September – November
Highlight of this period of games was a 1-0 win against Barcelona with Mario grabbing the goal in a game which we dominated the ball, I was more than happy with how we implemented our game plan based on controlling the game and closing down the space in front of our back 4, Bruno dominated the midfield in a double pivot were I used Rodrigo Caio alongside our captain. The Brazilian has the qualities I want from my defensive midfield duo based on technique,passing,tackling and vision. I decided on the inclusion of Ciao because of his defensive qualities against the Barca midfield, I wanted him to win the ball and play simple passes to start our offensive play which he did to perfection. Bruno is the most underrated player I have managed, he is the perfect playmaker and first name on my team sheet week in week out….quality personified. We ended this period with 8 clean sheets from 12 games. We lost just 1 league game against a very solid Atletico side. In the Europa League we won 2 drew 1 and lost 1 that left us in 2nd place in the group.
Players departing the club during the transfer window, Nicola Sansone £15m Manchester United and Roberto Soriano £15.75m AS Monaco. Incoming I signed 21 year old winger Hector Villalba from San Lorenzo for £3m. We have made a net transfer profit of £43m putting the club in a nice financial position with just £9m in debt which clears in 2018 with the final payment.
December – January
Defeat to Panithinaikos in the Europa League left us in 2nd place to qualify for the knockout phase, the Greek club completed a double on us to win the group. We got knocked out of the Copa del rey after a two leg defeat to Simeone’s Atletico side who beat us 3-1 in the Vicente Calderon before we beat them 2-1 in the 2nd leg which was not enough. In 7 league games we won 5 and lost 2 which was enough to see us reach the top of the table. our defeats came against Athletic Club and Real Madrid. Soldado hit 9 goals including a sublime finish against Granada in a 5-1 win.
January – February
This was the month that seen Cheryshev,Villalba,Soldado and Bakambu develop a super understanding of the system with some fantastic link up play that is arguably the best I have managed on any FM save. I was watching matches in great detail just to witness this. We went undefeated in 8 games during this period that include the Europa League games against Feyenoord were we progressed through to the next round after a 3-0 win in Holland. In the league we had wins against Valencia,Osasuna,Seville,Alaves and the completion of the double against Barcelona with another 1-0 win this time in Camp Nou thanks to a Villalba goal which opened a lead of 4 points between us and the Catalan giants.
An interesting month saw us go out of the Europa League against PSG, we drew the 1st leg 0-0 in Spain before going down 1-2 in Paris. This was the month that stretched us a little in terms of injuries but we managed to start with a fantastic 4-0 win against Atletico but we came crashing back to earth with a 2-1 defeat at bottom club Eibar. We then stumbled to a 1-1 draw at the Riazor against Deportivo thanks to Soldado. To end the month we demolished Real Sociedad 5-0 with Cedric Bakambu hiting an hat-trick along with strikes from Villalba and Soldado. We end the month 3 points clear of Barca with 8 games to play…..We dare to dream.
April – May (History Is Made)
We start the final month of the season with a 4-0 win against Real Betis in front of a packed El Madrigal crowd who are starting to dream, Bakambu 2, Ruiz and Soldado with the goals. A 1-0 win gave us 3 more vital points after a hard fought game against relegated Sporting, Bakambu with the all important goal. Malaga at home next and another 3 point again Cedric Bakambu with a brace in a 2-0 win. Athletic Club were the visitors for our next game, Soldado and Bakambu both on the score sheet in a 2-1 win. Leganes away next and a 5-0 win puts us on the verge of history with Soldado 3 and Bakambu 2 scoring the goals that leave us 3 points away from the title with 3 games to play. Espanyol at home is the first of three games we have to create history, I tell the squad to treat this game like any other and they do with our flying winger Denis Cheryshev sending the Madrigal crowd in to euphoria with a brace that writes our names in to the history books. What a performance we are champions of Spain. We lose our last 2 games against Granada and Real Madrid but the title is ours to enjoy.
Villarreal Crowned Spanish Champions
Cedric Bakambu and Roberto Soldado
The partnership that set El Madrigal alight, the pair scored 67 goals between them Soldado 35 goals, Bakambu 32 goals in all competitions.
What can I say this season without doubt is my most enjoyable across all my saves on FM, Villarreal have a set philosophy that I have enjoyed reading about alongside this save. I started the save as a bit of a time filler until FM17 is released which I thought I could plough through but from day one I was immersed in the save and started to watch games in full.The system I have used is a variation of a 4-4-2 that uses 2 defensive midfielders and 2 wingers behind a false 9 and a complete forward. We look to control games along with an attacking transition that as taken us to the title. Funnily enough the system and formation was created in need because I had so many injuries at the start of the season so we could not use my intended 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. The whole squad have performed to a level I could not have imagined. The 2 additions to the squad have more than adapted to their new surroundings Rodrigo Caio joined for £3.5m in the summer and has played both in central defence and the defensive midfield positions. Hector Villalba came in to the club in January and as won the young player of the year and supporters player of the year awards. Mario at full back has played his way in to the Spain side with his marauding runs and assists during the season. Soldado and Bakambu have been goal machines in a fantastic partnership up front. Denis Cheryshev what a player on the left wing a new contract signed already. Bruno is a super professional who oozes class with Guardiola watching him for the duration of the season so much so I got fed up with the news alert after every game. I promoted Rodri from our B team to come in alongside his tutor Bruno in midfield, the kid looks a gem of a player. The finances of the club are in good shape we managed to make a good profit in the transfer window. So that wraps up our season at El Madrigal I hope you have enjoyed the update has you look forward to November 4th.
Voyages On The Yellow Submarine Pre Season Update will Be Out this Coming Week