2.2. VAR YOU HAVING A LAUGH?!
Contents : Deja-VAR, goal droughts, injury crisis, the FM roller coaster, competing with the big boys, a decent cup run and some January Transfer Window desperation along with our first newgen signing!
🎵 Suggested tune: “Under Pressure – Queen Cover (Spanish Guitar)” 🎵
The @AussieFM Podcast recently published an episode about Breaking in to the EPL and how to survive in the higher leagues after getting promoted etc. At the time I thought “Nah not a big deal, I’ve never struggled to stay up”, mainly because I have always traditionally managed in England and the prize pool and subsequent transfer budget for getting promoted is so high that I have never found it too challenging to survive and compete at the higher level upon promotion.
Brace yourself for the statement of the year: Spain is not England. Not only is the money not there, the gap between the top teams in Spain is definitely more substantial than what it is in England, and I feel we will learn this the hard way as the season progresses. When we last left off, we had just narrowly lost our opening game of the 2019/2020 La Liga season against Deportivo by a scoreline of 2-1, with a largely new and youthful squad that I quickly learned would need some time to gel and perform as a unit compared to where we finished off last season.
Not only did we taste defeat in our first game of the league, we also had our first sample of some Spanish VAR tapas with an absolute disgrace of a penalty awarded to the opposition (see my last post to witness this atrocity with your own two eyes). After venting on Twitter, I was happy to crack on and hopefully start to see the team begin to click and improve in our upcoming games against Espanyol and Real Sociedad respectively…..enter VAR again, not once but TWICE more which saw us concede three VAR penalties overall in our first 3 league games of La Liga Santander, in which we lost our first two matches and managed a draw in the third to give us our first point in the top division of Spanish football. Thankfully we had a cup win in between or we may have experienced a monitor smashing akin to one of @CurtyFM‘s infamous FM outbursts.
A 4-1 hammering against Athletic Bilbao followed by a 0-0 draw at home to Real Betis meant that we managed to pick up 2 points in 5 games, scoring just 3 goals and leaving us languishing in the relegation zone far earlier than we would have hoped for; Welcome to La Liga Los Chicharreros, those AussieFMPod lads may have had a point…
Not only have the goals dried up for the team – our planned star signing goal machine loan striker Brenner has also found life in La Liga to be a barren wasteland in which he has done his utmost to prove he can miss the unmissable and squander sitter after sitter regardless of how much I encourage, praise, warn and cursed the little Brazian b*llocks – in my stubbornness to keep playing him in the hope that he would finally break his dry spell and recreate the form he showed while playing for @fryman7‘s Norwich during FM18, he repaid my persistence by going on a 10 hour goal drought and at this point I feel he couldn’t hit water if he was standing on a boat (although to be fair to the lad, he’s trying 🤦🏽♂️).
Thankfully we capped off the end of September with our first win of the season away to Celta Vigo to give me some hope that we can compete at this level.
A change in fortune
That win against Celta Vigo seemed to inspire some form of confidence in to our young squad which incidentally is one of the lowest in the league at 23 years versus the La Liga average of 27. We opened October with an impressive 4-1 win over Levante and ended up winning 5 games out of 5 picking up 3 league wins and 2 victories in the Copa Del Rey to fire us into the 5th round – already two rounds better than last season! This fine run of form propelled us up to the top half of the table and life on the island was going well for all involved ☀️.
ALL ABOARD THE FM ROLLER COASTER 🎢
Do you ever feel like the game suddenly decides “Right, you’ve been doing too well so it’s time to f*ck shit up” ? This is precisely what happened in November and December, where the game decided to go completely X-rated on us and f*ck us not once, not twice but three times over just in time for Christmas:
1. Failed to win any of our games between 03/11 and 08/12, picking up 3 points in 6 games
2. During the same period of 6 games, we scored (WAIT FOR IT) – one goal in total thanks to Gedion Zelalem‘s absolute belter of a first goal for the club – this was in a 3-1 second leg cup defeat to Cordoba in which we were thankfully 3-0 up from the first leg.
