2020 has been a truly woeful year. Luckily, Football Manager 2021 is here to ensure that it's not a complete write off.
The latest instalment of the greatest video game franchise of all time is packed with new features that are bound to keep you enthralled throughout the winter and beyond.
If you are searching for a relaxing first save before taking on a Pentagon Challenge or something equally perverted, Arsenal could be a good shout. They've got talented squad, some money behind them and several exciting wonderkids.
If you do decide to take on a FM21 Gunners save, here are the ten things you should be doing as soon as your game is done processing.
1. Decide What to Do With Mesut Ozil
As soon as you load up your Arsenal squad in FM21, you will find that Mesut Ozil is one of your better players - but he is also transfer listed.
Here are some of his standout attributes: 18 vision, 18 passing, 19 technique, 19 first touch and 18 passing. He is nothing short of the complete playmaker, boasting a value of £18.75m - despite having just one year left to run on his contract.
Leaving him to tweet PR fluff from his sofa as Mikel Arteta is doing is not an option. You either need to find a buyer or integrate him back into the first team.
You better make your decision quickly as well. Those £350,000-per-week wages are going to start to seriously eat into your balance after a while.
2. Get Bukayo Saka a Good Mentor
Bukayo Saka has once again been handed the 'wonderkid' media description in FM21. The 19-year-old is clearly destined for greatness and starts with some impressive attributes.
He already has 17 acceleration, 15 pace and an excellent 14 determination - one of the most important attributes in the game.
The only thing that might hold him back from becoming a bonafide superstar are his poor mental attributes. This makes it vital that you put him in a strong mentoring group so these attributes can be refined.
3. Give Reiss Nelson Some Gametime
Saka is not the only wonderkid on the books at the Emirates Stadium. FM21 gaffers will also have a lot of fun nurturing the development of tricky winger Reiss Nelson.
With 15 technique, 15 dribbling and 16 pace, Nelson has the ability to start from the off but if you do not envisage him earning a place in your XI, send him out on loan.
His exemplary technical and mental starts also mean he could be a contender to be retrained as an attacking midfielder. Fun!
4. Bring William Saliba in From the Cold
For whatever reason, Arteta does not seem to like the cut of William Saliba's jib.
So far the Frenchman's Arsenal career has consisted of sporadic appearances for the Under-23s and little else. FM21 gives you the chance to change all that and integrating the 19-year-old into the first team is a must.
With five star potential, Saliba can act as your defensive lynchpin for years come. He already has incredible mental attributes and with 14 pace and 15 strength he is also an imperious physical presence.
Leaving him to rot in the reserves is simply not an option.
5. Try and Sign Dani Ceballos
In real life, Dani Ceballos has somewhat underwhelmed while on loan at the Emirates Stadium.
However, on FM21 he's a baller. Not a single one of his mental attributes is below 11 while he is also blessed with 16 technique, passing and first touch.
He's an all-round midfield beast, capable of slotting into several different roles with ease. Signing him on a permanent deal will be tricky but it's should be high on your to-do list.
6. Get Matteo Guendouzi On Side
Matteo Guendouzi seems to be a nightmare to manage. Hopefully, his FM21 equivalent is less of a disruptive influence in the dressing room, because he has some superb attributes.
Despite being just 21, the Frenchman is a well rounded midfielder with 15 tackling, passing and first touch as well as 14 vision and anticipation.
Right from the start you should be planning your tactics for the chosen one's return from a loan stint with Hertha Berlin. It's just a shame you cannot recall him straight away.
7. Sell Some Deadwood to Bolster the War Chest
One of the downsides to starting a career with Arsenal is the measly transfer budget. Although the club are in a healthy financial state, during your first season you are only permitted to spend £4.5m.
Those of you who want to start ripping up the squad early doors will therefore need to shift some deadwood.
Candidates include human fridge Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Eddie Nketiah and maybe even Joe Willock - although he has pretty good potential.
8. Improve Youth Facilities
Although a swathe of youngsters have graduated from Arsenal's academy over the past few years, the club's youth facilities on FM21 are only rated as 'excellent'.
This may not sound like a problem, but if you want to create a dynasty in north London, you must bump these up to 'state of the art.'
This will take two separate investments and it's best to get that first one out of the way early on.
9. Sign Some Recruitment Analysis Staff for Goodness Sake
As part of the FM21 analytics revamp, each club are now able to sign a number of recruitment analysts who bring you all the latest performance data on players you are trying to sign.
When competing at the top level, every little piece of information is key and getting a few of these staff members on board is a must.
10. Sack Off the Three at the Back
Sorry, but we just don't fancy the idea of using three centre-backs on FM21.
Not only is there a dearth of defensive options, this conservative formation also makes it challenging to fit in all of the Gunners' excellent midfield talent.
A better option is a 4-3-3, with Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey and Ceballos behind a front three of Alexandre Lacazette (who is incredible on FM21), Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe.
Happy hunting, folks!
Source : 90min