How the 2020/21 season pans out in FM21

The hype for Football Manager 21 is huge right now with the beta released last night and the full game less than 2 weeks away.

Everyone is keen to get stuck into the new features, highlighted in a thread by Sports Interactive’s Miles Jacobson, such as having multiple assistant managers and press conferences getting a revamp.

My personal favourite is the addition of team sheets just before a match. It brings just the tiniest feeling of actually being at a match and is a very nice addition in FM21.

With schedules being packed due to COVID-19, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to simulate a season and see how everyone got on in the top 5 European leagues, Champions League, Europa League and the EUROs.

Here are the results:

Premier League

Manchester City found themselves at the summit of England again, overcoming Liverpool to win their 5th Premier League title.

Jurgen Klopp’s side finished 5 points behind them with 10 draws costing them the chance to retain the biggest prize in English football.

Arsenal and Manchester United completed the top 4 with Chelsea and Spurs making the Europa League and Southampton qualifying for the newly-formed Europa Conference League.

Interestingly, Spurs sacked Jose Mourinho halfway through March due to poor results – hopefully something that doesn’t mirror real life!

Aston Villa, West Brom and Crystal Palace were the 3 unlucky sides to be relegated to the Championship with no final day drama to save any of them.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City were dominant across the Carabao Cup and FA Cup too, completing the treble – similar to the 2018/19 season.

Chris Wood led the way in the top goalscorers stats, closely followed by Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette.

Kevin De Bruyne was top dog again for assists but couldn’t beat his 2019/20 record.

SkyBet Championship

Champions: Norwich

Promoted: Bournemouth, Cardiff (Play-Offs)

Relegated: Rotherham, Coventry, Wycombe

SkyBet League One

Champions: Portsmouth

Promoted: Blackpool, MK Dons (Play Offs)

Relegated: AFC Wimbledon, Rochdale, Plymouth, Northampton

SkyBet League Two

Champions: Salford

Promoted: Walsall, Cambridge, Forest Green Rovers (Play-Offs)

Relegated: Crawley, Leyton Orient

La Liga

Real Madrid retained the title as they finish 2 points above city rivals Atletico to claim their 35th La Liga trophy.

Barcelona fell far behind their arch-enemy, finishing 11 points behind in 3rd place and only just qualifying for the Champions League by 6 points.

At the other end of the table, it was bad news for Real Valladolid, Celta Vigo and Alaves as they were all relegated.

Valencia’s Maxi Gomez finished as top goalscorer, 4 ahead of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi with the 33-year old making the most key passes and picking up the most Player of the Match awards.


Bayern Munich continued to make history as they won their 30th Bundesliga title, finishing 5 points ahead of Schalke.

It was success for the two Borussia’s, Dortmund and Monchengladbach, as they secured Champions League football for the 2021/22 season.

Mainz O5 and Arminia Bielefeld couldn’t beat the drop and were unfortunately relegated to the 2. Bundesliga.

Water is wet. The sky is blue. Robert Lewandowski finishes as top goalscorer in the Bundesliga. The 32-year old’s 22 goals in 33 games was enough to see off competition from Werder Bremen’s Davie Selke.

Serie A

Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan won their 19th Serie A title, edging ahead of rivals AC, with them losing the least amount of games and conceding the least amount of goals.

Lazio, Roma and Zebre (Juventus) completed the Italian delegation for next season’s Champions League.

The now 36-year old Cristiano Ronaldo’s 20 goals and 12 assists helped Zebre (Juventus) edge out Napoli in 4th place on goal difference.

Sampdoria, Crotone and Spezia had poor seasons and were relegated to Serie B.

Lazio’s Ciro Immobile notched 26 goals in 38 games to secure the top goalscorer crown ahead of Lautaro Martinez’s 22 goals.

Ligue 1 

It was a close run-in but PSG won their 4th successive title, ahead of Lyon by 6 points.

AS Monaco finished 3rd to qualify for the Champions League with Lille, Marseille and Brest completing France’s European representatives next season.

PSG have 3 representatives in the top 5 goalscorers with Kylian Mbappe (23 goals), Mauro Icardi (18 goals) and Neymar (16 goals) contributing to their title win.

Champions League

Barcelona overcame Bayern Munich in Istanbul in extra time to get revenge for the 8-2 embarrassment in last season’s competition.

Liverpool, PSG, Real Madrid, Zebre (Juventus) & Manchester United all failed to make it past the First Knockout Round.

Bayern rode their luck on their way to the final though with victories over PSG on penalties, Atletico Madrid on away goals and Chelsea on penalties.

Europa League

Lazio combined their 2nd place finish in Serie A with a Europa League victory, beating Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 in the final.

Two English sides made it through to the knockouts but were both eliminated by Spanish side Villarreal.

European Championships

Delayed by a year due to COVID-19, the European Championships kicked off in June 2021 after a hectic domestic season.

It was bad news for England (again), who reached the final before losing 1-0 against Germany. PSG’s Thilo Kehrer scoring the winner.

It was positive news for one other home nation as Wales reached the Second Round but were eliminated by eventual winners Germany.

Individual Awards

Ballon d’Or – Cristiano Ronaldo

It might be postponed in real life with Robert Lewandowski leading the way, but in a virtual world it was Cristiano Ronaldo who picked up the award for the first time since 2017.

He was also named as World Footballer of the Year for his 19 goal contributions in 18 games.

Best Player in Europe – Lionel Messi

Cristiano couldn’t complete the treble as the Barcelona magician won the award for the first time since 2014/15.

His 38 goal contributions in 48 games, whilst maintaining an average rating of 8.12, pipped Cristiano and Ciro Immobile to the award.

Golden Boy – Erling Haaland

Although it doesn’t show in game, Joao Felix was named as 2019 Golden Boy winner.

Dortmund’s Erling Haaland was named as the 2020 winner following his 9 goals and 4 assists in his 15 games.