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There I was sat with the game loaded and an urge to play yet just couldn’t decide what kind of save I wanted to play. I’ve been testing a few things on the latest update but the truth is I just haven’t got much working as I’d like yet and I say yet as I aim to get there in the end but in the meantime I thought it would be best to just do something normal and based purely on team results so with the game loaded I accidentally hit the in-game challenge button and there it was, the saviour cometh challenge. The challenge is simple, you take your chosen team and start after the mid season transfer window with your team near the bottom of the table and it’s your job to guide them to safety. With it being after the mid season transfer window you can’t make any transfers so it’s really quick to set up so not at all daunting. Anyway, I thought why not and instantly thought of Norwich as being the team I’d choose as they’re currently rock bottom of the PL table and let’s face it we mightn’t even see an end to the current campaign in real life due to the global pandemic which adds a little bit more to this challenge in my eyes.

I can only apologise to all of the creators of the many great challenges on the forum as it may seem a bit disrespectful me doing an in-game challenge, it’s nothing personal though and I may well try some of those later. For now though I’m set on this and good to go.

 

Saviour Cometh

Team: Norwich City

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Nickname: The Canaries

Founded: 1902

Stadium: Carrow Road

Capacity: 27,244

So after setting up the challenge I immediately went to have a look at the league table to see what the damage was and I was pleasantly surprised to see that we weren’t at all cut off and were only two points away from safety but the team have been on a horrible run recently so morale in the camp is rock bottom to say the least. The first few league fixtures aren’t the best either I have to say with tough games against Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea, Man Utd, Everton and Wolves to come although still being in the FA Cup could offer us a nice distraction if we can just beat Crystal Palace in the fourth round replay.

 

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I’ll be back later so we can see how the opening games went.

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Those ingame challenges are also nice for tactics testing as one doesn't need to holiday thru pre-season just to get some games in. 

The fixtures list looks unkind tho, you've got your work cut out for you, Ian. When was the last time you got the sack? I think I know when the next time is 😂 

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3 hours ago, Foxy said:

This is a cracking built in challenge that I have enjoyed a couple of times before.

@samhardy how do you think Bobby would react if Ian takes them down?

I imagine he will get the comfort food in as a dress rehearsal for the real thing. 4.5 million pork pies should do it.

Looking forward to seeing how you get on @Ian

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I personally love the in game challenges, especially this one. Does the gap vary with the club you pick? Remember when I did this with Ajax (no need for name-calling guys), the gap was huge.

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On 21/03/2020 at 13:17, Foxy said:

This is a cracking built in challenge that I have enjoyed a couple of times before.

@samhardy how do you think Bobby would react if Ian takes them down?

I do remember the one you did on last years game that went well but I’ve never actually done any of the built in ones before. Hopefully it’ll go well for me too.

On 21/03/2020 at 13:24, BatiGoal said:

Those ingame challenges are also nice for tactics testing as one doesn't need to holiday thru pre-season just to get some games in. 

The fixtures list looks unkind tho, you've got your work cut out for you, Ian. When was the last time you got the sack? I think I know when the next time is 😂 

It does seem a good way to test a few tactics especially ones for lesser teams as if they work in this situation then they should work for most teams. The fixture list does look a bit tricky at the beginning so hopefully we don’t end up cut off after those. I haven’t suffered the dreaded sack on this years game yet but there’s time for that 😂

On 21/03/2020 at 16:21, samhardy said:

I imagine he will get the comfort food in as a dress rehearsal for the real thing. 4.5 million pork pies should do it.

Looking forward to seeing how you get on @Ian

Thank you Sam, I’ll try my best to not let Bobby down. 

4 hours ago, Cockers2505 said:

Good luck @Ian I'm sure you will have to pull out all the stops to get this done, as @BatiGoal said you have some scary fixtures coming up, but good luck anyway.

Thank you Cockers, when I looked at the league table it seemed good but as you say the first few fixtures are horrible so hopefully we can get through them in one piece to give us a shot at some of the lesser teams.

3 hours ago, Dagion said:

I personally love the in game challenges, especially this one. Does the gap vary with the club you pick? Remember when I did this with Ajax (no need for name-calling guys), the gap was huge.