3. Having earlier stated my satisfaction at having four decent Central Defenders in the squad, FM decided to Rocky Balboa three of them all at once with both Mauro Dos Santos and new signing Ruben Semedo (karma perhaps) picking up long term injuries and Alberto nursing a broken collarbone simultaneously.
This meant that we were left with just on natural CB in the form of our star 18 year old German defender Yann-Auriel Bisseck (who I’m happy to say has been developing nicely since being linked with Liverpool last summer) – never mind the fact that we have to play Real Madrid in the last game before Christmas!! Not only that, but the media were also starting to rustle up the MaddFM feathers with rumours that our beloved Chairman Senior Miguel Concepcion would be soon ready to give us the chop and send us on the next Ryanair flight out of Tenerife if things didn’t improve:
Needless to say I pretty much spent the festive period like this:
Light at the end of the tunnel?
Praise be to the FM gods that we were simultaneously enjoying a decent cup run; wins against Sporting Gijon, Cordoba and Marbella meant that we suddenly find ourselves in the Copa Del Rey Quarter Finals alongside the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla. Senior Concepcion doesn’t seem to be making eye contact in the halls but is overheard praising the team’s performance and relishing the thought of reaching a Cup Final for the first time in the club’s history.
Speaking of miracles – a new year sees a new Brenner, who finally scores his first and second goal for Los Chicharreros in the Copa Del Rey 5th round victory over Marbella after going over 15 games without scoring in the famous blue and white Tenerife shirt! He somehow manages to follow this up with his first league goal in a 2-1 defeat to Sevilla, and has 6 goals in 5 games at the time of writing! This form can’t come quick enough as we approach the business end of the season.
🎤 Join us live below for the Copa Del Rey Quarter Final draw – Tenerife Manager @MaddFM will be looking to avoid a tough two-legged draw against the top 4 teams in Spain, and will surely prefer a clash with Real Sociedad or Celta Vigo who they have already taken points from this season:
No Such Luck!!! It’s CD Tenerife versus Atletico Madrid in the Copa Del Rey Quarter finals, with the first leg due to be played at Estadio Heliodoro Rodriquez Lopez on 15th January 2020 followed by the return leg at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium exactly 1 week later.
JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW
Despite Brenner’s recent resurgence of goals, we have consistently struggled up front and neither Dejan Joveljic or Jose Naranjo have performed when called upon – therefore we made a second attempt to sign Tammy Abraham on loan from Chelsea and this time he agreed to take the flight south and assist in our quest for La Liga survival. Hopefully he can score the goals we desperately need to push us back up the league and also spur on Brenner, Joveljic and Naranjo to buck up their ideas with the increased competition for the lone Striker role.
In other transfer news, Manager @MaddFM has also agreed to sign 17 year old Coventry attacking midfielder Steve Bremner, who will join Los Chicharreros when his contract expires at the end of the season. Bremner comes highly regarded by new Tenerife Chief Scout Keke Duran who has watched him for several weeks now, rating him as a 4 star potential prospect that can play on either the left or right side of midfield.
That’s all for now!! Exciting times ahead – in my next post we will have both legs of our Copa Del Rey Quarter Final against Atletico Madrid as well as Tammy Abraham’s debut and hopefully a new youth intake coming soon! Life in La Liga Santander hasn’t been kind to Los Chicharreros, and despite promising performances including extremely narrow defeats to Real Madrid and Sevilla, we currently sit not too comfortably in 13th place, 7 points clear of the relegation zone and just 2 points behind Alaves who occupy 10th position. A lot done, more to do!!
Thanks for reading as always – if you haven’t already, feel free to jump back to the start of our Roy De Los Rovers adventure to look at our inspiration for this save as well as goals and objectives etc. You will also find my latest general FM interest blog posts above which I wrote as a guest author for WeStreamFM.com – can’t get enough FM blogs at the moment!! Please feel free to follow and comment below, you can also follow and retweet on Twitter here. Cheers, MaddFM.