Football Manager 2022 is out and so too is the Football Manager 2022 Editor, so we’ve decided to make some managerial changes by adding Steven Gerrard to Aston Villa and Frank Lampard to Norwich City.
The ex-England team-mates shared a midfield for years and Gerrard has been appointed in Dean Smith’s stead this week.
Lampard has also been heavily linked with a return to the Premier League, with Norwich seemingly close to appointing him after sacking Daniel Farke.
So what better way to find out how they’ll both do than to put them in their respective dugouts on the game and simulate the season?
Let’s take a look at who had the better campaign!
Who did they sign?
So, neither man spends all that much cash in the save.
In the summer window, Villa have spent a fortune but they did not make another signing under Gerrard in the save.
At Norwich, Lampard signs two former Tottenham Hotspur players, Rodel Richards and Iago Falque, on free transfers.
He also does a deal to sign striker Derry John Murkin from FC Volendam for £700,000.
Lampard and Gerrard do both strengthen in the January window, though.
Jack Stacey and Juan Cazares join Norwich from Bournemouth and Fluminese respectively, for a combined fee of £7.4m.
Villa, by comparison, bring in Isaac Hayden on loan from Newcastle United and Ryan Fredericks on loan from West Ham United.
Who finished higher?
That is likely to be expected, because Villa are undoubtedly a better side than Norwich, and have a more talented squad.
Villa ultimately finish the season in 12th place, which might be seen as a bit of a disappointment given the level of investment in the squad.
They’re firmly mid-table too, as they are 17 points clear of relegation and 17 points off the top four. Perfect balance.
Lampard, though, sees his Norwich side relegated, although they do put up a very decent fight.
Norwich claim 30 points from their 38 games and are five points from safety, with Brighton finishing 17th. The Canaries go down with Brentford and Watford, and they can look at there simply being too many draws as the reason.
Of the 38 games they play, they draw 15 of them – just two of those becoming wins would have kept Lampard and Norwich up.
Neither man lost their job as a result of their performance, though, with Lampard still in position and preparing for life in the Championship at the end of the simulation; Gerrard is also still in place at Villa.
Who won their games?
Villa v Norwich met twice in the league and Lampard stole the bragging rights.
At Villa Park, the two sides played out a 1-1 draw, but the return fixture saw Norwich win 3-0 at Carrow Road in what was actually their final win of the season.
That came in February 2022 meaning Lampard saw Norwich end their season with five draws and eight defeats, including a bruising 3-0 defeat to 17th-placed Brighton.
Villa, by comparison, lost that and went on to win three more league games, beating Crystal Palace, Southampton, and Newcastle.
They also drew five games and lost five.
How did they do in the cups?
There weren’t any winner’s medals!
Gerrard guided Villa to the FA Cup quarter-finals, where they were ultimately beaten 2-0 by Arsenal.
In the Carabao Cup, they also reached the last eight, and were knocked out by Manchester United on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
That’s a respectable showing in each competition for a team not expected to win such competitions.
Norwich, by comparison, struggled.
Lampard’s side did not get an FA Cup run, as they were beaten in the fourth round by Leeds, going down 1-0 at home.
And they can curse their draw in the Carabao Cup, as Manchester City beat them 4-0 in the fourth round.
How did they play?
Lampard’s tactics at Norwich saw him play a 4-2-3-1 system.
That will surely have been designed to give the defence some much-needed protection, while also allowing them to get numbers forward in attack.
As we’ve explored in the results section, it didn’t really work.
Gerrard, by comparison, played a 4-3-3 system with a defensive midfielder.
The Villans have a strong base of talent and the Liverpool legend utilised John McGinn as his defensive midfielder, with Douglas Luiz the most advanced player in the midfield alongside Morgan Sanson.
Up front, he had Ollie Watkins flanked by Trezeguet and Emiliano Buendia.
Who did the better job?
The obvious answer here is Gerrard, as Villa are still in the Premier League!
But Lampard deserves credit for making his Norwich side relatively hard to beat, and for giving them a fighting chance of survival.
Their relegation feels relatively inevitable in real life but it didn’t so in Football Manager.
Gerrard did what he could with what they had, but a 12th-placed finish likely wouldn’t be tolerated in the second season too.News Now - Sport News