I’ve never done any of them before so I’m not sure whether the gap is based on the club or just random. I may well try a few of the others after this one though.

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The team report screen doesn’t look so good with a whole load of red negatives and only a few green positives such as how we have both an excess transfer and wage budget but the trouble is we can’t spend it! I’m at least happy with the depth of the squad as apart from left back we have a few options available for each position.

I’ll be starting with the tactic below which has served me well on previous versions of the games and it can be pretty good as a counter attack tactic with the right players. The squad have some decent options for the playmaker roles but I’m slightly concerned that there doesn’t seem to be anyone I’d consider great for the box to box role so I’ll have to keep an eye on that. The defenders are not so great on the ball so their role reflects that as I’m just looking for them to snuff out the danger, take no risks and unless there’s an easy ball to one of the more creative players then just clear the thing. I like some pace in the forward positions with this set up and we have that with Hernández and Buendia as inside forwards but I’d prefer it if Pukki had more so I may go for Drmic who is a wee bit quicker if Pukki doesn’t deliver early doors.

 

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Let’s see how the first few games went.

 

01 Feb 20: Norwich v Arsenal: Premier League, Carrow Road (att: 26,487)

A pretty uninspiring game where neither side created much but a bullet header from Papastathopoulos from an Arsenal corner in the 75th minute was enough for the gunners to claim victory. 

Result: 0-1

 

04 Feb 20: Norwich v Crystal Palace: FA Cup Fourth Round Replay, Carrow Road (att: 24,458)

Goals galore in this one as both Pukki and Benteke grabbed a brace each to take the game to extra time where Marco Stiepermann cut in from the right and blasted one into the top corner with his left foot in the 115th minute to send Norwich through to the fifth round.

Result: 3-2 (AET)

 

22 Feb 20: Manchester City v Norwich: Premier League, The City of Manchester Stadium (att: 51,915)

Manchester City made light work of a timid Norwich City side here as by the 50th minute they were up by four goals which included a hat trick from Aguero. Two quick goals by Drmic restored at least some pride for the visiting Canaries but a Sané 25 yard special in the dying minutes put the icing on the cake for the hosts.

Result: 5-2

 

29 Feb 20: Norwich City v Chelsea: Premier League, Carrow Road (att: 27,331)

A rather dull affair as the two sides played out a goalless draw. Chelsea had the slightly better of the game but were largely restricted to shots from distance and Norwich just couldn’t create anything of note but will be moderately happy to gain a point against a decent Chelsea side.

Result: 0-0.

 

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So after four games it’s safe to say we’ve still got plenty of work to do but they were fairly hard fixtures and it’ll more than likely be the games against fellow strugglers that decide our fate so we are still optimistic. We’ve been drawn against Pompey in the FA Cup Fifth Round and that will replace our previously scheduled league game against Man Utd so hopefully we can win that one to give us some confidence going into the forthcoming league games.

 

Forthcoming Fixtures (All league games unless stated); Portsmouth (H) (FA Cup), Everton (A), Wolverhampton Wanderers (H), Southampton (H), Burnley (A), Crystal Palace (H)

Once I play those games we’ll see what league position the team are in for the run in.

 

Thanks for reading.

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2 hours ago, Ian said:

do remember the one you did on last years game that went well

I have done it twice and failed the first time but then I was Sunderland and I’m not a miracle worker.

That was a tough run of fixtures and it was always going to be tough to get anything so I would say that point against Chelsea was well earned.

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There's points in the upcoming fixtures but they're still very tricky games. Especially with a squad that ain't yours, but nothing the VPL champ can't handle 👍 

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20 hours ago, Foxy said:

I have done it twice and failed the first time but then I was Sunderland and I’m not a miracle worker.

No shame there as that would take a truly fine manager. Hopefully I can at least keep the canaries up.

20 hours ago, Rob said:

Good luck Ian. I’m sure you’ll smash it.

Thank you Rob, I’m still hopeful that we will be able to do it.

