Jun 1, 2014
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Manchester United: Giving Youth A Chance
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It's been a couple of years since I've done a story on here and in fact, I've only just picked up the latest version of FM today!

I thought I would start with my favourite club, one that I know well and always use as my first save whenever I pick up a new FM. The only difference this year is I'm doing a story about it!

Not wanting to make it too easy for myself and inspired by coolmcool's idea about not going crazy on the transfer market, I've decided to limit myself to one transfer per window but I cannot roll it over if I decide not to sign anyone. I can however make more than one if I future date the second transfer to the next or a future window but there will only ever be one senior player joining per window. I have set my Head of Youth Development Nicky **** to find and make offers for young players which will not count towards my one transfer per window.

These rules will help me be more focused on strengthening my weakest area one window at a time as opposed to a scatter gun approach which is easy to do when you have the budget of Manchester United.
Bringing through youth is such a big part of Manchester United's identity so I will of course be looking to blood any youngsters where possible as well as making sure our facilities are at the highest possible standard to keep that conveyor belt of outstanding youth coming through the doors.

I guess there's nothing else to do but get into it!

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Interested to see how you get on, i think my save didnt get too far off the ground after i won the League and Champions League in the first season you always think after that where can you go from there?
Interested to see how you get on, i think my save didnt get too far off the ground after i won the League and Champions League in the first season you always think after that where can you go from there?

Spot on. Early success can kill a story, especially at a club like United. Hopefully my love of the club and the challenge of having to bring in kids to replace seasoned pros when they want to leave will keep it interesting enough to keep it going. I'm struggling at the moment to work out whether i make a signing in the first window and if so, who. I've got a big enough squad at the moment but I'm conscious that i need to take advantage of my one player a window for the future.
Manchester United: Giving Youth A Chance

Pre Season 2017/2018

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Now that the ink has dried on my twelve month contract and the chats with Ed Woodward and Assistant Manager Rui Faria over it was time to get to business with the club I had decided to use as my first save for FM18. With a massive stadium, exemplary facilities, a top class squad and staff, all was set for me to hit the ground running and challenge for domestic and European honours.

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Injury Update

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Three long term injuries welcome me on my first day in the job. Zlatan and Rojo wont be with me until October/November while Shaw will miss all of pre-season and will hopefully be available a few games into the season proper.

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Plenty of strengths within this squad including three young prospects in my U'23s that people will be aware of. The only weakness that Rui can see is the lack of depth outside of the first team, one thing that I cannot really fix due to my self imposed transfer restraints. I've seen enough in my reserve and youth squads to not be worried about it at this stage.

Youth Prospects

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Three players that I have picked out who I think have a very bright future at the club. Everybody knows Tuanzebe who is on loan at Aston Villa for the season. Hopefully he gets enough game time to progress as I hope he will. The next two – Gomes and Laird are both in the U18's and could get some game time in the Carabao Cup. It might be a bit soon for Laird but I think Gomes is ready, especially as an AMC which I have in my preferred tactic.


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This is how I will look to line up this season. With Smalling, Bailly,Jones, Lindelof, Rojo and Blind all CB options I felt this formation would utilize them best along with my attacking wing backs on each side. Lukaku upfront with the combination of any two from Sanchez,Rashford, Martial, Mata and Lingard playing in behind I think this is a potent attack with goals in it. Centre of the park is probably the weakest in terms of depth which is why I've only two of them in there. After Pogba and Matic we only have Herrera, Fellaini and Carrick to back them up along with McTominay in the U23's if needed.

Transfer Budget

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This is plenty of money to get someone in if I feel its required. With £300K spare in the wage budget that can be increased if I need to.

The Bookies Odds

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Second favourites for the title this season which would mirror real life if true. The surprising odds here are Tottenham paying 17.00 to win the title and expected to finish 6th. I'd be very shocked if that happened!

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Even more shocking than Tottenham is us not having a runner in the top goalscorer race! No Lukaku, Sanchez, Rashford or Martial. Lukaku is supposedly our best shout at 61.00! Despite scoring 25 and 18 goals respectively in his last two Premier League seasons for Everton, it is not expected that he will do better at a bigger club with better players around him. Cannot forget to mention Sanchez who has scored 24, 13 and 16 in his three seasons at Arsenal.

