AF Diary #20
Hey, so I stream now, apparently. If you want to watch the #FM antics in person, this is the address.
COBRA KAI SEASON ONE
A guy who I work with told me about this two years ago and I didn’t bother following up on it because it wasn’t somewhere I was familiar with. The YouTube Premium business wasn’t something I was interested in dipping my toes into for this one show.
You know what? I was probably wrong. It’s worth it. The show is now available on Netflix and it deserves the wider audience. Cobra Kai follows the Karate Kid, Daniel LaRusso, 34 years after the events of the Karate Kid (1984). LaRusso is a car salesman with successful lots in California. He lives well and has a loving wife and two kids.
More importantly though, Cobra Kai is about the man who LaRusso beat to win the prestigious All Valley Karate tournament in 1984; Johnny Lawrence. Life hasn’t been so kind to Johnny, who has a drinking problem, an attitude problem, can’t hold down a job, has family issues. He’s the polar opposite of Daniel. A demonstration perhaps of what a difference one small crane kick to the face can make over a lifetime. Success and failure, measured out over time. Like in the alternate version of Back to the Future.
Lawrence has hit rock bottom so he goes to the only place he was ever really home; the Cobra Kai dojo. He reopens the dojo in a strip mall in Reseda with the intention of training his neighbour, a gutsy Latino kid called Miguel Diaz. He’s being bullied at school and Cobra Kai feels initially like the Karate Kid but with Miyagi’s role taken by a loutish, aggressive Lawrence.
But it’s so much more than that. The layering of Cobra Kai sees family members switching sides, surprises, turns, chills of nostalgia but also pleasingly rounded characters in a coming-of-age series. I blew through the first season in less than a week and loved every minute. The finale; the All Valley Karate tournament of 2018 is just terrific work. The epilogues slowly level up as we see where season two is going to take us. I can’t wait, it’s going to be a thrill ride for Johnny Lawrence and company.
Fulham 2 Southampton 4
This is the first match I ever live-streamed. It was a bizarre one. I went in with an injured left back so I just picked three central defenders and argued they’d shuffle across if any danger appeared. It worked. We took the lead through Garry “I have two R’s” Marrable. Then Cristobal went off injured and I had no full backs at all. I opted to chuck on another striker (Munoz) and he promptly scores! Fulham get one back but Rioja and Fraser score as Southampton coast to victory, albeit with a late consolation from sub Stroud.
Carabao Cup R4
Southampton vs. Tottenham
The full back situation is slightly better as Evan Meslin is fit but Dexter Curtis comes in at right back, which is far from ideal. I have Jean Rivas on the bench if he shits the bed. Spurs confuse me by turning up catenaccio. What the fuck? Five at the back? Cowards! 12 minutes in and it’s only Dexter Curtis with the goal! Watts crosses for Munoz to make it 2-0 and Spurs have no width at all. Any time the ball goes wide there’s a player in acres of space. Munoz bundles in a late third and we fucking creamed Spurs here. 3-0.
CARABAO CUP QF DRAW
Arsenal vs. QPR
Millwall vs. West Ham
Swansea vs. Southampton
Chelsea vs. Newcastle
Swansea are pretty high in the league but are beatable. Avoiding Arsenal and Chelsea is nice. QPR are in L1 so the Gunners should be through and I dub them favourites at this juncture. Thursday morning I went on live streaming on Twitch and played the following four games. All of which were wins.
Southampton 3 Bournemouth 0
A routine and comfortable victory over south coast rivals. Big Ed Fraser got two and Marco Chiappini added a third. No dramas.
Southampton 3 Real Madrid 0
Who saw this coming after the 4-3 away against ten? Dominant performance. Comfy win. Fraser, Jaime from an Ash freekick and Ash from open play after I criticised him on the stream for having a terrible rating. The win puts us on the verge of qualification for the knock out stages.
Tottenham 0 Southampton 1
A Dong-Wook strike just before half time was enough. We had 23 shots. They had five. Only one on target. I know this Spurs team isn’t anywhere near as good as the real one but it still felt good to boss them like this.
Southampton 2 Watford 1
I had another game with no fit left backs so played without one. Watford attacked a lot down that side and scored first. Then I got disgruntled with Chiappini and subbed him and the sub, Josh Challis, scored almost immediately. Tactical masterclass. They had a centre back sent off and Ed Fraser popped up with the winner.
