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The Rise of the Clarets: an unoriginal SAF challenge

  1. The Rise of the Clarets: an unoriginal SAF challenge

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    The Sir Alex Ferguson challenge

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    Won Drawn Lost Total
    Games 894 (59.5%) 337 (22.5%) 267 (18%) 1498


    Scored Conceded Goal difference
    Goals 2,762 (1.84/game) 1,359 (0.90/game) +1,403

    Major trophies won:

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    So, I've been off this website for some time now. To be completely honest with you, I just kind of lost interest in writing about my FM saves, I just didn't find them entertaining or fun enough and it just gave me no motivation to write posts about matches and random information from the save. The Sir Alex Ferguson challenge is in no way, shape, or form an original challenge and has been way overdone for sure, but in this year's FM I found it to be the most fun for me. About maybe a month ago, I started a personal save wanting to do a Sir Alex Ferguson challenge. I got Swansea and have been playing the save ever since. I'm in 2024 and have won the last 4 Premier Leagues and the last 4 Champions Leagues and have players like Ousmane Dembele, Dele Alli and Jonathan Tah in my squad. I became so attached to the team that it's now made it impossible for me to move on to another side within that save. This made me come to the decision that I wanted to start writing on here again and seeing as I had so much fun doing a SAF challenge in the last month, why not do another one but write about it? At the end of the day, I am writing on here to have fun and not necessarily to write the most original stories ever! Credit for the whole SAF challenge goes of course to the man who came up with it in the first place in I think 2013, "The Hudd".

    For anyone who doesn't know them, the rules are as follows:

    Steps Reason
    1. Simulate until the 6th of November Sir Alex Ferguson joined Manchester United on the 6th of November 1986
    2. Take over the 2nd bottom team in the Premier League When Sir Alex took over in 1986, Manchester United were 19th
    3. Stay at the club Ferguson never left United until his retirement in 2013
    4. Bring youth players through the club's academy Emulate the Class of 92' (Beckham, Giggs, Butt, Neville, Scholes)

    Objective Achieve within:
    Domestic cup 4 seasons
    Premier League 7 seasons
    Domestic cup and Premier League double 8 seasons
    Domestic cup, Premier League and Champions League treble 13 seasons

    So without further ado, let's see who I end up with shall we?

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    So there we go! We'll be managing Burnley for this SAF challenge. They have a pretty decent squad with some great players like Andre Gray and Michael Keane so I'm really excited to get started! The title of the thread would have probably given it away but anyways I tried to make it as dramatic as I could... Sorry for the long post, didn't want to have a whole post about the challenge itself and then a reveal, preferred to have both in one post to really kickstart the challenge in the next one.

    Next post will be the squad report as well the fixture list for the next 5 games or so!

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    Turf Moor (capacity: 22,546)

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    Captain: Tom Heaton (goalkeeper, 30 years old, English)

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    Key player: Robbie Brady (wing-back and winger, 24 years old, Irish)

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    Best defender: Michael Keane (centre-back, 23 years old, English)

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    Best midfielder: Jóhann Berg Guōmundsson (right-winger, 26 years old, Icelander)

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    Best striker: Andre Gray (striker, 25 years old, English)

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    Main tactic: First XI in a 4-2-3-1 wide formation focused on slow buildup and possession; can switch to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 if possession isn't working out well.

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    First games in charge: tough first few games against teams mostly in the top half of the table, can we get some wins in those games?


    If there's anything else you guys would like to see from this squad report, let me know! Next post will be the match report against West Brom. Wish me luck!
    TheBattman and Rushton like this.

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    Vokes scores late winner as Burnley claim second win of the season

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    It was a managerial debut to remember for Burnley's new manager as he got his side to win 3-2 against a strong West Brom side who drop to 12th following this home defeat. Sam Vokes was on the bench but after a disappointing performance from Andre Gray in front of goal, he came on in the 63rd minute to then score the winner 13 minutes later.

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    West Brom were definitely favourites in this match and lined up in their usual 4-4-2 which has been quite successful for them so far but they couldn't break down this very patient and possession-based style of play in Burnley 4-2-3-1 tactic. Brady, usually a defender, turned out to be a huge threat on the wings for Burnley and Boyd did very well as an attacking midfielder too, with Westwood preferred over Jeff Hendrick for this match. Mee was also in the starting 11 for Burnley, despite a series of poor performances which got us expecting a start for Fulham loanee Johansson. Nevertheless, Burnley's new manager did very well with his team selection as seen through today's result.

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    Both teams went ahead and came back from behind each, but Burnley were the ones who managed to make the most of their chances. A horrific performance from Ben Foster did help the Clarets though, who had a fantastic Tom Heaton in goal tonight. With more shots overall and more shots on target, as well as a much higher pass completion ratio and some very good possession, Burnley were deserved winners in this match and will definitely look to build on this performance as they host Manchester City next week, who sit in 6th place after 12 games. Can Burnley stop Guardiola and his amazing attacking power?

