Gunning for greatness

Zlatan Lumic

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(Ooc: I've been lurking around these corners for quite a while and I thought that maybe it's time to start contributiing with something...^^ But before we start with the matter at hand:

  1. It's the first story I write in more than three years (not to mention the first story in this forum and the first story to be written in other language other than Spanish), while constructive criticism is always welcome please try to be lenient ^^U
  2. While I'm somewhat decent at English (or at least I'd like to think that myself), it's not my native language.
  3. My photoshop skills are almost zero and most (if not all) my graphic material will come from Google search...so don't expect anything specially flashy.
  4. I tinkered with the editor in order to tie this story with former saves of mine, if anything is slightly different from real life, that's why.
  5. In-game editor is enabled, as it will be used to tie some things with former saves and correct some things in game (like giving Dirk Franciscus (Danny) Blind's name back).

...and now, it's finally time to get this running, so sit back and enjoy ^^ )
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View attachment 1023424

Wenger steps down

After ninenteen years, Arsène Wenger's managerial time has finally come to an end. The Alsacian manager, aged 65, has decided that is time for him to put an end to his long and succesful managerial career.
However said action apparently doesn't translate into his definitive retirement from football as Arsenal has offered him a new role into the club's structure as the new director of football.

"Le Professeur"'s first task in his newly appointed role will be finding a suitable candidate to take over Arsenal's hot seat and not only continuing Arsène's legacy but also expand it.
The most related names to Arsenal's hot seat are Roberto Martinez (Everton), Thomas Tuchel (Borussia Dortmund) and Óliver Gil (AC Fiorentina).

View attachment 1023449
Arsène's time as a manager finally came to an end.
 

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View attachment 1023455

Gil appointed as Arsenal's new gaffer

It's official: Óliver Gil, aged 31, has officially been appointed as new Arsenal's manager. The young German-Spanish gaffer comes from the Italian squad AC Fiorentina where he had a quite succesful spell during his short stay in the sunny city of Florence.

Despite his young age, Gil has a surprisingly long career: after a short spell on Villarreal's academy, he decided to prove his worth Germany, where he spent most of his career so far, he was part of both Greuther Furth and Bayer Leverkusen's (where he trained players like Gonzalo Castro (currently on Borussia Dortmund) or René Adler (currently on HSV)) academies before having the chance to prove his worth as first team manager for TSV 1860 München.

His work on Munich didn't go unnoticed as Real Sociedad offered him the chance to come back to his home country in a move that surprised everyone, Gil's time as "Txuri Urdin" proved to be incredibly short yet succesful as in only one year the team from San Sebastián managed to win the Liga BBVA (almost three decades after the club's last league title) leaving some matches to remember like an epic 4-4 draw at Santiago Bernabéu that even today is fondly remembered as "the Bernabéu miracle".
Despite his unexpected success, Gil's time as Real Sociedad's manager came to an end as Jokin Aperribay (Real Sociedad's chairman) only brought him as a bridge manager and he already had in mind to appoint Jagoba Arrasate as the club's new manager no matter what... Move that backfired epically on both him and the club.

Gil's managed to find a new place in Firenze, as the "Viola" offered him the chance to develop his career in the always fierce Série A. His spell on Italy's top flight proved to be a step forward for both him and the club as during his spell with Fiorentina as the club "Viola" managed to win two Italian cups in a row, an Italian super coppa and a Europa League (the first in Fiorentina's history).

Only time will tell how long and succesful Gil's spell on Emirates will be.

View attachment 177495
Gil's new home from now on.
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Gil's Career

2001-2002 -> Villarreal CF (U11 Manager)
2002-2004-> Spvbb Greuther Fürth (U18 Manager)
2004-2007-> Bayer Leverkusen (U18 Manager)
2007-2009-> Munich 1860 (Coach)
2009-2010-> Munich 1860 (Caretaker Manager)
2010-2012-> Munich 1860 (Manager)
2012-2013 -> Real Sociedad (Manager)
2013-2015 -> AC Fiorentina (Manager)
2015- ? -> Arsenal FC (Manager)

Gil's Silverware

2012-2013-> Liga BBVA winner
2013-2014-> Coppa Italia winner
2014-> Supercoppa Italia winner
2014-2015-> Coppa Italia winner
2014-2015-> Europa League winner

View attachment 177494
Handsome aren't I? XD
 

Zlatan Lumic

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(Author's comment: Next post will actually involve some in game action, most likely the squad analysis. I swear ^^U)
________________________________________________________________________

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Youth, hard work, offensive football and "cojones"

In just a three years span this young manager has gone from the ostracism of Germany's second tier football to be acknowledged as one of the most promising managers in European football.
His surprisingly good campaigns in both Spain and Italy has drawn the attention of Arsenal and given him the chance to prove his chance in English football.
Let's find out more about the newly appointed Gunner gaffer.

