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FM19 - The Foxes, an LCFC tale

A trip to the Midlands and 2016 Champions of England, Leicester City FC.
Started on 12 June 2019 by FMSunflash / First Post
Latest Reply on 17 July 2019 by Justice / Last Post
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It's like Brendan never existed. Rogers is sacked with immediate effect, and Mr Sunflash takes the reigns.

Pre Pre Season – Post #1

Let’s take a look at the starting squad. Ideally I would like to work with a small 1st team squad of 22 players, 2 for each position.

Out on loan are Slimani, King, Kapustka, Silva, Benkovic and Diabate. Here is what we start with.

GK: Schmeichel, Ward, and Jakupovic

RB: Pereira and Simpson

LB: Chilwell and Fuchs

CB: Maguire, Evans, Morgan, and Soyuncu

DM: Ndidi and Mendy

CM: Tielemans (L), Maddison, Choudhury, Amartey, and James

RW: Barnes and Ghezzal

LW: Gray and Albrighton

CF: Vardy, Iheanacho, and Okazaki

Leicester have a decent enough 1st XI but beyond that the quality level is low, and aging. I will look to promote youth from the U23s and U18s if possible, to supplement the squad. The formation I will look to use is the 433 with a DM and wide Inside Forwards either side of a lone front man. We will operate with a high attacking line and press from the front (Vardy’s specialty) with Chilwell and Pereira providing width. Ndidi will operate as a Half Back and make a 3 at the back when in possession.

In terms of moving players on, Danny Simpson is a wanted man, and at his age probably won’t be for much longer. Okazaki is also unlikely to secure another work permit and has asked to leave the club. I won’t stand in either players way. Simpson duly moves to Southampton for £5.75m, and Okazaki moves the day after the English window closes to Shakhtar for £3m rising to £3.7m. No other players are for sale as I’m prepared to give everyone a chance in the 1st half of the season.

I have already identified one or two positions in which we are not particularly strong and have the feelers out.

I’m looking for a RB to compete with Pereira and replace Danny Simpson. Young and English would be perfect but at this point with a limited budget it may need to be a stop gap from a lesser division. I’ve specifically targeted Max Aarons, Josh Vagnoman, Kevin Mbabu and as a more experienced option, Nathaniel Clyne.

The next position I am looking to add to is on the wing. While Gray and Barnes are good prospects, it isn’t fair to rely on them in my opinion. Albrighton and Ghezzal are my second choice for either wing and will likely suffer if wingers are brought in.

We are expected by the board to finish top half which i think is achievable. A couple of signings and we may sneak into the Europa League places. A couple of cup runs would be nice too, especially if the big boys don’t take the League Cup too seriously.
Good luck with the Foxes, they have some incredibly prospects in the form of Chilwell and Maddison - assets which will be incredibly difficult to hold onto in the future. There are elements of weakness in this squad, but you seem to have formulated a good strategy to push this club forward.
Definitely, there are a few potential stars in the squad, so hopefully we can place high enough to keep them happy.
Pre Season – Post #2

I like to play a lot of friendly games as it allows me to tweak my tactic and see which players are best suited for it. It also allows any new signings to bed in with their teammates so they can hit the ground running come August.
11 are arranged including 1 just after our 1st game in the Premier League. This is to compensate for our main annoyance of this pre-season, the World Cup. Several players are still on international duty when the friendlies come around. Our opening game in the Premier League is Fulham at home. You can see the Aldershot game nestled in nicely after that game. Anyone that doesn’t play on the opening day will start and most will get 90 minutes. This includes our World Cup lads.



We started with a home game against CSKA, with a squad full of youth players and 2nd stringers, and promptly lost 1-0.
However, we started to gel a bit more and the results started to pick up. Here is the rest of July including a love tour of Belgium where we were only embarrassed once.



