Consecutive draws with Juve and Inter had AC Milan sitting a healthy 14 points clear at the top of Serie A, still unbeaten and with a game in hand. But a surprising progression to the Champions League semi-finals meant we had 12 games in 43 days to conclude the season.
The final 10 games began with a trip to Sassuolo, who were having a great season sitting in second place in Serie A. After a quiet start we blinked first by winning a penalty that the league’s top scorer Andrea Belotti tucked away. A quiet game saw neither side create much but we sealed an easy win as Sandro Tonali set up the second for substitute Franck Kessié. That took us seven clear and seven points away from defending our title.
The rough run of games continued as fourth-place Napoli came to town and it looked like being a struggle as we were stuck at 0-0 after 67 minutes. But Ilaix Moriba stole the show with an out of this world hat-trick of absolute screamers as well as laying on a goal for Belotti, five key passes and a 94% pass completion ratio. He is simply superb and I can’t believe Barca released him!!
With a tired squad and Champions League semi-final coming, I fully rotated for a game against Crotone. It was a risk that certainly didn’t pay off as we lost our first game of the season, but a 3-0 defeat was unacceptable.
The first 11 returned for a trip to bottom of the league Spezia and we strolled to a 2-0 win, with Ismael Bennacer scoring on his comeback after a lengthy injury. The Zebres slipped up with a 2-2 draw at home to Fiorentina the next day, which handed the title to us on a plate.
AC Milan defended their Serie A title!
We celebrated the title defence with a 3-1 win over Udinese, in which young midfielder Jimmy Charrier-Lagarde scored his first Milan goal and finished with us getting our hands on the trophy.
A brilliant first-half performance secured a 3-0 win at Sampdoria, we beat a poor Roma side 3-1, then a late Florentino Luís goal eased a 1-0 in a poor game at Torino. Luís then bagged a brace to inspire a 4-1 win over Cagliari, which took us to 100 points for the season!
A 3-1 final day win over Bologna saw us finish on a Serie A record of 103 points, surpassing Juve’s 102 in 2014. We also had by far the best attack with 92 goals scored and easily the best defence with just 17 conceded. Italian domination completed!!
Champions League semi-final
Having already knocked out Arsenal and Man City – and faced Man United in the group stages – more English opposition followed as we face Liverpool in the Champions League semis.
We missed an absolute hatful of chances in the first leg, drawing 0-0 at home despite a 2.60 xG, 19 shots in total and Belotti missing a penalty, compared to Liverpool’s 0.18 xG. Liverpool’s toothlessness continued at Anfield, and we took advantage through Asensio seizing on the loose ball after Moriba’s shot was parried then Belotti wrapped up a surprisingly easy 2-0 win after the break.
We were into Milan’s first Champions League Final since 2007!
Champions League Final
Stadion Munchen, aka Allianz Arena, was the venue as reigning champions of Europe Paris Saint-Germain took on AC Milan, seeking a first Champions League title since 2007.
We came into the game without our first-choice wingers as Asensio was injured and Karim Adeyemi had only just returned to training after a month out. While PSG were missing Haaland, but still had Ronaldo, Brandt, Mbappé, Milinkovic-Savic and more.
PSG started well and made it count as Mbappé scored on 23 minutes, and we just couldn’t create anything despite really going for it. Belotti missed several chances, which led to him playing a 6.1 that confirms my suspicions that he’s not good enough to take on the really big teams. And PSG eased to a 1-0 win in a really poor game.
Belotti finished as Serie A top scorer with 23 goals in 35 games, and scored 27 in 47 in all competitions. Tonali won Serie A player of the season with 7 goals, 10 assists and an average rating of 7.34, while Moriba won the league’s young player of the season with 8 goals, 6 assists and a 7.31 average rating. While Gianluigi Donnarumma kept an impressive 31 clean sheets in 50 matches.
Moriba also took a clean sweep of the fans’ awards with player of the season, young player of the season, best signing and goal of the season for one of his three ridiculous strikes against Napoli. He also made it into the Champions League team of the season alongside Layvin Kurzawa and Davide Calabria.
A look around Europe
Chelsea won the Premier League on 94 points, finishing 5 clear of Man City, Liverpool and Man United, who were all 23 clear of 5th-placed Wolves. Nottingham Forest went down with a measly 12 points.
Real Madrid defended their Spanish title, finishing with 95 points and 6 clear of Barca. Bayern continued to win Bundesliga as did PSG in France. PSG of course beat us in the Champions League final to defend their title, while Valencia beat Ajax 2-1 in the Europa League final.
Our domination of Italy in this third season makes me think it may be time to bring this FM21 Beta save blog to a close, and focus on something a little different for future content. But thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this little Italian adventure!
I’ll have plenty more FM21 content coming your way shortly, including my newly started save looking to take Bolton back to glory.