Interviewer: First of all, how are we supposed to pronounce your surname exactly?
Óliver Gil: I kinda saw that coming... Just as you would pronounce Hill, as it's the Spanish equivalent.
I: Huh? It's easier than I imagined...
OG: Conveniently so (laughs)
I: Germany, Spain, Italy and now England. How do you feel after being able to train in Europe's 4 greatest leagues in such short age?
OG: That's not entirely true I'm afraid, while I spent most on my career in Germany I never went up higher than the 2.Bundesliga... But I gotta admit that I'm lucky of being quite the journeyman at such a young age.
I: Does that mean that you want to train in the Bundesliga someday?
OG: Woah... I just arrived here and you just want to send me back to Germany already? (laughs) Now my mind is focused in Arsenal.
I: How do you feel after being compared with other succesful Catalan managers like Roberto Martínez and Pep Guardiola?
OG: Well... It's an honor of course, but like we say in my country "las comparaciones son odiosas" (comparisions are hateful). I'd rather have people judge on what I've done instead of what others have done.
I: How is your relationship with Wenger? Will you be able to work well with him around?
OG: He's always been one of my idols and one of the reasons why I became a manager myself, and on personal level I met him when I was at Real Sociedad and Arsenal was checking on Carlos Vela's development since then he kinda became like a mentor figure for me. About coworking with him? I don't see a reason why it couldn't work as I think I can still learn a thing or two from good ol' prof.
I: What can you offer to Arsenal?
OG: Other than continuing Arsenal's philosophy that I've already applied on the teams I've managed so far? Hmmm... let me think... "un par de cojones" I guess.
I: A pair of what?
OG: Literally it would translate as "balls", but figuratively is used as passion, determination, fighting spirit... The idea is just that... I want my boys to have the same intensity from minute 1 to minute 90, to never give up a ball, to keep fighting until the very end no matter what... A team that one and every gooner on this country... no WORLD can feel proud of.
I: Any possible reinforcement planned already? Are you gonna take a former player from any of your teams if possible?
OG: We have a competitve squad, but also long term injuries so it might lack a bit on depth...Diving into the transfer market might be a must for us. Also I'm not planning on taking players away from Fiorentina, they treated me wonderfully from day one till the very end so unless their players aren't transfer listed (or already have one or more offers made) I ain't gonna touch them, it's a bit of common courtesy I guess.
As for Real Sociedad... Maybe Íñigo Martínez can come in handy...(laughs)
I: Thank you for your time and good luck.
OG: You're welcome.

View attachment 177108
Will Íñigo become a gunner in the near future?
 

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View attachment 176974

Squad Analysis

View attachment 176963

Overall: The squad has a decent level quality all around, as it has a really strong starting eleven which I think it will allow us to fight toe to toe against the supposed Premier League candidates (according to the media we're bound to end up 4th tops).
However the long term injuries and some "questionable" loans can prove to be quite a hassle since as of now we lack depth in our senior squad.


Goalkeepers

Overall: We have one of the best goalies in the whole division thanks to Peter Cech (truth to be told he might easily be the best and safest keeper we've had in years) and despite his age he could still have a couple of good years in him.
However despite having a decent backup in both Ospina and Szczesny (on loan at Roma), neither of those will become a suitable replacement for Cech once his level starts to drop.
Signing a young keeper to inherit Petr's role is a must, and most likely to loan him for one or two years to keep maturing until he's ready enough to take over.
Names like Timo Horn (Köln), Predrag Rajkovic (Maccabi Tel Aviv) or Bartlomej Dragowski (Jagiellonia) sound like suitable reinforcements.
Academy: Nothing really, we have prospects like Emiliano Martínez (currently at loan at Wolves), Matt Macey or Deyan Iliev who have potential to be decent... Yet still at a lower level than Ospina and Sczezsny.

Defenders

Overall: The right back despite the loans of both Debuchy at Girondins (who won't be considered unless he makes a spectacular campaign in France) and Jenkinson in West Ham (who will be followed closely and considered once he comes back depending on how well he performs) is well covered as we have Héctor Bellerín and Callum Chambers, young prospects with lots of potential yet ready to play regularly at this level so there won't be any big changes in this area.
In the center backs we have Mertesacker and Koscielny who will act as the starting duo and Gabriel Paulista who is quite a decent replacement, the signing of a fourth center back is something to consider but the arrival of Elneny from Basel (arrives on July) who can play there and Chambers being also able to play there maybe it won't be necessary (in case of Chambers acting as center back the signing of a right back will become a priority).
On the left flank we have Nacho Monreal, who's a quality player despite just entering on his thirties and can offer us a couple of more years of good football (hopefully), as for his backup we have Gibbs... Who's decent at best and his only redeeming quality is being homegrown (really, he's here for Champions League registration).
If we stumble upon a decent young left back we might sign him for both cover and future replacement for Monreal but I don't see it as a priority for this year.
Academy: We have a couple of good prospects in this area, Tafari Moore can potentially become a good right back for Premier League standards if things go accordingly and A Krystian Bielik (who despite being a natural defensive midfielder can play as center back) has the qualities to become a top tier center back (as well as defensive midfielder).