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Again no players in here either, with Pogba our best chance just outside the top 6 at 17.00.

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Finally some recognition! I was beginning to think there was some sort of bookies conspiracy against us! I'm still surprised that its not Rashford who is our best chance but hopefully one of these can bring the award home for us.

Pre-Season Friendlies

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Finally a look at how we went over pre-season. Six wins with fifteen scored and only three conceded is a promising start albeit against average opposition. Good to see Pogba getting among the goals along with young Gomes getting a double when I gave him 90 minutes. I'm very excited about his future and its all I can do to not rush him straight into the first team squad.

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Manchester United: Giving Youth A Chance

August 2017


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Four games this month with the UEFA Super Cup as a curtain raiser against Real Madrid to start us off. Following that is a massive Friday night season kick-off against our Merseyside rivals Liverpool. Talk about a baptism of fire to start the season off!

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What a start! We were missing Bailly and Jones through suspension along with Zlatan, Rojo and Shaw due to injury. This left us with only three CB's and one left wing back going into this game. Madrid were only missing Benzema who wasn't fit to start but otherwise they had a full squad to choose from but that mattered little as we played the perfect counter attacking game which resulted in two debut goals for Sanchez thanks to balls over Madrid's defence to allow the Chilean to score two one on ones. Our makeshift defence held together well and despite Real having a lot of the ball De Gea was never overly troubled.

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There aren't many trophies that United can say they haven't won for 26 years but the Super Cup is one of them after losing to Lazio in 1999 and Zenit in 2008.

Australian Managerial Hall of Fame

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This says more about the quality of Aussie managers as I enter into number three on the list despite having only managed one game!

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Matchday One

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Absolutely amazing! We put Liverpool to the sword and gave them a lesson in heavy metal football by completely overwhelming them going forward and pressing them into making mistakes where we could have realistically scored double figures!

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The only bad news to come out of this game was losing Lukaku for a month to a twisted ankle after scoring two goals.

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Matchday Two

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Back down to earth with this result as Rashford; Lukaku's replacement and Sanchez had opportunities to win if for us but ultimately spurned those chances and had very poor games.

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Matchday Three

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A better performance after deciding to move Sanchez into the central position rewards me with two goals. Despite the second not coming until added time it was never in doubt as Burnley couldn't muster a single shot on goal.

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The group stages are drawn and a rematch with Madrid and easier ties against Anderlecht and Hoffenheim who knocked Liverpool out of the qualifying round.

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We draw an all Premier League tie against Watford in the third round which will limit my ability to experiment with my line up as I had planned if it was a lesser opponent.

Another Injury

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This time Sanchez will spend a few weeks on the sideline after pulling knee ligaments. With Rashford out of form and Martial hardly played,we could have a difficult couple of weeks in front of goal with the away visit to Madrid coming up in two weeks.

Prospect Signs On

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Player of the Month

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After his exploits against Madrid and Burnley he is a worthy winner. Very disappointed to be missing him for the next few weeks.

League Table

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West Ham and Bournemouth have got off to flyers and our dropped points against Stoke see us playing catch up early on.

Player Stats

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Mata looking good early on with his assists for Sanchez and Lukaku.

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Manchester United: Giving Youth A Chance

Summer Transfer Round Up 2017/2018

de Ligt Joins For Initial £20m Fee

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I ummed and aahed all window as to whether I would utilise my one signing or not and it wasn't until a couple of days before the window ended that I decided I would and the only player I was interested in was de Ligt. When he came up on a scout report I realised there was only upside to signing him as he can do a job right away if required but his potential meant it was a no brainer. Also bringing in a world class CB for that price couldn't be sneezed at.

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With no other deals here is a round up from around Europe. The Premier League dominated as it usually does with clubs using the vast amounts of TV money to strengthen further ahead of the new season.

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A further breakdown of the Premier League spending as Manchester dominated, accounting for £60m of the £99m spent. I was very surprised that they went for Mertens considering they have Aguero and Jesus, not to mention the other attacking talent. Even more surprising was how little he cost. Could turn out to be a bargain come the end of the season.
Manchester United: Giving Youth A Chance

September 2017

A very busy month with seven fixtures in the space of three weeks. There match with Real Madrid and the home game with Chelsea are the big ones this month. Its important we don't fall further behind City at this early stage.

