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Representing A Continent

Started on 15 November 2019 by TheLFCFan
Latest Reply on 13 August 2020 by OneMoreGame
I mean it could have been better, but it could have been worse. Mixed month in my opinion, but it's still early. I'm sure the performances will get better as you go on.
Definitely some room for improvement, but things could have been worse. It's a solid start to work from.

Europa League Draw - An In Depth Look: Group A

Following Chelsea’s victorious Europa League campaign in 2018/19, beating Arsenal 4-1 in the final, the group stages for the 2019/20 season have been drawn. Today we will take an in depth look at the sides competing in Group A.

CSKA Moscow

CSKA Moscow were drawn first in the Europa League draw this season, having been placed in pot one. The Russian side have featured in this competition numerous times, winning it in 2005, beating Sporting Lisbon, 3-1 in the final.

New manager Luke Hendricks, is also no stranger to this competition, having won it with former side Zenit St Petersburg as a player in 2008, defeating Rangers. However, in his first season as a manager, the South African will be expected to qualify from this group with relative ease.

CSKA will have two key players throughout their run with right back Mário Fernandes, ensuring clean sheets whilst also being a creative force going forward. The Brazilian born, Russian international, already has a goal and two assists in his nine league games so far this season and will be vital to any success the club may have.

Also important to his sides chances will be Nikola Vlasic. The 21 year old Croatian, missed the early stages of CSKA’s league campaign but in recent weeks has impressed. In his five league starts, the attacking midfielder has a goal and two assists, matching Fernandes record.

Kicking off their campaign, Vlasic will welcome a team from his home nation, in Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday 19th September.

Expected Finish - 1st

Dinamo Zagreb

Croatia’s most successful side, and current table toppers of the MaxTV Prva hrvatska nogometna liga, Dinamo Zagreb are most likely disappointed to be in this competition. Falling to Hungarian side Ferencvárosi Torna Club in the Champions League Playoff, Zagreb were certainly expected to beat their opponents, however an Igor Kharatin and Boli goals, sent them into the Europa League.

Putting that disappointment behind them will be highly important for the team managed by 48 year old Nenad Bjelica as he will look to take his team to their first Europa League win since 1967. For Dinamo, Dani Olmo will be their key player. The Spanish star, already has four goals and three assists in his ten games in all competitions so far this season. With big names supposedly watching the youngstar, the Europa League campaign could generate some major offers for him.

Zagreb, despite their disappointment of not qualifying for the Champions League, will be expected to either top the group or finish second to ensure their qualification to the next round. Their opening battle against CSKA Moscow will be seen as a real chance to ensure that top spot.

Expected Finish - 2nd


A third placed finish for the Swiss side was enough to grant them a place in this season's Europa League campaign. However, so far this season, things haven’t gone to plan for the side, as they currently sit 9th and in the relegation zone, in Switzerland's top flight.

Managed by Maurizio Jacobacci, Lugano have only managed to win two games out of six competitive games so far this season, including one against fourth tier side FC Solothurn. The only player that has impressed so far this season is, 21 year old Italian striker, Nicola Dalmonte. The loanee from Genoa has contributed one goal and two assists in his five league games this season, but will need to provide a lot more if the side are to stay up this season.

Lugano’s best performance to date in the Europa League, came two seasons ago when they finished 3rd in a group consisting of Hapoel Be'er Sheva, Steaua București and Viktoria Plzeň. This year that may be looking to far ahead, with the other members of the group looking a lot stronger than themselves.

Expected Finish - 4th

Maccabi Tel Aviv

Israeli table toppers, Maccabi Tel Aviv lost out in the Champions League 2nd Qualifying Stage to Bulgarian side Ludogorets. Having failed in their Champions League qualification, a 2-1 and 1-0 aggregate wins over HJK and CFR Cluj respectively was enough to see them into the group stages of the Europa League.

