How Accurate Is Football Manager?
When the transfer window slammed shut at the end of September, the Premier League season ahead promised to be very interesting indeed.
Aston Villa lay in third spot and Manchester United – by then bolstered by the signings of Falcao and Angel di Maria – languished in 14th. We were impatient as to how it would all turn out so used the only tool at our disposal to predict how things would end up – Football Manager.
So, how accurate was the management simulation? Well, not very. Let’s have a look.
Van Gaal’s Philosophy
Louis van Gaal’s philosophy in the game seemed as confused as his real life one, as he tinkered with formations before settling on 4-2-3-1.
Surprisingly, Jonny Evans was ever-present in central defence – the game obviously not considering potential bans for spitting incidents.
However, the simulation did predict just how important Maraoune Fellaini would become with the Belgian making 39 appearances in central midfield.
Likewise, Wayne Rooney spent a lot of the season in a midfield role, where his goals dried up. Sounds familiar. At least he real-life van Gaal had the sense to halt that particular experiment.
Falcao had a much more productive term than in reality – bagging 16 league goals in 29 games.
Were Liverpool “Outstanding”?
Brendan Rodgers’ signings with the Luis Suarez money didn’t exactly set the Premier League alight this term, as predicted in Football Manager.
It got the goal totals for Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert spot on – five and three respectively – but wildly overestimated Mario Balotelli’s influence, as the Italian finished the season as top scorer with 16 goals.
Pjanic Buying In The January Sales
While the actual January Transfer Window was a relatively sedate affair, the top sides splashed the cash in Football Manager, with Chelsea and Manchester City the big spenders. Mourinho’s side shelled out £26 million for Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne, while City splurge over £35 million on Xherdan Shaqiri and Miralem Pjanic.
The Special One
Diego Costa didn’t live up to his real-life form, netting just eight league goals for the Blues.
However, despite being knocked out of the Champions League by PSG, the game predicted another European triumph for Jose Mourinho, beating the French side 4-2 in an extra-time victory.
The Big Prizes
Van Gaal may have ended his first season in English football empty-handed but his United side won the FA Cup on Football Manager, beating QPR 3-2 in a dramatic final.
But most incredibly the league title went to…Spurs. Harry Kane didn’t even get a look-in as Roberto Soldado and Eric Lamela bagged over 20 goals apiece to land the Premier League for the first time.
QPR, obviously without any in-game “bad eggs” finished a surprise 6th, while Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions League for the frst time.
True to real life, Paul Lambert got his marching orders from Aston Villa, while Brendan Rodgers got the heave-ho from a struggling Liverpool side.
To be replaced by Marcelo Bielsa, rather than Jurgen Klopp…