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SATURDAY January 21st, 2017
It’s been a long break between games, but it’s hardly been without work. The squad looks a bit different before we head into the game with Utrecht today. I suppose a bit of reflection is appropriate. Might help me work out what things look like for the second half of the season too.
The major “in” was Adam Taggart. He’s settled in pretty well except for some ridiculous demands for Vegemite in bulk.
I brought in Albert Makiadi on loan from our “parent” club, Bordeaux. He’s a left winger to give me a bit of depth in case I don’t find a proper wide player. He’s 19 years old, hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mihai has been sold to a Romanian team, so he gets to hang out with some Romanians, which is probably good for him. It’s a shame to see him go, but I’ll never forget his contribution to our first season’s success.
Thor has signed for a Ukrainian team and will join them at the end of the season. So, my dilemma is whether to play him or Jimmy Smits for the rest of this campaign. I might as well give the Icelandic viking his farewell run.
I’m scouting a ton of right midfielders at the moment. I’ve got about half a million dollars to spend and not a whole lot of salary. We’ll see if someone comes up.
Non-transfer news is that Zimmerman is out for a month and a half. This is bad news as he’s been my leading player all season with an average of 7.98. Hopefully Brenet will be able to step in.
Game day. Taggart started up front and the fans were pretty excited. They don’t get many Australians in Nijmegen. I left Crivelli out of the squad and still had two strikers on the bench. I might send him back to Bordeaux even though he’s costing me nothing. Don’t want an unhappy player in the team and I really need to give Sylla a chance to play and develop his game.
Just before half time, Taggart sent the fans into a spasm of celebration as he booted home a line-hugging pass from Rios, the left back. He gave a bow to the crowd, who ate it up.
We were keeping 60% of the ball most of the time, but struggling to get shots on target. Let’s be honest, we weren’t getting any shots on target except the Taggart goal from the first half. Utrecht were though, which was more than a little worrying. Then, just as the clock ticked over to 66, Taggart and Rios struck again. This time it was a header.
I don’t want to write too much about how brilliant my transfer skills are, but I do want to pause and acknowledge them for a sentence or two. Okay, done.
The postgame press conference began with a compliment about our lack of fouls and cards. We’re among the league leaders. Such a change from last season.
Peter Bosz has been fired from Vitesse, so I was asked for my very important opinion on the matter. It was tough to decide whether I should side with Vitesse or Bosz. I went with one last slap to Bosz – I can always mess with Vitesse more in the future. In other league news, PSV drew their game.
MONDAY January 23rd, 2017
I got some responses to some of the wide players. Turns out I actually have negative dollars available for salaries. So, no new players.
WEDNESDAY January 25th, 2017
Game day. Adam Taggart opened up the scoring just before the half once again. This time it was a rocketed shot from outside the area. Vadócz was credited with the assist, but it’s hard to agree that anyone provided that goal other than Taggart. So, at that point he was only scoring a goal every half. I like that rate.
With Carlos having a rest in this game, Christian Santos took the free kick duties and provided a beautiful ball to the head of Kagane who volleyed it home. It’s lovely getting such varied goals. And with that, we won 2-0 away to Willem II.
We had 62% possession in this game. That sees us at 55.2% for the season. I was aiming for 55%, so I’d say my prediction skills are about as good as my recruitment ability.
PSV lost. This is turning into a two-team race with Ajax ahead at the moment.
SUNDAY January 29th, 2017
Game day. We haven’t scored past this keeper in the last three games. Time to break the streak.
After they scored in the first half and our offensive output was best represented by the eight shots at goal that all missed the target, things weren’t looking good. It’s hard to credit their keeper with the run when we weren’t giving him anything to stop. It was like a flashback to last season – though Throwback Thursday isn’t supposed to be on Sundays. By definition. I offered some well chosen words, none of which were polite, at half time. I awaited the typical response of two goals.
It didn’t come. The boys started getting a few shots on target, but they were treating the keeper to the type of game of catch you play with your five year old nephew. Soft balls were being lobbed to him like they didn’t want to warm up his hands. And it just never stopped. I tried a few changes, but nothing. We lost. Four games in a row for this guy.
Ajax won. This is turning into a one-team race.
TUESDAY January 31st, 2017
Ajax sold two players for $34 million today. That’s more than my whole team would sell for on a good day. Will it affect their results for the rest of the season? One would hope so, as they also won their quarter final match today and may face us if we go through against FC Groningen. If? We’d better go through.