The Israeli giants, managed by Vladimir Ivić, have struggled in Europe in their history, with their best performance coming in the 2013/14 season, when they made it to the Round of 32 of the Europa League. Eventually losing to Basel that season, 3-0 on aggregate, Tel Aviv failed to even qualify for the group stages last time round.

This year, they will rely on Dia Saba, on loan from Chinese side, Guangzhou R&F FC, whilst his attacking midfield partner, Parfait Guiagon, will also play a massive role in any success. However, not much is expected of them this season, with their battles with Lugano expected to decide who will end up bottom.

Expected Finish - 3rd


Jim:Was a mixed month for sure, looked like getting going but just couldn't keep the consistency!
Scott:A good start, but need to put in a full performance!
Luke will be pleased with that group. It's certainly manageable.
Well there's certainly enough lack of quality to get this club through into the knockouts!

Maksim Smirnov - Welcome back to CSKA Armyia, where today we will be having a look back on the month of August. With four wins from five, we have risen up the table into 3rd, can we be happy with the month just gone?

Vadik Vassily - It’s been a great month, no doubt about it. We look a lot more complete and controlling games for the full ninety now, unlike last month where we hit a block around the hour mark. We have scored by far the most goals in the league with 20, and our improved defensive work this month has seen us collect three clean sheets.

Sergei Titov - We have been much better this month, that is for sure, the only disappointment was to concede that 90th minute goal that cost us a point against Spartak. That could have broken spirits, but it seems to have got everyone wanting it more and the last few games in particular have been brilliant.

Maksim Smirnov - Well to kick off the month, we faced newly promoted side, Tambov in a game where we were without both Fedor Chalov and Arnór Sigurðsson. But we didn’t miss them, did we?

Sergei Titov - Certainly not. That midfield was incredible that day, with Nikola Vlasic getting his first of the season, having come back from injury. Ilzat Akhmetov also got on the scoreboard, having replaced Sigurðsson, in the starting lineup. Ivan Oblyakov also had a great game, as he set up Danila Yanov, who came off the bench, for his first ever senior goal. We got slightly lucky with the own goal but all in all a much deserved victory, whilst also claiming our first clean sheet under Luke.

Vadik Vassily - We then went to our first local derby of the month, to play Spartak Moscow. A theme that seems to be developing is a high amount of injuries in training that last a few days, but right before the weekends game. I’m not sure if it is a training issue or just bad luck, but something needs to be looked at. For this game we lost Hörður Björgvin Magnússon, who’d been named Man of the Match against Tambov, whilst also losing Ilzat Akhmetov. We went behind early, but Mário Fernandes of all people popped up to tie the game up. The game looked set for a point each but they managed to nick it with the last kick off the game.

Maksim Smirnov - It was reported, following the Spartak game, that Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær was in the stands watching Mário Fernandes. He was then seen again in our next match against Sochi, with reports linking the right back with a massive move to England. But what Ole would have seen in that game, was our side DOMINATING. Despite winning 2-0 it very easily could have been 4 or 5-0. Chalov got his third goal of the season, from the penalty spot. Whilst left back, Luis Olivera, also scored, making it two games in a row for our fullbacks to score in.

Sergei Titov - Then came our best performance of the month, a 4-1 victory over 5th placed Rostov. Going into the game, Rostov hadn’t lost all season, but we were phenomenal, with Fedor Chalov scoring his first hattrick of the season. A penalty in the 2nd minute of the game, followed by strikes in the 10th and 57th minute, led us to the victory. Arnór Sigurðsson also contributed with another goal, whilst Björn Bergmann Sigurðarson scored their only goal.

Vadik Vassily - Into the final game of the month, we secured all three points against Dynamo Moscow, in our second derby of the month. Volodymyr Shepelev, who has potentially been our best player this season, struck in the 58th minute, giving us the win. It was a great performance once again, as Dynamo were lucky to not concede more.

Maksim Smirnov - One negative coming from that Dynamo game is the news that Mário Fernandes pulled his thigh and will be out for the next nine days. Yet he should be fit for our next game against Rubin Kazan as we head into an International Break.

So, who is everyone’s player of the month?