10 hours ago, BatiGoal said:

There's points in the upcoming fixtures but they're still very tricky games. Especially with a squad that ain't yours, but nothing the VPL champ can't handle 👍 

Thanks Bati, Yes they’re tough games but if we don’t pick up a few points from them then I could be in real danger.

9 hours ago, smoggy90 said:

Good luck mate!

Cheers Smoggy.

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We didn’t get off to a particularly great start in our first few matches although the FA Cup Fourth Round replay victory over Palace was pleasing and now we need to kick on and hopefully get some league points on the board.

 

04 Mar 20: Norwich City v Portsmouth: FA Cup Fifth Round, Carrow Road (att: 24,657)

Lower league Pompey put up a great fight against Premier League strugglers Norwich but a splendid free kick from Ondrej Duda in the 88th minute broke the deadlock to send the canaries through to the quarter final.

Result: 1-0

 

07 Mar 20: Everton v Norwich City: Premier League, Goodison Park (att: 39,556)

An inspired Norwich City side raced out of the blocks as Josip Drmic helped himself to a brace inside the first 20 minutes and fabulous defensive display followed to hand Norwich a famous away victory and a much needed three points.

Result: 0-2

 

15 Mar 20: Norwich City v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Premier League, Carrow Road (att: 26,010)

Norwich failed to clear a corner properly midway through the first half and the ball found its way to veteran full back Ivan Strinic who placed his shot into the top corner to give Wolves a just about deserved lead. The canaries came out firing in the second half though as Emi Buendía restored parity in the 49th minute but the game then seemed to fizzle out with both teams seemingly fairly happy with the draw.

Result: 1-1

 

18 Mar 20: Norwich City v Southampton: Premier League, Carrow Road (att: 24,617)

The hosts were much the dominant side throughout but it was looking like they’d have to make do with a share of the points as they just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. With the game ticking into the 89th minute Ondrej Duda picked up the ball just outside the box and unleashed a thunderous drive into the bottom left hand corner of the saints net to ignite mass celebrations from the Carrow Road faithful. The saints then pushed everyone forward in search of a late equaliser only for Tom Tybull to pick the ball up deep inside his own half and plough a searching through ball for Josip Drmic to run onto and slot home to ensure all three points would go the resurgent Norwich City.

Result: 2-0

 

22 Mar 20: Everton v Norwich City: FA Cup Sixth Round, Goodison Park (att: 39,478)

Norwich City continued their run of good form as they swept Everton aside to book their place in the semi final. A tap in from Pukki towards the end of the first half and a curling effort from the edge of the box by Hernández was enough to seal the deal as Everton just couldn’t get going.

Result: 0-2

 

04 Apr 20: Burnley v Norwich City: Premier League, Turf Moor (att: 21,338)

A draw was a fair result in this one as both sides gave a good account of themselves. Burnley took the lead midway through the first half from a Phil Bardsley header but the canaries rallied early in the second half and got their reward as Hernández kept his good run going with a fine goal at the turn of the hour.

Result: 1-1

 

13 Apr 20: Norwich City v Crystal Palace: Premier League, Carrow Road (att: 25,248)

The home side raced away to a three goal lead in a one sided first half only for Palace to fight back in the second to level the game to the utter disgust of the Carrow Road faithful. In the 79th minute Norwich won a free kick not far outside the box and Emi Buendía stepped up and smashed the ball into the back of the net which would give Norwich another great victory.

Result: 4-3

 

19 Apr 20: Norwich City v Derby County: FA Cup Semi Final, Wembley (att: 78,450)

There was a clear gulf in class between the two sides here as Norwich made light work of Championship side Derby County to sail to a three goal victory and can now look forward to the final where they’ll face Manchester United.

Result: 3-0

 

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We’ve had a fantastic run of games but are still in the bottom three so plenty of work left to do with some tricky games to come and a few make or break games against fellow strugglers. Regardless of what happens in the league though we can look forward to an FA Cup final appearance against the mighty Manchester United.

 

Forthcoming Fixtures (All league games unless stated); Liverpool (A), Watford (A), Brighton (H), Manchester United (A), Newcastle United (A), Aston Villa (H), Manchester United (FA Cup Final)

 

Thanks for reading.

