Welcome back to my RCD Espanyol save, if you missed our end of season 2 round up then check it out HERE. This post we enter into season 3, we discuss our transfer dealings and our start to the new campaign.
Before we go any further I am pleased to announce that after a poor performance in World Cup 2018, Alan Pardew (I know right) was sacked as England manager. Now international management isn’t something that I wanted to get into again after having a stint with Italy in FM16. It is very boring and very repetitive. However, when the FA approached me, it made me think twice about the whole thing. You see I never even applied for it, so it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when they decided to offer me a contact. So with that I decided to give it a go, see if I can better that goofball Pardew. Since taking the job I have also been approached by Holland to lead there ship after a poor International League run, I politely declined their offer, but it was nice to know they wanted me.
Moving swiftly onto our transfer dealings and only a few players joined this summer but we lost a high number again. Mainly getting rid of a bit of dead wood and freshening up the squad.
Once again we are in positive financial position with our bank balance sitting at £83m. A few players such as Vazquez (£1.5m), Leon (£3.2m), Jordan(£925k), Ivan (£775k) and Jota (£6.25m)were shipped out to make room for some of the new faces. I also let veterans Reyes and Jurado go out on loan, freeing up some wages. Our big sale that I didn’t anticipate was Pezzella (£9m), this was on deadline day and rather than just blow the money on some random CB, I went with our youth and promoted Manuel Nogues from the U19’s.
Our in comings though were very pleasing. Santiago Ascacibar (£3.8m), Jonny (£10m) and transfer listed Angel Correa (£2.8m). I have some nice memories of Correa from last years FM where I signed him for Mainz, again quite cheap, then sold him to Bayern for around £40m, so if I can repeat this scenario then I will be very happy indeed. Aside from that he is also a very good player and would be a great option to rotate wit Dolberg and Ziyech.
Jonny comes in as a decent versatile defender, my idea with him is he will be my long term replacement for the aging Javi Lopez. he is still young and can comfortably play across the back line. Costing a big £10m from Celta, he is one I hope to get many years from and could become incredibly valuable to the side.
So lets have a look into how the season has started. Pre season was pretty steady, blending in some of the new signings. We should have beaten NYRB as we hammered them, but as it usually happens in FM they have 1 shot at goal but yet manage to draw the game. An own goal from a blunder from the keeper, to be fair, it’s my first blunder I’ve seen in this version. I know a few others have seen so many more.
Our league started so much better than last season. We were more clinical, more determined and seemed to be much more sharper. We started with the Supercopa against Champions Barcelona, we picked up a cracking 2-0 at home but were under the cosh at the Nou Camp and suffered a 3-1 defeat. However, due to the away goal rule, we clinched the Supercopa and finally got one over on our arch rivals.
To say that gave us a boost is an understatement. The victory itself has propelled us to an all time Espanyol unbeaten record stretching to 26 games without a loss in all competitions. The record still stands and I am hoping it will continue into the 2nd half of the season, it will be a tough ask but the lads are showing me something special right now.
As you can see from our run of results above, we sit proudly at the top of the league at the turn of the new year. 4 points clear ahead of Barca with an almost identical goals for/against record. Thing could very much go to the wire and make for a very exciting end to the season.
Our defense of the Copa del Rey has started well beating Granada comfortably over both legs. Next up is Betis and I would like to think we can progress beyond them into the quarter finals. My aim this year is to reach the semis anything beyond that will be a bonus.
So after finishing 3rd last year, we get an automatic group stage spot in the CL. Let’s take a look at our group. Once again we are seeded 4th, so potentially a tough group awaits. Some how Zenit, Basel and Sporting are all seeded higher than us but I am very confident with those opponents.
We finished the group top once again and have shown the rest of the competition that we mean business. Our last 16 knockout round is drawn against Chelsea, so that shall be fun. Hopefully due to our run and high morale, we can give them a bloody good go.
In other news, the board have agreed to improve the clubs youth facilities so our continued plan to develop should be enhanced.
We round things off with a few end of year awards. In the bellow screenshot you can see that 3 of the 4 candidates for European Golden Boy award belong the Espanyol. Roca, Dolberg and Ascacibar. So I would like to think that one of them could win.
The winner went to none other than Kasper Dolberg, he finished last season in some great form and has continued that into this season. Take a look at his goal/appearance record over the calendar year, that’s in a strikerless system too. Bloody chuffed with that.
His AMC partner in crime Ziyech also picked up an award for Broadcasters African Footballer of the Year. Not heard of that on before but hey ho. another great record for the calendar year, averaging a goal every other game.
So that ends this post, tune in for the next post where we look at our developing youngster, the new intake of players and our end of season review. Let’s hope we can continue this cracking run we are on.
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