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    This game, as well as being a great result for the team's confidence, has also got them out of the relegation zone, a point above Bournemouth. That's now 2 games in a row where Burnley have won but also 2 games in a row where they've scored 3 goals, a very good offensive record considering their position in the league. It's now up to them to play that well against Manchester City and work for a positive result against a side who isn't really performing as well as they should so far this season and will be looking at this fixture as 3 easy points.
    naterr likes this.

  4. Good luck with this dude, great start as well
    Linecoigne1998 likes this.

  5. Quote Originally Posted by dani3w View Post
    Good luck with this dude, great start as well
    Cheers mate, definitely going to be challenging considering Burnley don't really have one stand-out player like Swansea have with Sigurdsson for example but still, should be good!

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    Gray scores dramatic equaliser in huge upset against Manchester City

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    After an impressive 3-2 win away at The Hawthorns, Burnley faced a huge challenge as they welcomed Manchester City at Turf Moor. However, it seems that new manager Letellier had other ideas. Starting off with a bit of a different style, more direct and counter-attacking, the French manager quickly realised that Manchester City would be able to counter whatever style of football his side played and ended up switching back to his possession based tactic which worked so well against West Brom. After a disappointing first half, Andre Gray was about to be taken off for super sub Sam Vokes when he scored the equaliser in the 62nd minute following Iheanacho's early second half strike.

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    Tom Heaton once again stole the show for Burnley as Iheanacho also proved to be a threat for Manchester City, who played in their usual 4-1-2-3 under Guardiola. Once again, Letellier's style managed to counter one of the best attacks in the league with a clever tactic which got Burnley to keep most of the possession and score their only shot on target.

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    With Hull's defeat against West Brom, that draw has got the Clarets up to 16th, even further away from the relegation zone now despite Bournemouth having a game in hand against Arsenal. Burnley's next match comes up against an in-form Stoke side who will go into the game as low as 5th and as high as 3rd, an incredible achievement for the Potters. Can Letellier guide his team to yet another impressive result? Or will Burnley crumble and lose their first game under their new manager.
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    Defensive masterclass from Heaton and Keane as unbeaten run goes on for Burnley

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    After 3 games in charge at Burnley, it seems like Letellier is already starting to convince the fans that he's completely right for the job as his side are now 3 unbeaten in the Premier League with 1 win and 2 draws, leaving them in 15th. Everton, Bournemouth and Hull all have a game in hand and can overtake the Clarets if things go their way but with Bournemouth playing against Liverpool and Everton against Manchester United, it seems like Burnley might just stay above the relegation zone for now.

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    Pundits all around England really didn't believe Burnley could keep a clean sheet today against an attacking Stoke side but the Clarets did just that with some magnificent defensive performances throughout the game. Hughes opted for a 4-4-1-1, which has been so successful for him so far this season getting his side to 3rd whilst Letellier continued using his 4-2-3-1 system which seems to fit Burnley like a glove. The Burnley team hasn't changed even once since Letellier took over, despite Gray scoring just one goal in 3 games up front and being less than convincing leading the Burnley attack.

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    Statistically, nothing suggests that Burnley should have lost that game as they hit the post twice and managed to keep most of the possession and actually had more shots on target and shots overall than Stoke. It's a second clean sheet of the season for Tom Heaton who continues his tremendous form under the new French manager and Keane also really rose to the occasion today with a world-class performance at the back. This game was a perfect example of how Letellier wants his side to play as Ben Mee was actually the player who attempted the most passes from centre-back, showing that the Frenchman likes his team to play out from the back and keep the ball and play short, calm passes. It's definitely worked out for him so far but will that form continue against Bournemouth next week? The Cherries have a game in hand against Liverpool and they've been disappointing so far, so Burnley will certainly be looking to exploit that.

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    Hat-trick hero Vokes flies Burnley away from relegation zone

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    At the end of last week's match against Stoke, many fans and pundits were unconvinced by Andre Gray and thinking whether or not he should be in the starting XI. With Letellier deciding to start Sam Vokes in this match against Bournemouth, both fans and the manager himself will be very happy with the decision as the Welsh striker not only scored a hat-trick but also became the club's top goalscorer this season in the process. Burnley are now 3 points away from the relegation zone and continue their great run of form under their new manager and are now 5 games unbeaten in the Premier League (including Dyche's last game in charge, a 3-1 win against Crystal Palace).

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    With Michael Keane, player of the match against Stoke, out suspended, it seemed like Burnley were going to struggle defensively as the Clarets had to settle with Tarkowski at the back (who didn't end up having a great game and came off for Johansson late in the game). With yet another clean sheet thanks to a penalty save from Heaton, it seems that Ben Mee could definitely handle leading the defence in this match with a great defensive performance from him.

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    With this win, Burnley shoot right up the table to 13th as they continue their great run of form and will have to face West Ham in their next match, who are 11th with a game in hand. Burnley started the game off pretty slowly against Bournemouth, who looked like they were the better team especially after getting a penalty in the 31st minute but the Clarets came right back after that penalty save and Vokes proved to be an absolute hero for his side. With 2 wins, 2 draws, 7 goals scored and 3 goals conceded, it's fair to say that Letellier's career at Burnley is off to a great start!

