Unemployed, Unskilled & Inexperienced: S8 Ep 2 – Palace to Europa?

We’re back with another update in our first full season in the premier league! Last time out we looked to get off to a good start following a massive overhaul of the squad in the transfer window. The team felt much more balanced and full of quality than the one that finished the season so we were aiming to not get dragged into a relegation battle anywhere near the levels of last time round.

Fortunately we had a fantastic start as we went unbeaten in the month of August and our first 4 league matches, 3 of which were away! 8 points after 4 games is a very decent return and I’m hoping we can push on in this episode and look to get some more points on the board! In this episode I will be taking you through the months of September, October & November 2027 which has 10 league games to get through.

Can we build on our good start and leave any fears of relegation in the distance? Or will that start prove to be as good as it gets for us this season before the festive madness begins? Let’s find out…

September 2027

September looked like a promising month on paper. We start the month by hosting recently promoted side Brentford before yet another away trip, this time to Newcastle to face The Magpies who under Sean Dyche finished 10th and won the FA Cup last season, so it promised to be a tough trip no doubt.

On our journey back we would need to stop off in Nottingham overnight to play Nottingham Forest in the 3rd Round of the Carabao Cup before we host Dyche’s former side Burnley at home in the League. Burnley finished 9th last season so the matches against them and Newcastle would give us an idea of whether we could look to be more comfortable in avoiding the drop this season. Right then, into September 2027 we go…

Not bad at all! I felt the Brentford game would be one we could really hope for 3 points from and so it proved. It was a good game but we were far the better team and should have made it more comfortable than it was, either way though a win is a win and it’s another 3 points on the board thanks to goals from our star man Terem Moffi and Marcus Edwards, both of whom had started the season in fine form.

We then took the trip to Newcastle which I always knew was going to be a tough game, it was actually a very tight contest and we even had a 90th minute equaliser ruled out for offside, put it this way, if it had gone in I don’t think Dyche could have had any complaints about the outcome. As it was though his side made home advantage count and held on to hand us our first loss of the season.

We dusted ourselves off and rotated the starting XI for the tie against Nottingham Forest, I actually thought I would try out summer signing Darko Stamatovic in the strikers position rather than the RW role I had been using him in so far. As you can see he did not disappoint as he scored all 4 goals to give us the win and take us into the next round! Unfortunately for him he will be returned to his regular RW role almost immediately as there is no replacing Terem Moffi in my team, certainly not yet anyway.

Despite him having nothing left to prove after almost single handedly keeping us in the division last season, he proved my decision to keep him in the strikers position by scoring twice to give us a much deserved victory over Burnley. Overall it was a very pleasing month, another 6 points on the board and into the 4th Round of the Carabao Cup.

How did that leave us sitting in the table at the end of September? The below screenshot was taken after the first game of October (which we lost – spoilers!).

I mean what can I say? We had 24 points after 26 games when I joined last season and we now have 14 points after 8 games. Don’t get me wrong there will be tougher fixtures ahead but if we can keep getting wins and points on the board at this early stage then I fancy us to avoid the drop this season.

It’s a shame to see our old employers Stoke right at the bottom of the table, but I have kept an eye on decisions being made there by my successor and it’s fair to say I do not agree with the way he is going about his business, but it’s not for me to judge really is it? Also look at Man City & Everton! Dreadful start to the season for both clubs.

October 2027

October promised to be a very testing month as we faced Arsenal & Aston Villa at home as well as Man City & Everton away. There is also the Carabao Cup Fourth Round tie away against Chelsea to contend with so plenty of big clubs to face and test ourselves against.

Do you know what? I’m pretty happy with that. Arsenal have been flattered by that scoreline in all honesty, they deserved to win, but I would say it was more of a 1-2 game rather than 1-4, but again not too bothered as I expected a heavy defeat and the performance was much better than the result suggests.

The result against Man City was the most disappointing, but only because we went 2-0 up after 23 minutes before they went absolutely rampant! They scored their first just before half time to go in 2-1 at the break, but the second half was unbelievable as they completel bombarded our goal and ran out deserved winners courtesy of a Karim Adeyemi hat-trick.

In all honesty points were never on the cards in the first 2 games, however the game against Everton provided us with a chance to get some all important points. Don’t be fooled by their league position, they still have a squad full of top quality talent. The match did not disappoint as there were 3 goals in 3 minutes! We went 1-0 up in the 14th minute before Everton equalised straight from kick off in the 15th minute, before we then took the lead again straight from kick off… incredible scenes! Everton drew level in the 53rd minute before Stamatovic carried on his fine goalscoring run by grabbing a crucial winner in the 60th minute.

