FM21-The West Ham Rebuild-EP3 22/23
Season-18 Games To Get Promotion
Hello boys, girls and everything in between. It’s me Bad jokes back at ya once again with another blog. Today we’re finishing the 22/23 season in The West Ham Rebuild, as things stand we are five points clear at the top of the Championship with 18 Games to get promotion back to the premiership. It should be plain sailing right? Spoiler alert it was anything but plain sailing.
We started February off the same way we ended January as we picked up two wins in a row against Huddersfield 3-1 and Swansea 3-0. We looked to be cruising towards the championship trophy but then we hit our worst run of form of the season thus far as we went 3 games without a win, we lost to Nottingham Forest 3-1 and Brentford 3-2 with my ex-Rangers man Kemar Roofe scoring a 90th-minute winner to consign us to that defeat. For the first time in 12 away games, we failed to score as we were held to a 0-0 draw vs 22nd place Preston despite dominating the game.
We ended the month with a much better performance as we again beat Welsh opposition this time we put 4 past 10 man Cardiff who had Ralls sent off in the 3rd minute to make things a little easier for us. Overall February was a disappointing month as we only ended up getting 3 wins out of 6 which isn’t really title-winning form but we were still top of the table which was something to be happy about.
Top of the Table Clash
We started March with our biggest game of the season as we travelled to Bramall lane to play 2nd placed Sheffield United who I think it’s fair to say aren’t our biggest fans. They came into this game in brilliant form having gone 15 games without a defeat which had seen them overtake Blackburn into 2nd in the league and they started this game level on points with us. They set up with a very defensive 4-2-3-1 formation while we went with our trusty 4-1-2-2-1. In a game with not much quality, it was the hosts who took the lead on the brink of half time when Fleck’s free-kick from the right was flicked on by Sierralta to Anjorin who hit the post from a yard out but the ball fell to Danjuma to prod the ball into the back of the net with those 2 efforts being there only ones of the game. By comparison, we finished the game with 17 shots and 6 on target but we looked to be heading to an undeserved defeat as the game drew to a close but we finally got our equaliser in the 84th minute when Ashby our right back crossed low across the box and Campana found himself in space to score an easy tap in and the game finished in a 1-1 draw after a game we really should have won
The rest of the month was very topsy turvy as we lost 2-0 versus a clinical Watford side who hit the target with all of their shots and this defeat was a big one for us as it meant that we dropped down to second in the league. We then left it very late to get a 2-0 win against our biggest enemies Milwall when Fernandez gave us the lead in the 86th minute as he headed home Masina’s cross from the left and Moise Kean found space In the 90th minute following a nice passing move to make sure of the win.
Twenty-four hours later, there was drama behind the scenes as not one but two consortiums set their eyes on taking over the club. I definitely had my preference for which one would win this fight as Cristophe Fauvel said he would sack me if he got his hands on the club, whilst Marshall seemed to indicate he would keep me on so fingers crossed that it’s Marshall who gets the keys to the club.
Our last game of the month was a very disappointing 0-0 draw vs 5th placed Middlesbrough in another game we played well in and should have scored at least once in.
We started the final month of the season in an anxious mood as our run of 2 wins in 8 games had seen us slip to second in the league and had given Blackburn in 3rd a chance to overtake us.
The month started disastrously for us as we fell to a 3-1 defeat vs 17th placed Hull as our team just looked completely out of sorts and I was running out of ideas for how to fix this slump. To make matters worse Blackburn beat Cardiff 2-0 and jumped past us into 2nd place in the league.
Our next two games didn’t help matters as we drew vs Coventry and Stoke both games finishing 1-1 with our defence letting us down in both games as we conceded a last-minute equaliser against Coventry and Declan Rice scored an own goal against Stoke as we dropped a huge 4 points from those two games. The weird-ass 3-1-4-2 formation I tried for those two games probably didn’t help either. One day after the Coventry game we could breathe a mini sigh of relief as the takeover battle ended with Geoff Marshall winning the race to get his hands on the club and he promised to keep me in the job.
We went back to our 4-1-2-2-1 formation that had worked so well earlier in the season and it worked a treat as we demolished Portsmouth 3-0 with arguably our best performance of the season. We followed that up with a 2-1 win over Birmingham with a cracking performance from Rony Lopes.
That meant that going into our last game of the season vs 12th placed Barnsley, we still had half a chance of winning the league but that would take a mad sequence of results so we were just concentrating on hoping we could get a better result in our game then Sheffield United got vs 21st placed Swansea to ensure we at least got promoted automatically.
The day started badly for us as Sheffield United took the lead in their game in the 13th minute through Ben Osborn. We hit back in the 36th minute of our game when Riqui Puig scored his only goal for us to give us the lead vs Barnsley. So at half time both us and Sheffield United were winning our games which meant that we would be missing out on automatic promotion. The second half saw Sheffield double their lead in the 52nd minute through Joe Aribo to put one foot into the Premiership.
However, five minutes later we were given a glimmer of hope as Swansea pulled one back when Aribo put the ball into his own net to go from hero to zero in just five minutes. To be honest, I stopped paying attention to our game as even at 1-0 I was sure we had the game under control so I just kept hoping for a Swansea equaliser but alas it never came so Sheffield United took the second automatic promotion spot and after dominating the league earlier in the season and looking like a dead certainty for promotion we miss out on promotion by one solitary point.
So the playoffs it was for us and the opponents were Nottingham forest a team that we had drawn and lost to in our two meetings this season. The first leg kind of summed our season as we played fantastically well but didn’t get the result we deserved as despite ending the game with an xG of 2.25 we somehow lost the game 3-1 with Pussetto getting himself a brace. That left us with a huge task of overturning a two-goal deficit on our hands for the second leg at the London Stadium. Any hope we had of progressing to the playoff final was blown away in the first 37 minutes as for took a 3-0 lead on the night which made it 6-1 on aggregate as forest ran rampant around us and we was forced to go ultra attacking and despite Campana doing his best to try to get us back into the game his brace wasn’t enough as we ended up losing 5-4 and exiting the playoffs in the semi-finals and so that means we will be spending at least another season in the championship.
Thanks for reading
So that is how this save file ends with me failing to get west ham back to the premiership. Despite that, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post. As ever if you have any comments please leave them down below or let me know on Twitter. Now it is time to start my main save for FM21 so the next post of this site will be the start of my New Inn AFC save which I’m calling Village to Victorious. I hope you’re as excited as I am for the biggest challenge I’ve ever taken on Football Manager.
Also, I’ve now released two episodes of the FM Writers Podcast this week if you’re interested in listening to that or being a guest on the podcast please follow the FMwritersPod Twitter account for all the info. Thanks for reading I’ll see you next time.