One Last FM21 Hoorah - Sorting Out The Arsenal!

FM_TNSSO

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There's no denying it....Arsenal are a club in turmoil. Every Arsenal fan that was calling for Arsene Wenger's head must be rueing the day he left the club as the North Londoners have been on a steady decline since the Frenchman left. Unai Emery, Freddie Ljungberg and Mikel Arteta have not really been able to steady the ship and whilst the team around them have improved year on year, Arsenal have fallen well behind the likes of Manchester United, Man City, Liverpool and dare I say it, Tottenham! Even Leicester are a safer bet for a top 6 finish than Arsenal these days and with the likes of Aston Villa and Everton breathing down the Gunner's necks, things don't look like getting any easier.

Enter Chris Ball - saviour of North London we hope! I don't normally start my FM stories so high up the ladder but with only about 7-8 weeks before the release of FM22, there was no point starting long, long term save and instead I thought I'd have a bit of fun with a 'top' team.

I have downloaded the latest data update so Messi is at PSG, Ronaldo is at Man Utd etc... That does also mean I have the likes of new signings Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Albert Lokonga and Martin Odegaard at my disposal. Odegaard is without a doubt the pick of the bunch!

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With the money recently forked out, the board have high expectations and want me to secure Champions League football in my first season in charge. I'll be honest...I think it's an unrealistic expecttaion with the current squad and only £11 million left to spend, but we'll give it a good go!

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I'll be needing to spend that £11 million to bring in a decent centre back I think. In a very weak defence, only Kieran Tierney and Gabriel have a rating about 3 stars from my Assistant on potential ability. Ben White will probably improve, but £50 million for a player of his ability seems a bit steep if I'm honest.

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So with a s**t defence and an underperforming attacking force, let's get this adventure underway and see if we can bring some virtual joy to the Arsenal fans!
 
I identified the need for another centre back in my opening post and I wasted no time in getting one in. Rafael Toloi comes in from Atalanta for a fee of just £15 million which is an absolute bargain (we paid £11 million up front with £4 million in add ons). He could form a formidable partnership at the back with his fellow countryman Gabriel.

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One player I really don't rate at Arsenal is young striker Eddie Nketiah. However, I appreciate he could improve hugely so I didn't want to sell him off immediately. Instead, he joins PSV on loan for the rest of the season and he should get plenty of football in Holland at a decent competitive level.


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Another player I don't think much of is Sead Kolasinac, so when Lyon came in with an offer of £13 million I was more than happy to accept! It clears his ridiculous £100k wage off the bill as well!

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After a few friendlies, my first competitive game in charge saw us lift the Community Shield after a narrow victory over Liverpool. Not the worst way to kick off my career!

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Two more friendlies followed and the start of the Premier League season is upon us...

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...and the bookies fancy us for a top 6 finish this season, although top 4 seems out of reach and challenging for the title is almost out of the question.

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Our first game of the season presented a tough challenge against a Man Utd squad that was now boasting the likes of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and the return of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. Despite that, it was us who made the bright start when Nicolas Pepe hammered home from close range as early as the 2nd minute. When they equalised only 9 minutes later, it looked like it might be an absolute goalfest but as it turned out, they were actually the only two goals of the game as we open our season with a draw.

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I fully expected us to batter newly promoted Norwich, especially after they were thrashed 3-0 on the opening day by Man City. Now it wasn't a battering but the win was comfortable enough and we chalk up our first league victory of the season.

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My first taste of cup action was a third round encounter with Everton in the Carabao Cup. After a very even game, it took a penalty shootout to settle the tie and we came out on top.

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I was pleased to get through as I rested a few first team players. 19 year old striker Luca Godioli managed to bag himself a debut goal.

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Just a few days later we were facing Everton again, this time in the Premier League and I was back to fielding a full strength side. And what an eventful game it was! We were 4-0 up and cruising at half time, but somehow only won the game 5-4 with the most mental of 90th minutes you'll ever see!

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So after 3 games, we remain unbeaten in the Premier League, whilst Southampton have made a surprisingly good start and are the only side with a 100% record!

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