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Matchday Four

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Comparatively it couldn't have been worse against the other team from Merseyside as they scored with both of their shots on target. The first came from a mistake between Bailly and Jones, playing their first games of the season allowing Tosun to score the first of his brace.

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Equal fifth favourites is a little surprising to me considering our recent past since Sir Alex left.

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No surprises that CR7 is expected to be top of the pile again this season. I'll be doing all I can in the group stages to halt his progress.

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Matchday One

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One of those days that infuriates you as a manager. After Valencia got himself sent off for two stupid challenges we managed to hold out until Ronaldo finally broke us down. Surprisingly we managed to not only equalise, but take the lead with 10 men. After that I tried to hold out for the final fifteen minutes but that man Ronaldo found the net twice more to not only win the match but complete his hat-trick.Unbelievably the referee added seven minutes to the end of the match for no reason whatsoever. Another example of Real getting help from UEFA.

Injury Blow

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To compound matters we now have Lukaku out for the rest of the year with a broken foot. With Zlatan and Sanchez also out we are looking thin up front. Time for one of the younger brigade to step up.

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Matchday Five

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Another good result which increases our inconsistent results so far. My worry about not being able to score with our 'big three' missing were calmed by Rashford and Martial today.

Injury Plagued?

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Our victory has come at a very high cost as our starting midfield is now out for five weeks and three months respectively. With at least six first team players out, it is testing our depth very early on in my reign. McTominay has been called up to cover the gaps.

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Third Round

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My hand was forced slightly due to our mounting injury crisis but we still should have won this with amount of possession and chances we created. To go out on penalties because Lingard was the only one that missed is hard to swallow.

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Matchday Six

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With the games coming thick and fast this month we get the opportunity to make amends for our cup exit with the visit to high flying Leicester.In a tight contest Rashford proved to be the difference but it was the performance of Herrera in place of the injured Pogba that gave me the greatest hope going forward.

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Matchday Two

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A much easier game than we've experienced in the past couple as Luke Shaw puts in a performance that all United fans have expected from him. Sanchez makes a welcome return from the bench but as usual when we get some good news....

Another Injury

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….it's followed by worse. Martial is now out for three months with a torn hamstring leaving our forward line down to bare bones, even with Sanchez on his way back. I've promoted Angel Gomes to the first team squad to cover, at least two years earlier than I would have liked.

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Matchday Seven

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Our final game of the month sees us turn our fortunes around with Rashford getting a double. Chelsea took an early lead and were allover us in the early exchanges until Rashford got his first. After Hazard's shot rebounded off the post and ricochet off the diving De Gea and into the back of the net to tie the game up at 2-2 I was concerned about whether we would hold on but a late flurry from veterans Mata and Young sealed a big three points.

Player of the Month

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Stepped up massively in the absence of his more experienced colleagues just like he has done throughout his fledgling career.

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League Table

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Back up the table after a decent month in the league but City are already starting to run away with it.

Player Stats

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Aguero has had a brilliant start to the season with nine goals in seven starts. Good to see Mata is still up there. With everything going on its going to be important for him to keep his levels up and continue to provide for the team.

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Premier League Awards

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Third place for me and runner up in the young player for Rashford. Not sure how Klopp got runner up despite having a lower win percentage!

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enjoying the story so far mate and looking forward to seeing how your youth prospects develop.

have to ask what tactics you're using as i noticed you have dropped having a striker with rashford almost in a shadow striker or number 10 role
enjoying the story so far mate and looking forward to seeing how your youth prospects develop.

have to ask what tactics you're using as i noticed you have dropped having a striker with rashford almost in a shadow striker or number 10 role

Cheers, I've been playing around with the front three a bit in game, trying to find out what gets the best out of them. I've been starting with a striker but it hasnt always worked so during the game i tried dropping him into a shadow striker, putting the two AM's as strikers etc. I'm a few months down the line now and I've changed it again which seems to be working. Thanks for reading.
Manchester United: Giving Youth A Chance

October 2017


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Not many fixtures in terms of numbers but one of great importance with my first Manchester derby at the Etihad to come this month.