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    Antonio clinches it for West Ham

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    In what ended up as a very tight game between West Ham and Burnley, it was the home side which clinched a winner through Michail Antonio in the 66th minute. The Clarets ended up with once again more possession, better passing and more shots than West Ham during the game but unfortunately for them, stats aren't enough to win games and Antonio gifted his side 3 points in a game when Burnley should have probably won. The Burnley fans weren't very happy with some of the player's performances, most notably Michael Keane (who was back from suspension), Matt Lowton and Jeff Hendrick.

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    Both teams went into the game with a 4-2-3-1 and considering Bilic was the man who came out on top today, Letellier might want to adjust his tactics to match West Ham's setup as the Serbian got the better of him today. Hendrick was starting after he reportedly went to see Letellier to complain about his playing time but it's certainly not performances like his today which will convince the Burnley manager that he should be starting. Vokes went from hat-trick hero to an absolute zero as he shot 4 times, twice not hitting the target and twice having his shots saved by Randolph. Despite the disappointing result, it's Burnley's first defeat under Letellier and they'll have to get their heads back up if they want to do well against Tottenham in their next Premier League match.

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    With Sunderland's surprising 3-0 win against Chelsea, David Moyes' men move up to 13th, putting Burnley down in 14th just 2 points above the relegation zone. A streak of bad results could be terrible news for Burnley as they're so close to the relegation zone. With their next match against Tottenham, the Clarets might have to rely on their next few matches against Middlesbrough and Sunderland to get some points and push away from the red zone.

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    Tottenham smash horrendous Burnley

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    A fantastic performance from Tottenham saw them keep up the title race with Manchester United as Burnley were just completely unable to deal with Spurs' attacking force. Letellier's system had worked very well up until now but a team of Tottenham's stature seemed to have no problem dealing with it at all. Middlesbrough and Sunderland are up next for the Clarets and still being 2 points clear of the relegation zone should be motivation enough for Letellier's side to get maximum points from both these games and get their form back on track.

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    As impressive as Burnley have been with this 4-2-3-1 system, Tottenham were just better. Coincidentally, both of Burnley's defeats under their new manager were to 4-2-3-1 formations as it seems that Tottenham and West Ham just knew better. Once again, Letellier might want to change his system a bit if he wants to be able to compete with teams higher up the table.

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    The Premier League continues to be as exciting as it always is as we reach the midway point of the season with the biggest surprise is to see Chelsea sitting in 11th and Everton in 17th. Southampton and Stoke have both been doing incredibly well and Burnley, despite losing 2 games in a row, are doing well too and managed to get out of the relegation zone but could dive right back in there if they don't get a couple of positive results.

  11. Decided I'm going to change the layout of this story a little bit, feel like the "football news" kind of idea is slowly boring me now also, planning on doing monthly updates now (months in game of course...) to get the story to move forward a bit quicker!
    TheCelticKid likes this.

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    End of December 2016/January 2017



    26th of December 2016 (Premier League)

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    Despite having so many chances, we just couldn't make them count. A very disappointing result considering Middlesbrough was a team we should have taken full points against if we want to escape the relegation zone. Up next is Sunderland and well, let's just hope that game goes better than this one did.



    31st of December 2016 (Premier League)

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    A horrendous performance. Let's just say I'll blame myself for that. The 4-2-3-1 system we've been using just didn't seem to click and didn't seem to get us good results in the last few games so I decided to change to a different system, inspired by Chelsea's system under Conte. Fair to say it'll need a lot of tweaking before we start getting result with it. Sunderland continue their climb up the table while we get closer and closer to 18th place. Let's hope the New Year will be good to us!



    2nd of January 2017 (Premier League)

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    Kept the system that we used against Sunderland and well, we paid the price. It was silly of me to think that if it didn't work against Sunderland, it would against Manchester City. Nevertheless, we almost managed to get a 0-0 draw against a much stronger side so there are definitely some positives to take away from this match. Let's just hope we'll manage to turn it around soon enough.



    7th of January 2017 (FA Cup)

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    It took a replay on the 18th of January to get us through to the 4th round of the FA Cup. A 2-1 win against a Championship side is definitely not the most impressive of results but at least we got the job done. We have some tough games coming up and it's nice to see that the team can perform in cup competitions as well. Who knows how far we can get? I'm definitely focused on the league but it would be nice to get a little cup run going.



    14th of January 2017 (Premier League)

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    Our first positive result with this new 3 at-the-back system! A fantastic result which we worked really hard for to be honest. We kept most of the ball, which is something I like to see my teams do anyway, but we also managed to contain the shots they had on target and kept a clean sheet which is great to see. And thank God for Andre Gray finally scoring as well! I really hope he takes this form into other games now as well because we'll really need it to stay up in the Premier League.