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Cracking run of results. Looks like the games against Newcastle and Villa will define if you complete this or not. Being a villa fan, and played with them many times on FMM, i can tell you that you shouldnt have any issues with our lot 🤣

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Good run @Ian you have given yourself a great opportunity to miss the drop, some good results.

What's happening with the Man Utd Badge and their position 🤣 looking at that you should have no problems going home with the cup.

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Tough start, but great run of form in the second update and shouldn't be too hard to break out of the bottom three now, especially with those two extra games in hand. I have you finishing on 39 points which should be enough...

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On 24/03/2020 at 15:02, shosky said:

What a great run. Barring any slip, they are almost certain to beat the drop

Thank you Shosky, we’ve put ourselves in a decent position, just need to see it through now.

On 24/03/2020 at 15:34, Jsavfc said:

Cracking run of results. Looks like the games against Newcastle and Villa will define if you complete this or not. Being a villa fan, and played with them many times on FMM, i can tell you that you shouldnt have any issues with our lot 🤣

Thanks JS, yeah I’ve got my eye on those two as if needed I’d hope to get the points needed in those two but they’ve both done ok recently as well. Well most of the teams near the bottom have done well actually and after the run we’ve been on I’d have hoped to be out of the bottom three but still work to do.

On 24/03/2020 at 16:48, Foxy said:

Great month Ian and you have really put yourself in with a chance to stay up looking at your final games.

Thank you Mr Fox, we’ve done brilliantly and I was particularly surprised with the way we dominated Everton away twice. We’ve got Liverpool away next though and I’m not overly confident of getting anything there.

On 24/03/2020 at 17:07, Cockers2505 said:

Good run @Ian you have given yourself a great opportunity to miss the drop, some good results.

What's happening with the Man Utd Badge and their position 🤣 looking at that you should have no problems going home with the cup.

Cheers Cockers, We’ve done well and I’m just hoping that even if we have a hiccup we can come through it and still get the job done. Not sure what’s happening with Man Utd but we’ve got them away in the league which will be like a dress rehearsal for the final and I can see what they are like in that game.

On 24/03/2020 at 17:17, BatiGoal said:

Looking good but things could just as easily slip thru your fingers on the last day.. 👀 

Thanks Bati, I’m not counting my chickens yet as looking at the way the other teams around us are performing I can certainly see it going to the final day.

On 25/03/2020 at 06:50, Scratch said:

Tough start, but great run of form in the second update and shouldn't be too hard to break out of the bottom three now, especially with those two extra games in hand. I have you finishing on 39 points which should be enough...

Cheers Scratch, I’d hope 39 points would be enough so I hope you are right.

23 hours ago, smoggy90 said:

Looking good there Ian, those games in hand will be crucial, good luck!

Thanks Smoggy, Yeah the two games in hand make it look much better. I didn’t really look at the table much during that run and thought we’d be higher at the end but can’t be helped.

14 hours ago, Rob said:

Ian, nailing it. Well done.

Thank you Rob, we are in a great place at the moment and just need to hope we can see it through and then have a good go at Man Utd in the cup final.

11 hours ago, gunnersaur said:

Brilliant stuff man keep it up 

Thank you Gunner, hopefully we can keep going and get ourselves clear.

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No place for Cantwell in your team?

Ive seem him a few times and he looks half decent although I have never bought him.

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21 hours ago, danovic78 said:

No place for Cantwell in your team?

Ive seem him a few times and he looks half decent although I have never bought him.

He’s played a fair bit at either the AP or the two IF positions. He just hasn’t quite got the pace I like for the IF role in this system but he gets some minutes and to be honest I’m having trouble working out who my preferred player is for the AP position as they have a few decent options there. Just wish they had a more tank like BBM!

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2 hours ago, Ian said:

He’s played a fair bit at either the AP or the two IF positions. He just hasn’t quite got the pace I like for the IF role in this system but he gets some minutes and to be honest I’m having trouble working out who my preferred player is for the AP position as they have a few decent options there. Just wish they had a more tank like BBM!

