Football Manager 2018 has been out for nearly two weeks, and we’re really starting to get into the new game.
As a big fan of the series, we were eager to see how good this year’s edition could be – with the developers promising a host of new features ahead of it’s release.
And we’re certainly not disappointed.
FM18 boasts improvements to the game’s graphics (it genuinely looks beautiful, especially the stadium designs and match presentation), while we’re already enjoying (and pulling our hair out – mainly in a good way) at the Dynamics feature, which – in-short – determines which players will gang up on you.
So while we’re playing through the game normally (trying to get Gateshead into the Premier League, of course) we’ve decided to run a few quirky experiments using the game’s database.
So, with the brilliance of Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku for Manchester City, Liverpool and Man United respectively, we’ve been wondering how well a team of Chelsea rejects could do in the Premier League.
Tantalising thought, isnt it?
So we went and did just that:
Wondering how we did it?
Well, using the game’s editor tool, we made a ‘Chelsea Rejects FC’ side out of the old Southampton team (sorry, Saints fans) – basically because we’re lazy and Southampton already have former Blues stars Ryan Bertrand and Oriol Romeu in their side.
We’re pretty pleased with this line-up, and especially impressed with our ability to remember Josh McEachran and Patrick van Aanholt’s place in the Chelsea history books.
We understand that some of these are questionable.
After all, Petr Cech and Branislav Ivanovic had long and fruitful Chelsea careers before they were cut loose.
But both were considered surplus to requirements in their final season’s at the club, but continue to play at a top-level (in fact, Cech only moved a few miles further north to Arsenal).
We also booted out Saints gaffer Mauricio Pellegrino and some of his backroom staff and replaced them with old boss Carlos Ancelotti and his former assistant Paul Clement.
The Italian master won the domestic double at Stamford Bridge during the 2009-10 season, but was sacked at the end of the 2010-11 campaign after finishing behind Manchester United.
So, without further ado, let’s see what this squad of former Chelsea flames can do this season.
To do this, we simulated an entire season of the game and peaked at their end of season results.
Here’s how they did:
Well, look at that.
Not only did our merry-band of Chelsea rejects finish in the top three, they finished three places and nine points ahead of their former employers.
Now that’s satisfying.
Let’s have a little look at how Ancelotti’s side lined-up:
This is the side that seemingly played in the final game of the season, although it’s worth noting that Nathan Ake – and not Nathaniel Chalobah – played the majority of the season in centre-back.
Nemanja Matic, Andre Schurlle and Branislav Ivanovic were also regulars ahead of Daniel Sturridge and Jeffery Bruma, while Lukaku normally played as a centre-forward, and not a winger.
Rather pleasingly, Matej Delac – who spent eight years at Chelsea before finally deciding to leave earlier this month – failed to make a single appearance for the Blues, but made a handful (six, to be precise) of appearances for the Chelsea Rejects in all competitions.
Good for him!
Further forward, Lukaku was the club’s top goalscorer in the Premier League with 18, with Juan Mata and Salah behind him with 10 and nine respectively.
Sturridge only notched four though, which is disappointing.
De Bruyne – who’s having a wonderful season at Man City and is widely considered one of the best midfielders in the world right now, topped the assists chart for the Premier League with 18.
Shall we have a look at how the Chelsea Rejects did in the cup competitions?
In the FA Cup, they fell to eventual-finalists Leicester in the quarter-final stage.
But they did reach the final of the Carabao Cup, losing to league champions Manchester United.
There was better news on the player awards front.
Kevin De Bruyne was voted Footballer of the Year in the Premier League, and also won the much-coveted Player’s Player of the Year.
Not bad, not bad.
Furthermore, the Ginger Prince made it into the Team of the Season, alongside teammate Juan Cuadrado.
You’ll notice there’s no Chelsea players in the line-up.
So, there we go then.
A solid third-place finish, well above Chelsea, while KDB, Salah and co did better than many of their old Chelsea teammates – much like real-life.
Regrets are better left unspoken, Chelsea.