far superior side. Sergio Aguero had already won the game after 20 minutes with an early brace. At this point I feared the worst but they took their foot off the gas and strolled to an easy win. Scott Brown saw red for a late tackle with just 5 minutes to go, a really stupid sending off with such little time left.


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    Another expected defeat against probably the best side in the world. Suarez opened the scoring early on before they totally took control. Messi then stole the show with two second half goals to claim a straight forward 3-0 win.

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    This was always going to a tough run of fixtures and three defeats in a row was really what we expected. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata the scorers before Gary Hooper scored a late consolation goal for a little bit of pride.


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    A break from the league saw us in action in the EFL cup 4th round. A much improved performance from us saw us race into a 3-0 lead thanks to a brilliant performance from Moussa Dembele who scored twice before Abdelhak Nouri rounded off the scoring. Palace got one back but a comeback was never on.


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    Back to the league action and a very winnable game which we haven’t had for a while. We didn’t play badly but Leicester always looked dangerous on the break and Islam Slimani grabbed the winner with 15 minutes left.






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    A really poor month for us here with only 2 wins out of 6 games played!

    3 of our 4 defeats were very much expected against some of the worlds best sides! The only really disappointing result was the defeat against Leicester.

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    Player of the month:

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    Abdelhak Nouri


    He only played in 4 games this month but really impressed whenever he took to the field with 2 goals and 3 assists during that time. He's taken to English football really well and much quicker than I thought he would.
    ManicBadja likes this.

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