Follow the Ball – Game 16: Lorient vs Lyon

This is already’s Lyon best run of form since September when they won two and drew three games in a run of five. Since putting in what I’ve now come to understand as their best performance of the season against Paris Saint-Germain a few weeks ago, they have been pretty good. They are yet to better that Paris victory but in truth, they haven’t needed to.

As I hit 16 games for the year, I’ve glanced ahead at Lyon’s fixtures and I’m not completely sure there is a game during April that should worry them. They could very well be Follow the Ball champions until the final weekend of the season.

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Follow the Ball – Game 15: Lyon vs Nantes

After two impressive wins, it was always going to be tough for Lyon to keep the winning run going. It’s not something they have been good at so far this season as shown by their struggles in the league, but they were good enough for a deserved point. The alternative could have been Marseille versus Rennes which may have been fun, but instead we’re back to the Parc Olympique Lyonnais (sadly not literally) for the visit of Nantes.

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Follow the Ball – Game 14: Stade Rennais vs Lyon

After an impressive start to their reign as Follow the Ball champions, Lyon will no doubt have no idea whatsoever what this is and pay not attention to it at all be keen to keep their run going over the next few weeks of domestic action. Having played around with a number of potential scenarios, there is a small chance I could return to European action with Paris Saint-Germain before the end of the season but that would require the runaway leaders of the French league to basically go all the way to the final of the Champions League. Instead I intend of fully embracing my new existence in French football.

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Follow the Ball – Game 13: Lyon vs Guingamp

Another week and a new champion. Paris Saint-Germain didn’t hang on nearly as long as I expected and were beaten by Lyon in only their second game as Follow the Ball champions. The result means I will likely spend the next three months watching French football. With the right set of results I may end up back on the PSG bandwagon and possibly back into Euroe; but for now I’m looking forward to watching some Ligue 1 action.

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Follow the Ball – Game 12: Lyon v Paris Saint-Germain

For anyone joining the Follow the Ball project two months in, throughout 2016 I have the simple aim of watching more football. To achieve that I am going to watch a series of matches in a Winner Stays On style. After starting with Arsenal thanks to the Twitter poll, they were dethroned by Chelsea in the Premier League, who remained in charge of the story before PSG showed up 12 days ago and took this adventure onto the continent.

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Follow the Ball – Game 11: Paris Saint-Germain vs Stade de Reims

When I first decided that I wanted to take on this Follow the Ball “challenge” it was because I wanted to watch football I wouldn’t normally enjoy. I watch a fair amount of football as it is; but the majority is either English domestic competitions, a sprinkling of the Champions League and Europa League, and a few games featuring players from the In Bed With Maradona 100 (with a focus on watching the specific players from The 100 rather than necessarily the overall match).

That’s a decent haul all told and yet I want to push myself just a little further, for shits and giggles more than anything. And so – here we are with Paris Saint-Germain hosting Stade de Reims in Ligue 1, a game I certainly wouldn’t have bothered with if it wasn’t for this project.

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Follow the Ball – Game 10: Paris Saint-Germain vs Chelsea

Here we are. The 47th day of 2016 and a chance for Follow the Ball to go international with the return of European football and the UEFA Champions League. When I first decided to watch games in a Winner Stays On fashion, I expected that this week would be my first chance to leave the English domestic game behind – and so far, we’re on track.

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Follow the Ball – Game 9: Chelsea vs Newcastle United

Nine games in and we are so close to some European football that I can almost taste the Gazprom. The plan for the Follow the Ball series, where I intend on enjoying an “unbeaten” year by following football in a Winner Stays On fashion, was always to enjoy some football on the continent and Chelsea’s Champions League tie against PSG should help me with that – assuming they don’t slip up against Newcastle United.

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Follow the Ball – Game 8: Chelsea vs Manchester United

All the way through 2016 I want to spend some time watching football that I wouldn’t normally watch. The plan I have to achieve that is by following football matches in a Winner Stays On style, and basically spend 12 months “going unbeaten”. Game 8 is a match I’d have watch anywhere, regardless of this Follow the Ball series; but it is an important.

Chelsea and Manchester United are due to play knock-out matches in European competition in the next couple of weeks. Assuming the victor in this match can make it through their clash with Newcastle United or Sunderland next weekend, then the chances of this football watching adventure heading into European leagues increases massively.

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Football Manager

#IBWM100 on Football Manager – Season Four with Ajax

F.C. København and Denmark full-back Ludwig Augustinsson

The first three instalments of this story have been well received; and I’m always keen to do everything I can to continue the happiness of others. We’re back for a fourth season and ideally one that will see Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax being competitive in Europe, rather than finishing bottom of their Champions League group.

If you have not read the first three parts of this story, then I would suggest you head in that direction first. It’ll make it easier for you to understand how I have ended up with such a changed squad in the space of three years. They can be found here – 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18.

We have now reached season four – 2018/19 – and my #IBWM100 heavy squad has just won their second Eredivisie title. Unfortunately the poor performances of Dutch sides across the continental competitions in the last couple of seasons means that we will need to navigate two qualifying rounds to reach the group stages. That’ll make pre-season more important and more intense than I would prefer; but not much I can do about it now.

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