Changes & Progression

R24Shirt1Well, it’s time to kick off the second season of this Napoli save. Firstly, I would like to apologise in advance for the inconsistency of my saves lately, I know I’ve moved from save to save recently, but for the foreseeable future, I’ll be sticking with Napoli, and trying to defeat the behemoth that is Juventus, coming off their unbeaten season. If you remember the first season, I’d begun this save as a test save for some tactical experiments, and as a result had made mistakes – such as selling Gonzalo Higuain – that have made the save even more challenging. I’d also really struggled with my tactical setup, taking most of the season to get the 4-3-3 how I wanted it, and even then I wasn’t entirely sure. Furthermore, my strikers were having difficulty scoring, particularly my star signing Carlos Vela. All in all, it wasn’t great. However, we finished the season in 2nd place in the Scudetto, earning us a Champions League place, so at least there was clear progression in that respect. We just have to claw back 19 points of difference to Juve. This was going to be an important transfer window.

I’d identified our most important weaknesses as:

  • Centre Back – Éder Álvarez Balanta was solid, but Munoz took his time settling in, and Albiol was poor, averaging below 7.00.
  • A forward player. I was hoping this would be to replace Vela, but I couldn’t be certain.

I felt the midfield was perfect as it is, with Jorginho, Allan and Hamsik performing fantastically last season, and Valfidiori, El Kaddouri, de Guzman and Dezi more than capable as backups. Of course, I could improve here, but I want to keep recruitment logical and planned and give this save some longevity, and right now the midfield is our strongest area.

As you’ll know, the key for me was whether teams would be interested in the players I wanted to ship out (ideally), Vela and Gabbiadini. Well, it’s been a busy transfer window, and here’s our transfers out:

There’s Work To Do

1150Well, I’ve now reached the end of the first season with Napoli, a season that has taken me a long time to get through because of choosing to write about other saves before finally deciding this was too much of a challenge not to write about. So, it’s time to update you all on how the season ended, and cover what’s going to happen in the South of Italy moving forward.

In the first update, I covered the early decisions, or mistakes, that I’d made, particularly the sale of star striker Gonzalo Higuain and the signing of various talented players such as Carlos Vela, Ezequiel Munoz and Gabriel Barbosa, some that have worked out, and some that have not. However, I’ll cover that later in the update, when I outline my plans for the coming second season, and plan how I’m going to mould the squad moving forward. One thing I will discuss now is why I decided to sell Higuain and signed Vela, as my good friend and FM YouTuber @StatisticalApp identified I hadn’t really covered this in the first post.

The theory behind it was that I was committing to the 4-3-3 formation (as you’ve seen that I have stuck to all season, albeit with many, many tweaks), and I wanted a striker that dropped deep to create space for the wide players to exploit. In this role, I wanted more of a ‘Messi-type’ player in this role, that was creative and diminutive, that could drop deep and pass or dribble. Higuain just isn’t that type of player. He’s a fantastic striker and can drop off the front line, but I just didn’t feel that he’d give me what I wanted. I wanted more of a False 9 than a Deep-Lying Forward. In theory, Vela should have been fantastic, but as you know from the last update, this really hasn’t been the case.

In future posts or articles, if I miss out any information that you wish to ask me, please always feel free to ask me, you can always contact me via the usual channels on this blog or via Twitter. Anyway, moving back to matters with Napoli, how did we finish in Serie A, the only tournament we were still involved in?

When Things Don’t Go To Plan

R01Suit3By and large, the saves you read about on FM blogs and watch on YouTube and Twitch all tend to go well. The managers make the correct decisions, buy the correct players, and things click tactically, allowing for a successful first season. The perfect example of this is my Newcastle save. I identified the weakest points in the team, being both full back positions, central midfield and Number 10, and bought accordingly to fit into my 4-4-1-1. The 4-4-1-1 itself worked fantastically, and took me to the title in my first season, giving me instant success and gratification. However, this isn’t always a good thing. As many FM players will tell you, half of the fun of a save is the challenge and the struggle. As good as it was winning the title in the first season, I’d basically achieved in 1 game year what I felt it would have taken 3 or 4. Of course I then had the Champions League, but the challenge itself severely diminished, and therefore, so did my motivation to play the save itself.

All this pushed me back towards an older save on FM16, a save I never chose to write about on this blog. It was a tester save for FM16, a save for me to ease into the new game and figure things out tactically. However, it’s become my biggest challenge thus far, and it’s for this reason that I’m going to start writing about it. It will show you that I don’t just simply effortlessly win in all my saves. This save has really become a struggle, and has provided me with a challenge that the Newcastle save never really did. So first off, who is the save actually with?

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