Well then, what a bloody season. My Vitória side managed to win the Primeira Liga title for the first time in the clubs history, becoming only the sixth different side to win it. We finished ahead of Benfica by two points in the end in what was a two-horse title race, with Porto eventually finishing 16 points behind us in top spot.
We made it a domestic double a week later by beating Rio Ave to win the Taca de Portugal for the third consecutive season. The trophy haul now stands at one Primeira Liga win, three Taca de Portugal triumps, two Taca da Ligas and a Supertaca win.
Is a new era of domination about to begin?
|Team Stats||Figure||Position 22/23||Position 21/22|
|Shots on Target||47%||3rd||17th|
I might have to start leaving out the team stats section because it really doesn’t explain much about our seasons anymore. We ranked fairly averagely for possession, we aren’t a team that totally dominates the ball. Possession isn’t everything and I do love fast paced, counter attacking football.
4th placed Sporting only conceded 20 goals from their 34 games, a great record. We had the 4th best defensive record overall. Porto kept the most clean sheets with 21 and we were 5th with 16. In terms of the percentage of tackles won, we dropped from 2nd to 17th season-on-season. A change I can’t explain for the life of me. I’d really love to see interceptions available to look at on a comparison basis at league level, I think we’d rank pretty highly for it.
We finished behind Benfica for goals scored, they hit 82 compared to our 76. You could start to ask where it was that we actually managed to win this league title. Wide play and set pieces were a big factor. Our cross completion ratio was the best in the league along with the joint highest number of goals from corners. We might have only been 3rd for our shots on target ratio or conversion rate but we did create the most chances in the league this season, creating 16 more chances over the 34 matches than Benfica.
Club vice-captain, Jori, was my number one keeper again this season, keeping 19 clean sheets across his 45 matches. The 27-year-old’s value has shot up from just under £4m last season to £13m at the end of this season and he’s attracting interest from his native Brazil and MLS. Despite him winning the 2022/23 Primeira Liga Best Goalkeeper award if the offer is good enough I’ll consider selling as Gabriel Brazão is good enough to step in as number one with promising prospect, José Evangelista, improving all the time in the u19 squad.
Teodoro Paredes had to settle for being third choice CB this season as Toni Borevkovic and Luis Miguel emerged as the first choice pairing. They had brilliant seasons, with Borevkovic, in particular, gaining a 7.34 average rating. He made 98 key headers, 28 more than anyone else, and won 80% of his headers, 13th in the league. He scored nine goals as well this season, a personal best for him, as he played the most minutes across the whole squad (4,470) and dominated in the opposition box from our aforementioned set piece prowess.
It’s going to be tough to keep hold of Luis Miguel this summer. The homegrown CB is attracting major interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs like Real Madrid and Man City. He wasn’t too far behind Borevkovic, playing 4,097 minutes this season, coming 7th in the league key headers table and 14th for his headers won ratio.
It was the tale of two halves of the season for my full backs it seemed. On the right hand side, Fernando Fonseca played 2,741 minutes this season with homegrown 21-year-old, André Mendes, playing 2,542.
Mendes is a great example of being patient with some of the players that are already at the club when you take over. He spent the last two seasons gaining experience with the B team before making the step up last summer to the first team. He probably won’t ever be up there with the best full backs in the world, but he’s one of only two Guimarães-born players in the first team squad and he performed to a 7.34 average rating across his appearances this season, the joint second highest of the squad.
Similarly to the right hand side where Fonseca outperformed Mendes for assists (7 v 3), Josko Gvardiol outperformed Hélder Fernandes 8 to 3 but it was Fernandes who performed to a 7.30 average rating compared to 7.14 for Gvardiol. Gvardiol is the better player of the two, but Fernandes is another of the homegrown contingent at the club who cut his teeth in the B team.
In what is now a tradition each season, my main DLP this season, Savinho, topped the pass completion table, completing 93% of his passes. Captain, Guillermo Celis, played just over 2,000 minutes, more than Savinho in total, but was mainly utilised in what I’d class as our big matches where we need a more defensive DLP rather than a sleek ball player in there.
He might be suffering from the dreaded end-of-season red downward arrow disease, but Sigurd Grønli was back on top form this season after he struggled with a few injuries last season.
