Part 1 –
Football is a curious game, for years we have watched Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo score a frankly absurd amount of goals against the highest levels of competition in the Champions League. But, at least from a common English expression, one doubt has always remained, “but could they do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke?”
That’s right, despite routinely making europe’s greatest defenders look like Titus Bramble when faced with literally anything other than a stationary ball, Messi and Ronaldo’s technical brilliance has constantly been doubted against the physical gifts of Stoke’s toughest defenders.
So this gave me an idea. After consistently playing football manager games the regular way, (buy good players – win – see no actual profit) I decided to experiment with how I played the game. Firstly I attempted to win the Champions league with players from my youth team. Nailed it. Then I tried to win championships in 5 different leagues. Nailed it. Win the premier league with a league 2 team? Nailed it. Moneyball? better believe I nailed it. This brought a lot more challenges and joy to a game I had always enjoyed but had grown tired of over the years. So now I have embarked upon my newest challenge. Strength v Technique what wins?
To begin this challenge I needed to set some ground rules, so for your understanding, here they are:
- I will control both teams.
- One team will sign players based on physical attributes only
- The other will sign players based upon technical ability only
- I will organise all tactics and formations myself – no plug and play
- First to win the Champions League wins!
So yeah there we go pretty easy stuff really so on to picking the teams. Seeing as we need two teams of relatively similar ability that can attract the players I need immediately whilst also allowing for growth to be shown through match performances (this challenge would be pretty useless using Real Madrid and Barcelona for instance, they already win Champions Leagues) I looked to Scotland. Celtic and Rangers are traditionally big fish within their extremely small pond, however, recently swimming in the waters of the Champions League has been a leap (splash?) too far.
So Tixi Taka, the technical coaching genius, and Mister Muscle the fitness coaching guru, have set up shop at Celtic and Rangers respectively.
Tixi Taka –
Mister Muscle –
As you can see TT and MnM have had their technical coaching and fitness coaching maxed out respectively. This will allow me to ensure each team has 5 star coaching in the correct categories for the challenge. Tixi will play a possession based gamed based on a wide 4-3-3, I have purposely avoided a traditional 4-3-3 formation as all Football Manager players will know, 4-3-3 is OP fam.
Look at all that sweet sweet possession play.
MnM however will line up with the brick wall that is 5-3-2. His players have been instructed to ‘get stuck in’ and to press like their lives depend on it. Since he is signing players based on physical gifts alone, this heavy pressing game should not be an issue for the V02 max cheats that are my Rangers team.
There are going to be some red cards this year…
Transfers were based on different criteria for each manager. Things like age and money were not issues, that said I’m not trying to bankrupt either club(!) or to disrupt the squads with too much movement in the first transfer window.
Tixi was interested in players with great flair, technique or other technical skills, if a player is essentially a 90 year old narcoleptic with regards to their physicals but could land a ball on a penny from 50 yards he was throwing his cheque book on the table and asking them to pick a number.
Celtic Transfers –
Robbie Keane has returned and hes not bringing his runners with him.
M squared however as decided to forgo any sort of technical wizardry for the old faithful, abs, and lots of them. Due to Rangers having a bank account that looks relatively similar to mine after ‘UberEats Friday’ has taken it’s toll on me, we (they*) were restricted to loans and free transfers. However there is some meaty bois in this intake and I’m not mad at our acquisitions.
Preseason went relatively as expected, with only a couple of expected losses to bigger opposition. Note due to Celtic beginning the season in the Champions League they could be seen as starting this challenge ahead of Rangers. However as brilliant a manager as I am (no seriously stop laughing at the back there) I highly doubt I’m going to be taking Celtic to an improbable Champions League title with a line led by a geriatric Robbie Keane so I imagine we will have a few seasons for things to even out.
So let’s start this season shall we….