    22nd of January (Premier League)

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    Fair play to Arsenal, they smashed us and deserved nothing less from the game. There was a point where it seemed like we might cause an upset but well, that lasted 3 minutes... We were completely exposed but that's okay, I wasn't expecting THAT much against a team such as Arsenal. I think 5-1 isn't really a fair result but regardless, we need to look ahead to our next FA Cup and Premier League games now and hope they go a bit better.



    28th of January 2017 (FA Cup)

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    I won't lie, had a bit of a scare there but we got the job done in the end. The draw for the next round will put us against either Manchester City or Sheffield United (who have to play a replay) and in either case it'll be a tough game, but perhaps tougher against Manchester City. To let Exeter have 13 shots overall is a bit ridiculous but at least we just conceded one, let's now hope I can continue tweaking this system to make it the best it can be!



    31st of January 2017 (Premier League)

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    Another great result against a strong Leicester side. We didn't create that many chances which was a bit worrying but thankfully we've got Brady, an amazing free-kick taker, on our side to score the only goal of the game. Almost all the possession, great passing, this was a very complete performance and defensively we were excellent too. So much so that we got them frustrated and they got a man sent off. A very decent end to the month with some good form that I PRAY we keep going into February.



    End of the month review

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    We're now 6 points clear of the relegation zone, which is great news. With 15 games left in the season, February is looking like a tough month for us with games against Chelsea and potentially Manchester City. Our other 2 matches where we could and should get a couple of points, helping us move towards that 40-point goal to stay in the Premier League.

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    Burnley Player of the Month

    #12 Robbie Brady
    Left wing-back and left midfielder
    7 games, 2 goals 2 assists
    Average rating: 7.34

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    First Watford away in London, then Chelsea at home, then Manchester City or Sheffield United and lastly Hull away as well. It's a bit of a mixed month but if we want to make an impression and finish as high as possible in the league and avoid relegation this season, we'll need to get points from these games.

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    February 2017

    4th of February 2017
    Premier League (game 24)

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    A slow start to the game for us but we responded straight after. Gray scored us a late goal to claim a point but that performance was just not good enough, especially considering we had one more player on the pitch for almost 45 minutes. The stats do support the fact that this was an even game though so it's nothing too surprising. A point is better than none at all so we just have to hope that the teams under us don't win their games.


    12th of February 2017
    Premier League (game 25)

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    Nothing seems to really be working for us to be honest. Chelsea are good team, I'll give you that, but 4-1 is just a joke. They definitely had more shots and more chances but we really should have gotten something from this game. Honestly, these are the matches where if we can get some points we could have a chance of staying up. We have an FA Cup game against Manchester City up next, which won't be easy.


    18th of February 2017
    FA Cup 5th round

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    I'm gutted. We played so well up until that 90th minute corner and that's how we lost the game. Congratulations to Manchester City who'll go through to the next round but damn we almost had it. At least now we can focus entirely on the league and avoiding relegation now, which we're going to have to work really hard for!


    27th of February 2017
    Premier League (game 26)

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    Thank God for Stanislas... We had 26 SHOTS in this game and somehow managed to score just one which is beyond me. I'll take full credit for that draw though, changing formations back to a 4-2-3-1 at half-time really changed everything! Our next match is against Swansea, who sit bottom of the league right now. These are the matches where we should be getting some points but we're just not and at this rate, whether we stay in the Premier League or not will come down to the last game of the season!


    Premier League table and upcoming fixtures

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    With 12 games left, we're still 6 points clear. That means 2 bad results for us and 2 good results for Middlesbrough, and we're right back in the red zone. We're only playing 3 games next month but one is against Sunderland, who beat us 2-0 last time we played them, one is against Liverpool and the other one is against Swansea. We're going a miracle to get good results in that Liverpool game and we just need to really hope that we can good results in games against teams under us in the table, so basically just Swansea.

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    Burnley Player of the Month

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    #14 Junior Stanislas (on loan from Bournemouth)

    4 games, 3 goals, 1 assist
    Average rating: 7.1

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    March 2017

    5th of March 2017
    Premier League

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    We've just given Swansea a lifeline in a game where everything went wrong. I just don't know what to say. We were a goal up, so early on! And conceded so late too... Our next match is against Liverpool which is going to be even tougher and then after that we play against Sunderland who have done incredibly well to get away from the relegation zone so both games will be INCREDIBLY tough but I think the boys can do it.


    15th of March 2017
    Premier League

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    Well then. A terrible game for our goal difference and for our relegation battle too. We're getting closer and closer to this red zone and it's stressing me out, especially considering the way we've performed against teams that are under us in the table like Swansea! Next up is Sunderland, and this time we just really, REALLY need a point or 3. A loss would be catastrophic.


    18th of March 2017
    Premier League

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    So, 11 goals conceded in 3 games. Four goals conceded against Sunderland. This is just terrible. We need to find a new formation, we need to change everything completely. This is awful. Swansea are now even closer to us as they sit in 18th and we sit in 17th because of the 3 points we literally gifted them and that makes everything even more stressful. Plus, the players seem to be losing faith in me which is just fantastic.