Shaw Out

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Another injury and they're beginning to stack up and become a great concern, especially when they occur while the player is on international duty!

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Matchday Eight

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Our away form has been poor at the beginning of my reign and it continues here with another red card, this time it's Fellaini with a straight red for a poor challenge.

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Matchday Three

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Back to back draws to begin the month, this one much poorer than the last as we aren't able to put away the Belgians due to ANOTHER straight red early in the first half. A positive was another great performance on the right from Valencia getting both assists.

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Matchday Nine

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Another draw but this time its a pleasing one against our cross town rivals as we come from behind twice to share points. Sanchez and Mata had storming games and Rashford's cameo from the bench ultimately earned us a point.

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Matchday Ten

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A quite incredible victory after a slight change of formation where I'm employing three out and out strikers as opposed to narrow attacking midfielders and it seemed to work, handing us our second 7-0 result of the season! All of our front three contributed, particularly Sanchez with his four goal haul and Rashford teeing up three.

Injury Update

According to the above we are now injury free and ranked 20th in terms of injuries. I made a tweak to my training regime recently which seems to be paying off.

Player of the Month

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Five goals and two assists in the three games the Chilean played in this month. He has been prolific in patches since joining us.

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League Table

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Four points behind our North West rivals but that goal difference of +22 a quarter of the way into the season is remarkable.

Player Stats

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Sanchez' haul this month has put him in early contention for the golden boot and has seen his average rating increase. Juan Mata with five assists is good considering his reduced game time recently.
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Manchester United: Giving Youth A Chance

November 2017


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Four premier league games, two against fellow top four teams both away from home along with a couple of reverse fixtures in the Champions League against the two teams i dropped points to first time around.

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Matchday Four

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A little bit of revenge enacted after the 2-2 draw at home as Sanchez continues is goal scoring patch.

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Matchday Eleven

Three days after the Anderlecht trip is a pretty comfortable result at home despite what the scoreboard shows. Young gets an opportunity and takes it with a goal and assist.

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Matchday Twelve

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Not sure if this is a good result or not against a fellow top four candidate. An own goal is annoying but the game was pretty back and forth as De Gea has some work to do. Time will tell.

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Matchday Five

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They say revenge is a dish best served cold but Zlatan was on fire as we put Real to the sword with a dominating performance that saw Rashford provide three assists to put us top of our group with a game to spare.

Unhappy Players

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Straight after the excellent Madrid result, both Mata and Blind came to me asking to leave for Real and PSG respectively. These conversations had very different outcomes as Mata was happy that i would accept a bid in the region of £70M if one was forthcoming. Blind however was upset that i wanted £60M and found this unreasonable despite being a first choice and well performing centre back.

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Matchday Thirteen

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This was not only a poor result but a very average performance away to a title rival. None of the strikers ever got going and if it wasn't for De Gea's efforts we would have lost by a few more.

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Matchday Fourteen

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This is more like it at home to another London side this month as big Vic gets a couple from CB! Our home form as been imperious with loads of goals for the Old Trafford faithful!

Player of the Month

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The big man Ibra was the overwhelming favourite this month purely for his hat-trick against Real Madrid.

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League Table

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We've dropped further behind City due to the two results against our London rivals which also sees them leapfrog us aswell. This early inconsistency needs to be stamped out if we are to mount a challenge this season.

Player Stats

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Sanchez is still up around the top of the charts but Aguero has been on fire so far this season.

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Premier League Awards

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Darmian takes the honours this month with an absolute piledriver from outside the box. He has been solid this season, playing mostly off the left.

Golden Boy Chance?

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Rashford has been earmarked as a possible winner of the European Golden Boy award. With the way he has played so far, he will get opportunities to push his name further forward for this award. It will be up to him to prove his worth which I'm confident he will like he has at every step of his fledgling career.

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Manchester United: Giving Youth A Chance

December 2017


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The busiest month of the season gets underway with seven EPL games along with our final CL game which will decide whether we finish first or not

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Matchday Fifteen

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A poor start to the month as another straight red - this time to Bailly who has been poor and disruptive all season - ultimately costs us three points as we concede in injury time.

