Welcome to the latest going’s on from Florence were we are now in to season four of the save and although I have really been in to the save from day one I am now feeling a lot of love for the digital World of Florence. Yes it’s that time within a save that you have developed a bond with a group of players that you can’t stop thinking about and to be totally honest I have struggled to get to this point over the last few years of FM but this Fiorentina save is different and I am totally absorbed in it.
An opening day win against Palermo got the season off to a good start when unlikely goalscorer Alessandro Bastoni gave us a 1-0 win. With a trip to face Pep Guardiola’s Juventus on Matchday two we prepared ourselves for a difficult game but come matchday we went in to the game in a confident manner and took the game to Juventus and got our rewards with a Berardi goal in the 16th minute which we took in to the break. The second half was a frustrating one with us hitting the woodwork on three occasions and then…. yes you guessed it a late double from Juventus and that bloody Ronaldo fellow sending us back to Florence reflecting on our missed chances and a 1-2 defeat. I am not too disappointed because we showed enough quality to on another day have won this game.
A Dejan Joveljic double eased the pain of Turin when we beat Empoli 3-0 at the Franchi with Rafik Zekhnini also getting on the scoresheet in a game which we dominated from the first minute until the last. The Serbian Joveljic is looking very promising with his movement up top in the False 9 role.
At this point in the save I think I spent all weekend scouting players before another click on the continue button. I noticed Juve have an interesting newgen in their ranks a forward called Koulibaly who looks the real deal. I have shortlisted a few youngsters for scouting reports to keep the scouting network busy over the next few months.
September was a fruitful month that started with a solid away win against Lazio with goals from Diakhate, Zekhnini and Berardi in a 3-0 win. The football on show was nothing short of fantastic sweeping the Lazio team apart.
A calm Wednesday night in Florence saw our opening Champions League game at the Franchi with us hosting Monaco. I would very much like us to make our mark on the competition this season with the boards expectation that we reach the first knockout round. Monaco got off to a flier when ex Fiorentina man Steven Jovetic gave them a 15th minute lead. We recovered well and went close with a Tonali shot from 18 yards. We could not find the break through and ended the half 0-1 down. Soon after the restart we were on level terms thanks to a 49th minute Patrick Cutrone strike. This game was hard to call with both sides going for the win and it was the visitors who took the lead in the 63rd minute with a goal from Boschilia.
Monaco’s lead lasted all of six minutes after Cutrone grabbed his second to level the game at 2-2. The game looked to be heading for a draw and then two minutes in to injury time second half substitute Nicolo Barella made the greatest of impacts with a goal created out of nothing to win the game 3-2 getting our European campaign off to a good start.
Just four days later we had to shake off the dreaded European hangover for a visit to the San Siro to face 3rd placed Milan. I made a couple of changes to the side to keep things fresh with Barella and Cortinovis coming in to our midfield. I have to say at this point we are playing some bloody good football and Milan felt the force of it with us coming away with all three points thanks to goals from Locattelli and Berardi in a 2-0 win.
We finish the month of September off with a 1-0 win against Udinese and a 1-1 draw in the Champions League in Turkey against Galatasaray with Patrick Cutrone getting the goals in each game.
Five games in October and a pleasing defensive performance with us keeping 4 out of 5 clean sheets that started on the road at SPAL were Nicola Barella, Domenico Berardi and Sandro Tonali got the goals in a 3-0 win. It was another good performance in our fight to stay in touch with a Guardiola rejuvenated Juventus at the top of the table.
With a blockbuster double header on the horizon against Borussia Dortmund It was time to rely on our squad by putting faith in some of our fringe players whom are very important in our project to keep fighting on all fronts in the competitions ahead.
A resounding 3-0 win in Florence against Verona set us up nicely for the 1st leg against Dortmund. A double from Dejan Joveljic and Rafik Zekhnini strike ensured all three points were in the bag. I am particularly pleased with Alessandro Cortinovis who is turning in to a quality player and making my team selection difficult.
You know that feeling when everything seems to click in to place, well the home tie against Dortmund in the Champions League was one of those moments when we just took our chances and closed the door at the other end resulting in a 4-0 victory that sends a message out that we are the team to fear in a competitive group. Two goals in the first half courtesy of Bastoni and Cutrone were supplemented by goals from Romero and Cutrone’s second of the game.
A win that was built on a starting XI that consisted of 9 Italian’s and a strategy that kept a tight shape in the adversity of Dortmund dominating the ball. This was another show of our strength in both the defensive and attacking areas of the game. Cleon just released his latest offerings of building a tactical system and I think it was in Part Two of his posts that he said how he built from the front and broke it down to how he he did this, and it makes sense in every step of the way and I am pretty sure many people will adopt this when creating new systems for many FM releases to come and his writing will serve as the bible for new and old.
A 2-0 win away at Sampdoria followed after a Dejan Joveljic goal was supplemented by an own goal that took us to ten games undefeated however Sassuolo stopped our run when they came to Florence and shut us out after taking an early lead to inflict a rare defeat upon us in our own backyard.