    Premier League table and upcoming fixtures

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    Just8 games left now, we're getting closer and closer to the end of the season and we're just 4 points clear of Swansea in 18th. Not good, not good at all. April is going to be a big month for us with some games against very tough teams and games against teams that we should be beating, but then again when did that ever go in our favour. I need to change the whole system and just hope that the lads will get used to it quick enough to start getting results; otherwise, we're going down.

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    Burnley Player of the Month

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    #7 Andre Gray
    Striker
    3 games, 3 goals, 1 assist
    Average rating: 7.7

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    TheBattman likes this.

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    April 2017

    1st of April 2017
    Premier League

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    The decision to switch to a 4-1-2-3 DM Wide has definitely been an improvement. We didn't get the result we wanted but a 2-1 loss to Tottenham is not as bad as it seems, although it was appalling how we conceded 2 goals in 3 minutes so late in the game. We're cutting it really close now with this relegation battle and we absolutely need to get a couple points from our next few games if we are to stay in the Premier League for the 2017/18 season.


    4th of April 2017
    Premier League

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    Another late goal, another defeat, despite utter domination in this match. Honestly ridiculous how we conceded so late on and didn't score even ONE of our 7 shots on target today. This is just putting us closer and closer to relegation and I'm actually starting to get worried now. We can't get a good result for the life of me and if it goes on like this, we can say goodbye to the Premier League and I can say goodbye to my job.


    9th of April 2017
    Premier League

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    Finally something goes our way! I was so worried that we would concede from their one shot of the game and draw the match but thankfully Gray scored a second to put the game to bed. We couldn't have hoped for a better result right now and those 3 points are a bit of a lifeline. Let's pray that we can do well against Everton and Crystal Palace now to increase our chances of survival...


    15th of April 2017
    Premier League


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    Possession is all well and good but if we can't stop opponents from getting shots on goal and can't put away our chances, it's just useless. They had 3 shots on target and scored one of them. Statistically, you'd think we had double the shots they had so we'd score 2 goals? Well, no. Everything seems to be going wrong in those late stages of the season and anything other than a win against Crystal Palace will probably relegate us; at least that's what I fear.


    30th of April 2017
    Premier League

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    Again, a match where we conceded way too many shots and I was so worried that they'd score a late equaliser. Thankfully they didn't and Guōmundsson scored us the goal that could keep us in the top flight. Our last 4 Premier League games are against some good teams and if we don't get a win or a draw or something from any of these games then that's probably us going down.


    Premier League table and upcoming fixtures

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    We're actually in a very good position right now. A game in hand and 2 points clear of the relegation zone means a win in that game in hand would put us 5 points clear with 3 games left. In our next 4 games we've got matches against West Brom, Manchester United, Bournemouth and West Ham. I'm not very hopeful for the Manchester United and West Ham games but the West Brom and Bournemouth games could be crucial in this fight for survival. Given how we performed in our last 2 wins in the league, we can definitely do it and I'd just be over the moon if we stayed in the top flight!

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    Burnley Player of the Month

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    #6 Ben Mee
    Centre-back
    5 games, 0 goals, 2 clean sheets
    Average rating: 7.46

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    Some incredible performances from Ben this month and despite not being able to prevent 3 losses, he still managed to keep 2 clean sheets along with Michael Keane at the back and those 2 clean sheets were crucial in us getting 6 points this month, 6 points that could be very crucial. Let's hope that both Ben and Michael can keep up those defensive performances in the next few games to guarantee our survival!
    Rushton likes this.

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    May 2017 and end of season

    5th of May 2017
    Premier League

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    To draw after having 21 shots is very disappointing but at this point in the season, I'll take anything we can get. A point is better than none at all and considering how well we played, I'm confident that the lads will start putting a run of form together when it matters most. We have Manchester United up next who, despite mathematically being able to win the title still, lie in 4th place and it's looking unlikely so at this point they're playing for direct Champions League qualification or Champions League through play-offs so they'll be motivated to win that's for sure!

    8th of May 2017
    Premier League

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    Robbie Brady you beauty! What an incredible result! 3 points in the bag in this relegation battle and this goal from Brady might just be the goal that keeps us in the Premier League! With that result, we've also ended Manchester United's Premier League hopes which is, well, nice I guess? On to the next game against Bournemouth. A win in that game secures our place in next season's Premier League. A draw would also be enough if both Swansea and Hull lose their games. This is it. It all comes down to this one game.

    13th of May 2017
    Premier League

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    WE'VE DONE IT! WE ARE STAYING UP, YES WE ARE STAYING UP! Yeah, yeah, I know the chant is "we are going up" and you sing that when you get promoted but to stay in the Premier League after being in such a terrible place back in November feels as good as a promotion. I was worried, the whole game it looked like Bournemouth could strike and score a winner. We could've too but at some point the boys just ended up staying back knowing what a good result a draw would be. Swansea and Hull both lost their games meaning we're now 6 points clear of the relegation zone with one game to go so our game against West Ham will be irrelevant but regardless, what a season!