We’ve lined up in a 433 so far with flying wing backs and inside forwards. A half back in the DM role really balances the side nicely giving a solid base and a platform from which to attack. I normally like a DLP but the half back intrigued me and Ndidi looks to have the attributes to perform the role well.
You’ll notice a couple of new names on the score sheet, Kevin Mbabu was quickly signed after I was priced out of anyone else, for £10m with add-ons on the 9th July, followed quickly by Croatian starlet Antonio Marin. Mbabu will replace Danny Simpson, and challenge Pereira for the starting XI spot. Marin is competition for our wingers and i’m looking to retrain him as a CF. His height and speed can make him a real asset up top. Demarai Gray was looking promising at CF getting on the end of crosses which was unexpected.
August – Let’s get this party started
A few friendlies to go and our players are starting to come back from the World Cup and subsequent holidays. We have a tough game against Udinese at home and then a couple of (what I hope are) games against easier opposition to get the forwards firing.



Just before that though, a bit of transfer news to excite the fans.
“Leicester City have completed the signing of LOSC winger Nicolas Pepe for a fee of £21m (Rising to £31m). The Ivorian forward has signed a 4-year deal”
A real coup for the club although in real life he was yet to have his breakout season.
The new man makes an instant impact, scoring on his debut. Wes Morgan scores and will start the season partnering Evans at the back. A red card for Gray for a reckless challenge threatened to spoil the day but we were always in control and Maddison added a 3rd.



This was the runout our forwards were craving, and they didn’t disappoint. Pepe with another cutting in from the right and braces for Iheanacho, Gray and Ghezzal. A good day at the office.



Our final pre-season game before the start of the Premier League against Shamrock. An opportunity for a number of players to play for the 1st time this season.
A goal for Vardy, and a professional performance. Okazaki scored in what would be his last outing in a Leicester shirt.



That concludes our pre season games, except for the aforementioned Aldershot game. Some goods wins considering the players are learning a new way of playing. Delighted with my signings and hope they can push us onto the next level. See you soon for part 3 where we kick off the Premier League season.
A (mainly) successful pre-season overall. The likes of Demari Gray stand out as strong performers over the set of results. You have a clear plan in everything you set out, which is admirable and something I appreciate as a reader, getting to know the insight of your plans. It's brave to host friendlies just days prior to the season beginning, though. I like it though. Looking forward to seeing how your tactic(s) fair in the competitive league season.
Onto the serious stuff now…



Premier League games against Fulham (H), Arsenal (A) and Cardiff (H) with a Carabao Cup game at home to Norwich. Realistically, 6 points would be excellent from August and safe passage into the next round of the cup.

WELCOME BACK FULHAM



It never normally goes like this does it? A stunning opening day display with debut goals for Pepe and Tielemans. Iheanacho started up front ahead of Vardy who wasn’t quite fit and took his chance. A goal from a corner for the skipper Wes Morgan and the game was done at half time. Demarai Gray added the cherry(ies) with a couple more before Fulham put 11 behind the ball and we played out 30 mins of nothing. The perfect start for us.

ARSENAL GOT FM’D



If we were stunning in match day one, we were the opposite here. Arsenal absolutely battered us from minute 1. We somehow got in at half time level thanks to the woodwork 3 times and Kasper Schmeichel numerous more. A quick change of formation at half time to make us more solid. We looked to play a bit more direct for the runs of Vardy. It worked to a point. He was fouled by Mustafi on the edge of the box and Maddison curled home. Cue another onslaught by the Gunners. We held on and brought Maguire on for his first minutes of the season to go 5 at the back for the last 15. Chilwell, now with a bit more freedom finds himself on the end of a Pereira cross and does the rest. SCENES!!! We go ultra defensive for the final 10 mins and Arsenal look to have run out of ideas. A late Lacazette goal spoils the day slightly, but we don’t mind at all. What a start.

PROFESSIONAL DISPLAY BY THE FOXES



We weren’t great, Cardiff we worse. They set up for a 0-0 and were out of the game by half time. Mbabu in his first start of the season claimed his maiden goal. And Pepe, again cutting in from the right just inside the box and curling into the far corner. Both teams played out a drab 0-0 in the 2nd half which suits me.

