FM18 | Plug In Baby | #6

Greetings! Who would have thought we’d reach a 6th edition of this series? The ridiculous 3-4-3 that we have committed to playing all season long has Leicester FLYING in 5th position. European football is very much on the cards.

Catch the last installment here.

Those good times are about to be seriously tested though as we’re off to the Etihad. Man City are very good, though thankfully not as good as their real-life counterparts. Still, for a team who concedes as many goals as we do, it’s going to be a challenge.

Yep, it’s every bit as rough as I feared. Aguero and Silva score twice in the first half and despite a brief rally when Vardy pulls one back, it’s ultimately for nothing. Not disgraceful by any means but we’ve been on a fantastic run, so defeat hurts.

Not to worry, its Palace away. Palace beat us at the KP in one of the worst games ever seen, so this worries me a little. Jordan Ayew though, isn’t worried by anything at all. He’s in the goalscoring form of his life and a double here gets us back on the right track.

As I was saying, he’s a lad. He retains his place for the FA Cup visit of Reading, which you have to say is a good chance to put ourselves in the last 16. Despite missing a penalty at 2-0, Jordycakes recovers to complete his hat-trick and send us through. A slight negative is that Shane Long comes off with a hip injury and is ruled out for up to 3 months. He’s not the best player in the world but he fits this system perfectly so will be a miss.

The transfer window is open but I have £4.5m to spend which won’t get you a great deal. I fancy loaning a striker as an extra body now that Long is knackered. It’s slim pickings but Oumar Niasse has a work rate of 17 and seems keen. That’s quality scouting.

Whilst Niasse mulls things over, the last day of the window also sees us host Burnley. Sean Dyche’s men are bottom of the table and the pre-match presser focuses on 3 different journalists asking me what I think of Dyche’s job being under pressure. The truth is I don’t really care but from past experience, they just get really pissy about how I’m not supporting a fellow manager. It’s a rigmarole I can’t be doing with so I send Michael Appleton. He’ll know what to say.

We play utterly terrible. I blame Michael. We’re lucky to get 0-0.

Rancid, really. But GREAT NEWS. Niasse signs on a 6-month loan. Another body.

With that in mind, we’re off to Wembley. Spurs away of course rather than anything meaningful but a trip to the national stadium is always a red letter day. It’s also a cause for great celebration when Jordan Ayew puts us in front after 47 seconds. We find Lloris in good form to stop us doubling our lead before that pesky Dele Alli equalises. It’s a cagey second half and either team could win it but Iborra heads in a corner on 89 and I’m down the touchline. This is a huge win and we’re heading for the top 4. Danny Rose then equalises from a corner and I tell Appleton to turn the Champions League music off he was playing on his phone. We faced 30 shots so I can’t really complain.

You may recall at the start of the season we had some ridiculous fixtures in a row, well we’re back on that now. Spurs away is followed by Liverpool away and the squad is absolutely begging for a rest. No time for that. It probably contributes to us being 2-0 down after 25 minutes, the game has really captured how good Salah is and he scores one and sets up the other to leave us up against it. Iheanacho sometimes turns it on though, and his first goal gives us hope but his second goal lights up Anfield, as Vardy releases him over the top he controls it and chips it over Karius and it goes in off the bar. Beautiful. Then Liverpool get a penalty, it has been all of 3 games since we last conceded one, but Schmeichel saves. Maybe it is our night? Firmino heads in for 3-2 and nothing happens for 24 minutes. Vardy. Iheanacho. Ayew. Iborra. Silva. Vardy. Chilwell CLOSING IN!

A crazy finish to a ludicrous game. We’re 6th with 12 to play, but we’re very much in the hunt. You can’t say fairer than that.

We’re also still in the FA Cup. We’re off to Newcastle in Round 5…

The game itself was unremarkable, but that little notification at the bottom of the Leicester half of the screen is the problem. Vardy departed just after an hour with a hip injury, similar to Long’s, and he’s also going to miss up to 3 months. Both went to the specialist but unless it’s Uril Geller we’re in trouble.

Wolves away in the last 8. We should win that, but without Vardy, it might be Niasse’s time to shine after all. Or Okazaki…

Okazaki put in a transfer request on the 1st February. Smart. He can leave but somebody needs to bid for him. Now, he might be integral.

A rough end to a largely positive update, considering we went to Man City, Tottenham and Liverpool to come away with just one loss is a very good day indeed. Ayew’s now on 32 for the season, Iheanacho 23 but Vardy will be missed for his goals and assists. I’m really not sure how we will cope.

Join me next week for the penultimate update as we look to cling on to the coat tails of the top 4 whilst booking another trip to Wembley in the FA Cup. See you then!