    21st of May 2017
    Premier League

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    A terrible way to end the season but who cares at this point! We're staying in the Premier League next season! West Ham deserved the win anyway; perhaps not 3-0 but they deserved a win. I'm just so proud of how the boys did in those last few games. In our last 7 games, we won 3, drew 2 and lost 2. It's not the best record I'll give you that but considering we had to win as many points as possible to stay safe, it's incredible. Next season will be very, very tough but with the right players and the right system and the right arrivals, we can do well. This team has potential and I know it. I'm confident we can stay up, I just hope we won't finish 17th (yes we were 16th but Bournemouth won against Leicester and because we lost 3-0, our goal difference took a hit and Bournemouth finished 16th).

    Final Premier League table and season review

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    After a really stressful season, we made it. It was close but we made it. Now, I've got some great news as a result of our safety from relegation so that'll come a bit later but overall, pretty happy with my first season in charge. It wasn't a full season and from the moment I joined, morales were low, the club was in a terrible place and it was very tough, but I definitely saw some positives and I also saw who I have to build the team around in order to do well next season. Now, onto the Burnley awards.

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    Tom Heaton deservedly gets the Burnley Player of the Season award from the club. He was class this season and saved us many times this season, especially from the moment I joined, so it wasn't surprising to see him win it. Robbie Brady getting the Burnley Goal of the Season is also not surprising considering his strike against Manchester United was not only a good goal but it was the goal to keep us in the top flight. And Flanagan on loan was the Burnley Young Player of the Season, again not surprising as he performed really well. He played as a left-back most of his time here and it'll be sad to see him go back to Liverpool but who knows, maybe we can get him back on loan if Liverpool agree to it. Now then, onto the good news I was talking about earlier!

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    Absolutely massive news for the club with these two signing new contracts! They're by far the two most important players in this team and when I saw that other Premier League clubs were considering buying them, I instantly asked them to sign a new contract. With Michael, his release clause is really low but it's for clubs in the Champions League and as of right now, the only really high profile team interested in signing him is Manchester City but they didn't manage to qualify for the Champions League so we're good for now. I just hope that later in the transfer window no one tries to come in for him, because we won't be able to block a transfer then. With Brady, as good as he is, I doubt any club would be willing to pay 30 million for his signature so these deals are two great deals for the club and Michael and Robbie are two players that I really want to build the team around next season. Now then, after an incredibly stressful season, I'll just say goodbye and see you for pre-season in a month!

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    June 2017: Transfer window review

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    Considering we finished 17th in the league last season, 40 million is an incredible budget! With a bit of tweaking with the wage budget, I managed to bring that budget up to just about 45 million which should give us plenty of money to bring in a lot of new faces. Now get ready, because the team needs a complete revamp and this budget will be spent entirely, you can be sure of that.

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    By far our most high-profile signing this season. We have been lacking quality in the midfield and this young English midfielder will bring in not only quality, but also a huge amount of potential. The fee does take out quite a bit from our budget, breaking the club's transfer record, but considering the kind of player he can become, 13 million is a bargain. The fans seemed very excited by the arrival and definitely showed support towards me and the board during the start of this transfer window so let's hope it stays that way with the next few signings I have lined up!

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    The fee for this transfer can potentially double but again, a young midfielder who will bring in pace, technique and a lot of potential. The Dutchman is just 20 years old but he's very versatile already and has been playing quite consistently with Ajax's first team so he'll definitely be a starting midfielder or a substitute in this team. As I said many times before, Brady and Keane are the two players we need to build the team around so with them two in the side and now Nouri, Hughes and Defour as our midfield three, we already look like a much better side.

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    This young lad was being scouted by Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City. At 20 years old, he's again a very promising player who can definitely break into the first team if he performs well early on so with his pace and dribbling ability up front, I'm very hopeful that we'll finally start scoring more goals!

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    One of our more expensive signings this summer, Charlie Taylor is AGAIN, a young Englishman who is showing a lot of promise and with Flanagan now gone back to Liverpool after his loan expired, we were in desperate need of a left-back and I'm so happy we got Taylor. I have to be honest, a lot of these players shouldn't be choosing a club like Burnley over clubs like Leicester or Stoke considering we finished 17th but all of them so far have said they were just convinced by the project and that's bringing quite a lot of attention on us which is always nice.

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    Sam Vokes is out for another couple of months following a terrible injury last season, meaning Andre Gray was our only proper striker in the side. We needed a new one and we got one! Another young player from Ajax who was very decent on loan at Utrecht last season. Just 6 million for such a good youngster is an absolute steal in my opinion and I can't wait to see him play with a Burnley shirt on in the Premier League. I'm sure the fans feel the same way too!