Midfielders

Overall: Despite the injuries of both Wilshere and Rosicky the midfield is one of the best covered areas in the senior squad. Coquelin will be our starter as defensive midfielder and will have both Arteta and Elneny as backups... which means we finally can get rid of Flamini (hopefully forever).
As his partner Ramsey will be the starter while Cazorla will act as his backup (and Özil's), Wilshere will be considered once he recovers.
Also it's worth mentioning that it's a real shame to not have Zelaem and Maitland-Niles since they would've been used in the first team regularly.
In the attacking midfielder position the starter will be Özil while Cazorla will act as his backup when needed.
I don't think that reinforcements in midfield are a must, but if something nice comes our way and we still have some budget left... we'll consider it.
Academy: Lots of talent here, aside from the already mentioned Gedion Zelaem (I still don't understand the point on his loan to Rangers... with due respect I don't see how much he can improve on Scottish Championship), Maitland-Niles and Bielik, who all are considered as potential permament members of the senior team, we also have other decent prospects like the Romanian Vlad Dragomir, Dan Crowley and the young Agyei-Tabi.

Wingers

Overall: It's a shame to not have players like Maitland-Niles and Gnabry on loan since they could have been pretty useful for the first team... But oh well... what can we do...
On the right wing we have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who will be our starter in that side, with Joel Campbell acting as backup if needed.
As for Theo Walcott, due to the injuries issue he'll be used most likely to cover other areas.
On the left we have Alexis Sánchez who is one of the best left wingers in the whole Premier League, but sadly we don't have a decent backup for him... People like Özil, Campbell or Wilshere can play as left wingers but are better suited to cover other areas and some of our best prospects are not ready to play at this level regularly yet...
The signing of a young left wingers is a MUST, names like Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) or Demarai Gray (Birmingham City) are the more suitable options for the time being.
The right wing is fine for the time being and won't be touched... unless we stumble upon a bargain.
Academy: We have plenty of talent in the wings as well, aside from the already mentioned Maitland-Niles and Gnabry, we have players like Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Alex Iwobi and Donyell Malen who could prove useful in the future if they develop properly.

Strikers

Overall: The weakest area of the team by far, Giroud is a good target man and physically quite a powerhouse but relying mostly on him is worrying.
Wellbeck is injured for most of the season and Walcott is... well... Walcott, he'll be used whenever we use a tactic that requires two strikers or we may need raw speed.
We may need one or even two signings in this area, a backup striker to give some coverage to Giroud when needed, Charlie Austin (QPR) sounds like a solid choice, and maybe a young striker to take over Giroud in the (near) future... but only if the budget allows it.
Academy: A couple of prospects in this area, aside from the already mentioned Malen, who can act as a striker, we have Kaylen Hinds who could potentially become a Premier League quality defensive forward in the future. He's not ready for regular Premier League football yet but he can get a few minutes every now and then and he's being tutored by Giroud to speed things up a little.
 

Zlatan Lumic

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Pre-season

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Overall: It was a somewhat short yet a really satisfactory pre-season. The team started playing a training match against the Under 21 following a suggestion made by my assistant manager that ended in an unsurprising 4-1 victory for the senior squad yet with a decent performance some of the youngsters (like Kaylen Hinds and his goal).
Next was followed by two friendlies during our short training camp in American territory against NASL (US second division) against Atlanta Silverbacks and New York Cosmos that ended in 2-3 and 0-1 for us, it was obvious that the team was far from fit at that point but hey at least we secured the wins there.
Back in Europe again our first stop was Russia, where we played against Rostov (Russian Premier League team) who we managed to beat 1-3 in a surprisingly even match.
Next stop was Netherlands, where we paid a little visit to Feyenoord in a match that would end up in a 0-2 win for us.
On our way to Great Britain we made a stop in Aberdeen, where we managed to beat the Dons in an extremely convincing 0-3.
Our final pre-season match was in our home, where more than 53.000 supporters saw a really solid and convincing 4-2 against Bayer Leverkusen.

Match to remember

View attachment 175726
Only a superb Leno (9.3 avg rating despite conceding 4 goals) managed to save the "Aspirin team" from coming back to Germany with an incredibly outrageous result.

