Welcome to my second season update, readers. Since my last blog post about our squad improvements I’ve been playing this save alongside my PSV save so I don’t get too far ahead before having the time to blog about my progress with my beloved West Ham.
I feel you Vincent, I feel you but this season will be different, we’ve signed some quality players and addressed the areas we identified at the end of last season and I’m sure we’ll hit the ground running when the season starts.
Maybe not! Although we would never have planned to beat Manchester City or Liverpool the reality was 3 games, 3 losses in what felt like an all too familiar feeling for a West Ham supporter. I made a change to the system pushing my wing-backs, Galeno & Dilrosun up to the winger position in an attempt to push the opposition back and take advantage of the talent we possessed in attack. This lead to a five game winning streak which really kick started our season and as we moved through October and November we found ourselves sitting in 8th position. Then Dirty December happened:
Only one loss you might say, but it was a horrible month to play through, we just couldn’t buy a win and just about scraped by scoring 2 goals in a month.
As we moved in to 2021 we welcomed back Javairo Dilrosun from injury and with that the balance in our squad was restored. Having an explosive attacking wide player rather than a restrictive defensive player (Cresswell) meant we really piled the pressure on from both sides and with our central midfield three of Rice, Camavinga and Fornals there really weren’t many better midfields in the Premier League and our upturn in form really reflected this. We lost four games in the second half of the season and scored 42 goals in 18 games, a stark difference if you compare that to our December form.
We finished the 2020/21 season in 7th place qualifying for the Europa Conference League (?) and the board graded the season as a B as we’re on course to be recognised as ‘best of the rest’.
You wouldn’t be surprised if I told you that the three highest rated players in my squad were Dilrosun, Galeno & Haller. Last season I identified that full backs were getting a lot of scoring opportunities so I tested playing inside forwards at full back to see if their attacking attributes would create more goals per chance, which it did to some degree but left us very isolated in defending transitions. So we started this season with attacking full backs and ended with attacking wingers and the results speak for themselves. Haller picked up the Golden Boot for the second season in succession.
This season was consistently inconsistent mainly due to injuries to some key players who we didn’t have good enough back up for so I’ll make sure that our ’22’ is strengthened. We’ll also be trimming the squad, we have a huge wage bill for players that just don’t get game time so out with the expensive and in with the potential.
2021 will see the departure of Jack Wilshere and captain Mark Noble. Now whilst I’m not his biggest fan in real life, Noble is a great player to have in the squad, his mental attributes are second to none and he really has a great influence over his teammates, I will try and recruit a replacement but I don’t think there’s another Mr West Ham out there. Wilshere will be a loss as I’d have hoped for nothing more that him to rekindle the form he had at Arsenal, he’s one of football’s natural talents but injury has got the better of him and for £100k p/w I really need to get him off the wage bill.
Thanks for reading. With the Covid-19 lock down in place I’m sure I’ll get more time to play and write about this save, but keep an eye on my Twitter feed @FridayNightFM for updates and also on the 5 Star Potential Podcast where I’ll be discussing the save every Monday.