Vadik Vassily - Mário Fernandes for me. A goal and assist as well as being key in helping us to three clean sheets in five games. He has been great this month and I think just about edges everyone else.

Sergei Titov- I disagree, for me it has to be Nikola Vlasic. He has contributed in three of our five games this month, with one goal and two assists across the month. Having just come back from injury he has looked sharp and I think he is set for an incredible season.

Maksim Smirnov - Yes, for me it also has to be Vlasic. The goal he scored against Tambov was class and he has created so many chances throughout the month, eight in total. That amount is more than any other player in the squad this season.

Maksim Smirnov - Looking ahead to next month, we will play a number of games including our first Europa League game of the season. To start the month we travel to Rubin Kazan, before two massive home matches against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League, before welcoming Zenit in the league. We close the month out with an away fixture against Akhmat. What do we expect from these fixtures?

Sergei Titov - It’s going to be a tough month, no doubting that. Kazan had a poor start to the season, but only lost once last month, so travelling to them won’t be easy. We all know how good Zenit are but it’ll be Luke's first managerial trip there and we know the pairs history, whilst Akhmat have had a very good start to the season. However, I expect us to take seven from a possible nine points. Dinamo will be an interesting test but at home, I expect us to win.

Vadik Vassily - I agree with what Sergei said, the only team we will drop points to is Zenit and even then it’ll be a draw. I do wonder what the atmosphere will be like with that one, Luke hates the club with a passion and they hate him right back. It’ll be a very interesting game.

Maksim Smirnov - It should be another great month of football. Thank you for watching!

*Taken from CSKA Armiya Youtube Channel posted 31st August 2019*


Scott&Jack: The group certainly could of been tougher for Luke and CSKA, but a tough test in Dinamo and a trip to Israel won't be easy.
A more consistent run of results there. It has been a good start for Luke, I think. The next month of games are set to be incredibly difficult though and he can be judged more effectively following the conclusion of September. If he wants to succeed, he has to obtain results against the very best.

A Slight Blip

16th September 2018

“You said I would never get caught! How has this happened?” screamed Boyra Uys down the phone.

Boyra Uys had just received a heavy fine for paying one of his players, Maurício, to purposely injure Luke Hendricks. The Zenit St. Petersburg chairman had been in his role since 2010 and had already come to blows with the South African winger. Having played under Uys at Zenit, Luke was injured in the 2010 World Cup and despite his contract stating all medical fees would be paid by the club Uys refused, leading to Luke leaving the club. The injury would ultimately end the CSKA Moscow players career.

“Boyra, calm down, will you. I will cover the fine, just relax, it’s not the end of the world its just a minor blip. Everything is still on course.” came the reply from the other end of the phone.

“If they have managed to find this out, how long is it going to take them to work out that we are working together. You know if I get caught up in this my life is ruined. I will do jail time, I will lose my job, I will-” said a clearly agitated Boyra.

“They won’t ever find out, because unlike you, I know how to tie up any loose ends. How you managed to let those leak I will never know, but I don’t care. Just calm down and let it be for a while.” came the voice, cutting off the Chairman mid-rant.

“I can tie up my loose ends. How about I tie this loose end up right now and go to the authorities. If I admit it now they will turn their focus on you and forget all about me!” threatened Boyra.

Silence came from the other end of the phone. Then a bellowing laugh.

“You’ll do what?” laughed the voice “Go on tell me again what you will do.” it continued, this time a lot more sternly.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean it, you know I’d never do that” an apologetic Uys responded as he finally slumped into his chair, tapping in submission.

“Of course I know that little Boyra, as I know you would quite like to go home to your family tonight. But you know that I have eyes on you and everyone you love so you’d never go behind my back. But if you really need reminding of what I can and will do, I can send you a little reminder, if you’d like?”

“NO! Please no.” screamed Uys.

“I thought as much, now be a good boy and do whatever I tell you next, assuming you’d like your family to live.” the voice said before hanging up.

