How This Season Will Play Out – According To Football Manager
With this Premier League season set to be as competitive as ever, we’ve used the only tool at our disposal to try and predict what’ll happen – Football Manager.
While the 2015 version isn’t released for a couple of months, we’ve updated the 2014 game with all this summer’s transfer window activity and let the season roll. Here’s what happened….
Van Gaal Settles On 4-2-3-1
Van Gaal settles on a 4-2-3-1 formation with Jonny Evans an ever-present in central defence. Marcos Rojo keeps Luke Shaw out of the left-back position for most of the season, particularly as Daley Blind only makes a handful of appearances due to injury.
Of the other new signings, Di Maria alternates between AMR and AML, while Falcao scores 16 goals in 29 league appearances.
Perhaps the most surprising part of United’s season is Maraoune Fellaini’s role – he makes 39 appearances in a central midfield role. While Wayne Rooney’s goals dry up in a deeper, attacking midfield position.
Why Always Me, La?
While United’s summer signings seem astute, Brendan Rodgers’ at Liverpool prove disastrous as the club struggle without Luis Suarez. Dejan Lovren misses most of the season through injury while Adam Lallana is restricted to only one league start.
It’s left to Mario Balotelli to lead the line, with Daniel Sturridge scoring just five league goals. Super Mario finishes the season as Pool’s top scorer with 16 goals. Rickie Lambert nabs just three.
Welbeck Proves Doubters Wrong!
Danny Welbeck does relatively well at Arsenal, scoring 16 league goals (the same as Falcao). Alexis Sanchez is restricted to 6 goals in 13 league starts due to injury.
Pjanic Buying In January Sales
The top sides again splash the cash in the January transfer window, with Chelsea and Manchester City the big spenders.
Mourinho’s side shell out £26 million for Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne, while City splurge over £35 million on Bayern Munich’s Xherdan Shaqiri and Roma’s Miralem Pjanic.
Meanwhile, Diego Costa doesn’t seem to keep up his real life form at Chelsea, bagging just eight league goals for the Blues.
However, Jose Mourinho won’t mind as he leads the club to their second Champions League title with a 4:2 extra-time victory (at 13/2) over PSG.
Van Gaal Glory!
Van Gaal does pick up some silverware in his first season in English football with an FA Cup Final victory over Harry Redknapp’s QPR, with a goal from Di Maria and a brace from Juan Mata sealing a dramatic comeback from two goals down.
But The League Title Goes To…At 50/1….
Incredibly, Mauricio Pochettino leads Tottenham to their first league title in over 50 years, with the much-maligned Eric Lamela and Roberto Soldado bagging over 20 goals each in all competitions.
City, Chelsea and United take the other Champions League places, while Arsenal fail to qualify for the first time under Arsene Wenger. QPR are the season’s surprise package, finishing 6th, but a Suarez-less Liverpool slump to 8th.
Awards and Farewells
Those questioning Juan Mata’s future at Old Trafford should fear not, with the Spaniard scooping the Player’s Player of the Year Award. Meanwhile, compatriot David Silva picked up the Footballer of the Year Award and got most assists with twelve.
Swansea striker Wilfried Bony (at 33/1) topped the scoring charts with 25 goals, while Jack Wilshere beats off Christian Eriksen and Eden Hazard for Young Player of the Year.
Somewhat inevitably, Pochettino claimed the Manager of the Year title for his improbable success with Spurs. However, some of his managerial colleagues weren’t so successful.
Paul Lambert receives his marching orders from Aston Villa and, incredibly, Brendan Rodgers’ poor third season at Anfield sees him replaced by Marcelo Bielsa at Liverpool.
Well, he doesn’t last long in Manchester, returning to Monaco when his loan spell is up. We’re not sure if United passed up the permanent deal or if the English weather (and tax rates) just didn’t suit his style.