Pre-season's MVP

View attachment 175725
The French striker showed that he fears no competition as he ended the pre-season with 9 goals scored.
 

Zlatan Lumic

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(OoC: I know I can't (nor won't) force you to drop by and comment guys, but it would be really nice to get a bit of feedback every now and then... In order to know if I'm doing things right, if there's someone actually enjoying this or if I actually there's something that could (or should) be improved...
By the way, next post will be the transfer market outcome and it has been quite profitable for us)



August

Fixture
View attachment 175618
Is there a better way of starting the month than winning the first piece of silverware of the season against one of our fiercest rivals? Aboubakar managed to silence Mourinho with a brace.

View attachment 175617
Gabriel Paulista's innecessarilly brutal tackle seriously jeopardized our league debut game in Selhurst Park, thankfully Charlie Austin managed to score a brace to keep calm and take the victory home in a match that should have been a cinch under normal circumstances.

View attachment 175612
Really solid victory against a brave Leicester that never gave up and kept attacking until the very end, it could have been a slightly more comfortable win if Kasper Smeichel wouldn't been in such a great form (he managed to completely neutralize Austin) but it was a nice home debut nevertheless.

View attachment 175609
WHAT A GAME! We managed to give a solid slam to the Premier League by scoring five goals in Old Trafford no less!
Alexis Sánchez was in superb form in lead the team to victory by scoring a brace and giving one assist.

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Comfortable win at home against West Brom to close an excellent month, anything went according to plan... Even Kieran Gibbs managed to score a goal... Gibbs, what are the odds of that happening?

League Table

View attachment 175597
We finish the first month in a flawless way: 4 victories, no defeats nor draws and a goal difference of +10.

Player of the Month

View attachment 175593
Alexis Sánchez is going through an oustanding form right now: 4 goals, 2 assists and 2 PoTM awards. Also he's been vital against Chelsea and Manchester United.

Other News

-Óliver Gil named as best manager of the month
-Calum Chambers named as third best youngster of the month
-Arsenal will play against Watford in Capital Cup's third round, the match will be played at Viccarage Road.
-Tough luck for Arsenal in Champions League as they've been placed in Group A (also known as the "Group of Death"). Their opponents? Juventus (ITA), Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) and Wolfsburg (GER)
 
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I feel like FM always gives the user heard groups in the Champions and Europa league. Or at least in my experience they do.
 

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Fanzone

PatrickLFC said:
Great result against Man United! Always love seeing that :D
First of all thank you for dropping by and for all the likes given to the thread, it actually means a lot to me (it's been quite a while since the last time I tried something similar after all).
About Man U... Well I aim to please XD
Now seriously, that was a fantastic result to get and I'm quite thrilled by it too (I'm not a fan of Van Gaal precisely, so anything that manages to humble him down is always welcome in my book).

WilsonA said:
I feel like FM always gives the user heard groups in the Champions and Europa league. Or at least in my experience they do.
Welcome to this story and thanks for dropping by ^^
Yep, you might have a point there, it's like RNG doesn't feel like being nice to the players most of the time (I've been through a few exceptions every now and then... but there are so little of those that I can count them with my fingers) but oh well... In order to win a competition you have to beat all the opposition no matter how many or how tough they are. ^^
 

Zlatan Lumic

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(Author's note: Both Paul Kim and Stefan Büchler are actually newgens (yes I lucked out of getting good newgens so early), but since I don't like how regens/newgens look in FM 2k16, every time I sign (or get through the academy) I'll try to give them a "face" like I've done with these two)
(OoC: If you want to see a particular player, feel free to ask and I'll post his screen ASAP)
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Transfer Window

Transfers

View attachment 175401
Overall: We moved well in this transfer window as we managed to cover every lack we had and quite fast. I'm specially pleased here since we managed to spend our budget quite wisely (we still have a small margin in we need to sign someone in the winter market).
As for the outs... Mostly loans, but that was to be expected.

View attachment 175400
Kim, one of the gems found in Germany this summer and future owner of Arsenal's right wing.


Future Transfers

View attachment 175399
Overall: Plenty of talent in the years to come in only three signings. Büchler will join us in January and comes from 1860 Münich, Arango will come next summer for only a measly 5.000 £ (he might spend the few first years of his life as a Gunner on loan since it will be hard for him to get a work permit, but we'll worry about that when the time comes), and last but not least we managed to secure Cech's successor: Horn. He'll come next summer as it will be better for him to spend a whole year playing in the Bundesliga than one year rotting in our bench.

View attachment 175398

According to our scouting staff, this lad is meant to be even better than Özil... I can hardly wait.

