Season 2022: Season Review
A Review Of FC Honka Espoo In Season 2022
We had been making staggering progress in recent seasons, and we were keen to push forward. We were under no illusions, however, that taking the foot of the gas for one second would have left the door open for HJK to regain their crown as Finland's best, and we were determined to not let that happen.
Ludvig Jansson Cost The Club A Small Fortune To Sign
Major Transfers In
(Name - Age - Position - Fee - Signed From)
Astrit Radovanovic - 18 (12/08/2003) - DC - €800,000 - FK Partizan
Big things were expected of Radovanovic. Standing at 201cm, he was an aerial presence to be reckoned with, and had been likened to former Serbian legend Nemanja Vidić. He was an ideal candidate to fit in to the squad at the heart of our defence, alongside Andrea Punzi.
Ludvig Jansson - 19 (21/12/2002) - MC - €2,600,000 - IF Brommapojkarna
He cost the club a small fortune, but we were confident in his abilities. The teenage Swedish playmaker had already earned himself 60 senior club appearances, and we were hoping he would become the tempo setter in our midfield. His technical ability on the ball, combined with his passing range, likened him to Xavi. Jansson was the hottest thing to come from Sweden since Zara Larsson.
Valentin Rosier - 26 (19/08/1996) - DR - €0 - Free Transfer
While Hauksson had been doing an incredible job at full back for us, we were still in the market for a better solution. Rosier provided us with a more attacking option, with years of senior experience. The Frenchman was most recently at Dijon, playing regularly in Ligue 1. However, he failed to agree a new contract with the club in the summer of 2022, and we picked him up on a free.
Major Transfers Out
(Name - Age - Position - Fee - Signed For)
Filip Hlupik - 30 (30/04/1991) - AMR - €250,000 -
There was no doubting the impact he had at Honka. Hlupik became a cult hero of sorts, scoring a vast number of important goals for the club. The 2020 season was undoubtedly his best at the club, as he scored 37 goals in all competitions. Unfortunately for Hlupik, the arrivals of Yan Dhanda and Santeri Hostikka in recent seasons meant he dropped down the pecking order, and he left to AC Oulu in search of regular football.
Otso Virtanen - 27 (03/04/1994) - GK - €200,000 - Aston Villa
Virtanen's Honka career was certainly a disappointing one. Within days of him joining the club in 2020, Thomas Axberg emerged from the club's youth ranks, securing the senior spot straight away. Micky Senior, another talented goalkeeper, had also emerged from the club's famous youth system since, pushing Virtanen to become third choice goalkeeper. He played thirteen games in his time at Honka, before leaving for Aston Villa, and the money.
Our scouts in Africa came up with some very promising youngsters, who we signed on either free transfers or low fees. Youssouf Sylla and Patrice Ouattara were the most promising of these.
There were a number of fringe players who found themselves leaving the club. Abdou Aziz Thiam, Lázaro and Robert Taylor were among the bigger names who left the club throughout 2022.
Honka Won Their Opening Twenty-Two League Games In 2022
The domination continued. An opening day hammering of PKKU set the tone as we won each our opening twenty-two league games. This run of form included high-scoring victories over TPS and SJK, where our goal scoring prowess came to the fore. Defeat against FC Inter Turku in mid-July upset the tone, but we bounced back to remain unbeaten for the rest of the season.
Honka's 90 Point Haul Was Superior To The Rest
With just one defeat all season, there was never any doubt about who would win the league. Both our offensive and defensive records were on a different level to the rest of the competition, displaying our superiority. The goal for the next season would be to beat each tally.
Honka Marched To More Suomen Cup Glory Once Again
It wasn't pretty, but we got the trophy in the end. We didn't face any of the big teams (HJK being the only 'big' team), and so I allowed the backup brigade to have their fun in the cup. Another piece of silverware to celebrate, but certainly not a priority in the grand scheme of things.
UEFA Champions League 2021/2022 Latter Rounds
Real Madrid Produced Professional Displays To Defeat Honka
Coming up against Real Madrid was a privilege, especially in a round of the competition which we were never expected to reach. We failed to score in either leg, but we kept the scoreline quite close. Real Madrid progressed, while we took great experience away from playing against Europe's most successful club.
UEFA Champions League 2022/2023 Earlier Rounds
Honka Proved To Be A Force Against Europe's Elite
Defeat against Real Madrid in March did little to demotivate our players going in to the new Champions League season. We stormed, quite emphatically at that, to the group stages of the competition, where we faced the group of death. Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli offered thrilling encounters, against three of Europe's finest clubs.
