If you’re looking to squeeze out a bit – or a lot – more fun in Football Manager 2019 before FM2020 comes out, Marseille could be the perfect team to coach. They have so much attacking flair and some exciting young talents, but you’ll have to be man enough to deal with the unpredictable Mario Balotelli. Read on to find out why Marseille might be the most exciting team to manage on Football Manager 2019.
You play in a competition with Paris Saint Germain so no-one expects you to win the league, and if you do, you’re automatically lauded by fans and the media as a genius, “The New Special One”, “The Second Coming”. With the only pressure coming from your own expectations, and keeping a few “characters” in the squad happy, you can virtually sit back and relax until you win something and see your name in lights outside the Stade Velodrome. But if you are any good, you’ll have a great chance of winning silverware early on.
No selection headaches
You don’t have a big transfer budget or a squad deep with experience and quality, so the team virtually picks itself. Marseille have some fantastic attackers, including Florian Thauvin and Dimitri Payet, and they are so good you rarely doubt them. I signed Allan Saint-Maximin and Javi Ontiveros, and Saint-Maximin has been truly brilliant, but I had the luxury of sending Ontiveros on loan, because my team was so settled.
We have two out-and-out strikers in Balotelli and Valere Germain fighting for the one spot up front but they have never complained about rotation.
This is our formation:
We haven’t been overshadowed by PSG’s attacking flair, in fact, we’ve scored 10 more goals than them after 29 league matches. While Edinson Cavani is the league’s top scorer with 20, my boys Lucas Ocampos (15), Thauvin (14), and Saint-Maximin (13) have contributed to an impressive total of 82 goals so far. We have our midfield to thank for winning us games – our top-scoring forward is Germain, who only has eight goals. Balotelli has seven in the league and four in the Europa League.
Full of mavericks
I’ve mentioned Super Mario Balotelli. Man United fans might remember him as a bit of a, let’s say… “provocateur”, when he played for Man City, but he has behaved well this year, apart from a period where he was considering signing a contract with another club. I felt it was worth giving him a new deal, so the 28-year-old is set to stay for three more years. I don’t think he’ll ever be prolific but he has immense quality and it’s good to have a couple of strikers who can push each other. With him being such a good boy, I’m questioning whether it is right to call him a maverick anymore. But leopards don’t change their spots, do they?
Saint-Maximin, who recently signed for Newcastle IRL, has 13 goals in the league from left inside forward, and he has been electric. He has a fantastic habit of dribbling past several defenders before smashing the ball into the net or showing up at the back post to finish with composure. I saw him in a Copa 90 video on YouTube, which inspired me to sign him for Marseille – he was a bargain at £9.5m. Sign him if you get the chance.
You all know Dimitri Payet – he has been producing moments of magic for years now, well before he joined West Ham for £10.75m in 2015 and was re-signed by Marseille for £25m in 2017. He disappointed me at first – I was expecting him to score goals wherever I played him. I even played him up front, because I thought he had the skills to. He has only scored six goals up to March 22 this season, but he has an amazing 18 assists in the league, some of them pieces of creative brilliance. He has 16 flair, 16 vision, and 17 technique, setting him up perfectly to be a fantastic playmaker, and I love the guy.
Thauvin has been a wanted man all season, drawing interest from Tottenham, Barcelona, and Man United, so for this reason, I have expected big things. He has delivered with 14 goals and eight assists. He is clearly one of our best players, and at 26 he could provide the club many more goals and important performances. If someone offers around £40m for him in the summer of 2019 though, I will find it hard to say no as I have potential replacements waiting and I need funds to force the club forward. We have literally no money.
With all these flair players able to fit into the same starting line-up, even PSG must quake in their boots when they see us.
We play in Ligue 1
While it would be disrespectful and inaccurate to describe the league as a farmers league, it is somewhat unfair pitting players like Thauvin and Payet against the defenders at Strasbourg and Amiens. It makes for some easy games, sure, although we still must perform to put those teams away. I have not noticed complacency creeping in, which is a source of pride. These lads want to succeed.