[h=2]Staff[/h]View attachment 175397
Overall: We strengthened every possible area of our staff and we did a **** good job at it if I do say so myself. We're top in every coaching area but for goalkeeping (we're second only to Man U), we've got the best medical staff in the league and we're only second to Man U when it comes to scouting.

View attachment 175396

An Andorran that's actually good at something! What are the odds?

[h=2]Other News[/h]-Arsenal has establish an affiliation with Levski Sofia, this deal will prove beneficial for Arsenal as it means a faster way of bypassing work permits (It takes 3 years for a player to get Bulgarian nationality).
 

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September

Fixture

View attachment 174915
Sunderland parked the bus in front of their goal and almost managed to get something positive out it, it was a boring and awful match... But hey, we're glad to grab the win nevertheless.

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Flawless Champions League debut, the team made an outstanding performance against an always dangerous squad like Lyon (currently Ligue 1 leaders).

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We managed to give yet another solid slam at Premier League as we managed to overcome Liverpool, the red devils (2nd in the Premier) managed to grab an early advantage thanks to Skrtel but the lads managed to react and turned the tables completely.

View attachment 174899
A card spamming referee almost managed to resurrect a Watford that was virtually dead until the dreadful '78 where Bielik was unfairly sent off.
The best of the match was the debut of Kim and Hinds with the senior squad.

View attachment 174898
A needy Chelsea crossed again in our path in a match that showed the "cojones" the lads have, the blues managed to get the advantage over us twice, but a stellar Aboubakar managed to sent Chelsea back to mid table positions with 4 goals.

View attachment 174897
Matches like this make painfully obvious that we're still not ready to be considered as Champions League contestants yet, an usually offensive oriented "Vecchia Signora" was vastly superior from minute 1 to minute 90 but the lads were managed to hold them to a draw and getting a point that could end up being vital for us.

League Table

View attachment 174896

We're still leaders thanks to yet another flawless month.

View attachment 174895
We came out alive of Italian **** and somehow managed to retain group leadership.

Player of the Month

View attachment 174894
Aboubakar managed to knock out both Liverpool and Chelsea on his own.

Other News

-Tough luck... for Chelsea as they'll have to face Arsenal in the Capital Cup's 4th Round, the match will be played in Stamford Bridge.
-Vincent Aboubakar named best player of the month, Alexis Sánchez ends up 3rd.
-Héctor Bellerín named best young player of the month.
-Óliver Gil named best manager of the month again.
 

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Fanzone

ninjaskill said:
Incredible start so far keep it up also love the signing of Aboubakar
Welcome to the story and thanks for dropping by ^^

Truth to be told the way the team started the year caught me completely off guard, I figured that we would be up there but not even in my wildest dreams I could foresee thrashing United, Pool and Chelsea in such a fashion.
We'll definitely try to keep the momentum rolling for as long as we can, the longer it last the closest we'll be to claiming the Premier ^^

As for Aboubakar, at first I was ready to splash the cash in a younger striker like Morata, Alcácer, Berardi, Embolo... Until one of my scouts sent me a report from Portugal and he was on it, I've never had him in any of my teams but those stats for less than 20 millions? I couldn't let such a bargain slip off my hands.
And sure I'm glad I snatched him, he's been quite the pleasant surprise so far... but for Giroud that could means dreadful news as he could end up leaving at the end of the season if things keep going like this (I expected him and Aboubakar to fight toe to toe for the starter position for a couple of seasons... yet he's been overthrown in only one month).
 

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October

Fixture

View attachment 173459
Match where the referee was the star (neither of those two penalties were actually penalties), other than that solid victory against a very brave West Ham that put up a fight until the very end.

View attachment 173458
Easy and comfortable home game against Swansea, where some of the rotation members had a well deserved time to shine.

View attachment 173457
Really important win in Germany against a solid Wolfsburg in a pretty even match, Alexis Sánchez was out due to injury but it didn't matter as it was Özil's show this time around.

View attachment 173456

Fatigue paid its toll here and we had a tougher time than anticipated against an incredibly solid Bournemouth that maybe deserved more, but we grabbed the win in the end so I'm happy with that.

View attachment 173455
I'm starting to get sick of Chelsea, three months of competition three games... The blues were superior (it's logical since they did less rotations than us) but our accuracy was top notch. Thank you for the birthday present lads (technically speaking my birthday was the day after the match but hey... it's a nice early present).

View attachment 173454
We closed the month against Norwich at home, the canaries came in a great form and after surprising Pool with a win but we managed to show yet again why we're considered the best attack in the whole Premier.

League Table

View attachment 173453

Yet another flawless month keep us as top contenders and expands the gap to 10 points.

View attachment 173452

The impressive performance in Germany leaves us leading the group and almost qualified for the next round.

Player of the Month

View attachment 173451
Grealish had the always difficult task of covering Sánchez's absence and didn't disappoint, spectacular month with a hat trick against Chelsea included.