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Third Round Draw

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The third round draw is made and we get a very comfortable away game against National League side Tranmere Rovers. Hopefully this will give me the opportunity to blood some young talent which i was robbed of in the Carabao Cup after drawing Watford.

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Matchday Six

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An excellent finish to the group phase as we cement top spot with a crushing victory.

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Matchday Sixteen

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We scrape through with a narrow victory as a brace from Rashford, both assisted by Mata sees us through.

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First Knockout Round Draw

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I'm very happy with this draw as there were some very tough opponents who finished second in their groups including Napoli, Dortmund, City and Chelsea.

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Matchday Seventeen

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Routine three points with Rashford getting back to back braces.

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Just as things were looking up and he was getting into his stride, we lose Rashford for a month. Young, who has mainly been on the periphery is also missing with the same injury and will test our depth over the next few weeks of the festive season.

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Matchday Eighteen

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Our inconsistency rears its head again as Sanchez - Rashford's replacement - has a poor game along with Ibra while i foolishly played around with my tactic which contributed to the dropped points.

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Another injury to a forward, this time Martial in an U23 game to try and get him some fitness. Three ankle injuries in the space of five days is concerning.

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Matchday Nineteen

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Back on track with a resounding victory. Zlatan and Alexis who had a poor time of it against Newcastle run the show here.

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Matchday Twenty

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An historic Boxing Day victory over our Liverpool rivals as mighty Zlatan puts them to the sword with four well taken goals to destroy them once again this season.

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Matchday Twenty-One

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The goals keep on flowing, this time with four past Burnley. It might be wishful thinking but Ibra and Sanchez appears to be working well together.

Player of the Month

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Its hard to go past Zlatan this month with his eleven goals in eight games. The 36 year old is performing well above expectations so far this season.

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League Table

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The gap has been closed this month as the top three gradually pull away from the chasing pack.

Player Stats

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Sanchez and Mata are on top of Goals and Assists respectively at what is close to the halfway point of the season. We have scored an unbelievable amount of goals so far, I wouldnt be surprised if we had all three of them filling this page soon.

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Premier League Awards

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Unsurprisingly Ibra picks up the Player of the Month for his nine goals while i get the Manager award for an undefeated month.
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Is anyone else having trouble with their images on their stories? All of my PL, CL, FA and Carabao Cup graphics have disappeared from my posts and they do not appear when i try to edit the post or do a new update. This is stopping me from continuing to post on this story. I have enquired in the mods forum about this but have had no reply.
Manchester United: Giving Youth A Chance

January 2018


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After the chaos that is December in the UK, we return to the more relaxed January with four PL games and the FA Cup tie with National League Tranmere to look forward to.

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Matchday Twenty Two

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The traditional New Year's fixture goes off without a hitch thanks to goals from Mata and Lingard off the bench.

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Third Round

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After using half of my Reserve and U18's side i didnt expect to dominate as much as we did. The hat-trick to Nishan Burkart was the highlight for me.

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Fourth Round Draw

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Another away tie to lower league opposition, this time a Championship side who should put up more of a fight.

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Matchday Twenty Three

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Another big win, this time against Premier League opposition. Our front three of Ibra, Sanchez and Lukaku could be the most imposing in world football but it was CB Lindelof who stole the show with an incredible treble.

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Matchday Twenty Four

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A straight forward away victory despite them getting one back from the penalty spot late on.

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Just as our front three seemed to be clicking we lose Sanchez for a month.

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Fourth Round

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Passage through to the next round after a comfortable win with a much changed line up. Ethan Hamilton who came in at LWB grabbed two very good assists.

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Fifth Round Draw

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Premier League opposition awaits us next. West Ham have struggled in the league this year and without a magical turnaround could get relegated.

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Matchday Twenty Five

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Our first loss in the league for a while against a Chelsea team down in 7th.

Player of the Month

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It was tough to pick a winner this month as the goals were shared around and there was a lot of rotation but his three goals and two assists in the FA Cup plus his injury curtailing his month means that its his.

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League Table

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It's tight at the top with only a one point gap separating the top three. At the other end of the table Brighton, West Ham and Huddersfield are beginning to drift away at the bottom.