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    As we hit the 1st of July, 4 more signings came in, taking our total of new players this season to 9. That's a lot of new lads but all of them I left were necessary signings and let's be honest, were all bargains. Costil's contract was expiring and with our backup goalkeeper Nick Pope wanting to leave, we needed a new goalkeeper and he comes in to do the job. He is expecting to be a first team player so we'll have to find a way to rotate between him and Heaton to get them both to play but he's a very decent looking keeper and I think he'll do a great job for us. Mathias Jørgensen comes in as a backup centre-back for just under 1.5 million pounds which again, is a bargain. He performed incredibly well with København last season and comes in as our 3rd centre-back behind Ben Mee and Michael Keane, with Ecuélé-Manga as our 4th centre-back. Crivello is a young left-back who can play in cup competitions if needed and be used as a backup to Taylor who we signed earlier in the summer and is looking very promising. The likes of Liverpool were looking into him but we were lucky enough to snatch him up first. Finally, Thomas Meunier. With Matt Lowton as our only decent right back, PSG reject Meunier comes in as a saviour for us. He played a total of 7 games last season for the French side but still managed to impress me enough to want to sign him and let's be honest, 2.5 million pounds for a player who can play in every position on the pitch except left back, it's a bargain. This takes our total spending to about 47 million pounds, spending our whole transfer budget for the season. Nine arrivals for 47 millions pounds, that's an average of just over 5 million pounds per signing for a lot of very promising but also experienced players who will definitely be taking this club to the next level. We have new players in defence, a new goalkeeper, new midfielders and new forwards. Burnley has just gotten a lot better and looks a lot more like a side that should never be battling relegation.

    We have a couple of friendlies lined up before the season starts, most of which are against Dutch sides before our first 2 games of the season against Tottenham and Liverpool.

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    TheBattman likes this.

  18. looks like a great window. could have been given an easier start though!
    Linecoigne1998 likes this.

  19. Quote Originally Posted by TheBattman View Post
    looks like a great window. could have been given an easier start though!
    Story of my FM experience so far this year! Once I find a tactic that suits the team I'm managing, it's incredible and I can beat literally anyone but in that period where I just can't find the right formation, it's a nightmare... At least this made for an entertaining first season in the save!

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    July 2017: pre-season

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    Switching between our 4-1-2-3 DM wide which worked so well last season and our 4-2-3-1 wide systems, we managed to get 5 wins from 6 friendlies, with 2 goals conceded and 14 goals scored. A very good pre-season overall which gets us completely ready for our opening match against Tottenham. I'm feeling quite confident about our chances this season to be honest, although it seems like the media don't agree!

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    I mean, I know we finished 17th last season but come on! We made some terrific signings and surely that would impact our predicted place by the media! Oh well, I'm not really paying much attention to that anyway. I'm very happy with our signings and our pre-season and I think we'll do a great job this season and I can't wait to get the season underway! Oh, and we did make a 10th signing but he's only on loan.

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    He can be a backup striker and a backup winger as well and I think will be a very good asset to the team and can definitely win us some points this season. He played 21 games in all competitions last season with Ajax and only managed to score 3 goals and make 3 assists but I believe that under my management and surrounded by the right players he can do very well. Anyways, let's take a look at our upcoming fixtures in August and see whether or not the odds are in our favour to get our season to a good start.

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    Having games against newly-promoted Derby County and Bournemouth is definitely a relief considering how hard our opening 2 games are. In the EFL Cup 2nd Round, we'll probably face a lower league side so again, those last 3 games of the month should be able to give us some confidence if we get good results in those matches and I just hope that we can get results that won't be too heartbreaking against Tottenham and Liverpool. I mean come on, starting the season off at home is good but against the reigning champions? Thanks a lot FA...


    Burnley Player of the Pre-Season

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    #12 Robbie Brady
    Left-winger
    6 games, 3 goals, 2 assists
    Average rating: 7.73

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    I said last season I wanted to build the team around Robbie and this is exactly why. He was excellent this pre-season and I can't wait to see him perform that way in the Premier League consistently. Speaking of consistency actually, he does seem to be a bit inconsistent but I'm still very happy with his contribution to the team and think that he'll do very well in the league this season and should really help us achieve the highest league position we can.

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    August 2017

    5th of August 2017
    Premier League

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    Not off to a very good start in our opening game of the season but I definitely saw some positives in this game and I mean, they are the reigning champions. Up next we've got last year's runner-up, Liverpool. At least we get two of our toughest games out of the way early on! It's definitely going to be a hard game but we just have to perform otherwise we'll find ourselves in a very hard position early on and it could be irreversible.


    13th of August 2017
    Premier League

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    On a positive note, we're scoring! And against very good teams as well. With our upcoming match against Derby, that makes me feel confident. We did deserve to lose this match against Liverpool though and the only thing to really say is, we go again! We're not performing badly, we're just getting a bit unlucky and I think if we can play like that against weaker teams, we could really aim to be well away from the relegation zone.


    19th of August 2017
    Premier League

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    Finally our first win of the season! It wasn't convincing at all but we got 3 points in the bag. I have to say though, as of right we're 3rd in terms of highest net transfer spend with 49 million pounds spent and 6 million in revenue and we're not really getting results to show for that which is a tad worrying. It's still early on in the season but we're going to have to do much better if we want to show that our signings were worth it. At least Nouri proved everyone why he's such a highly rated youngster in this match!