Other News

-Óliver Gil gets a contract extension, he'll remain as Arsenal's gaffer until 2019.
-Arsenal will play against West Bromwich Albion in Capital One Cup's quarter finals, the match will be held at Emirates Stadium.
-Óliver Gil is named best manager of the month...again.
-Héctor Bellerín retains the best young player of the month, Emanuel Mammana ends up as runner up for the month.
 

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Fanzone

PatrickLFC said:
It's all too easy for Mr Gil!
Thanks for dropping by as usual and of course the continued support so far.

If you refer to the Capital One Cup... then I gotta agree with you: Tottenham, Chelsea and United out already, only Pool and City as serious competition, way more Championship teams than you would expect to see at this stage (I don't have the game open to confirm it but it was either 4 PL and 4 CH teams or 5 PL and 3 CH teams).

If it's in general, then it's not how it starts but how it ends my friend.
We started incredibly well, but the season it's still really long and we have yet to play against City, we have yet to play a North London Derby, we still have to visit Anfield...
...And in Europe is not done either, Juventus has yet to come to the Emirates and the match at Italy showed me that they are able to thrash us with little to no effort, not to mention that if we even managed to end up as group leaders the RNG might still troll me by sending me a team like PSG, Bayern, Barça... in the first knock out round.

For the time being I prefer to keep focusing on my objectives one match at a time, we'll have plenty of time to celebrate (or so I hope) ^^

.P.S.: What caught off guard was that Arsenal actually offered me a contract extension in mid October, even if the best of my FM perfomances the sooner I got a contract extension was by February... I guess the chairman actually must agree with you XD
 

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November

Fixture

View attachment 172146
Surprisingly easy match against a Wolfsburg that didn't seem the same team that made us fight extra hard for the victory in Germany, Giroud and Zivkovic lead the team in the easiest match we've had in Europe so far.

View attachment 172145

Southampton made us sweat in order to take the three points as the Saints managed to strike first after only 9 minutes, a stellar Zivkovic once again lead us to victory.

View attachment 172144

The citizens came to the Emirates for the big game of the month and boy it didn't disappoint, incredibly even match that could have ended easily in our first loss of the season... thankfully Aboubakar managed to secure the win with yet another brace.

View attachment 172143
We visited France without Walcott, Ramsey, Coquelin and the imperative need to win in order to keep the group leadership, despite all the absences the team managed to claim an important win in a crazy match where Lacazette was absolutely inmense.

View attachment 172142
We closed the month in Villa Park against an Aston Villa who put up quite a fight but despite the local fierce efforts and the fatigue from the war at Lyon we managed to overcome them thanks to an inspired Austin, who scored a brace.
Kaylen Hinds made his league debut with the senior squad in this match.

League Table

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We spread the gap to 13 points thanks to yet another flawless month.

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The 1st place will be decided in the Emirates in the last game against Juventus.

Player of the Month

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Zivkovic had the difficult task of covering Walcott's gap in the right flank and didn't disappoint as his performances were vital for securing important wins in a really tough month.

Other News

-Óliver Gil is named best manager of the month for the fourth time in a row.
-Andrija Zivkovic claims the best young player of the month.
 
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(OoC: In Spain the equivalent of April's Fools is on December 28th, a day known as "los santos inocentes" (the innocent saints))
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December

Fixture

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We started the month with the Capital One Cup quarter finals, in a match against the baggies at home... where we were vastly superiors yet we could barely take advantage of that... Oh well, at least we made it to the semifinals.

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Back to the league against a Newcastle that was so focused on attacking that literally forgot how to defend. The magpies put up a magnificent fight in the Emirates but in the end our accuracy gave us the three points.

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If Juventus was absolutely superior in Italy, in the Emirates the situation was the polar opposite. This time around we played better and grabbed a more than deserved win thanks to an oustanding Sánchez.

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I can positively say that this is the first domestic game we definitely deserved to lose, the schedule might have been brutal, our squad might not be at 100% due to fatigue AND injuries... But neither of that mattered in the end as the Toffees were the superior squad in the end and if we managed to win is mainly because they failed to take advantage of it.

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North London Derby! The team managed to recover from the last game's awful performance and gave the fans one heck of a show. Sánchez once again was key for the team's victory.

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We visited Viccarage Road for the second time in the season with a team quite full of rotation players, the match was surprisingly even but Ox managed to lead us to the victory.

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My first Boxing Day match was in Britannia Stadium against an unlucky Stoke City, the potters tried their hardest but it was not their day... own goal right after the match start, 80% of their shots out of targets, no real chances...

