The second season strangeness
I don't know if this is a common problem, but if you were paying attention to the fixtues on my last post, you could see that we already played Wolves and Manchester United twice in the league despite it's only October.
Is it a bug, is it a feature... Who knows, but I for one don't care about it too much. It's not a big deal but it can skew the league table a little bit.
During the next span of games I started to realise that I've made some mistakes with my squad. I don't like to have a big squad but this time around I had too little options and when the fixture list got congested we had a dip in form.
Let's start with our remaining three UCL match ups and it was quite a mixed bag of results. First we had 3-3 draw against Inter. The game was surprisingly open and I started to see that my tactics weren't as waterproof as they were in my first season.
3-3 draw was followed by a 4-0 victory and revenge over FC Barcelona who had previously battered us 3-0. Our players wanted to prove themselves and now we have a tiebraker over Barcelona as we beat them by bigger margin than they did us. This game also guaranteed that we will advance to the knockout stage as other teams in the group had mixed results too.
In our final group game we were matched up with RB Leipzig. We lost 6-2 in what was my worst game as a manager of Newcastle United. Barcelona blew their game too, so we managed to win the group with a low total of 10 points.
Premier League games were sort of a mixed bag too. We had some nice wins but also heavy 4-0 defeat to Liverpool. We had poor results especially in January as we played 5 consecutive draws.
On a more positive note we managed to advance to the League Cup Final with 6-1 aggregate score over Chelsea.
However, the main conclusion from these games and boring 0-0 and 1-1 draws is that I need to tailor my tactics. The 4-4-2 tactic is good when I'm playing as an underdog but when I'm facing teams I'm supposed to win, it doesn't offer quite as much going forward as I'd like. This was the case in last season too as teams like WBA, West Ham and Wolves managed to get good results against us.
The team has grown and the tactics need to evolve as well, but more on that on the next post!