#FM Stafford charges into the Premiership

Well the Moors stormed into the premiership on the back of a fairly successful Championship campaign where they only lost 3 matches and notched up 100 points. We played a 442 formation for the majority of the season, as part of my attempt to create a Dummy Guide to A 442. The season featured scintillating matches where we scored like 30 goals in 6 matches and some gripping personal highlights including our first and probably our last double-hat trick in league competition.

Promotion brings with it a touch of anguish as you need to make cold hearted decisions on the future of your players. We prepped our assault on the Championship with at least 24 players. Our reserves were as good as our first teamers, but not everyone is good enough for the premiership. So we spent the close season searching out bargain free transfers. Bargain in terms of wage demands. We’ve now replaced 9 of the players with talent we hope, desperately hope, will be enough. And for the first time I’ve stuck my neck out promising a mid table finish, so that I could eke out a larger contribution to our wage budget.

The single most important key to overachievement is player selection. We have peppered our side with a bit more steel at the back and some creativity in the middle of the park. Another two strikers have been added to our stable of 3. My hit men were getting struck down by the Injury Assassin towards the end of last season. I was worried my reputation was going to rival Bilardo’s with the high number of yellow cards we were getting last season. We were fined numerous times last season for our rough play, but it got us this far.

Survival is our priority for our first 10 games. The goal will be not concede…lol. I think that’s wishful thinking. In real life simulating this kind of performance is almost inconceivable, the thought that a bunch of players who were playing amateur football when they were 17 and are now playing in the premiership must surely be fantastical. Paul said this could never happen and it has, Stafford are in the premiership and we need to contend with faster, technically more competent and physically much stronger opponents. How do teams do that?

In the late 60s Estudiantes in Argentina did just that. Bilardo took a young bunch of players and moulded them into a physical bully that punched above its weight plunging football into utter chaos. A win was a win. In today’s game do that and you could be forced to forfeit a game.

We need to come up with a plan to establish ourselves, we are in preseason, my attempts at 532 failed abysmally in our first friendly as we lost to Blackpool. I changed to a 4312 and we won our next match 3-0, and then a 442 got us another win. But the 442 won’t do, as a formation it demands physical presence, historically every team that’s struggled has failed to meet those demands. The options I am considering:

 

  • 4132 Wingless wonders

 

 

Keep it narrow lock down the fullbacks and exploit the middle. Most teams have a porous centre if we can pull the midfield apart as they close down then we have a chance. Still though the flanks will demand a lot of attention

 

  • 41221 or 433 as the AI calls it

 

 

This formation has some merits but it desperately screams out for support from the fullbacks and the DLF. It’s a solid formation Mourinho used it, its fairly popular, yet again to full exploit it we need pacy inside forwards

 

  • 5122

 

 

I’ve been thinking about this a while but this is a totally new formation we’ve never used it may be a good defensive formation along with my

 

  • False Ten

 

 

There are several ways we can set this up, but I reckon as a deep 4231 played high this could end up being a deceptively resilient formation. The last time I used such a formation was in the conference.

This all depends on how my players adapt to training, so the plan will be to start with my 41221 and go counter against Everton and pray we don’t lose, and then have the False 10 as another tactic, simply because it uses the same players, finally the 5122 though I have my reservations I will keep this on standby. In all the other leagues we usually had 3-5 teams that were superior to us in every regard, now we have the whole league. For once I don’t know, we will need to adapt as the season unfolds, hopefully we settle on a survival formula before November.

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