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This gotta be joke... Someone please tell me this is a joke. We played against Watford again (shouldn't we play this match in the end of the season or something?) in a match where the referee almost destroys... Disallowed goal to Aboubakar (that was completely legal by the way), massive yellow card spamming to my lads (it was a miracle we ended the match with 11 on the pitch) most of them undesrved followed by cruel remarks by the press stating how brutal and bloodthirsty my lads are (which is DOWNRIGHT INSULTING considering that Arsenal is one of the cleanest squads if not the cleanest in the whole F***ing Premier).
Seriously England, are you trying to pull a prank on me or what?


League Table

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Despite being the hardest and nerve-wracking month so far, we close December by extending the gap to 19 points.

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We end the group stage as leaders, position that ended up becoming quite the poisonous gift in the end.

Player of the Month

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Alexis Sánchez showed this month why is considered the best player in the world with top class performances.

Other News


-Arsenal will play against Wolves in the Capital One Cup Semifinal, the other semifinal is Manchester City-Leeds United.
-Arsenal will play against Derby County in the FA Cup third round, the match will be played in the Emirates Stadium.
-Arsenal will play against Atlético de Madrid in Champions League's first knockout round, while it may seem like a really tough opponent the gunners have dodged several bullets as teams like Barcelona, PSG or Chelsea ended up second in their respective groups.
-Louis Van Gaal sacked by Manchester United after being knocked up from Champions League and Capital One and performing poorly in the Premier. David Moyes returns to Old Trafford in order to try to save the season.
-Michael Laudrup comes back to England in order to replace Tony Pullis, sacked by the Baggies as they hit rock bottom in the Premier League.
-Alexis Sánchez ends up second in the Ballon d'Or, Cristiano Ronaldo ends up third while Lionel Messi ends up taking the award to Barcelona.
-Alexis Sánchez claims the World Player of the Year award beating Lionel Messi and Matts Hummels.
-Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez feature in the World's Team of the Year, Petr Cech and Theo Walcott appear as substitutes.
-Vincent Aboubakar wins the African Footballer of the Year award.
-Vincent Aboubakar features in the African XI of the Year.
-Héctor Bellerín ends up third in the Best Young Player of the Month
-Óliver Gil claims yet another Best Manager of the Month award, making it five times in a row.
 

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(OoC: Next post will cover the winter transfer market window as there was a bit of activity on it)
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January

Fixture

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We started the year with a f***ing mess... Palace sure knew how to muddle things as Pardew decided to spout xenophobic mumbo-jumbo to the media in order to make my lads (and myself) lose their cool and once on the pitch they parked the bus in front of their goal in order to make good use of any possible chance they had.... And it almost worked for them.
4 shoots, 3 goals and they got ahead twice... Thankfully we managed to react on time and prevent the Eagles to get away from getting any undeserved points from here...

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Wolves came to Emirates for the Capital One semi finals, after knocking Liverpool out in the previous round (and at Anfield to boot) for a match that both the rotation players (like Arteta, Gibbs or Grealish) and the young players (like Bielik or the recently arrived Ajer) managed to grab a solid victory that almost left us in the final.
Vlad Dragomir and Yassin Fortune made their senior debut and Fortune even managed to score.

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And after the Capital One Cup... Came the FA Cup. We received Derby at home in a match that was once again used as testing ground for both youngsters and rotation players, the lads performed fantastically and the rams got rammed.
Donyell Malen made his senior debut in this match.

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We were back to the league routine and it was the time to visit a Leicester City, that unlike the match at the Emirates, wasn't too much of a match for us and got overwhelmend by our constant offensive onrush.
Jack Wilshere played his first match of the the season and even managed to score a goal of his own.

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The big match of the month, an incredibly needy Manchester United visited the Emirates with the imperative need to grab points (and grab a win from the yet to be assaulted Emirates fortress could mean a massive morale boost for them), but during the first half they were pretty much were toyed around by an Arsenal that did whatever it pleased with them.
During the second half the Red Devils improved their game and even managed to grab an equalizer, but were unable to get any further as the gunners reacted quickly to prevent any possible upset.

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Back to the cups again, as it was turn to visit Molineux in order to seal that pass to the finals. The team was a pretty too much complacent (kind of logical after winning 5-0 on the first leg though) and fail to truly take advantage of the local sent off... But oh well... We're in the Capital One final and that's what truly matters.

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We closed the month playing yet another FA Cup round, visiting a League 1 squad: Walsall. Once again the team was a mixture of both academy and rotation and their performances didn't disappoint... The press said that it was a not convicing enough win for us... but in a round where Tottenham got knocked out and both Manchester teams AND Chelsea were forced to take part in the replay match... I'll gladly take it.
Newly Arrived Alberto Mas made a very solid and convincing senior debut.

