GIRONA FC – Part 3: Ethos & Squad Review

GIRONA FC – FM22 Analysis, tactics & soccernomics

The ethos of Girona

Most managers head into saves with the best intentions of selecting a club DNA, a set of attributes which we, as (virtual) managers, see as key requirements for either the way we think the game should be played or to suit our predicted game plan. 

I’ve never managed to adhered to one before and ended up signing whichever players I liked the look of, however, this year I’ll be implementing one into my Girona save, as I think to achieve my goals a clear team ethos is needed.

The Girona ethos is actually a two-parter, and only once players get through the first gate, can they get to the second. 

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Who’ll get through the gates?

Gate 1: Each player must have a good physical profile.

If players want to don the Rojo y blanco of Girona, they must be quick, powerful and tough. If they don’t meet all three of those, they must excel in one of them.

We can see if players meet this first set of criteria through the following attributes, with La Liga 2 averages shown in brackets:

•    Quick – Pace (12) & acceleration (11)
•    Power – Strength (10)
•    Tough – Bravery (11) & determination (11)

Below is a list of our players (loan players not included) and how they match up to the physical profile. Any below the division average has a yellow rectangle.

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As this is the start of the game I’m being more forgiving and allowing the league average, however, as the game evolves I’ll need to be harsher, especially with any new recruits.

Loic Williams and Arnua Martinez are both young so they should develop to meet the criteria. Valery is a quick wingback, which is what we want, however, 6 strength is much lower than I’d want. Similarly, Jairo isn’t what you’d a call a physical player, although he is lightning quick – and I love watching him play in real life – but the areas he fails are failed quite spectacularly. Borja Garcia has failed 4 out of the 5 which is disappointing as I had him penned in as my starting deep forward. Pau Victor also has youth on his side so should develop sufficiently. 

Gate 2: The (mostly) mentals.

If we’re to get promoted to La Liga and then take on the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Atletico et al we can’t just accept any types of player into our ranks just because they pass the physical profile test.

We want players with good decision making who know when to shoot or pass, and when they do pass, is it the right pass? Do they have the technical ability to choose the correct angle or put the right amount of weight on it so it’s not short or overhit?

We want players who know how and when to press, when the right trigger occurs.

We want players who can move the opposition and create areas to exploit, within the framework of our tactical system.

We want players who stay alert and don’t switch off when fatigue sets in.

Finally, no matter how good players are, they spend most of the game without the ball. Therefore, it’s very important that they know what to do when they don’t have the ball at their feet. Defensive players will need to have good positioning and attacking and supporting players will need good off the ball attributes.

Again, the division averages are in brackets.

Technique (11)
Concentration (11)
Decisions (12)
Teamwork (12)
Work rate (12)
Off the ball (10)
Positioning (10)

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Loic Williams has made the list again, but a good mentor should help him out. Valery, however, who we know wouldn’t get through Gate One, fails every test and will be shown the door before the season 2 commences. 

Borja Garcia who also failed the physical profile also looks like he would be unable to carry out team instructions and provide enough work rate to press and harass opposition defences. Samu Saiz doesn’t have great concentration or teamwork but his technical abilities and ability to find space to exploit more than make up for it. Pau Victor, again, has the benefit of youth on his side.

Planning for the future:

As the more physical attributes in “gate 1” generally improve later in a players development, the main focus for our U19s will be training the technical element of their games, along with strong tutoring from veteran players to help boost their mental attributes and get up to the levels required.

We only have THREE players in our U19s at the start of the game so I’ll be doing some heavy recruiting in the second half of the season – I always disable the first transfer window to make the game more realistic and more of a challenge – so I’ll have more control over the attributes of the players we bring in.

Meet the Gironistas!

By now we know the formation we want to play, and how we want to play it….. and we know the player profiles we’re looking for to drive the team forward and into La Liga. Now it’s time to get an introduction to the players we have at our disposal.

Goalkeepers

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Juan Carlos (Sweeper Keeper) Our 33-year-old shot stopper should be amongst the best in the division. A good all-rounder with excellent reflexes and a good command of the area – which is what’s needed in our system. He only has an aggression rating of 2, however, so I’ll need to pay close attention to if that’s stopping him coming out and claiming crosses. His passing and throwing are both rated at 13 so he should be able to fulfil his sweeper keeper duties and find open players for some quick transitions.

Backup – Adrian Ortola, 28, is a solid back up. He’s not the type of keeper we want in our system but should be able to step in when needed and should do a steady job.

Central defenders

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Here’s where the fun could start – and we’ll have to pray the injury bug doesn’t hit until at least the January transfer window – as we’ll play with three central defenders and only actually have five… and the two backups aren’t very good…

After reading the tactics post you’ll know that first and foremost we’re looking for players in these positions who are strong, good in the air and quite aggressive as we want them to go and meet crosses and get the ball clear so we can look to launch a counterattack.

Juanpe (Ball playing defender) At 30 years old, Juanpe is a cultured and technical defender. Good in the air (15) and with the ball at his feet (passing 13, technique 12). He’ll fill the ball playing defender role well as he likes to try long range passes.

Bernardo (Stopper) Filling the stopper role is the 32-year-old Columbian, Bernardo. Very strong (17) and excellent in the air (16) and nice and aggressive (14). His good reading of the game (14) should let him move forward when needed to cut out any balls played into the space left by his attacking wingback.

