4.2. Discovering Europe
Contents: Start as you mean to go on; Mount Everest; Champions League Debut; Half Time Team Talks; Breaking Mad; Capital Punishment and it ain’t even October yet 😏
🎵 Suggested Tune: Sweet Dreams – Eurythmics (Spanish Acoustic Version)
Aside from the fact that that b*stard Odsonne Edouard has already scored as many goals for Benfica in a month as he did for us in the whole of last season, things are going pretty well on the island of Tenerife; the sun is shining, beaches are golden, birds are singing, and most importantly Los Chicharreros aka CD Tenerife are flying high in La Liga after finishing in second place last year and gaining automatic Champions League qualification for the first time in the club’s history. We have just won our opening game of the 2021/2022 campaign against Levante, and our young squad are buzzing to kick on what will hopefully be another cracking season at Estadio Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopez. Our second game comes in the form of what was expected to be a tough away fixture against Sevilla, who have struggled since we joined them in La Liga 2 seasons ago but nonetheless always have a decent squad capable of nullifying our attack and punishing us in their own ground.
I couldn’t have been more wrong; the tallest mountain in the world is Mount Everest, however on the day it was Mason Mount who stood head and shoulders above everyone and was virtually unplayable scoring a 21 minute hat-trick, putting us 3-0 ahead in the first half with 15 minutes still to play. We went in with our 4-1-2-2-1 Counter Attacking formation (which we discuss in detail here) and gave debuts to Jordi Grasa and Lucas Tousart, but it was Mount (already capped by England after 18 appearances for Chelsea last season) who absolutely stole the show and after just two games the 23 year old is Top Scorer in La Liga with 4 goals to his name.
This performance earns Mason Mount a closer look into what makes him such a good player in the game, so we will have a quick glance at his attributes and personality/player traits to analyse what his strengths are and how we can utilise there during his loan spell here:
First thing to note are his Acceleration and Dribbling skills (15) which are clearly illustrated in his second goal above where he cleans two defenders before calmly slotting the ball past Sergio Rico in the Sevilla goal. This kid can take on a defender and run with the ball at pace, which will make him a dangerous AP or Shadow Striker depending on our tactic and when we play him. It’s also interesting to note that his Technique and First Touch are quite high which will be essential if we decide to make him one of our primary attacking outlets and have him carry the ball to distribute and fashion chances for both himself and other players around him. From a goalscoring perspective, the lad has 15 Composure and 14 Finishing – no problem in front of goal then. Finally it’s interesting to see that one of his PPM’s is Arriving Late in Opponent’s Area – if we again watch the goals above, we can see that two of them arose as a result of him making runs in to the box and arriving during or just after the initial piece of attacking play.
You would think that that hat-trick was a fluke or that he couldn’t possible keep up a goalscoring record like that playing as an AP or Shadow Striker – I certainly did, expecting Brenner to take the season by the balls horns and start banging in a few goals in search of our #RoyDeLosRovers title – however he manages to score again in our next game at home to Deportivo and already has 5 goals to his name by the time we are preparing for our first ever Champions League Group Game. Our opponents – a little known German side by the name of Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund have made the 3,779km journey South for what will be a challenging clash against Champions League debutants CD Tenerife. Los Chicharerros start with their trusted 4-4-1-1 formation (which we detail here) and look to implement a Gegenpress strategy to make life difficult for Dortmund and potentially expose a gap in their defence or catch them on the break where possible. Tenerife have a full squad to choose from aside from last season’s Spanish Player of the Year Xadas who misses out with an ankle injury. Dortmund are also close to full strength with the absence of Swiss International Manuel Akanji their only cause for concern heading in to this fixture (he looks like a serious CB if anyone reading this is about to start a new save 🔥).
We start nervously and both sides appear reluctant to take any risks – Max Gomez is clearly the danger man for Dortmund operating in the Target Man role but Bisseck and Semedo are both equally large units and appear comfortable in dealing with balls played in to his feet; Marco Reus appears to be switching wings repeatedly with Jacob Bruun Larsen and it will be interesting to see if they try to put more pressure on 18 year old Left Back Jordi Grasa playing in his first ever European game. It’s even-stevens for the majority of the first half until Jordi Grasa receives the ball wide on the left and delivers a long ball across the Dortmund box whch goes over the heads of Mount and Brenner but Inside Forward Francisco Trincao is there to smash it in the back of the net to make it 1-0 to Tenerife…GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Half Time team talks are a funny one; I feel like I try to say the right thing in order to get a positive reaction from the team rather than saying what I actually want to – giving instructions for the sake of making them all green rather than actually speaking my mind; I guess as it’s a game, we need to adapt to what will work in the game itself, and usually my approach is as follows:
The players are warned not to get complacent – we are winning but the game has been fairly even and we’ve been far from our best, not to mention Dortmund are a quality side who still have Rodrygo, Gotze and Vagnoman on their subs bench. The game restarts and my words of wisdom seem to have worked – our back line is solid as a rock and Rossbach makes a string of saves to deny Dortmund an equaliser, but it’s Grasa who steals the show making a number of key tackles and passes in addition to his earlier assist. He earns a 7.4 as we hold on for the win and our first ever victory in the European Champions League.