    23rd of August 2017
    EFL Cup 2nd Round

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    Win was definitely deserved, no complaints there! The goal we conceded put us in a dangerous position for the last 15 minutes but again a new signing coming through and scoring the 2nd goal! It's very nice to see and I hope it can continue now. We're through to the EFL Cup 3rd Round which is really nothing to shout about just yet but if we get lucky during the draw then who knows? We might be able to put a nice little cup run together.


    27th of August 2017
    Premier League

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    As I seem to always say nowadays, a draw is better than nothing. Bournemouth played very well and deserved at least a point from this game so I'm not too disappointed. I'm not disappointed especially because Hughes scored! So in 5 matches so far this season, we've scored 6 goals and 4 of them have been from new signings (Stanislas is technically a new signing since his future fee from last season's loan was activated automatically)! So that's all very pleasing and I hope going into next month we can keep up those good results.


    Premier League table and upcoming fixtures

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    After 4 games, we're 15th. Look, to be fair to us, we played our first two teams against the champions and the runners-up from last year so we can't be disappointed with our start. In our other 2 games we won one and drew one so we're undefeated against teams outside of the usual top 6. It's still very early in the season so I'm sure with a couple of good results we can really edge away from the relegation zone and maybe set new expectations in January to finish a bit higher up the table, perhaps mid-table or something? We'll have to wait and see. We've got 4 pretty tough games in September against the likes of West Ham, Everton and Stoke in the league, as well as a game against Sunderland in the EFL Cup. It should make for an interesting month for sure and let's hope we can get as many points as possible.

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    Burnley Player of the Month

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    #2 Thomas Meunier
    Right-back
    5 games, 0 goals, 2 assists
    Average rating: 7.28

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    Most like the rest of the team, other than in the 2 opening games of the season, Meunier was absolutely fantastic. To think we signed such a quality player for just 2.5 million is beyond me and if he can keep this up all season, we'll definitely have one of the better right-backs in the league! He's also the only player other than Michael Keane who has an average rating higher than a 7 so again, this is very pleasing to see.

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    September 2017

    9th of September 2017
    Premier League


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    What a comeback! We gave away a very early penalty but a wonderful formation change at half-time got us 2 late goals and all 3 points against a strong West Ham side! It honestly was a very even game and could have gone either so I'm really happy the game edged in our favour. Let's hope we can gather a few more points this month now, starting off with our next game against Everton at home. That home advantage will be very crucial and I'm confident we can get a good result.

    16th of September 2017
    Premier League

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    What a game!!! When I said I thought we could get a good result in our next game after last week's match against West Ham, I wasn't expecting such a good one! We were leading 3-0 at halftime, 2-0 after 8 minutes and won the game 5-1 in the end. I mean, wow! And all the goal scorers were new signings too! To be fair, Hughes, Meunier, Nouri and Zivkovic have been by far the best of our new signings so far and I can only hope that they'll keep performing like that.

    20th of September 2017
    EFL Cup 3rd Round

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    For a minute there I thought we were going to bottle it! Gray started this game as I decided to start him in cup matches and what a game he had! I mean to think we were a goal down until the 45th minute and then managed to win the game 4-3 with 10 men for 25 minutes is a great result so the 3 goals we conceded are just irrelevant. We're now through to the 4th Round, which is better than what the board set as their expectations for us this season in the competition so we're already off to a great start this year!

    23rd of September 2017
    Premier League

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    Just like the West Ham game, it was a very even match. Could've gone either way but went no one's way instead. We get a point which is more than good enough for me and continue our great run of form. In 4 games this month, we managed to win 3 and draw one. I'd say that's a pretty good record for a team favourite to get relegated this season (again).

    Premier League table and upcoming fixtures

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    Seven games, 7th in the league. Tell you what, if we manage to finish 7th this season after 38 games I'll be incredibly proud of this team. The fact that we managed to turn around our average start into this is amazing already and I can't to see how the lads do next month. We're facing arguably much stronger opponents overall as most teams we're playing are definitely a tier above us but considering how well we did against Everton for example, I wouldn't rule us out just yet. Let's hope we can get the same point return from our 5 games in October and who knows? We could finish in the top half of the table this season!

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    Burnley Player of the Month

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    #21 Bertrand Traoré
    Attacking midfielder
    4 games, 2 goals, 6 assists
    Average rating: 8.10

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    WHAT A MONTH the loanee has had! Honestly, I only picked him up because Chelsea listed him on loan and I thought oh, he'd be a good "super-sub" of sorts, let's sign him. That was about it! But this month, he's made me change my mind completely and think that I need to start him every game because an 8-goal contribution in 4 games is just ridiculous and I can only hope he'll keep this up against Arsenal, Man City, Leicester and the likes of Newcastle and Brighton. Hell, let's hope he manages to play this well against every team in the league! And in the leagues under us too!
    Last edited by Linecoigne1998; 05/06/2017 at 10:31 AM.
    Bullardinho likes this.

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