League Table

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We refuse to let fatigue, injuries and schedule to ruin our unbeaten run for one more month and the gap extends to 23 points... And thank goodness... Next month is going to be hellish...

Player of the Month

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Walcott has proved his worth in a really clogged month by taking almost every MVP award in this month.

Other News


-Arsenal will play against Manchester City in the Capital One Cup's grand final.
-Arsenal will play against Liverpool in FA Cup's 5th round, the match will be held at Anfield (barely a week after visiting Anfield for the league match)
-Arsenal has established an affiliation with Brentford, the gunners will be able to send players on loan to the bees... which is wonderful news (specially if Brentford manages to stay in Championship for a long time) as the club will be able to send young prospects to prove their worth on Championship football.
-John Benjamin Toshack puts an end to his Moroccan adventure as he's called back to England in order to take the Black Cats' hot seat in an attempt to save them from relegation.
-Gediom Zelaem (currently on loan at Dundee) ends up second in the Ladbrokes Premiership Player of the Month award.
-Dan Crowley claims the League One Player of the Month Award, the young prospect is performing really well on his loan spell ath Sheffield Utd.
-Vincent Aboubakar ends as third best player of the month.
-Óliver Gil refuses to let his monthly manager crown go and retains the Manager of the Month Award for the sixth time in a row.
 

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(Author's note: Alberto Mas is actually yet anower newgen)
(OoC: If you want to see a particular player, feel free to ask and I'll post his screen ASAP)
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Transfers

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Overall: Not much movement during winter as there was necessarilly no need to, but there were some additions thinking on long term rather than just "now".
Stefan Büchler finally joined us (his transfer was made on summer but couldn't come sooner due to age issues) and is joining the U18 ranks.
From Spain we brought a promising attacking midfielder from Zaragoza's academy: Alberto Mas, the lad is quite a bargain (400.000 £) and he'll be joining the U21 side... even if he already made a satisfactory senior debut.
From Middlesbrough comes James Husband, the promising young left back joined for just 2 millions (and a friendly) and he was brought as a future replacement for Monreal once he hits his peak... But for the time being he's being sent to Brentford to keep getting first team football (this affiliation will be really positive for both sides).
Kristopher Ajer and Gediom Zelaem came back as their loan spells at Start and Rangers came to an end, the American went back to Scotland on loan (this time on a Premiership side: Dundee) while the Norweggian became part of the senior squad and started getting fan appreciation almost from minute 1.

In the outs... loans, loans and more loans... mostly youngster loans... but there are two notbale exceptions.
First is Elneny, who after Ajer's arrival and surprisingly fast adaptation saw his position in the squad considerably diminished and after assessing the issue with the staff it was decided to send him to one our affiliates on loan.
He's currently playing for Lorient, where's getting regular Ligue 1 first team football... once his loan spell is over we'll decide if we keep him in the senior squad, extend his loan or search another loan target of highest level (as he could still be useful in the future... not essential, but still pretty useful).

The other one is Joel Campbell... who became PERSONA NON GRATA in the Emirates for as long as I'm here (and I'm meant to stay here until 2019... so yeah).
The Costarican winger's lack of patience, understanding and professionalism seriously jeopardized the squad during part of the season... as his constant complaints and whinings couldn't be squashed whatsoever (apparently the lad considers himself better than Walcott, Zivkovic and Oxlade-Chamberlain together) and imposed the club to be sent on loan... only two months after the start of the season.
A three month spell to Hull was arranged to shut his whinings up, but because of his constant crying the team was in a serious pinch as there were no right wingers other than the Ox to cover both Walcott AND Zivkovic's injuries... to the point I needed to promote the young Paul Kim from the U18 squad to add some vital coverage (and the lad didn't disappoint).
What started as a three month loan spell with no wage obligation whatsoever ended up becoming a season loan spell with obligation of 30% of his wage and a future fee of 10 millions (sadly is not mandatory, but I hope the lad impresses with the tigers and never comes back to the Emirates).

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Büchler becomes one of our most promising midfielders.

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Mas has a brilliant future as a gunner, if managed to adapt his position as midfielder (as he could become the perfect replacement for Ramsey).

Future Transfers

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Overall: Not much activity here, but we keep building our future here as we're in a neverending search for talented players who can become a bright future for the Gunners.
The young Albanian striker Rey Manaj will join on July once his contract with Italian's modest squad Cremonese ends... but most likely he'll spend the start of his life as a gunner on loan, as I'm afraid the he (as Arango) will have troubles getting a work permit.
The other player brought is Lewis Cook, we paid Leeds 8,5 millions (potentially up to 11) for the promising midfielder (which it's pretty much a bargain for someone with his potential) but will not come until the end of the season as I saw more beneficial for him to stay in Leeds getting first team experience.
 
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