There was some silverware on the table right away, the Community Shield! We had already won this trophy and I was looking forward to winning it again, especially since we were going to play last season’s league rivals Tottenham.
Vauxhall vs Tottenham (Community Shield)
Starting line up: Luis Guilherme – Julian Marino, Danny Wilson, Marat Bykov, Pierre Touya – Leandro Velasco, Indio, Marcos Fernandez, Tiago – Zé Carlos, Parana
Team Talk: For the fans!
I fielded my best possible eleven and, as you can notice, there was just one new face in there compared to last season: centre back Danny Wilson, our most expensive signing ever. The match started well for us, we were playing our usual attacking game and could have taken the lead after just five minutes when Parana send one just wide from 10 yards. Fortunately we had to wait just three more minutes to break the deadlock, Leandro Velasco dazzled a defender with his great first touch before firing in a low shot. That goal made the game a bit more quiet, we were still dominating but there were no more chances before the last minute when Tottenham came close as Dzeko hit the post with a corner kick header.
Half time score: 1-0
Half time team talk: For the fans!
Half time substitutions: Javier Godoy for Bykov, Robert Ackermann for Fernandez, Moustapha Gueye for Tiago
We started the second half in a similar manner, we were taking the game to the Spurs and could have made it 2-0 on 50 minutes when Zé Carlos was denied by the goalkeeper on a clear chance. We were pretty much in control of the game but the Spurs were dangerous on set pieces as they hit the post again on a corner kick. We had our own woodwork moment on a corner kick later in the game, Danny Wilson cracked one against the crossbar, while Zé Carlos squandered another good chance moments later. We won the game and we deserved it, our second consecutive Community Shield win and a good warm-up for the new season.
Full time team talk: Congratulations!
Man of the match: Leandro Velasco
Flop of the match: Tiago
The remaining matches in August were quite pleasing too, Zé Carlos managed to score in all of those games which we won easily. There was an unfortunate event though, new striker Lucas Cuello picked up a nasty injury that was going to keep him out for between 3 and 4 months so I had to replace him. I had no money left to spend on transfers so I relied on our “local” talent, I promoted 17-year old Iain McManus from the reserves squad.
Zé Carlos continued his good record with a double against Wolves, then we eased past Hearts in the Champions League group but our 100% record was ruined at West Brom. It was a game that was played under special circumstances though, we had two players sent off before half time and I guess the result was good enough. Then we hammered Fulham in the Carling Cup and ended the month with a very good performance against Chelsea although the score line should have been far more comfortable.
October started with a tough Champions League clash at Fiorentina, it was a fierce game that we eventually won thanks to a fabulous late goal from Abdallah Yaisien (click here to open the video). Then we thrashed Tottenham in the Premier League, it was a brilliant display from my team, but then our unbeaten run came to an end at Emirates Stadium as Arsenal beat us 2-1 at the end of a hard-fought match. I believe that we would have deserved a draw there but Arsenal seemed more determined to clinch the three points. Then we took on Ajax in the Champions League and it was a historic evening for the club and for our 17-year old striker, Iain McManus scored no less than five goals and broke the club record for most goals scored in a single game. His first goal was pretty nice to watch too (click here to open the video). The last two games of the month brought us another two wins but the one at Fulham was quite important as we fought back from 1-0 down and with only 10 men on the pitch.
November started with an excellent fightback against Manchester United, we found ourselves one goal down early on but then Parana bagged a brace and Danny Wilson scored his first ever goal for the club to give us the three points. Then we managed to beat Ajax and secure our place in the Champions League knockout round before being held to a 1-1 draw at Man City, we fought back again from 1-0 but that time we stopped at 1-1. The remaining four games were easy enough, we won all four of them but I wasn’t happy at all and that was because of… injuries. Midfielder Marcos Fernandez was going to be out for four months and right back Julian Marino for three months. I promoted another two youngsters from the reserves to fill in the gap, centre back Gerhard Heinrich and central midfielder Benoit Torre.
The last month of the year started with a sloppy performance in the Carling Cup, West Brom caused us all sorts of problems in the quarter final clash but luckily we managed to pull through after the penalty shoot-out. The Champions League group stage ended with a spectacular 3-3 draw against Fiorentina but I was thrilled with our league form in December as we managed to win six games out of six. We recorded some heavy wins in the process but the most pleasing one was against relegation candidates Liverpool (yes, that’s right!), we had five clear cut chances and hit the woodwork three times in that game.
Despite our almost perfect start the title race is still extremely close, I think that the top five teams are still in with a very good chance considering that Man City have three games in hand on most of the other contenders. As you can see Liverpool are in big trouble, I guess they shouldn’t have sold Danny Wilson
Our players were simply great so far, as you can notice we have only three lads with average ratings below 7.00 at this point! Parana is finally showing what he can do, he has been our best player so far as he scored more goals than Zé Carlos for the first time since they joined the club! Youngster Iain McManus has enjoyed a great debut in the first team but he will probably move back to the reserves as Lucas Cuello is slowly recovering from his injury.
About injuries, they have hit us pretty hard in midfield so I am trying to bring in a new midfielder because the youngsters that we have in that department are not too good. We don’t have too much money though but I was given hope by a piece of news that came in during October, a tycoon was trying to buy the club!
Then things seemed close to going all the way in November…
… but the deal collapsed before the end of the year…
I will revert to the usual format for the next update which will probably cover January and February 2020, we’ll have some tough Premier League matches there against Chelsea, Arsenal and Man United along with the first leg of the Champions League knockout round against German side Schalke. We’ll also have the Carling Cup semi final against Everton, I am determined to reach the final and win that trophy for the first time.
While Vauxhall were trying to defend the Premier League title Argentina had to keep on winning after the Copa America. I’m pleased to say that we did although the first few matches were not very convincing. The World Cup Qualifying campaign is right on track after four consecutive wins but that’s just the easy part, we still haven’t played against the likes of Brazil or Uruguay yet.
Thanks a lot for reading this quick update folks, I’m looking forward to your comments and requests.
Screen Shot Requests
Rangers squad for Stephan
Feyenoord squad for Desmo