Singapore League title looks within reach – new signings, new season in my pentagon challenge

In game date: 12 February 2020

It’s an exciting time for Duli Pengiran Muda Mahkota FC, the only Bruneian team in the S-League, and we’ve made some sexy signings during the off-season.

I knew we couldn’t progress massively until the end of 2019 season (S-League seasons start in February and end in November) where I planned to get rid of some of the foreign players we had an replace them with better foreign players.

We’re at a big disadvantage to other clubs in our league as we can only have six foreign players at the club – the rest have to be Bruneian – and take it from me, Brunei isn’t the hotbed Spain is for football talent.

As there isn’t much money flying around the league, as you’d expect, it is difficult, actually impossible, to sell players for any sort of fee so I waited patiently until my foreigners’ contracts were up.

The only one I kept hold of was a Singaporean centre back called Singh. Yes, even though we play in the Singapore League, players from there are classed as foreign because we’re a Bruneian club.

Singh

Singh isn’t great but he could become a leading centre back in the S-League. We’ll probably get rid of him at the end of the season and replace him with someone from a more talented footballing nation. There seem to be lots of young Brazilian wonderkids available on free transfers!

Jailson below is probably our best player. He arrived at the club at around the start of the 2019 season and scored 15 in 25 with four assists. He’s only 20 so will still improve.

JailsonSpeak of the devil! We have just won our first game of the season 3-1 against Geylang International and Jailson scored a hat-trick!

Here’s a short video on YouTube of the other players I’ve signed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2NCQR6vx30

So we’ve recruited and strengthened our side significantly without adding to our expenditure as our retired foreigners, Moreira and Kanu, were on high wages and we have a young squad that will only improve.

TACTICS

Now let me show you how we’re currently playing. As with any weak team without players who are particularly good in a certain position, I couldn’t at first build the team around a star player so I experimented with a 3-5-2, then a 4-1-1-3-1 and even a 4-2-2-2 as I thought we were missing a striker.

To be honest, I’m still toying with the idea of using two strikers despite a fear of doing so as I want as many players covering our goal as possible and helping us keep the ball.

I think in the lower/ weaker leagues when you rarely have a great playmaker the best bet is to ‘play the percentages’ and putting more men up front or at the back is a simple and effective way of scoring more or conceding fewer goals.

Moreover, after our winter recruitment drive, two of our best players are strikers so it doesn’t make much sense to play one slightly out of position even though they can both play on the left wing.

I’m a stubborn manager though and I love a Barca-esque 4-3-3 or Man United-like 4-2-3-1 and that’s my starting tactic at the moment as you can see below:

4231 tacticMost of the team instructions I took from the advice of @FMUnderdog but the roles, player instructions and formation I chose.

As an FM player I’m learning from my mistakes all the time. For instance, I’m using a deep lying playmaker (DLP) but I’m not sure it’s wise to when I don’t have anyone ideal for this role.

Maybe signing a good ball player will be my priority at the end of this season when we can get another foreigner in.

Despite being wary of using a DLP mine does seem reasonably effective as you can see from the graphic below. Nasir is usually played in the attacking midfielder right position, regardless, he made the most passes out of anyone in our team against Gelyang, with 76 completed out of the 92 attempted (82.6%). Not bad for a player in the S-League!

So, to conclude this update article, I couldn’t be more optimistic about where we are at the moment and I can see us pushing for a title challenge this season after only finishing seventh the last two years. Stay tuned for an analysis of my first game of the season and why I think we won!

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