Hearing the phone go dead, Boyra threw it on his desk, before dropping his head to his hands in despair. Life hadn’t quite been the same for Boyra since he had received photos of his family. His wife, Tania, photo’d at the supermarket. His son, Lev, seen at the playground with his friends and his young daughter Yelena, being picked up from school.

The photo’s arrived with a phone with a single number in the contacts page, simply named, Call. It was a phone call Boyra had never told anyone about, in fact the whole situation he had never discussed with anyone. It was hard to comprehend, but the voice, who Boyra to this day didn’t know who it belonged to, told him he would be working under him with instructions to be given at certain times. Refusal to follow said instructions would result in the slow and painful death of each loved one.

Boyra didn’t want to do it, but with the fear looming over his family, he had to, to protect those that he loved.


Scott:Improvements have certainly been made and they will hopefully continue as the squad get more and more used to Luke's ideas.
Ohhh the intrigue....
So who is the man on the end of the phone? Hmm.

Sounds like Uys isn't the only one behind the attempted destruction of Luke's career and I wonder when Luke will come to realise this.
A very sinister tone!

Maksim Smirnov - Seven minutes. That’s what separates us from having the perfect month of September. Wins against Rubin Kazan, Dinamo Zagreb and Tambov, we threw away a two goal lead at Akhmat to draw the game in the final few minutes. Let's take a look at the month in review.

Before we focus on that highly disappointing result from last night, let's start from the top, a win against a tough Rubin Kazan side. Good start to the month, right?

Sergei Titov - They made it very hard for us and it took a late goal, I think around the seventieth minute, from Lucas Santos to get the win. We created a number of chances but they defended magnificently and we just couldn’t finish.

Vadik Vassily - It was a bright start for sure. We controlled the game, as we have in the majority of our games so far this season, and we got the win. It could have been a lot more comfortable, but Fedor Chalov had a poor game by his standard, and they defended very well, just like Sergei said.

Maksim Smirnov - Then came a very bizarre game, and our first European adventure with Luke as the manager. Two own goals in two minutes gave us the 2-1 win after Dinamo opened the scoring as we came into the half-time break.

Vadki Vassily - It was a very strange game indeed. I felt for Chancel Mbemeba, as I felt he deserved to be granted the headed opener, but it was put down as an own goal. The second was even stranger with the ball just rebounding off Kévin Théophile-Catherine, from a Lucas Santos shot that hit the bar. The goal eventually gave us the win, but a very weird game.

Sergei Titov - A win is a win and it gave us the confidence of coming from behind in a game, the first time we have done that under Luke. We were then able to rest the majority of the first team in our Kubok Rossii match against Tambov. The likes of Kirill Nababkin Vadim Karpov, Jaka Bijol all getting their first starts of the season. A team we had already put four past earlier in the season, Tambov couldn’t challenge us once again as our rotated side put 5 past them this time.

Ilzat Akhmetov opened the scoring after three minutes, before they equalized with their only goal of the game. From then on, we were dominant. Fedor Chalov bagged a brace, Arnór Sigurðsson scored once again this season and Danila Yanov closed the scoring. It was an excellent display from the team.

Maksim Smirnov - It was a brilliant game, summed up nicely, I think, by this Luke Hendricks quote following the game:

Luke Hendricks :
“I was thoroughly impressed today. The youngsters looked right at home and had no worries against a side who has put in some top performances in the Premier League this season. They had very little time on the ball and when they did, they created only one good chance, which in fairness they took. But we were brilliant and I couldn’t be happier with the result.”

But then it came. The most frustrating game so far this season. Would you guys agree with that?

Vadik Vassily - Oh 100%. We were different class again following the Tambov game, and in fairness how we had been playing all month. But five minutes threw it away and left a sour taste despite still not losing.

Sergei Titov - It was a terrible last ten minutes. We thought we had won it at 2-0 and cruising really. The 739 fans who had made the journey were in good voice and yet the players as we had seen earlier in the season lost their concentration. It is very disappointing as those extra two points would see us within three points of first and clear by four of Zenit.

