Written by Dave Black @cm9798
Welcome back! This is all going rather well isn’t it? I took over Milan in 1996 with low expectations after their disastrous real life season. Turns out it is a lot easier on Championship Manager. We sit 4 points clear at the top of the table at the start of December. Sure, there’s been a lot of injuries, but we get patched up and we go again. Repeatedly.
We’re also through in the Champions League with a game to spare. This is a magnificent link to where we pick up today’s update, in the wonderful surrounds of Sofia as we look to seek a table topping finish.
For once, we are efficient. 87 minutes of efficiency in fact. And yes, we make it hard for ourselves but only for three minutes.
There are no easy draws in the quarter finals but Barcelona seems like a total stinker. Why couldn’t we get Steaua?
Back to domestic fun and a home game with Reggiana. They’re bottom of the table and really this should be our bread and butter. They have Franz Carr, who moved to Italy after leaving Aston Villa in 1996. He didn’t do particularly well.
We’re a bit laboured and when it’s 0-0 at half time, I’m concerned. We have a lack of options on the bench thanks to the injury situation and I can only throw on Blomqvist. That doesn’t help and their keeper gets man of the match. ‘sakes.
That is a bad result. It’s also an ill timed International break which not only sees Italy lose to Iceland but Costacurta and Panucci go off injured. Both will be out for a couple of weeks.
Fiorentina away is the last match before Christmas and we’re without Desailly, who is banned for three games following a misdemeanour a few weeks ago. That means the veteran duo of Baresi and Vierchowod have to deal with Batistuta. That will not end well. La Viola have a wonderful team. Alongside Batistuta is Oliveira (good dog – tweet me if you get this reference), Rui Costa and of course future Derby forward Francesco Baiano. Francesco Toldo is in goal so no matter how you look at it, this is a tough fixture.
The good news is, Batistuta doesn’t score. The bad news is that everybody else does. This was a battering. Rui Costa pulls the strings and the old lads are busy trying to stop Batistuta to notice. Happy bloody Christmas.
Amazingly, Lazio and Juventus both lose and we retain top spot. The turkey tastes a little sweeter – metaphorically.
Parma visit the San Siro and it’s another tough fixture. Parma have always had an exciting CM team – Crespo, Stanic, Chiesa, Dino Baggio, Sensini, Thuram, Cannavaro, Buffon…I could go on. Cannavaro was never really rated on the early CMs, I guess he was a late bloomer. For us, Maldini moves to centre back with Coco at left back. Davids is finally back from injury to line up in central midfield.
It’s a wild game and I’m starting to worry about Rossi in goal. He concedes two shots out of four and we’re indebted to Albertini for his late solo run and finish to snatch a draw.
That puts us third as our luck runs out. Into 1997 we go.
They celebrate new year’s a little differently in Italy. It’s apparently the perfect day to play the 2nd leg of Coppa Italia Quarter Finals. We are already 3-0 up against Serie C Ancona but it’s a little bit embarrassing to draw 2-2. Coco gets injured because he likes to follow a trend.
That’s no win in four and it’s time for Juventus away next. First though, the draw for the semi finals sees us tangle with Udinese. Serie B side Foggia hilariously knocked out Juventus, it’s a bit of a lopsided draw.
It’s time to focus on Juventus now though. Costacurta and Desailly are reunited at centre half and that will hopefully be enough to make us competitive again.
You know when I said I was worried about Rossi? Those chickens have come home to roost. This was HALF TIME.
Wow. That’s how it finished, mercifully. A goalkeeper scoring a two rating is frankly ridiculous.
Five games without a win and down to fourth. This has been a very poor winter indeed.
Midtable Piacenza should not be a concern to us but we are more vulnerable that ever at the moment. They have Taibi in goal though who is possibly an inspiration to Rossi at the moment. Eranio and an Albertini free kick build the platform before the lead is halved. A double from George Weah settles things and gets us back to winning ways.
Juventus and Lazio went head to head and drew 0-0. That is a good result for us.
We finish this update with Lazio away – a monumental game in the title race. We’re level on points with them and have scored the same number of goals, so it should be a tight affair. We are out of sorts defensively though and that makes any away trip like this a recipe for disaster.
Savicevic returns! He’s only 70% though so will have to be a sub. It’s quite the game, too. We’re 2-0 up inside 10 minutes as attack proves to be the best form of defence. Typically though Lazio come storming back, despite persisting with Jody Morris in central midfield. Naturally, it’s soon 2-2. Panucci is sent off for a terrible lunge and as we’re hanging on for a point, Desailly makes a lung busting run from central midfield to get on the end of a cross and win the day for us. Phew!
Juventus manage to draw 0-0 at bottom side Cagliari to cap off a great day for us. Let’s drink the table in.
Top and loving life. Somehow. Our goals against has taken a battering but we are nothing if not resilient.
Join me next week to see if Rossi has learned to catch. I feel it is imperative he does that before Barcelona turn up. Arrivederci!