Bueno (Central defender) At just 22, the Columbian will be looking for the leadership and experience of his two defensive team mates to guide him through the season. He’s no slouch though and has a good spread of attributes which makes him able to fill any of the back three roles if he develops well: heading 13, passing 11, marking 14, aggression 14, pace 13, strength 13.

Backups – Loic Williams (19) and Arnau Martinez (18) are capable of stepping in and covering for a game here and there but I wouldn’t like to have to rely on either for a long period of time. Williams, our only left footed centre back has all the physical attributes, he just needs to develop his technical side of the game. Martinez is more of a wingback but back play in the centre. Poor in the air for a CB though (11) but very comfortable on the ball. Two for the future.

Wingbacks

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Very important players if our system is going to work. We have one excellent player on the left in Junca, a 27-year-old with good speed (14) and excellent crossing (16) to help fulfil his attacking duties. He’s also got good stamina levels (13) which should let him get up and down the flank all game. He can be quite injury prone, however, so I’ll need to manage him carefully.

On the right, Calavera is a lovely player, but possibly more of a luxury than I need. He hasn’t got the engine that we need (stamina 11) he’ll need for his support duty, nor the crossing (11) but he is a good passer so we might set him to play more direct, riskier passes to get and get some killer through balls for the strikers.

Backups – As our left wingback is injury prone and our right wingback doesn’t have great stamina it’s important that we have good options off the bench. Whilst Jairo is an excellent attacking wingback, he lacked both the physical profile and the mentals in Gates One & Two. He’s more than a good enough option for season 1 though. On the right, our backup should be Valery but again, he failed both Gates miserably so instead we’ll be using Arnau Martinez, as if we can develop his crossing and pace a little he’ll be a good player for us.
 

Midfield

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Garcia (Deep lying playmaker) The creative hub of the team with a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. Perfect for the playmaker role as he likes to switch play and try killer balls often and has the attributes to back it up (passing 14, vision, 15, decisions 13). Where he does lack for the role in this system is the on defensive side (marking 7, tackling 9), although he has good positioning (12) which I hope will offset that. He’d also fill either of the other midfield roles perfectly too so there’s definitely a future with the team….. but he’s only 24 so if he can just develop his defensive game…

Terrats (Central midfielder) At only 20, Terrats has a bright future ahead of him. He’s a determined, very well-rounded midfielder who can pass (12), tackle (13) and is very good technically (15). We just need to improve his strength and stamina, which means in tough games, or ones against possession hungry teams he may be replaced by the more physical Kebe.

Saiz (Attacking midfielder) The 30-year-old Spaniard should be very good at driving the team forward either with the ball at his feet (dribbling 15) or by getting into space (off the ball – 15) in advanced areas and making room for others. A very technical and creative player he’ll be expected to be racking up the assists and generally making life hell for the opposition. If he can notch up a few goals by arriving late into the area, that’d help too.

Backups – Our backup options for the central midfielder role are important and they’ll be getting lots of game time due to A) Terrats being our backup DLP, and B) Terrats lacking in strength and stamina so may not be the fit option for physical games. Two players who can step in: Kebe, the 20-year-old Malian is a battering ram with excellent physicals and stamina and Baena, on loan from Villareal who is naturally a winger but can play in the centre of midfield. He’ll also be the main back up to Saiz at the attacking midfielder but the two of them together could be good for unlocking stubborn defences.

We then have two loan players in Dario Sarmiento, on loan from Man City, and Pol Lozano from Espanyol. Sarmiento doesn’t really fit into the team anywhere as we don’t play with wingers, but he almost has the tools to play in the attacking central midfielder role so if he gets any game time this season it’ll be there, unless we’re forced into our emergency 4-2-3-1 formations to change things up against a tough opponent, and even then meaningful minutes would be limited. Lozano is liked much more by the coaching staff, who rate him as a 3 star player, than he is by me. BUT, at 42 games long, a La Liga 2 season is longer than most so you never know. 

STRIKERS

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We want two things from our two strikers: One who can drop off, draw defenders out of the security of their line and create chances, and one who is a goal scorer who will harass defenders and look to get onto through balls. Luckily, both our starters can fulfil both roles, in different ways.

Stuani is our main man and can score in a variety of ways (finishing 16, heading 15) but at 35-year-old he’s not quick. His pace is 11 and I’m expecting it to decline rapidly over the next couple of seasons. Not only is he a really good attacking forward but also has the strength and technique to play as a target man.

Bustos is on loan from Man City and makes up for Stuani’s lack of pace and agility. He’s no slouch in front of goal either. We can use him as an attacking forward or as a deep lying forward where he can drop into space and run at defenders.

Backups – Borja Garcia, as you’ll know, failed at both Gates of the team ethos we’re looking to build. He is, however, experienced and creative so could be a good option off the bench. Pablo Moreno, on loan from Man City, is naturally a winger but would make a decent bench option for either of the striker roles and has a bright future ahead of him. Our 19-year-old Spaniard Pau Victor is an excellent finisher (14) and has good pace (14) but is just lacking in a few areas so but if I can get him some game time this season I’m confident he’ll develop well, especially with some mentoring.

There we have the squad locked in who will start the season and guide us into 2022. Remember, the first transfer window has been disabled so no new players will arrive until January 2022.

Stay tuned for the next part and if you like this series drop me a follow on twitter @fm_throwing

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