Our Carabao Cup run was ended for the season by Chelsea, they have an incredible team and the game went as expected, it was attack vs defence and to be honest we did well to keep it at 0-1. However the roles were reversed in the next game as Aston Villa came to Selhurst Park with the only aim of parking the bus, you can imagine how deep and compact Villa became when they went down to 10 men in the 58th minute. Fair play to the boys they just kept moving the ball and probing and eventually broke the barrier in the 74th minute through Marcus Edwards who is having a fine season.

Another fantastic month in relation to our aims as a club, yes there were losses but they were to be expected, and more importantly there were also 2 wins which added another crucial 6 points to the board. We also managed to reach the 4th Round of the Carabao Cup which was the boards aim for this season so overall very happy/.

How were we looking in the league at the end of October then?

Blimey! Could a European challenge actually be on the cards this season? Surely not!?!

Quite frankly I couldn’t care less where we finish, the sooner we get to 40 points the happier I will be, and we’re halfway there with under a third of the season gone so it’s looking promising. However without getting too far ahead of myself, I can tell you now the teams we play in the next episode in December are rotten, so we need to make sure we get as many points on the board now as possible in the month of November.

November 2027

November is the final month of this episode and the ‘lightest’ as there is only 3 league matches to play due to the international break. Some promising fixtures as well as we face Norwich away, who are actually sitting in 7th place in the league just behind us so should certainly give us a game. We then take a trip to our old employers who are still rooted to the bottom of the league, before finally hosting Leicester at home.

It would be tough but it isn’t too far to suggest we could take 9 points from 9 here…

Ok not quite, but another 6 points added to the board! A really entertaining game against Norwich as we went 4-1 up thanks to doubles from Marcus Edwards & Terem Moffi. They then got two late goals to make the scoreline more respectable but overall I think for the way we played on the front foot we deserved the win.

Ahead of our game against our old-employers we got some nightmare injury news for left-back Hugo Montanana.

Sounds like a horrific injury to suffer during a weights session. A damaged spine? I made sure he went straight to a specialist so he will be out for 7 months but with an injury like this he may never be the same again. Fingers crossed he makes a full recovery as I was excited about his long-term future with the club when we joined us in the summer.

Anyway back to the football, a lot of familiar faces on display against Stoke however fortunately for us they were trying to play a more defensive style of football and it was just a case of when we would break them down not if. However it did have to wait until the 81st minute and from an unlikely source as defensive midfielder Enzo Barrenechea gave us the breakthrough before Marcus Edwards wrapped up the win from the spot in the 91st minute.

The loss against Leicester was very frustrating. I don’t think we deserved to win but we were 1-0 up at half time and cruising by all accounts, however a dreadful second half followed and we just couldn’t get out of our half, 2 goals in 5 minutes from Leicester was enough to turn the game on its head an give them all 3 points.

Now I actually forgot to screenshot the table at the end of November but as we won 2 out of 3 there weren’t too many changes and we still sit 5th going into the festive period. However we now have 26 points from 14 games, more than we had from 26 games last season. Basically I needed another 14 points from 24 games to secure survival, surely something we could manage?

What’s Next?

Join me next time as we go into the busy months of December 2027 & January 2028. We have a rotten schedule in December as we face Chelsea, Man Utd, Tottenham & Liverpool all one after the other. So it’s fair to say we may not see 3 points for the rest of 2027 but let’s see what happens!

We also have a couple of very interesting deals take place in yet another hectic January transfer window in this journey. If we can come through the festive period unscathed then we could genuinely be looking at fighting for a European place, I don’t think we will do it by any stretch of the imagination, but I equally don’t think relegation is something we need to be concerned with this season either… I hope I haven’t jinxed it now. Find out how we get on next time!

Don’t forget you can subscribe below to have updates sent directly to your email so you know as soon as an episode is released! As always if you have any thoughts, tips or feedback leave them in the comments below or get in touch with us through our contact page or social media (Twitter @DP_FM_) – we’d love to hear from you! If you’re enjoying then make sure you like this post and share with others from the FM Community.

While you’re here on DP-FM if you want to follow more challenges go over to Scott’s (the co-author of this site) challenge where he is on a journey to rebuild Bolton Wanderers and take them on a Europa League run! Click here for the first ever episode or here for the latest one.

To check out The Far East Express series click here for the preview and here for the first episode. I promise you it will be nothing like any other Football Manager Challenge you have seen before!

Thank you for reading and supporting us. As always please keep safe during these difficult times and we’ll see you again soon!

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