Welcome to a standalone blog post for a single season beta save with Brescia, in Italy’s Serie A, where football is called calcio.
I won’t bore you for my reasoning behind doing a “beta save”, but I chose Brescia as they’re tipped to be heavily involved in a relegation scrap, and that’s likely to be a feature of my “proper” save too. Eyes emoji.
This won’t be an in-depth post, but I imagine it’ll work out to be roughly half how my season went, and half about a few impressions of the new game.
As a new feature, this pops right from the off. Like many an FM blogger, I like a long term plan, and though it’s irrelevant to this wee save, I’m looking forward to it’s impact down the line.
As you can see, pretty light on ambition, though I hear that it adapts if you do well, so with any luck we’ll revisit this towards the end of the post.
I particularly like that it weights different competitions and other demands, to give you priorities within priorities.
From a Brescia standpoint, the board have a fairly high desire for possession football, so I’ll have to attempt to adapt our tactic to suit.
Tactics and Personnel:
I’ll be rolling with the first transfer window disabled, this is something else I’m likely to do for realsies, and links to another new feature, the playing time expectations. Not signing new players should allow me to see how a normal sized squad reacts to their differing expectations.
A fairly unremarkable tactic to start with, as I attempt to find a balance between results and playing style board demands. With hindsight, it’s definitely influenced by some of my experiences in FM19, when I had stronger squads at my disposal.
There’s little doubt who the star players are:
A player full of promise, and one would expect not long for a big money move.
As for the rest of the squad, it’s not too bad. A couple of concerns depth wise, CB and Wingers, I’m looking at you, though I’m hopeful that other star man Mario Balotelli can do a job as an inside forward. And I have optimism that we won’t go down…
Initial Results and Match Engine:
Let’s not beat about the bush. This ME has issues. I’m sure if you’ve played a bit you’ve noticed. The crossfield balls, the failed one on ones. My biggest bugbear has been the lack of cohesion from the back four. One CB moves up to the halfway line, the other stays on the edge of the penalty box.
But it’s a beta, this sort of thing is inevitable. Largely my match day experiences have been acceptable, with only a couple of hideous exceptions.
In terms of overall performance, things have gone pretty well:
Until a pair of draws with our final two games of December, at no point had we had successive wins, draws or losses.
Following a fairly similar January, I decided that we were unlikely to have serious relegation worries, and having seen the team perform better with a more positive mentality, I made a tactical switch:
I’d be lying if I said the match engine didn’t play into my thoughts as well. For example, I had become convinced that the full back role gives the ball away more than the wing back role. I also felt that I’d overdone the team instructions, and perhaps cutting back would result in fewer odd behaviours from players.
And there are some new faces. Mario Balotelli left for Wolfsburg for £8.75m, and we used the money to add a pacier CB and a pair of wingers. Two Italians, which pleased the board, but most excitingly, this fella:
Some big clubs were trailing him, but our bid was the only one, and Carlo Holse joined for £2.5m, becoming a “Wonderkid” upon signing.
Following the tactics change, and a respectable 2-0 defeat to Juventus, we put our first (and only) decent run of form together, with six wins on the bounce. This was followed by just two more wins in the remainder of the season (10 games), although we weren’t bad per se, just incapable of finishing, only scoring four goals, with four 0-0 draws in the mix.
Despite this, and our negative goal difference, we smashed our target:
An exciting side we were not, and a large amount of credit must go to ‘keeper Jesse Joronen, Fan’s Player of the Season and Serie A Goalkeeper of the Season, who put in some great performances to keep our goals conceded total so low. Also, the goals of Luca Tremolada from central midfield were important, particularly in the second half of the season, when Matri’s age caught up with him and his goals dried up.
New Features Re-visited:
We managed to negotiate the entire season without falling foul of any playing time unhappiness problems. As the summer rolled in, just six back-up players had any concern, and no-one had come to me to complain. I assume this is due in part to my mighty “Level of Discipline” attribute of 20, and perhaps players being placated by the level of success we have enjoyed. It’s difficult to judge this feature based on this season, but I can see it being a useful addition to prevent the amassing of a huge squad, something I’ve definitely been guilty of in past additions.
On to the club vision. I played into mid-June, in order to see how our performance changed the board’s demands. Firstly, club culture had a youth-based addition:
But, other than a couple of additions in the “ongoing” section, the 5 year plan is a head-scratcher:
Not what I was expecting. Rather than the anticipated upping of expectations, we’ve got one very low aim, forever. Is this a bug, an indication that our chairman (Massimo Cellino) is nuts, or something to do with the rumours of a takeover on the horizon? I don’t know, but disappointingly, it’s another feature I can’t properly write about.
Still, I enjoyed playing the season. A few teething problems with the game for sure, but perhaps that reinforces the decision to wait a bit to start my main save…
…speaking of which, as alluded to on the always delightful One More Game Podcast, I’ll be starting my proper FM20 save in Serbia. After some thought, I’m going to start in the top division so as to avoid any semi-pro nonsense, and the club I’ve chosen is Mačva Šabac, for no reason other than the beta tells me they’re predicted to finish bottom. If I can get a moment or two at the weekend, I might write a cheeky intro post up for Monday morning.
I like a late, underwhelming, poorly thought-out save reveal, and yeah, I think I’ve nailed it this year.