Incidentally we also break another record for Los Chicharreros – since upgrading our stadium, the game against Dortmund was not only our first ever win in the European Champions League but also our highest gate receipt in the club’s history – not bad for a small outfit from the Canary Islands 😎
Unfortunately for the lads there is no day off training after that – our next two games are against not one but both of the Madrids; first up is a tough away tie against Atletico Madrid, whom we managed to pip last season to second place in La Liga – that is followed by a Home clash with the defending champions Real Madrid. The good news is that neither side have strengthened much since last season apart from Atletico’s €34 million signing of Yannick Gerhardt from Wolfsburg, so hopefully our young side can cause a lot of trouble on what are definitely older teams both with an average first team squad age of 27 years old versus our own 23 year old average.
TROUBLE IS OUR MIDDLE NAME! ⚡ Despite Atletico (led by Jurgen Klopp) taking the lead on 5 minutes and going ahead again on 77 mins through that bollocks Diego Costa, we manage to pull back level twice during the game through yet another goal from Mason Mount, and finally a first league goal for Brenner with a well taken penalty. We are all set to go home with a well earned draw in the Spanish Capital when our substitute and current primary hot prospect Pedro Luis Acosta receives a pass on the edge of the area from Sancho and decides to do this:
ABSOLUTE SCENES in Madrid, Tenerife have not only come from behind twice in this game but have snatched a late winner with well taken finish by 17 year old Pedro Luis Acosta – what a day for this young lad.
One Madrid Down, One to Go
Had enough yet?? Despite just a three day gap since our victory over Atletico, we then welcome La Liga Champions Real Madrid to Estadio Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopes and despite some tired legs and bodies, we are more than ready to ruin the Galactico’s day…..
How it happened, we may never know. We went into the game with our 4-4-1-1 Gegenpress formation, and in spite of us losing our early lead that we earned courtesy of Antonio Marin and despite going behind twice again in the second half, we manage to pull it back to 3-3 on 63 mins with Marin getting his second, and from there we take the absolute piss – Brenner also scores his second, Xadas makes it five and that man again Mason Mount getting his 7th goal in 6 games with the last kick of the game on 95 mins to make it 6-3 in total. Both sets of fans are still in shock as the final whistle goes, and after a 9 goal thriller it’s Tenerife who are victorious and send Real Madrid back to the Capital with their tails between their legs. La Liga doesn’t disappoint!!
(PAUSE FOR BREATH) .. wow!! talk about a phenomenal few weeks for Los Chicharreros – after five games in La Liga we somehow find ourselves top of the league, 3 points clear of Barcelona in second who will be looking to improve on last years disappointing 4th place finish.
We finish the month with a league game against Valencia away from home which ends in our first defeat of the season (and rightly so considering the fatigue in the squad following the last three games), however it’s enough to keep us at the top of the league. We also pick up our second Champions League Group win on the road as we beat Zenit St. Petersburg 2-0 over in Russia – Brenner is starting to move up a gear and I am feeling good about his prospects as our next #RoyDeLosRovers. Naturally the media are on the blower asking if we think we can continue our good form and stay in the top spot – we politely request them to feck right off in our now famous half Spanish / half Irish dialect and of course graciously accept the Manager of the Month award for September….Muchos Gracias!!!
As my good friend Porky Pig would say – that’s all folks! Thanks for reading, my next update with illustrate our run up to Christmas as well as our performance in the Champions League – spoiler alert, everything doesn’t go as rosy as the above and reality certainly kicks in just in time for another rendition of Feliz Navidad. If you have enjoyed reading this or have any feedback please Follow and Comment below or else you can do the same on my Twitter page here – likes and retweets are always welcome. Don’t forget to hit the menu above if you would like to jump back in time to where this save began – it’s been an epic journey so far! Keep your eyes peeled for a new update soon 👀. Cheers & thanks, MaddFM.