Southampton 2 Anderlecht 0
A win catapults Southampton into the knock out stages and a win is what we get. Munoz turns in a Chiappini cut back for 1-0. Doda, who’s been angry about a lack of game time, smashes in number two. I feel bad for knocking my former club Anderlecht out but they’ve only retained three of my players so fuck ‘em.
Leeds 0 Southampton 0
The boy Josh comes off the bench and hits the post. Nothing else happens. 100% streaming victories record goes here. Sad. “You can’t win them all”.
LEFT BACK CRISIS
Evan Meslin is injured. That’s ok because Ramon Chan…is injured. Fucksticks. Once again I opt to demonstrate that left backs are pointless and just play without one.
Southampton 0 Stoke 0
Fuck. We had 21 shots (to their one). No left backs. Do I need more full backs or more strikers? “It’s Stoke” I miserably complain on the stream.
Spartak Moscow vs. Southampton
If we win and Real Madrid fail to win, we win the group. It’s snowing so we’ve got an orange ball and I’m surprisingly happy about it. Chiappini scores early and then Ed Fraser bangs in four. Real beat Anderlecht so we’re second. 5-1.
West Ham vs. Southampton
Playing without a left back means being asked “can you talk us through your changes today?” in the tunnel. “I’d rather not”. West Ham attack almost exclusively where our left back should be, and isn’t. Things go badly first half so I bring on Fraser and he scores immediately. Abarakov decides to take a pen because I played him out of position. I believe that’s our first penalty of the season. 2-0. Back in the winning ways.
Carabao Cup QF
Swansea vs. Southampton
It took me 2.5 hours to get my stream going due to a mixture of personal issues, technical issues and general laziness. Big Ed Fraser gets us going early with a strike on the run and despite some jitters we go further ahead. Big Ed ends up bashing in a hat trick and then we coast to the 3-0 win. Easy! Millwall and Newcastle upset higher league opponents to make the semi’s so naturally we draw Arsenal in the semi-finals.
Southampton vs. West Brom
WBA start well but I demand more and Munoz tucks away a pass from Chiappini for 1-0. A few defensive shuffles aside this is completely uneventful and finishes 1-0.
Leicester vs. Southampton
Ed Fraser misses an early sitter, making me jittery but Marco Chiappini curves a beauty in the top hand corner. Pretty much the best free kick he’s managed, ever. Fraser tucks away his second chance and Chiappini notches the assist. Chiappini puts in an Ale Rioja cross for 3-0 before half time and we’re cruising. Leicester grab one back but Emiliano Fonseca curves one in from range for 4-1. Chiappini completes a hat trick with 30 minutes to spare and we coast to a 5-1 win.
Southampton vs. Burnley
26 minutes in I shout “get creative” and Cardenas heads in a free kick immediately. Inspired coaching, I’m sure you’ll agree. After getting no pens for ages we get another here that Munoz tucks away. Ash squares it to Doda for 3-0. Burnley are bottom of the Premier League and it’s easy to see why here. As soon as I say they’re bad they score. I take both full backs off and concede another one. Is there a lesson to be learned there? Get more full backs? 3-2.
Swansea vs. Southampton
Swansea score early. Our form potentially about to take a hit. A Chiappini free kick rattles the woodwork but Simon Ash follows in for 1-1. Reserve right back Dexter Curtis crosses for Lee Dong-Wook to head us in front. We see it out until 90+2 when Swansea ship a penalty and Ash makes it 3-1. We had no penalties for ages and now three in quick succession.
FA Cup R3
Southampton vs. Everton
With the big Carabao showdown with Arsenal in two days I have to send the second team out, which means no left back at all. We take an early lead with a killer counter where Doda steals the ball and ploughs into the box before squaring to Munoz for 1-0. It’s the kind of goal you routinely see near the end of games against tiring defenders. Ash fires in a second from outside the box. Munoz needs three bites at the cherry on a Doda cross for 3-0 but it’s over before half time. Second half Everton come firing back and get two but I go defensive and it finishes 3-2. We’re through, to play Salford City away in the fourth round.
Carabao Cup SF L1
Southampton 1 Arsenal 0
This was a very dominant performance but I had a nagging feeling that 1-0 wasn’t enough. A first half penalty from Filipe Munoz was sufficient for the win but we missed a lot of half chances. Any of them had gone in and we’d have taken a comfortable lead to the Emirates.