CANARIES BRUSHED ASIDE



A fine day for Jamie Vardy as he scored his 1st, 2nd and 3rd goals of the season. After sitting the Prem games out for Iheancho he staked his claim with a fine performance. For the 3rd time in 4 games we finish an opponent before half time. Starts for Barnes, Marin, Choudhury make for a pleasing glimpse of the potential in the club. Pepe climbs off the bench to add his 3rd of the season.

August Review

So there you have it, 14 goals scored and 1 conceded in our 1st 4 games. Our World Cup players will start to feature more next month so hopefully that doesn’t interrupt our flow. Unbelievably no manager of the moth award. City are top with a better goal difference having also beaten Liverpool on the opening day. Nicolas Pepe is my player of the month. We sit nicely in 2nd place just behind them on 9 points.
What a dream start to the season!
September

Some more tough games in September including an away trip to Spurs on Saturday evening.



LOVELY DAY AT THE COAST



Business as usual so it seems for this group of players. Morgan is continuing to keep out England hero Maguire, and opens the scoring. Brighton rarely threaten and we play out much of the game without incident. Harvey Barnes gets his 1st of the season after coming on as a late sub. 4 out of 4.

TOFFEES CHEWED UP AND SPAT OUT



Everton came into this game on the back of 1 win in 4, so FM being FM, I assumed it was a perfect chance for them to get some form back. Not so, it was an even game in the 1st half before Demarai Gray scored his 1st since the opening day. Evans added a header from a corner early in the 2nd half and the game was virtually over. Pepe, as he does, scored a curling effort from just inside the box. A bit of a trademark and seemingly a great replacement for Mahrez.

A BIT SPURSY



Spurs had won their opening 3 games but slipped to some high scoring draws against Newcastle and Cardiff in the next 2. We set up more defensively as we did in the 2nd half against Arsenal. It worked to perfection. Tottenhams high line was perfect for Jamie Vardy who scored twice after a Demarai Gray 25 yarder. Lamela scored after half time but we held firm despite the pressure. 6 from 6 and if it wasn’t for Man City, we’d be top of the league.

CITY OUT AFTER SPIRITED COMEBACK



A perfect opportunity to play some of our fringe players who must have been itching to play in this team. We led, they equalised, we led, they equalised, we led, you guessed it. A Ghezzal own goal deep into injury time.

Some good penalties saw us through in a very even game. Big Wes Morgan with the 5th.

SAINTS DESTROY FOXES



Well…

Danny Ings tore us apart. Southampton did to us as we did to Spurs. Morgan and Evans as a partnership were all at sea. We got back into it through Ben Chilwell, only to concede another 2. No excuses. A sour way to end September, but 18 points from 21 is nearly half way to being safe from relegation ;)

In other news City are top, with 21 points, going for a century again.

September Review

Through to the next round of the cup, and 3 wins from 4 in the league. Very happy manager, players, fans and board. Left winger Demarai Gray is my player of the month.
Another remarkable month, ignoring the Southampton defeat. The Bristol City game must have been fantastic for the neutral!
2019-06-20 09:18#257788 ScottT : Another remarkable month, ignoring the Southampton defeat. The Bristol City game must have been fantastic for the neutral!

Southampton was a kick in the teeth but this game has a habit of doing that to you. We're above where I expected us to be at this point so I can be pretty level headed about the result.

The Bristol game was a classic case of a few players that hadn't played enough minutes, and the defending was poor at times. I guess that's why they are the 2nd string.
October – Can we catch City?

4 games this month starting with Chelsea at Home.

ALL SQUARE AT THE KING POWER



A blistering start from the boys and James Maddison opening the scoring inside 2 minutes. Chelsea threatened throughout and were rewarded when Eden Hazard waltzed through and scored. Not much happened in the 2nd half and a draw was a fair result. Our 1st dropped points at home though.

