It is mid-season, everything is in full flow and the team are battling away. I’m very much still gunning for the league title, So I’m doing what I can but are the team holding up their end of the bargain? Find out in this very episode.
Last time out, I was and still am feeling very good about the summer window as a more strategic plan was taken, by bringing in some quality to the starting XI but also giving the team some much needed strength in depth. If you missed it, check it out right here.
The Save Aims & Rules
With how I want this save to work, I need to be mindful of the squad season on season. As there is a lot of emphasis on the youth setup as these players will shape the first team in seasons to come. Here are the aims and rules to give some context of what I’m trying to pull off here.
- Squad average age must be a maximum of 23 every season.
- Disrupt the Top 3 and become a top team in Portugal (Porto, Benfica, Sporting Lisbon).
- Win the club’s first league title.
- Win the club’s first European title.
- Win a domestic treble (League, Cup, Supercup or League Cup) or a European treble (League, Cup, European Cup)
A lot to aim for but the squad average age must be achieved by the end of the summer transfer window each season – IF THIS IS FAILED, I MUST RESIGN FROM MY ROLE!
Four competitions to be reviewed as well as the youth intake projection so let’s get it going!
Primeira Liga 2024/25 (Aug-Dec)
August – October
A very good and fast start to the season, nothing like seeing a nice field of green dots to show how the team has started. August was a tough month in general facing Sporting (1-0) & rivals Boavista (3-0), but seeing the performances in these games gave me a sense of confidence.
Even the odd game when the team weren’t looking too appetising (such as the 1-0 victory over Varzim), it gives you a sense of security knowing that your team can still pull through and grab a result.
The 0-0 draw with Porto was a bit of a crunch match and was very much hyped but on the day neither team looked like they fancied it. It was a very drab game to say the least.
After these nine games, my side sit top of the table by two points but the top 6 from a view is quite close together. I expect this season’s battle to be with Porto & Benfica but its good to see other clubs that you may not expect pushing for fourth place. Sporting have had a terrible start by their standards being 14 points off the pace, so I don’t need to worry about them for now!
The only annoying thing about the Portuguese league is the scheduling, as you’ll see there is games in hand all over the league so it’s difficult sometimes to get a true reflection on where you actually are in terms of progress.
November – December
Ah December…every season you throw some sort of spanner in the works! You may think its only one loss and a draw but there are very fine margins within the Primeira Liga. Even more so with the loss coming against a close league rival in Benfica (1-2). I feel this had a knock on effect causing us to scramble to a late draw with Maritimo (1-1) – thank you top scorer Samuele Mulatierri!
Looking at the games that were won, a clean sheet was kept in every win shown in these two months. This is very pleasing as the defence has been worked on since the start of this project and to see that unit perform this way is just delightful.
Luckily Benfica are still four points behind even with their game in hand but Porto remain unbeaten above us in first. They also have a game in hand but at the same time, we’re in the right area so as long as we’re within reach like this in second, there is always the chance to race them until the end.
Domestic Cups 2024/25
Taça de Portugal
There has been good progress within the Taça de Portugal (FA cup) as my side have progressed to the sixth round. It started with a 2-0 win over fourth tier Caldas as I rotated the side, before a testing fixture with Braga in a slender 1-0 win, the goal was 20 seconds into the match!
Shortly after the league defeat to Benfica, it was revenge after an extra time goal from Tomas Handel gave us a 2-1 win. Next up will be another Primeira Liga side in Vizela who we have a very good record against.
Liga de Taça
Known to us English readers & speakers as the league cup, the Portuguese version throws in a group stage in the third round where the European qualified teams such as ourselves enter. It’s very simple, win your group of three teams and it’s a semi final place. Our group contained fellow Primeira Liga sides in newly promoted Academica and mainstays Famalicao.
It was straight forward just about as my side progress to the semi finals seeing off both teams. The 86th minute proved pivotal in both matches as that’s when we scored to secure both results! So the draw for the next isn’t viewable, it’s a case of the email coming into the inbox. Majority of the time it’s a draw of us, Sporting, Porto & Benfica however, this happened…
Hold up?! Maritimo, Boavista & Tondela all progress? None of the big three? I had to rub my eyes a few times!
Goal difference proves to be the falling of Porto and Benfica but Sporting’s struggles continue this season as they are toppled by Boavista!
Not to get ahead of ourselves but this is more or less on a plate for us, if we are the club we want to be then we need to work even harder to retain the trophy and see this competition out.
Champions League Group Stage 2024/25
Liverpool, PSG & Dinamo are our opponents in a very tough group but all that my team could do is battle to see if we could pull off an unlikely qualification.
Safe to say, my side had their moments during this group campaign as you will see by our dominance over Dinamo in both games with 3-0 & 4-0 wins. The first loss to Liverpool (1-4) was on me, I tried our main tactic instead of countering and we got ruined. The final match of the group against the same opposition brought a draw but as you’ll soon find out, it was a nothing game as such.
PSG had a strikeforce of Neymar & Lewandowski with Kante & Declan Rice holding the fort in midfield, despite the difference in score lines in both losses (2-4 & 0-1), the quality difference was almost incomparable. An I nsane team on this save especially a few seasons in.
However, my team won the games we set out to and picked up a point versus Liverpool so what did that mean for us?
Third place means a trip to the Europa league, there is some big teams in that competition but the first knockout round draw worked in our favour thankfully.
It’s a trip to Turkey to face Trabzonspor. If my side do proceed to the next round, there are some heavyweights like Real Madrid & Inter Milan knocking about and are expected to go a long way. Both are absolute dream ties for Vitoria Guimaraes so let’s see what the competition brings us!
Youth Intake Preview 2024/25
In terms of positional grades, this is the best projection I’ve seen so far whilst at Vitori, however last season proved a shock when the HoYD projected an excellent intake only for it to turn out quite average and not a very productive intake at that. I love my goalkeepers and attackers so hopefully these prospects will come through with bags of potential.
It will be the season ender where my Vitoria SC team fight on all four fronts looking to capture as much silverware as possible – remember though, the league is still the priority. Of course, the January transfer window will be included along with the youth intake so plenty to look forward to.
Emperor FM is currently on a journey to take Deportivo back to the heights of Spain and Europe – check out the series here.
TomBlogsFM has come on board at DP-FM and has taken on the task of toppling Bayern Munich with the much loved Borussia Dortmund in ‘Breaking Bayern’. Check out this one here.
RileyFM who has recently joined the DP-FM guest blogging team, is on his own journey in Italy with Cagliari, track his progress here.
Hope this made for enjoyable reading, apologies the posts are slowing a little bit, life is a bit fast at the minute so general tiredness has had me the last week or two. Never the less, I’ll be back soon with the season 4 finale, until then take care all.
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