Operation: Top Half (Philosophy and Operations)

I’ve been playing Football Manager 2017 this month. As I mentioned earlier I’m working on a multimedia project where I pretend I’m a manager managing a team. The closest I’ll get to that is through a simulation game. I didn’t want to pick a big team with a lot of money. This game is more fun when you torture yourself with a budget that can’t even cover the amount per week Alexis Sanchez is reported to want. So I chose the finest team in Scotland, Heart of Midlothian. We’re going to share our journey like a newly formed couple hiding the cracks in their relationship by sharing more pics on Facebook than usual. 

I’ll start by sharing my ‘philosophy’ and how I plan to manage this operation. Here goes:

Coaching

  • Tactics – 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 with a focus on wing play
  • Style – A passing team that keeps possession while transitioning quickly from defense to attack and vice-versa. 
  • The reserve team will act like the 1st team. A clear path from reserve team to 1st team will be established. I’m doingn away with the youth academy. 
  • Delegation
  1. I set weekly training sessions and tactical work. 
  2. My assistant and staff will work on individual training and give me input.
  3. A Director of Football (DoF) will be used as an ally who mostly takes care of recruiting the players I want. 

Recruiting

  • We see ourselves as part of chain where our players can go from the reserves or another league to Hearts to a bigger team. This does not mean we do not want to challenge for trophies. Winning a trophy is always the main goal in sport. However, we’re a realist bunch who know we have to grow our budget. 
  • Where? – Our talent will be drawn from Scotland (Championship and League 1) and Europe (Scandinavia and Eastern Europe).
  • Who? – These players will at the minimum be 16 and at most their mid 20s. I want players who can pass the ball well, have good technique and are adaptable. They will be free agents or castaways from other teams.
  • Cost? 25,000 or less
  • Scouting – Our scouts will comb the already mentioned targeted areas in Scotland and Europe. I will need three reports (profile and matches) before a decision is made to recruit a player. 

There you have it! I look forward to turning Hearts into a nuisance that buzzes at Celtic and Aberdeen. 

1/3 Of A Trident

Holy shit! Arsenal have signed Lacazette!! 1/3 of my French Trident piece over a week ago is being validated. Maybe I should post more nonsense like that… 🙈

It can’t be worse than Paul The Octopus (R.I.P.) or that one polar bear who supposedly predicts match winners. All bets on people!… Jk, I’ll be putting my money on more French things. Maybe that’ll get us Mbappe and rescue Martial from his oppression at United.

We can only hope 🙌

Chile (Picante) versus Portugal (Got Nothing) 

My hypocrisy grows as the Confederations Cup enters its second semifinal game. I wrote an earlier piece complaining about how it’s basically a tournament about nothing, right champ? It’s not like the winner gets directly qualifies to the World Cup…

Here are my takeaways from the Chile versus Portugal game today:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo’s hair – It was different, it had a lining and I couldn’t help but think it made him look schoolboy-ish. Maybe the hair was a factor in him not turning those headers into goals. Hmm…

2. Why wasn’t Ronaldo within the first three to take a penalty? He didn’t even get a chance to take one today since his teammates missed the first three. In that note, I couldn’t help but think Nani and Quaresma were subbed in to not only provide width for a Ronaldo that went from provider to the spear of the attack, but with penalty kicks in mind. 

3. Vidal complaining about getting elbowed was hilarious as their was barely a touch made in him. Doesn’t he have a rep of playing in the knifes edge? 

4. Was Vidal playing as a false nine? 

5. That one pace Alexis Sanchez played for his teammate was class!

6. Bravo! Bravo! I can’t remember the last time a goalie stopped the first three penalties kicked against him! He showed why he’s a great shot stopper, and I hope he’s back to his best next season. He had a great stop during the game as well which kept the game without goals.

7. The amount of shots over the bar was unreal! I’m looking at you Moutinho and Andre Silva… 

I’ll have something up Friday. Until then keep your haircut fresh and your mouth while you’re at it. 

A French Trident, A French Connection, A French Delight

If rumors and the latest transfer “news” are to be believed Arsenal is going to get a long awaited French attack. This trident of a French connection is composed of one young Mbappe, the middle child Monsieur Martial and the old lad Lacazzette (whose last name I’m rhyming Spanish words with). Maybe it was Arsene Wenger’s plan all along to lead Arsenal with a front three of French goodness. Harnessing the power of baguettes, cheese and wine (maybe not this one) will lead Arsenal to the culinary top. Give the wine to Chelsea, leave the liver to pool and confuse the Manchesters with a varient selection of cheeses. 

