As I’m very conservative FM player and I’m not a bigger spender there were not big transfers before and during the 2021/2022 season. We were Premier League holders and we played Champions League Group Stage for the first time ever in the club history but I did not need any new players.
I signed only one player with toughts to play him in the first team squad. It was a striker Paul Rimmer from Charlton Athletic.
I signed some youngsters from other English clubs for compensation fee and I put them to the U23 squad, gave them some individual training and they will feature in the first team maybe. Probably the best one is striker Alan Bowles (from Derby County) who could be very good Target Man.
I sent some players to gain experience thanks to loans like Andy McNab to Hibs or Dean Castle to Charlton. They will be probably back with our first team squad next season.
Strikers Cardwell or Angol left the club permanently to Southend and Ipswich respectively.
Champions League debut
As I wrote at above we played in the Champions League Group Stage for the first time. And our participation in this competition was very good as we lost points only in one match in the group after a 1-1 draw at Estadio de Madrid with Atlético.
We won the group with 16 points, six behinds ahead of Atlético and seven points ahead of Lyon. BATE had no points in six matches and they scored just only one goal.
Knockout Stage was a bonus for us but we beat Bayern 3-2 twice and we were qualified to the Quarter Final. We got Real Madrid there and Robert Lewandowski scored six goals in two matches against us = eliminated. He was unstoppable.
We won the EFL Cup last season and we did the same in this season. We conceded only two goals in six matches and scored fifteen. We beat Forest Green, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton, Watford and Manchester City in the Final.
FA Cup was also interesting this year as I played many of backup players in it. We needed reply in the third round against Birmingham but we beat them 4-0 at home. It was pleasure to see younster Alan Bowles scored two goals in the 6th Round against Bolton. And the Semi Final against Tottenham in Wembley was one of the best match in the season as we beat them 3-1 after fantastic performance.
We scored two goals in 29:26 & 30:33 after great work by all players. One of them was this one.
And in the Final we played with Manchester City same as in the EFL Cup and this time we won 4-0 thanks to hattrick by Danny Loader!
After the last year title I had no ambition to retain title. I wanted to play around the top five because I trust to my squad what is clear because lack of transfer activity in terms of first team squad.
We started very well as we beat Chelsea, Everton and Bournemouth. We lost to Manchester City 3-2 in the fourth match and it was our only one defeat in this campaign.
There were some draws and we were around the top three places for most of the season. There was quite good results like 5-1 win over Tottenham in October or 3-2 over Liverpool at the start of November.
After four draws in a row in festive Christmas period I decided to switch back to 4-3-3 formation instead of 4-3-1-2. It resulted to seven wins in a row and we scored 25 goals in these matches. We also conceded three goals in both matches with Man City and West Ham but it was entertaining football and I think I needed some fun to keep interest in the season.
If you read the summary of previous season you maybe remember the great form of Danny Loader who scored 29 league goals. This season he was very good again but this year’s season campaign belonged to Dominic Samuel who was very well prepared for the season after last healthy issues and he benefited from the lack of injuries this season.
We had some games in hand and we were four points behind Arsenal a couple of matches before the end of the campaing but Arsenal lost points with Manchester United and they also played 0-0 with West Brom in penultimate match of the season.
And as we beat Sunderland 1-0 away in the same round and we did not lost points in the previous eight matches we were tied at the top of the table with 88 points. So there were a title decider in the last round of the Premier League but Arsenal had advantage of better goals difference as they scored 10 more goals than as.
Arsenal played with Sunderland at home, we had Hull at home as well. We had to win and hoped Arsenal not beat Sunderland.
Journalist Jamie Andrews: “Your team are still in the running for the Premier League title but you will need a favour from Sunderland. Are you at all anxious about their motivation against Arsenal on Sunday given that they have nothing to play for themselves?”
Me: “I can only hope Yaya Touré realises the serousness of the situation. We’re depending on him to approach the game in the right manner and ensure his players give their all.”
“It’s going to be a tense and nerve-wracking day but I think we can do it.”
What? Did I really say that? Arsenal will smash them without doubt.
As we played with 4-3-1-2 formation again in the last ten matches with good results it was easy decision to stick with it. Loader and Samuel upfront, Kelly behind them and Swift, Anderson and Evans in the midfield. Defensive four with captain Obita, Cooper, Lee and Watson and Southwood in the goal.
2nd minute – still 0-0 at Madejski and Emirates.
I changed panels in the Match-between Highlights for this match as I put there league table and latest event updates to know how it goes.
30th minute – still 0-0 at Madejski and Emirates…
42nd minute – Jack Lee takes the free kick at the half line. Obita -> Evans -> Kelly -> Loader runs to the penalty area and he scores! 1-0 to Reading!
Reading move up to 1st position.
Half-time. Reading vs. Hull 1-0, Arsenal vs. Sunderland 0-0.
57th minute – Reading lost the ball at half line, Austin finds the Abel in the box and the ball ended in the goal somehow…Own goal by Southwood and it’s 1-1. Reading drop down to 2nd position.
Arsenal still goalless…
61st minute – Liam Kelly injured, Josh Barrett replaced him.
77th minute – Danny Loader makes a way to Antony Molloy. Arsenal vs. Sunderland 0-0…
“You can make the difference!”
82nd minute – Josh Barrett goes to the penalty area after good work at the half line but he shoots over the bar.
“Oh my boy, that was huge opportunity. Maybe the last one…”
87th minute – Jermaine Anderson replaced by Jack Byrne. Arsenal vs. Sunderland 0-0…
Four additional minutes…
No scoring chance for both sides and it’s all over here at the Madejski Stadium. Reading vs. Hull 1-1.
Full time at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal vs. Sunderland 0-0. Arsenal won the league title on goal difference.
“Of course, we’re all bitterly disappointed, but come the start of next season I have no doubts that this team will be able put this behind them and grow from the experience.”
That was so close, wasn’t it?
As you can see on the picture bellow goalkeeper Luke Southwood made 48 apperances this season, Jake Cooper 49 and Jordan Obita 45.
Dominic Samuel scored 33 goals in all competitions. Danny Loader scored 21 goals and made also 13 assists, he was also voted English Players’ Young Player of the Year.
Liam Kelly had another great season as he scored 16 goals and made 18 assists. Unfortunately he damaged achilles tendon in the match against Hull and he will be out for 4 months.
Obita, Cooper and Kelly were selected in the English Players’ Team of the Year.
Young strikers Molloy and Rimmer had very good season as they scored 14 and 10 goals respectively as rotation players.
Jordan Obita had average rating of 7.56 in 45 matches and he was the best rated player of our team.
Despite the late disappointment from the last round I’m really happy with this squad and the development of almost all players.
No player will leave this squad because of the end of his contract but there could be a departure as defender Tyler Blackett is not happy with his playing time and he wanted to be place on transfer list. But he broke his leg at the end of the season in the match for our reserve squad and he will be out for six months so it would be impossible for him to find new club…
You can also check the team stats and the competitions summary and finances summary after the 2021/2022 season.
In other news, Madejski Stadium expansion has been completed during this season. It means we now have seating capacity of 29,538. We had 20,309 season ticket holders this season.
Let’s start the next season…
Thanks for reading, @KeysiRensie.