Eight teams you need to manage in FM21
With Early Access for Football Manager 2021 on the horizon, we’re sure many of you have already been contemplating which corner of the globe you’ll head for first. Picking the place where that all-important first save in the new game begins can be a tricky business though. To help you, we put our thinking caps on and picked out eight of the most exciting teams to manage in FM21.
Although it seems like longer, it was only four years ago that the Foxes stunned the footballing world and won the English top-flight title for the first time in their history.
The club have continued to establish themselves as one of the country’s best teams since then and last season secured a return to European football. Spearheaded by proven goalscorer Jamie Vardy and the creative talents of former FM wonderkid Youri Tielemans, James Maddison and new signing Timothy Castagne, can you maximise their talented squad to make your mark at home and on the continent?
Die Roten Bullen have been there or thereabouts for the last couple of the seasons in the Bundesliga without quite delivering the silverware that their ambitious owners crave. With an extra year of experience under their belts, RB Leipzig’s exciting young squad figure to be an even more intriguing prospect this time round.
Their star striker may have opted for pastures new but they’ve used that transfer fee wisely to add Hwang Hee-Chan and Alexander Sorloth to their ranks. Prolific in their own right, they’re very different players, which gives RB Leipzig plenty of versatility in tight games. Delivering a first league title for the East German outfit should be a worthy challenge.
Ligue 1 Uber Eats boasts a number of interesting propositions this season, including Olympique de Marseille, Stade Rennais and LOSC Lille. However, the one that stands out for us is Olympique Lyonnais.
A seventh-place finish last season was disappointing for Lyon, as it meant missing out on the lucrative European competitions. That led many to think that their talented squad would be depleted in the summer transfer window. While the Groupama Stadium witnessed its fair share of outgoings, they held onto the players most expected to make way – talismanic captain Memphis Depay and creative dynamo Houssem Aouar – and added more quality up front.
Without the distraction of European football, you should be able to focus this talented squad’s efforts on getting up the table. After that, attention switches to adding to their already impressive trophy cabinet.
Atalanta were everyone’s second team last season. Producing some incredible football and scoring goals for fun, Bergamo’s overachievers were never anything but entertaining.
Rather surprisingly, La Dea managed to retain the crux of the squad that delivered a European quarter-final and a second successive third-place finish in Serie A. They’ve also made some nice additions; most notably Dutch forward Sam Lammers and Russian midfield schemer Aleksei Miranchuk. With that in mind, there’s no reason you can’t go again and improve on last season’s historic results.
Relegation is always difficult to swallow. The Hornets showed fight last season, pulling off a couple of stunning results along the way, but now they find themselves back in the Sky Bet Championship after a five-year absence.
Pressure will be on you from the moment you arrive at Vicarage Road to deliver an immediate return to the top-flight but there is one pretty major consolation – Watford have, on paper, one of the most exciting squads the division’s ever seen. You’ve got experienced heads like Ben Foster, Tom Cleverley and Etienne Capoue as well as precocious young talents Joao Pedro, Domingos Quina and summer signing Jeremy Ngakia. Oh, and the small matter of club record signing Ismaila Sarr. It’s over to you to deliver on those lofty expectations.
Die Fohlen have real pedigree in continental competition, with their great sides of the 1980s making five finals in the space of a decade. Borussia Mönchengladbach now find themselves in Europe’s top competition after a steady decade of improvement that culminated in some exciting football last season and an eventual fourth-place finish.
Managing the dynamic Marcus Thuram is enough to excite most managers but there’s a lot more in the Gladbach squad to bring you joy as you begin your FM21 journey.
PSV have assembled the sort of squad you’d expect an experienced Football Manager player to put together. Naturally, we’re big fans. Wonderkids Donyell Malen, Mohammed Ihattaren and Noni Madueke sit comfortably alongside statement signings Ibrahim Sangare, Eran Zahavi and Mario Götze. They’ve got exuberance, pace and creativity all over the pitch and if real life is anything to go by, a season full of exciting football in prospect. It's up to you to craft the tactical approach and starting XI capable of delivering a first Eredivisie title in three years.
Teams starting the season with points deductions are always popular save choices. For that reason, Sheffield Wednesday were an easy inclusion for this list as The Owls start the campaign six points down after breaching the EFL’s spending rules. While they lost quite a few players over the summer, they’ve played the market well, bringing in proven Sky Bet Championship performers Aden Flint, Josh Windass, Callum Paterson and Jack Marriott. Starting strongly and pushing clear of the drop zone is your immediate priority. Successfully avoid the drop and you’ll have given your reputation a strong boost – who knows who might come calling then?
We hope we’ve been able to give you some inspiration with this list. For exclusive access to tips and advice, sign up to FMFC.
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