LOAN RANGER WINS IT



Youri Tielemans, how I wish you were my player. After the international break, the loanee centre midfielder scored two from the edge of the box against a stubborn Burnley side. They didn’t start to play until 2-0 down and might have equalised when Barnes hit the bar in injury time. A pleasing win.

FOXES TAME THE WOLVES



Tielemans like Pepe seems to have a trademark, thunderbastards from the edge of the box. Hamza Choudhury playing instead of Maddison adds a 2nd. Wolves offer nothing and are languishing near the bottom of the table. Might be an opportunity to nab a player or two come the seasons end. City are still top, without dropping points…Ominous for the rest.

BURNLEY CAN FUCK OFF



It’s so unfair sometimes this game. Hendrick opened the scoring as our changed side took 25 minutes to get going. They completely shut up shop and we couldn’t break through. I ended the game with 2 defenders and 5 attackers. Out of the League Cup which is very annoying. Some of the players involved may have played their last game for the club as the team is very settled for league games so not much room for rotation.

October Review

More good league results including a draw with Chelsea. Going out of the league cup, at home too is tremendously disappointing. Youri Tielemans the stand out player of the month, someone that I am going to seriously try and bring in permanently.

November – City actually drop some points.

I looked at this month before the season started as a good opportunity for points. Hopefully we can continue our good form. Only 1 loss so far against Southampton.



JAMIE VARDY’S HAVING A PARTY



Jamie Vardy with his 2nd Hat trick of the season. Newcastle hadn’t won since early September and it showed. Another 1st half masterclass from the Foxes. Maddison adding the other goal. We cruised through the 2nd half.

HONOURS EVEN AT LONDON STADIUM



The following weekend we travelled to the capital and it was obvious we weren’t right. We duly conceded early and our defender were making Lucas look like prime Ronaldo. Arnautovic missed a fair few chances in the 1st half. I threw 17 year old Antonio Marin on and he made the difference. We’ll take it and get out of here.

MARIN STRIKES AGAIN



The reward for his saving display against West Ham was a start for Antonio Marin. He scored again inside 5 minutes and terrorised Tommy Smith. Tielemans and Maddison added goals in the 1st half, before a Lossl own goal finished it off. 13 games, 10 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss. Plenty of goals from our midfielders which is very pleasing.

FOXES STRIKE LUCKY



We ended November with a fortunate 0-0 versus Bournemouth. They dominated for large parts and after the hour mark I took my medicine and accepted a point. We are not as good away from home but remained unbeaten during the month.

November Review – We still sit in 2nd place, City are miles ahead. Liverpool and Man Utd are around us waiting to pounce. Player of the month, Antonio Marin. A couple of goals from the teenager, making his mark.

December – The big boys come to town



A potentially difficult month which will require the full squad. we have 6 games including 3 in a week around Christmas.

FOXES FORWARDS BLUNT



Leicester rested a few players with the big games coming up and it cost them. A Wes Morgan goal early on and all was rosy but Palace were far better 2nd half and got a deserved equaliser. Palace then shut up shop and took a draw back to South East London.

LEICESTER STUNG BY HORNETS



Manager Law persisted with the team that drew against Palace and the results were dreadful. 3-0 loss and could’ve been more.

RESULT OF THE SEASON SO FAR



This is why we rested players however. 1-0 down early on to Lukaku who was bullying our backline. Youri stepped up again and Harry Maguire bulleted a header from a corner. Lukaku with the equalizer, again a ball in behind our defence. We dropped deeper for the 2nd half and Lukaku didn’t get a sniff. A classic Vardy counter attack goal set us up nicely to defend deep and counter. Iheanacho finished the game off playing on the right wing. 17 games. 11 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses.

BACK TO BUSINESS FOR FOXES



Reverse fixture of the opening day and it was much the same result. A Nicolas Pepe goal set us on our way and we didn’t look back. Vardy seems to have discovered his scoring touch and Tielemans continues to be our most consistent performer adding the gloss.

CHAMPIONS ELECT?