Yeah, I guess he is more suited to be in the AMC postion as the AP I guess. 

I guess you could play him as an AP on the wing?

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On 27/03/2020 at 14:39, danovic78 said:

Yeah, I guess he is more suited to be in the AMC postion as the AP I guess. 

I guess you could play him as an AP on the wing?

Yeah I’d say he’d be better at AMC and that’s a good idea about the AP on the ring role as I’ve never tried that role this year yet. May have to give it a try on a test save as I find that if my lone striker is less than great then I get more joy with inside forwards up with him rather than wingers as I think they offer more support. This is more for strikers scoring mind but in theory the AP’s our wide might offer the striker more support in the centre without pinching as many goals as the IF’s. I remember trying it last year and not getting much joy but worth a try again i think.

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We had a great run of results in the last update to put us in with a great shout of survival but plenty of work was still required to see us home so let’s see how the next few games went.

 

25 Apr 20: Liverpool v Norwich City: Premier League, Anfield (att: 53,836)

This Norwich City side just love a trip to Merseyside and they continued that trend with a fantastic victory over Liverpool at Anfield. Teemu Pukki opened the scoring for the canaries after finishing a fantastic counter attacking move against the run of play towards the end of the first half and Onel Hernández doubled their advantage not long after the break when his deflected effort found its way past a bewildered Alisson in the Liverpool goal. The reds only had themselves to blame for this result as they spurned a number of great opportunities with Salah in particular having a truly horrible day in front of goal but Norwich City won’t care as they go home with another fantastic three points.

Result: 0-2

 

29 Apr 20: Watford v Norwich City: Premier League, Vicarage Road (att: 21,192)

The canaries have been on a great run and have been very clinical in front of goal recently but not today as they left their shooting boots at home and could hardly keep the ball in the stadium with shooting efforts flying left, right and centre. This was a game with two near post corner goals and one for each team with Troy Deeney scoring for Watford and Josip Drmic for Norwich and I suppose in the end both teams were probably happy enough with the draw.

Result: 1-1

 

03 May 20: Norwich City v Brighton: Premier League, Carrow Road (att: 27,329)

Two teams battling for relegation here and after a limp start from the hosts Adam Webster opened the scoring for the visiting seagulls with a scrappy goal from a corner in the 20th minute. Norwich then huffed and puffed but just couldn’t create any real chances so it was the Brighton contingent who would travel home in great spirits after sealing a much needed three points for them.

Result: 0-1

 

05 May 20: Manchester United v Norwich City: Premier League, Old Trafford (att: 75,607)

Norwich City started very well and got their reward as Teemu Pukki prodded home from six yards out after David De Gea made a hash of clearing a speculative shot from distance by Emi Buendia. Paul Pogba restored parity with a low drive from the edge of the Norwich box midway through the first half before Sam Byram went in hard on United's Jesse Lingard to receive his marching orders from referee Peter Banks much to the disgust of Norwich manager Ian Dawson. After managing to hold on for much of the second half the canaries ended up with nothing as Odion Ighalo scored with a lucky deflected goal with just minutes remaining to give the home side all three points.

Result: 2-1

 

 

So after a fantastic result against Liverpool we proceeded to undo all of our good work with a few horrible results to put us right back in the mire. Survival is no longer in our hands although based on the remaining fixtures of the relegation threatened sides you’d think a couple of wins would be enough but that’s easier said than done at this stage. Both Brighton and Crystal Palace are more than likely going to be okay and the Bournemouth against Southampton tie could prove to be crucial in this battle.


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Forthcoming fixtures in the relegation battle

Saturday 9th May 2020

Brighton v Burnley

Newcastle United v Norwich City

Sunday 10th May 2020

Arsenal v Watford

Aston Villa v Manchester United

Bournemouth v Southampton

Monday 11th May 2020

Crystal Palace v Everton

Friday 15th May 2020

Manchester United v Southampton

Sunday 17th May 2020

Chelsea v Bournemouth

Manchester City v Crystal Palace

Manchester United v Newcastle United

Norwich v Aston Villa

Southampton v Brighton

Watford v Liverpool

 

Thanks for reading.

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