Despite being very much against the odds, we knew that we could take any team at home, but it was our away form which we needed to keep solid. We kept that in mind during our trip to PSG, but were cut open by Neymar & Co. in a narrow 0-1 defeat. Desperate to fight for some sort of result, we took the game to Dortmund at home. Going a goal down early own seemed to inspire our players, as we staged a dramatic comeback which was sealed by a stoppage time Bjarne Hilska winner! This was the kickstart we needed, as we comfortably defeated Napoli at home, but again suffered defeat away. A draw at home to PSG set up an interesting final day, where we knew a draw would send us through to the Last 16, while anything less would see us play Europa League football. We parked the bus in Germany, against a determined Dortmund side, and we held out for passage to the Last 16.
FC Honka Team Of The Season
Honka's Attacking Midfielders Were The Key Components In 2022
GK: Thomas Axberg - 7.18
46 Appearances - 23 Clean Sheets - 26 Goals Conceded - 1 Player of the Match
Another solid season for the young goalkeeper. Axberg was quickly picking up invaluable experience, and kept a clean sheet in every second game. He was growing in to a top keeper and we were determined to hold on to him for his entire career, at his boyhood club.
DR: Haukur Hauksson - 7.27
51 Appearances - 0 Goals - 3 Assists - 1 Player of the Match
While Rosier's arrival towards the end of the season did see Hauksson displaced, the Icelandic defender did very well. His defensive skills came to the fore in a consistent season, and he even contributed three assists.
DCR: Andrea Punzi (C) - 7.30
53 Appearances - 5 Goals - 1 Assist - 1 Player of the Match
Captain on the pitch, Punzi lead by example. The Italian defender proved to be rock solid and dependable, and he lead his line well. He made Honka a hard side to break down, especially in a crunch match away to Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League.
DCL: Astrit Radovanovic - 7.40
42 Appearances - 3 Goals - 1 Assist - 3 Player of the Match
Not a bad debut season at all! The Serbian giant was in incredible form alongside Punzi, and showed his potential on many occasions. His performances in Europe brought the attention of Europe's top clubs, and many large bids were expected to come in for Astrit.
DL: Dragan Obradovic - 7.30
35 Appearances - 0 Goals - 4 Assists - 1 Player of the Match
Astrit's compatriot, Dragan Obradovic, was quickly becoming an integral part of the squad. The attacking full back was quickly developing in to a force in defence and attack, and had many suitors presenting large bids for him.
MCR: Ludvig Jansson - 7.15
37 Appearances - 4 Goals - 1 Assist - 0 Player of the Match
A superb debut season for Jansson, as he played a key role for the side in midfield. His passing range, as well as his ability to take the ball under pressure, made him invaluable in Europe, and he showed the world why big things were expected of him.
MCL: Jere Karlsson - 7.45
43 Appearances - 4 Goals - 11 Assists - 5 Player of the Match
Mister reliable! The young Finnish midfielder played superbly in a ball winning role, often winning possession high up the pitch and charging forward with real danger. He was directly involved in fifteen goals, scoring four of them, in a superb season.
AMR: Yan Dhanda - 7.41
38 Appearances - 16 Goals - 11 Assists - 4 Player of the Match
Dhanda's first full season at the club proved he had what it took to become a top player. He had to settle in to an unfamiliar role and position, on the right hand side of attacking midfield/wing, but his goal contribution was phenomenal. Still at a young age, he was expected to develop much further and improve these numbers tremendously.
AMC: Marlon Ritter - 7.46
46 Appearances - 12 Goals - 18 Assists - 10 Player of the Match
In Hilska's absence, due to the World Cup falling halfway through the Finnish domestic season, Ritter stepped up his game and proved to be crucial. The German attacking midfielder scored twelve goals, and provided an incredible eighteen assists as he showed his relentless style of play. His set-piece skills were invaluable, and made him a threat from any range.
AML: Juha Tuomi - 7.44
37 Appearances - 12 Goals - 17 Assists - 6 Player of the Match
He was quickly becoming a top top top top top top top player. What he contributed, in terms of goals and assists, was phenomenal for a player of his style. A traditional winger by nature, we had trained him in to a dangerous inside forward, and the results were impressive.
ST: Jani Roschier - 7.18
53 Appearances - 38 Goals - 7 Assists - 7 Player of the Match
Every successful side has a prolific striker leading the line, and Roschier was our prolific striker in 2022. His 38 goal haul in all competitions proved his value to the club, and we were hoping for similar seasons in the future.
Spain Held On To Their World Cup Title
The 2018 World Cup champions held on to the 2022 edition. Spain were in strong form, and almost completed an exact replica of their 2010 title, as they defeated Holland in the final. This made it three wins out of four World Cups for Spain, who were truly the best in the world.
Bernardo Silva of Manchester City and Portugal was the Ballon d'Or winner. The wide attacker pipped Isco and Paul Dybala to the award, making it a second consecutive season where neither Messi or Ronaldo won the award.
, we're not totally alone, tenthreeleader
is always a consistent figure here on these forums!
, knowing Simeone's reputation, he would find a way to make me regret that day off!
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