City were good, very good, far too good for us. We managed to score from a set piece to give ourselves a chance but Sterling put them back in front almost instantly. The win keeps City at the top of the league. We are 9 points off the top. Liverpool next at Anfield.



LUCKY LEICESTER SURVIVE ONSLAUGHT



Not much to be said. We defended like lions, they had 3 disallowed, hit the woodwork numerous times. Lovely stuff.

December Review – 3rd place is ours for now with Man Utd breathing down our necks. We do have a gap to Watford in 5th though. Some big sides sitting in 7th -9th which I expect to come back strong. Player of the month Jamie Vardy.
It's been an fantastic season so far, without a doubt. If you can maintain this form and cement a place in the four, like I think is possible at this stage given your form (barring a few odd results), it would certainly be more than justified and would be a revelation.
Among the big boys at the minute, hopefully you can keep Leicester in that sort of position!
January – Outgoings?

So far we’ve far exceeded my expectations in terms of positions and performance but it’s clear that certain members of the squad are not up to standard at all. The following players are to be listed for transfer:

Daniel Amartey – Has no real position in the team
Nampalys Mendy – Hasn’t been able to oust Ndidi or Tielemans and wants 1st team football
Rachid Ghezzal – Nicolas Pepe, that is all
Marc Albrighton – When he has played, has been as an emergency RB. West Ham are interested and I’m happy to let him leave.

In the meantime, we have some more games to play. I would love to keep our season going.



1st up is a tough game at home to Arsenal.



An even game ends in a draw. Reasonably happy with that considering we fell behind. That man Tielemans with another goal. We’ve done well against the big sides this season.

BURNLEY, AGAIN, REALLY?



Seems like Burnley will be the team we meet each year in cup competitions. We get our revenge for the league cup defeat and it was more like the league game early in the season. We dominated for large parts and took a 2-0 lead. Burnley decided to come and play after that but we’re only rewarded with a late consolation goal. Through to round 4.

BLUEBIRDS TAKEN DOWN BY FOXES



A repeat of the early season game between the two sides. 1st half goals from Maddison and Vardy meant the contest was all but over at half time. A professional performance.

OUTGOING: Daniel Amartey leaves the club for Bordeaux. £9.75m rising to £10.75m. No great loss here and more than I expected to get for him.

SEAGULLS WINGS CLIPPED



Brighton had been on a tough run and we chose to rest a few players for the game. They were able to keep it tight for the 1st half. We made changes, notably Tielemans and Pepe who both scored. A pleasing day at home in the end. We are making light work of the lesser sides in the division at the moment.

INCOMING: Our Director of Football signs Antoine Semenyo from Bristol City for £2.7m rising to £6.75m. He is loaned back to Bristol City for the remainder of the season. A young centre forward that will hopefully challenge Vardy next season.

FA CUP WIN



The prize for beating Burnley was a home game versus West Ham. A comfortable win and again, we performed much better in the second half of the game. Goals from Gray, Iheanacho and Maddison see us through to the 5th round.

OUTGOING: Nampalys Mendy joins Spartak Moscow for £7.25m rising to £9.25m.

TOFFEES DEFEATED AGAIN



Our finalised trimmed squad defeated Everton for the 2nd time this season. A solitary goal from Nicolas Pepe was enough to get us over the line. A positive end to the month. We laboured to the win but Everton didn’t really threaten us throughout.

OUTGOING: 3 outs on the final day of January. Rachid Ghezzal joins old foes Burnley for £7.75m rising to £8.75m after he began to feature less and less. Marc Albrighton moves to West Ham for £8.5m rising to £10.5m and young defender Alex Pascanu moves on loan to MK Dons. Some decent business and it means we have a net spend of just £2m over the season.

January Review – Undefeated for the month and through 2 rounds of the FA Cup. Player of the month James Maddison.

See you next time for February and March.
You continue to go from strength-to-strength! Some noticeable sales, but a decent sum of cash brought in from trimming the squad down. If they aren't featuring then it is always best to cash in.

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