Player Stats

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Sanchez leads the way for us, a goal behind Kane at the top while Mata and Valencia have provided a lot of goals so far.

New Contract

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The board appear happy with my start and have given me a three year contract as a reward.
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Manchester United: Giving Youth A Chance

Winter Transfer Round Up 2017/2018

Arthur Joins For £18.25m Fee

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Believe it or not I hadnt heard of Arthur before my scouts brought him to my attention. Once they did i knew he would be my next signing. I'm happy with my midfield two of Matic and Pogba so didnt want a player who would expect consistent first team football but one that i could develop and Arthur fit the bill perfectly.

Fellaini off to China in the Summer

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Fellaini will be heading to Quanjian in China at the end of the season on a free. Having started only five games and appeared in less than a dozen in total, i wasnt willing to meet his demands of more than £100K per week when i had other options around.

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The Premier League tops the spending again but it was the Chinese Super League that flexed its financial muscle bringing in the likes of Brazilian RB Fagner, Espanyol's Pablo Piatti and Sporting's Sebastian Coates. Real Madrid went big spending a combined £86M on Yacine Brahimi and Inaki Williams.

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Breaking down the Premier League spending, Tottenham surprisingly sprung £29M on Mario, a third right back to join Trippier and Aurier. Will be interesting to see who out of them two will be heading to the exit first. Chelsea were the biggest spenders, outlaying £42M on Alex Telles, Tonny Vilhena and Andre-Pierre Gignac.
Manchester United: Giving Youth A Chance


The Best: FIFA Football Awards 2017
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United New Boy Claims World Golden Ball

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Six months after joining the club striker Alexis Sanchez takes home the award for the best player, scoring 20 goals in 21 games along with 9 assists. He has been brilliant for me this year and barring a couple of injuries he would have had a lot more goals for me. Zlatan was a nice surprise in third place as the 36 year old shows he's not past it.

Barcelona Stalwart Wins Footballer of the Year

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Lionel Messi gets the votes to win the Footballer of the Year ahead of Sanchez and Barca teammate Coutinho. Not sure how a player with half the amount of goals and a similar amounts of assists gets almost twice the amount of votes!

Sanchez Cleans Up World Player of the Year

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Order is restored as Sanchez claims another award with the same two players in the runner up spots.

Slovenian Giant Grabs Goalkeeper of the Year

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Jan Oblak gets the award with 12 clean sheets and only 12 conceded in 21 games. No doubt Simeone's tactics and having Gimenez and Godin in front of him helped.

Two United Players Make Team of the Year

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The United and Barca domination of these awards continue as we provide two and they provide three in the starting eleven along with one each on the bench. Happy to see Mata get recognised for his assists as he has been played in a few different positions this season but has always produced.

United Starlet Takes Home European Golden Boy

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​Finally, Marcus Rashford claims the Golden Boy award for his outstanding year. He hasn't always been a fixture of the starting eleven but seems to get the goals when he is involved. He scored more goals and the same amount of assists as Messi which is impressive for 20 year old.
any chance of seeing your current tactics mate?

great story so far

Thanks Mate.

I'm a fair way ahead of where the story is at on here so although my current tactic is still a 3-4-3 it is a fair way away in terms of player roles and instructions etc and i dont think i have a copy saved, i usually just amend the one I'm using.
no worries mate - in that can i ask for advice.

im trying to use lukaku with rashford and martial on either side of him..... any advice on how to use them together?

using a 5-2-3/3-4-3
no worries mate - in that can i ask for advice.

im trying to use lukaku with rashford and martial on either side of him..... any advice on how to use them together?

using a 5-2-3/3-4-3

Thats a tough one. I have very rarely used both of them together in a three, i almost always have a left footer on the right (Mata or Lukaku) with Ibra through the middle. Sanchez has played 90% of the games on the left and has done really well. Whenever Rashford or Martial have played on the left they usually score but can be wildly inconsistent (It's not unexpected that Rashford will score a double with a 9.2 rating then follow it up with a 6.1 next game). I've used them as an Advanced Forward as that seems to work for Sanchez and the balance for the rest of the team. My tip would be to experiment with what works in regards to the other players around him but i would start with Advanced Forward.