Man City 0 Southampton 0
A bore draw. I’ll take that. City are the best team in world football. It’s impossible to put the boots to them. A draw on their turf shows the effectiveness of that PSG Shithousery tactic I have in my back pocket for these rainy days. The one small problem is it doesn’t create many clear cut chances.
Southampton 0 Arsenal 1
First loss on a live stream. I took it…badly. It was an even game but I was half expecting a draw and their late winner was a punch to the gut. More punches to come.
Carabao Cup SF L2
Arsenal 2 Southampton 0
I was not best pleased by this. Having squandered the chance to enter this game at 2-0 up, we promptly held them well into the second half and then gave away a headed goal from a free kick. Totally avoidable. I switched things up looking for a winner and Dan Davidson sucker punched me with five minutes to go. Even now, writing this hours later, I feel irritated at the late goal. We didn’t play particularly well during the game but the aim was to stifle and obfuscate and it worked for over an hour. A formation that Man City couldn’t break down but Arsenal did so, twice, in a week. I couldn’t exactly field my best eleven due to fatigue brought on by fixture congestion but the same should have applied to Arsenal. I was not happy here. Not happy at all.
FA Cup R4
Salford 1 Southampton 2
We had 28 shots here to their 7. It should have been over long before our two second half strikes gave us a 2-0 lead. Garry Marrbles with the first, Ale Rioja with the second. Our victory sets up a fifth round tie against Sheff Wed.
Southampton 2 Chelsea 0
This was a significant improvement. We went for it here, against a fellow top four side, something I don’t normally do. Chelsea were limited to one shot, fielded a very defensive team in the process, and were comfortably beaten. Ed Fraser and Lee Dong-Wook with the second half goals. If we were this clinical in every game, we would be winning the league.
Brighton 1 Southampton 1
BHA are currently our bogey team. They beat us 3-0 at St Mary’s and we couldn’t get past them here despite dominating the game after going a goal down. Freshly blooded striker Mohammed Abubakar picked up a late equaliser but we really should have won. 20-6 on shots.
JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW
OUT: Diogo Araujo. The veteran striker was moved on for £1.2M when I noticed I was paying him £115k a week to watch us play football. Middlesbrough took him and he’s dropped down a division and to £38k a week. He’s 35 and in no way capable of playing Premier League football anymore.
OUT: Josh Challis. The promising 17-year-old winger has gone on loan to Blackburn. At time of writing he’s played 6 games for them and scored once. My hope is that #99 comes back a better player for having experienced Championship level football. He was effectively our #2 choice on the AML position.
IN: Tommy Frenger. The 22-year-old Bayern attacking midfielder wasn’t really on my mind until I saw him listed for loan. He’s a quality footballer, whose not getting Bundesliga time. It’s a crime, frankly. The transfer fee would likely be in the region of £80M so we’ve got him until the end of the season. He’s a dangerous attacking option and gives us more quality in depth.
That’s it! Two out, one in. I don’t generally like doing business in January and I had to talk Rioja and Leon into not going to PSG. I’ve promised them an improvement in youth players coming through into the first eleven. Which is already happening so we should be fine in that respect.
Cardiff 0 Southampton 2
Garrrry Marrrrbles came through here, right before half time. Frenger then teed up Abarakov for a rocket for 2-0. Comfortable second half.
Champion’s League KOR1 L1
Southampton 4 Porto 2
I was very disappointed here. Why? Because we led 4-0 after half an hour played. Leon, Marrrrrbles, Frenger and Fraser on the score sheet. Then we let them back in with a goal on the break. Why were we mercilessly attacking at 4-0? Mainly because Porto fielded two midfielders in central defence and I thought we could punish them for it. And we did, and then threw away two goals.
FA Cup R5
Southampton 4 Sheff Wed 0
We play Man Utd next after this clinical display. Frenger, Munoz, Abubakar and Chiappini found the target. With 44-1 on shots they got off light. It could have been a very heavy defeat for Wednesday.
All of this is available in video form on twitch.tv/arnfurious. I’m very aware of the poor video quality. This is largely down to a slow PC and I am upgrading this ASAP. I’m also replacing the webcam, which is really old and has trouble focusing on me when I’m sat more than six inches away from the monitor. So, hopefully you’ll be able to see me streaming in HD before too long. I’m aiming to start doing regular streams when FM21 comes out. So not anytime soon. This is just practice.