After my opening-day defeat, life could only get better at the helm of Sporting Loft FC.
Following my opening 4-1 defeat, I needed a message from the gods to help my youthful, inexperienced side on their way.
That came in the form of five new loan signings, all of whom have been tipped to achieve greatness in the years ahead. The signings included Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson and Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka, while Allan Saint-Maximin was introduced to add pace down the wings.
It looked like this helping hand would be the impetus my side needed to kick on and really produce some results of intent.
25 minutes into my game and things were going swimmingly. The football was right out of a Guardiola playbook, Ashley Fletcher was finishing off with some aplomb, and Charlie Austin was continuing his rise to cult stardom amongst the Sporting Loft faithful.
I was pleased with the way that my new signings had bedded in. Nelson was showcasing his trickery down the right, while Wan-Bissaka looked a class above everyone else on the pitch.
Sporting Loft had quickly dismantled their unwitting prey and duly secured their historic first win. However, there was no time to rest.
Up next was a clash against yet another team of 86+ rated superstars. My young side had the wind in their sails but we’re up against it from the off in a topsy-turvy game.
At 2-0 down midway through the second half, I was passing the ball around near halfway and then….ermm….something happened!
All of a sudden, the referee takes it upon himself to award a penalty to my side. I wasn’t complaining of course, but I ended up missing anyway!
I could say that I did that because it was the sporting thing to do, but the reality was that Krzysztof Piątek isn’t very good at taking penalties (nothing to do with myself, of course!)
Despite the setback, I managed to get myself back into the game, with James Tilley impressing more than anyone else – despite his 58 rating.
I managed to grab a late equaliser through Piatek, who made up for his error, but in typical Sporting Loft fashion, I threw it away.
I yearn for the day when my side get themselves back into a contest and don’t bottle it – I may as well change my name to Spurs at this rate!
With two defeats from three now, I need to get myself into shape – and fast.
Anyone who knows this year’s FIFA will know that matchmaking is broken; that is a fact. I think it was perfectly summed up by the next team that I faced.
I thought that coming up against three-time Champions League winner Casillas would be a step too far for my moderate strike force, but the manner in which he flapped at Austin’s second-minute header gave me hope that I could complete one of football’s greatest shocks.
Not only did Javier Hernandez transform into the Mexican equivalent of Cristiano Ronaldo, my backline were woefully exposed on numerous occasions.
New recruit Eric Bailly picked up a customary yellow card, but thankfully his defence was just as rash.
Reiss Nelson capitalised after he had conceded two penalties, but in the fashion accustomed to my side, we crumbled.
It is harsh to place blame on any particular player – with the presence of the rested Jordi Alba hugely missed – but the gulf in class between his keeper and my 55-rated James Hamon was clear to see.
Ultimately another loss came my way, and the only hope for my side would be a last-game victory to boost my ranking.
Could I finally get an opponent with similar levels?
The disappointing thing wasn’t the fact that I got dismantled by a far superior side. It was that, even though his side looked shaky at the back, it only took one shot for him to make me play.
To make matters worse, my luck was non-existent, as highlighted below.
Four defeats from five doesn’t make for pretty reading, but I’m optimistic going forward.
Now that the placement matches are over, I can hopefully look forward to improved refereeing standards, more fortune and hopefully more balanced games.
What are the chances of that?