Our second season in charge of Benfica was one that I will never forget. Going unbeaten for 34 league games as well as lifting three domestic trophies was the highlight of my short career so far. However, the following transfer window saw us lose some of our big name players, which in all honesty was only a matter of time but the reinforcements we brought in are more than adequate to fill the gaps along with the promise of youth quickly being spread throughout the squad.
The obvious objective for our third season in charge was simply to replicate what we did the season before and having already added the Supertaca to our resumé, the domestic quadruple was in our sights, but we knew we’d be up against it. The pressure was on.
In terms of the Primeira Liga we’ve started where we left off last season. 15 unbeaten games so far in which we’re only conceded 5 goals, a vast improvement on how many we’d conceded by this time last season. Defence was an area I intended to strengthen and it seems that so far we’ve done a very good job of doing that, in terms of the league anyway.
No surprise really as being 15 games unbeaten leaves us sitting at the top of the league at the turn of the calendar year. However, similarly to Sporting last season, Porto have been relentless and only sit 3 points behind them ourselves. It’s going to be an exciting 2nd half of the season, but I’m confident in our ability to maintain this run.
UEFA Champions League
The Champions League really has been a mixed bag. We’ve scored plenty of goals but also conceded a lot, particularly in the fixtures against Lyon and Tottenham. The latter proved particularly frustrating as we at one point held a 3-1 lead only for complacency to see us slip to a late defeat. However, we managed to top the group and now face the tough task of facing Liverpool in the 1st Knockout Round, the team I support.
22 goals in 3 games, incredible. We currently sit at the 6th round stage of the Taca de Portugal where we’ll be facing Sporting Lisbon, a run that has seen us beat Sacavenense 7-0 and lowly Moura 13-0…Initially this was 14-0, but a crash dump saw the replayed fixture lose a goal.
The league cup doesn’t really kick off until the 2nd half of the season, but the one game we’ve played so far resulted in a 2-0 victory over Boavista, with a tough game against Braga to end the group stage.
I’m very happy with our performances in the cup considering I’m playing my youth side in all of the fixtures, they’ve definitely proven their quality so far!
Throughout the month of December our full-back Jorge has been predicted to take home the European Golden Boy aware, however it was Portuguese wide-man Goncalo Guedes who scooped the aware following an impressive year. He’s a fantastic talent and with Barcelona sniffing around, my feet are becoming itchy.
My personal Golden-Boy in terms of our squad this season is Summer recruit Julio Palomeque. The initial plan of loaning him went out the window very early on and since then Julio has established himself as a starter at the back with some incredible performances.
A superb range of average ratings as well as a very impressive passing percentage for a young central defender. He’s adapted to life in Portugal very well and I have no doubts that he can go on to become one of the best players of his generation.
A New Arrival
Although I make separate blog entries for my transfer window, I’m going to highlight Elichi Oyama now as he’s a player I signed way back in September. He arrives from Japanese side Sanfrecce for €3.5m, an absolute bargain for a player of this much potential. He’s also the only Asian member of our squad which will help boost merchandise income through shirt sales. But that’s not the reason we brought this lad in, we brought him in because he has potential to be brilliant.
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