Maksim Smirnov - Well looking at the positives, once again our wingers were excellent, with Lucas Santos scoring his third of the season and Arnór Sigurðsson his sixth. The wings were areas we stated early on in the season, would be key to Luke’s system and the pair are doing a great job.

Vadik Vassily - Lets not forget to mention Ilzat Akhmetov who when playing there has been just as good as the other two. I wonder if we do lose Lucas Santos back to his loan at the end of the season, will Ilzat take the reigns.

Sergei Titov - He could potentially take on that role next season for sure but I want to talk about Fedor Chalov. A player that a lot of people thought deserved Player of the Month last month after his four goals in four games. This month we won’t ignore him and I believe he deserves September Player of the Month.

Vadik Vassily - I’d agree with you, we’ve had some very good performances from a few players this month, but Chalov stands out. Two goals and two assists in just four games is a great return. Without him we’d be a lot worse of this season and he probably hasn’t got the praise he deserves. He’s both our top scorer, with eight, and has our most assists, with four, in all competitions this year, a superb asset to this squad.

Maksim Smirnov - So we all agree, Fedor Chalov deserves to win September Player of the Month. He is just eight league goals away from passing his amount from last season and is continuing to impress. We need to keep him fit and if we can manage that we will continue to push for this title in my opinion.

Vadik Vassily - Another man we can’t forget to mention this month, Mário Fernandes has signed a new contract with the club following interest from Manchester United. The deal is reported to keep Fernandes wage at £36,500 a week, but he does now have an extra year on his deal, taking his contract through to 2023, which will be his tenth year at the club. He remains our highest paid player, but has proven over time it is well deserved.

Maksim Smirnov - He’s a very exciting player to have at the club and someone we can be pleased to keep a hold of for the time being, despite United’s interest. I wonder if in part having Luke here, someone Fernandes played with has helped in his decision.

Seregei Titov - Potentially, and it is one of the positives we discussed when we talked about having Luke come in to manage the club. He has relationships with many of the current squad and that can both be a blessing and a curse. Thankfully this time, it has been a blessing it seems.

Maksim Smirnov - To end this month's review, let's have a look ahead to next month. We start of the month with our second Europa League tie against Lugano, a team everyone is expecting us to beat. We then play FC Ufa before a derby game against Lokomotiv Moscow. Following the derby, we have another Europa League game, this time facing Maccabi Tel Aviv. To end the month, it’s a home game against Arsenal Tula and a cup game against Dynamo Moscow, which once again pushed Luke's first managerial match against Zenit back, having done the same with our cup game this month.

Sergei Titov - Coming off the back of two unbeaten months in a row, I back us to continue that form. The real challenge of the month will come against Lokomotiv Moscow, but at home, I expect us to get a result at the very least. I think all in all we will come out with seven points in the league, progression in the cup and two wins from two in the Europa League.

Vadik Vassily - Not as confident as Sergei this month, the run has to come to an end eventually and I think we may struggle with the sheer volume of games this time of the year brings. I think it will be six points from a possible nine in the league, a win against Lugano and a draw against Maccabi Tel Aviv. I do think we will beat Dynamo Moscow in the cup as well to get into the next round.

Maksim Smirnov - It’ll be yet another exciting month, lets see if we can go unbeaten once again. Until next time, thank you for watching.

*Taken from CSKA Armiya Youtube Channel posted 1st October 2019*


Imagine Got to keep you coming back somehow ;)
JackIt certainly seems their may be someone higher up the chain that wants the destruction of Luke, I wonder who!
Scott:Doesn't sound like the nicest person in the world!
Massive month, big win in Europe against Dinamo and to get Fernandes a deal until 2023 is fantastic news. Shame about the F-Luke-y draw at the end, but that's football.
Amazing month in general, but the result against Dinamo Zagreb tops it for me. Next month seems much tougher but let's hope you'll get some decent results!
Zenit trailing behind you, love to see it. A great month this time, but a tough month ahead of you.

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