The great escape

The short-lived rise and unglorious fall of 3–3–4

This was my first full season with Benevento and my first contact with Football Manager 18 cause I barely played the beta version.

I started this save with an ambitious project, playing a 3–3–4 tactic with Benevento, the weaker serie A club this season and if the main goal was avoiding the drop, obviously I hoped to do slightly better than that.

If you want to know more about the tactic and Ezio Glerean (my in-game alter ego) you should read part 1 and part 2 (TI’s added) of this story.

2017.18 Players in: 2.1 M spent
2017.18 Players out: 2.5 M earned

After a decent summer transfer window, where I mainly added some youngsters to the club due to my limited budget, we had an encouraging start, playing lots of frindlies and some official games where the tacticd seemed to work, even better than predicted.

The squad looked capable to produce a really entertaining kind of football without suffering too much for the obvious weak points of the tactic used.

But things change quickly in football and Football Manager has the power to suddenly stab you in the back without any further signs and so it happened.

Our form started to decline and the players started to face a worrying confidence crisis, we still had some good games like vs. Inter, Genoa and Torino, but we simply couldn’t cope with opponent players crossing from wide areas of the pitch, my three central defenders were always too attracted by the ball and always forgot to cover the far post zone.

So we leaked goals, we leaked a lot of goals, we finished the season with 106 goals conceded, yes, you read that well, 106!

We know how to implode in style

Ezio Glerean tactical ideas are quite extreme as you know and I stayed loyal to his 3–3–4 all the season long, even if something different would have been needed.

We finally arrived at the end of this struggling season in May, the table doesn’t lie we’re 17th with three, almost impossible, game left, as my twitter followers read last night.

I had to play Juventus, Inter and Napoli with high chances to be relegated from serie A, but then strange things began to happen…

My contract was expiring at the end of June and I didn’t expect such an offer, probably this deal boosted team confidence a little bit and we’ve been able to draw two of our final games, two precious points gained.

Enough to stay up?

2017.18 Serie A final table

A tight table, we survived thanks to the “results between teams” sorting rule.

Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be

I expected more but I was glad about this finale, it’s my own scudetto.

We’ll build on this first season outcome, probably changing the shape of the tactic, which had its (few) moments of brilliancy but these couldn’t balance how poor we’re defensively; I’ll have to convince Ezio Glerean that a more conventional approach would be viable, cause I couldn’t bear another heartbreaking season like this one.

Assist locations: one cross, one goal

Amato Ciciretti, 8 goals and 8 assists from the wing was my MVP of the year, he’s only 23 yrs old and just renewed until 2021 so he’ll continue to be a vital asset for the club.

Samuel Armenteros and Oliver McBurnie, 10 and 12 goals respectively, were our best goalscorers, the second is on loan for another season.

Talking about young prospects we have two new signings with a bright future, Serbian left winger Luka Adzic (19 yrs) and keeper Sondre Rossbach (22) who joined in January from Norwegian side Odd.

End of season 2017.18 balance

Quick facts

  1. Juventus won their 7th consecutive title
  2. Benevento avg. attendance: 10535
  3. A shooting accuracy of 46% ranks Benevento 4th in the league
  4. Benevento won the Serie A Fair Play Club of the Year award
  5. Two glasses of Strega* drunk before our final game of the season vs. Napoli.
*Strega is a typical liqueur from Benevento

That’s enough for now, thanks for your interest and for reading this, stay tuned for more content and don’t forget to follow my twitter account: Armchair_Gaffer.