The 2022/23 Primeira Liga Young Player of the Year (his second time winning the award) reached double figures for both goals and assists this season, hitting 10 goals and laying on 11 assists (mostly from set pieces) on his way to his highest average rating for a season so far, 7.49. He covered even more distance per 90 minutes this season than before, 12.92km, but he dropped from his 1st place in that stat to 7th. He was also 7th in the key passes table and 4th in the assists table, with nine coming in the league. Way behind Matteo Politano’s total of 18 for Benfica, a new record.
Thaciano and homegrown wonderkid, Igor Chaves, rotated around the two Mezzala roles along with Grønli this season. Thaciano scored eight and assisted five with Chaves scoring four and assisting four too. There’s a lot of promising youngsters in the B team knocking on the door to move up to challenge for the central midfield slots. I’ve got some tough decisions to make over the summer.
The overall star of this season was Lovro Majer on the left hand side as our inside forward.
- Our top scorer with 23 goals, joint 3rd 13 in the league
- Top assister with 16, six in the league
- Eight Man of the Match awards, joint 3rd five in the league
- 65% of his shots on target, highest in the league
- 29% conversion rate, highest in the league
- 31 key passes, 9th in the league
- 12 chances created, joint 2nd in the league
He’s a constant danger and carries such a goal threat on that left hand side. 37 goals in two seasons isn’t a bad return at all. Will he be snatched away from me this coming summer?
Mário Ferreira is now the Vitória MVP, coming in at £29m. He struggled a bit with injury this season, making six less appearances compared to last season but he still managed to hit seven goals and provide nine assists. The Jeong Woo-yeong experiment didn’t really bring about any kind of good form from him, but his 729 minutes on the pitch saw him break into the top five shirt sales list.
Xadas’ move hasn’t really worked out as he never really got a look in on the left hand side. His contract expires this summer and he’ll be leaving the club. I’ll also look to take advantage in any interest in current back up right winger, Jhon Murillo, as 18-year-old Pierregianni Robalo has had a brilliant season in the B team in that position, winning both the LigaPro Player and Young Player of the Year awards.
After scoring nine in 19 across the second half of last season with the B team in LigaPro, Pedro Ferreira made the step up to the first team this season and fired 22 goals in 44 appearances in total. It was a goal or an assist every 112 minutes of action for him this season.
12 of those goals were in the league, placing him 5th on the top scorer table. He probably could have scored more but I’m still a big believer in rotation so he only started 22 of our 34 league matches.
A notable mention goes to Dejan Joveljic. He scored 14 this season to add to his top scoring 21 goals last season, however he had to contend with being a back up striker and actually found himself playing on the right wing a lot this season due to Mário Ferreira’s injury troubles. He was just behind Pedro Ferreira in the league goalscoring table and they both had 75 shots on goal across their league seasons, Joveljic getting two more of his on target. He joined Lovro Majer on 12 chances created too, finishing joint 2nd. That was a key facet of his play last season too as our lone striker so it’s clear that he’s able to bring others into play when he’s leading the line.
There’s another mention for Herman Geelmuyden again this season. His minutes dropped this season compared to last season as he struggled to usurp Ferreira or Joveljic from the side, but he did still manage to score eight goals in 490 minutes. A goal every 61 minutes is better than his figure for last season of 78 minutes. The ideal supersub.
One of the things I’m most proud of around winning the league was that our salary per annum is £48.5m less than Benfica’s. There’s no way we should be overhauling them to win the league title over the course of the season with the pulling power they have to attract quality players. The title win means we finally become the 3rd most reputable club in the country. Os Três Grandes becomes Os Quatro Grandes.
Another season of Champions League group stage football alongside selling players for £54m means we end this season with £82m in the bank. There’s yet another upgrade being done to the youth facilities which will take us to a state of the art rating. The data analysis facilities are constantly being upgraded too and are now classed as excellent.
There was another rise in our average attendance season-on-season (6%) with another increase too in our average attendance by capacity percentage. It moved from 90% last season to 95% this time round. That’s almost verging on asking for a stadium expansion territory.
Reputation-wise we moved up 10 places in the European coefficient rankings after taking some surprise points from our Champions League Group of Death this season. Competing in the Champions League is great for the money, but not-so-great for the coefficient. If we manage to grab a luckier group or squeeze into 3rd place to move into the Europa League next season that would have a huge impact on where we’re ranked. Porto had a great run to the Champions League semi final which helped the nation club coefficient, although there’s still a long way to France in 5th spot.
How the hell do we improve on a league and cup double? I’ll do my best across season six. Thanks for reading!
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