Good morning to you and welcome to the 2021 CM Cup. Over the next two weeks via the method of a daily blog entry we will go from 24 teams to one overall champion. It is the fifth annual CM Cup and I can’t wait to find out who is going to walk away as the champion. You can read the preview here if you want to remind yourself of the runners and riders but otherwise, let’s get on to today’s action where we’ll see Groups A and B get underway.
If you missed it, we had an “opening ceremony” last night which you can relive here:
hsoper404 vs FMCM_FC
You’ll notice we are going with Twitter names this year, it just means everybody knows who is who. Harry is making his CM Cup debut and he opens against one of the blog squad in Nathan, who guided Turkey through the group stages last year. Let’s look at the lineups:
It works for Ajax and Barcelona but will it work with the Icelandic legend (pre-gen) pulling the strings?
Nathan meanwhile has opted for this spicy number. 4-3-1-2 wide is not commonly seen but will it have the answers here?
You always want the first game of the tournament to be a banger to light the blue touch paper. Instead, we get a very tepid 0-0. It’s hard to really make this sound any better than it was.
Harry probably had the better of things for chances but Nathan’s defence was dominant. Rios and Roche the rocks?
Well it’s Kopke who gets the champers and no doubt some cliches about getting their first point on the board. Nobody wants to start with a defeat…
Let’s see if match two can stoke the fires…
FPL Hints vs Footballacumen
It’s time for Ash, our 2018 champion, to take to the stage. It’s a fearsome front 4 with Scholl joining from midfield but will the fantastic 5 have enough to prop up a backline that is perhaps lacking a little.
Andrew Walker has gone for the trusty 2-3-1-2-2 with so much attacking talent even Dundee and Fonseca are on the bench.
Ash and Andrew trade blows early on with Vialli opening the scoring and then Boksic cancels it out. Scholl with his late run from midfield gives Ash the half time lead, but this is where Ash likes a tinker. Protecting the lead becomes everything and despite soaking up a lot of pressure, the back 5 hold firm and Ash takes the point.
As you can see, Andrew had his chances but was let down by poor finishing.
Rossi takes man of the match, a huge surprise given his form for me in Champions League Manager.
With that, Group A looks good for Ash but it’s all to play for elsewhere. With four third placed teams also going through, it’s not a crisis for Andrew – we saw last year even two points might be enough and three would stand you in very good stead.
Let’s take a look at Group B.
DaveMathieson84 vs 9798Nikolai
If ever I could rely on a man to bring a Simpsons reference, it’s Dave. His team is good as well, I mean they’re all good but this one seems to have very few weaknesses.
The tactical genius of Nikolai has come up with this. It’s lopsided, it’s got holding midfielders, it’s Nikolai. Will it work?
For a long time, no. But there’s no goals until just before half time when Bergkamp converts. Nikolai fiddles with the lineup at half time with Barnesy on for Elber but even with Digger introduced Sonny Anderson makes it 2-0. Hubner converts a penalty to half the deficit and with Bobic on for Leboeuf it’s balls out the bath but it finishes 2-1.
A deserved win for Dave…
…but his goalkeeper takes man of the match for those 4 saves. Pistone’s injury sees Ismael get a run out to no real detriment.
One more match for today…
NTR9798 vs Emsonite
It’s a blog derby! Nick hosts Deano and Nick is reunited with his favourite son Martijn Reuser.
Deano has gone for a maverick 5-3-2 with Andre Cruz playing midfield. A lot relies on Edmundo here.
Deano takes the lead against the run of play through Soren Andersen. He did well for Denmark last year so maybe he just lives for this Cup. Nick throws the kitchen sink – and Caminero – at Deano and eventually Beckham equalises at the death.
Nick had the better of it but having been 1-0 down with 3 minutes to go he’ll probably be happy with a point.
No shock to see Charbonnier getting man of the match behind a defence marshalled by Richard Gough. I love this tournament.
That leaves Dave top of the group but much like Group A, there’s all to play for.
That about does it for today. Thanks for your company here on day one and we’ll be back tomorrow with the opening games from Groups C and D. Toodles for now.