Not to worry as Arsenal has the winning cheese. All terrible French inspired jokes and puns aside, that front three is an expensive three. Mbappe is available if you have over €100 million laying around, Lyon just upped the price on Lacazette to €65 million and I assume Martial will also be overpriced. With the cost of this frontline they better have a few Michelin stars among them. 

I’m eagerly awaiting to the morning I wake up and see the club has signed someone. Until then I’ll eat more cheese and have myself a red. 

Later!

FIFA Confederation Cup: Why Am I Here?

Should the FIFA Confederation Cup be played the summer before the World Cup? We are currently getting through yet another tournament that takes away recovery time for players. This tournament bids the six different regional champs along with the current World Cup champ and hosts against each other. Got that champ? There’s gonna be a champ here. I admit I’ve seen a few matches. My favorite match so far has been today’s Germany versus Chile match. 

I don’t think the matches have necessarily been great, but we have gotten hilarious moments that will live on. Mada-fucker anyone? The last time I laughed that hard during a football match was when Louis Van Gaal fell to the floor to emphasize his point to the ref. And here I thought I was going to take a break from football… 

Who am I kidding? I look for Arsenal ttansfer news everyday… Back to my main point, it does seem like overkill that some of the players in this tournament came in with 40+ games under their belt last season. Alexis has played blank and players like Marquez and Mustafi suffered injuries throughout the season. Add three more guaranteed games to that count and all the time spent traveling. That’s time that could be used on a vacation or recovering from wear and tear. Footballers are people like the rest of us, rich, but still people. We all need a break from whatever the hell we do as well! 

I get champs must compete against champs to be the best. However, what’s in it for the winners of this tournament? A trophy and… 

See you folks Monday!

FA Cup Winners, not losers (Chelsea)

Arsenal denied Chelsea the pleasure of completing the double. Double the pleasure wasn’t to be for Chelsea, but to say us Arsenal fans had half the pleasure is just wrong. It was a performance that pinged out assurances that the Arsenal machine was going to give its update a run for its money. 

The club should get new players and move on those who aren’t needed. The club should also give those youngsters on the cusp of a first team breakthrough a more relaxed opportunity to play. The club should not use the League Cup to give youngsters minutes. Afterall, it’s another cup English teams have to play for. Can we really be picky about silverware at this stage? The club should break its wage structure to keep Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. Speaking as a fan of the club, all I want to see is a winning effort being made to keep these two. I will not talk ill of Arsenal’s ability to keep world class players if one or both move on, as long as the effort being made uses all the resources allocated to the cause. It has to be less of an Arsenal effort and one more on par with the other top teams in Europe. 

It pains me to say this, but maybe Arsenal should ease the burden on those essential players who always end up getting hurt. Have them compete with other class players for their spot. On that note, I want all of us to take a moment and daydream about Mertesacker blocking the rain for us and intercepting on our behalf to bring the club another dash of sunshine in the form of an FA Cup. 

His performance was truly inspirational. One would not know that he spent over a year on the sidelines based on the cup final performance alone. I also want to give a shout out to Rob Holding for not falling victim to Diego Costa’s shenannigans. It was hilarious to see him smile over the fuss Costa was putting up. He also put in a mature performance that deserves recognition. Cannavaro who? Ramsey should always play finals. It was interesting to see Mezut drop back a line and play as a central midfielder of sorts. 

P.S. Excuse my shitty attempts at being clever!

#SomosManchester 

I had to stop reading news about the Manchester attack today when it hit me that children were casualties. To quote my friend, “everyone was someone’s child.” I’m a child of someone and chances are so are you, yes, this even includes lab babies and machines. It was a sickening feeling that I carried the rest of the day. Children and teens make up youth that should be nurtured and supported. The next generation isn’t lazy or stupid, they are adaptable and hard working humans that are expected to thrive in a faster paced world that’s constantly disrupted. 

My thoughts are with Manchester. Hopefully, the victims are allowed to heal and grieve. I know the Europa League final will hold extra meaning tomorrow if Manchester United win. They will have the extra strength of the Manchester people behind them. They were wounded, but not discouraged from continuing to be human. Humans are capable of doing great things that are matched by terrible things. Humans come together in time of need. Humans give me hope.

I will stop here. I apologize if this post seems rambly. Expressing out my thoughts and feelings seemed like a healthy thing to do.