We ended the month with a 0-0 draw in the Olympico against mid table Roma which leaves us trailing Juve at the top by 5 points.
Serie A Table
Champions League Table
Pellegrini Agrees Terms
I am pleased to announce that Roma full back Luca Pellegrini will join us in January after the 22 year old was able to agree personal terms after Roma agreed a structured transfer offer that saw us pay £7m up front followed by another £16m paid over 3 instalments over the next 12 months. The decision to bring Pellegrini in to the club was not taken lightly but with Biraghi approaching the grand old age of 30 I decided to splash the cash on the 22 year old Italian. Pellegrini adds quality to our squad and could not have come in at a better time after Luca Ranieri suffered an injury that will sideline him for a while.
After finishing October with a draw and a defeat November ended up being a perfect month with 5 wins out of 5 in all competitions starting with a 1-0 win in Germany meaning we did the double over Dortmund in the Champions League with a goal from Maximiliano Romero that ensures qualification to the knockout rounds with two games to spare,
Sandro Tonali ensured we won all three points in our Serie A fixture against Torino in Florence with the only goal of the game in the 85th minute. Tonali is getting attention from London with both Arsenal and Tottenham making noises about signing him.
Five goals in our next three games for our young Serbian Dejan Joveljic shows that we have good options up front and that I am not afraid to change our frontman. The run of goals started with a double strike against Cagliari in a 2-0 win in Sardinia. Another brace this time in the principality of Monaco in a 4-1 win that ensures top spot in group E, both Alessandro Cortinovis and Benjamín Rollheiser were also on target.
To end the month we beat promoted Pro Vercelli in the Franchi 2-0 with goals from Joveljic his 5th in 3 games and Luca Ranieri to end a very good month,
A 1-1 draw to start the month against Spalletti’s Inter in the Giuseppe Meazza thanks to a late equaliser from Rafik Zekhnini. Internazionale are the best side that we have played so far this season.
We went through the motions in our final Champions League group game against a struggling Galatasaray side who failed to record a shot on target throughout the game. Benjamín Rollheiser with a brace along with a wonderful Abdou Diakhate screamer ensured a 3-0 victory.
Serie A Matchday 16 saw us host José Mourinho and his Napoli side at the Franchi and in true Mourinho style they proved difficult to break down and it took a Rafik Zekhnini goal in the 71st minute to rescue a point in a 1-1 draw.
The Coppa Italia 1st round gave us an home tie against Palermo who we beat 3-0 with ease in Florence, Diakhate, Romero and the inform Rollheiser were all on target to send us in to the next round against Atalanta and Bielsa.
Funnily enough we played Atalanta in our next game in Serie A in Bergamo and we produced a very good 3-1 win with that man Dejan Joveljic scoring another double including a penalty in the absence of Domenico Berardi and Rafik Zekhnini who was also on target for us. Genoa were our hosts in a 1-1 draw at the Marassi and yet again it was Dejan Joveljic who dispatched a penalty just before the interval to earn us a point,
The Coppa Italia Quarter Final would bring December and the year 2021 to an end In Florence against Atalanta and I think Bielsa and his philosophy played in to our hands with us opening them up time after time but the boys from Bergamo held firm until the break. A second half treble courtesy of Berardi, Cutrone and Diakhate gave us a 3-0 win that sends us in to the Semi Finals and rounds off an incredible year for the club.
A friendly against Athletic Club Bilbao starts 2022 off with an opportunity for me to give a few of our next generation a run out but it was Domenico Berardi who stole the show with 5 goals in a 7-0 win.
Matchday 19 and the halfway point of the season took us to Sicily to face Palermo were we came away with all three points thanks to Zekhnini and Adjapong hitting the back of the net. The win extends our unbeaten run to 14 in all competitive competitions. Our good run of form takes us in to second place in the table on level points with Juventus that sets us up for an exciting second half of the season.
Serie A Table
Champions League Final Table
The Champions League 1st knockout round as provided us with a mouth-watering clash with Tottenham Hotspurs in February , a tie that will certainly test our credentials. You may be able to tell or maybe not but I am thoroughly enjoying this save so much so that I was thinking the other day about how can I follow this up when the next version is released later this year.
I am extremely pleased that Dejan Joveljic seems to have found his feet at the club in taking his chance returning 13 goals so far this season. The young Serbian Forward is playing in a false 9 role and looking the business.
From now on in the save the club will not purchase anyone above the age of 18 unless it’s to directly replace a player in the first team squad that we are unable to replace from within the club. We have now got ourselves in to a position that we must let the player development system look after the future of the club.
I am at the point in the save were I know my newgens inside out which brings me on to a post which I am currently working on about my player development system that I have introduced at Fiorentina, it’s nothing ground breaking but a simple system that I use and trust, so watch out for that in the near future.
I would like to thank you for taking the time to check this post out and also thank all who have interacted with me about the save in general. I have enjoyed having conversation about the save and FM in general.
Coming Soon….. The Young Violets a player development post.