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That's fair enough about Blind. Honestly now that Khedira has been brought to my attention he's jumped up the list and is my top choice. I also feel we're the best fit for him. At Arsenal he's looking at a serial 4th place club, who are hesitant if not completely unwilling to pay his wage demands. If I was any player I would avoid Bayern right now because of Pep, as he'd probably play Khedira as a winger to make space for Lahm or Alaba in the midfield. He would also not be first choice, in all likelihood, at Bayern and it would be easy for him to lose his place entirely due to the really strong competition. Plus, Bayern pay well but not as well as us.
With us he'd be immediate first choice and our best option. We could pay him exactly what he wants and he could be one of the stars of the show. And having just won the CL I can't imagine it's too much of a sticking point that we're not in it this season.
In regards to Herrera vs Clevs, I'm okay with it going either way. I would give one player 60 minutes and the other 30, and it wouldn't bother me which went to whom. It gives Herrera the chance to continue to acclimatize himself to the league while giving Cleverley a shot to show what he can do.
Yeah I could tell from our conversations so far that the 3-5-2 isn't really your cup of tea. Alternating Rooney and RvP would be fantastic. Just look at Bayern and their depth for each position, and what that's meant for their domestic campaigns. There is almost no drop-off in quality between choice 1 and choice 2 for them, which is a nightmare for smaller teams who may be hoping to get a chance against a big club's second string of players.
With Rooney captain there can only be 3 outcomes. The first is RvP becoming Rooney's backup. The second is Rooney playing out wide, which I don't see as an option. And the third is Rooney being converted into a midfielder, but if that was LvG's intention he would have already done so I believe. For me it has to be Rooney and RvP rotating up front, as Rooney just doesn't suit a wide position anymore.
To be fair to Khedira, he may not be the quickest but he gets himself all over the pitch. He runs 90 minutes straight and has a tank of fuel most could only dream of. He's a true box-to-box player, and Herrera is plenty mobile to make up for any lack of pace IMO. If Khedira really considers what's best for his career I think he would choose us.
With Blind I just saw a bit of a spark in him that I sometimes see in players. Schweinsteiger, back when he was a winger, gave me the same feeling. Kroos I also felt the same way about as soon as I saw him play. Boateng, Mueller, Reus, these are all players I felt the same way about. I just have this gut feeling that Blind could be something special, and that, I have to admit, is the main reason I want him.
I just remembered though before writing this that Khedira is pretty much available. We can pay the buy-out and just grab him. Arguably world class in his position, and exactly what we need. We have "unlimited funds" so let's put that to work lol.
It's really true about Kagawa being unlucky. He sets up so many great chances and his teammates just fail to put them to bed. I agree that if it's the only option I'd rather have Kagawa on the wing then not playing at all.
I think Cleverley should come on for Herrera TBH. The physicality of the PL might be a bit of a culture shock to him, and we don't want to overwork him. I'm also curious to see if Cleverley can handle being the primary source of forward driving midfield power.
I guess it makes sense to try out RvP and Rooney together to see if this all makes sense, but I'm already as convinced as I can be without real proof that it won't, which is why I'm worried about seeing it. We need to test it, but if it was up to me I'd throw Welbeck in up there instead, and maybe just give RvP and Rooney 30 minutes to play together to see how it looks. If Welbeck isn't ready Januzaj should take his spot.
What do you think of buying out Khedira and Di Maria both? It's very City/PSG-ish, but honestly it fixes so many of our problems that I would happily throw that money at Real.
Depay is a player I certainly don't want. He looks too much like he wants to be the next Robben, and I can't stand Robben. Hopefully LvG does have something up his sleeve.
I can see that about Rojo vs Blind. Apparently Blind plays primarily as a DM in the Eredivisie, and he actually only started looking really good once he moved into that position. His distribution from what I've seen is largely excellent, and as a defender his defending should be solid enough. I think with him at the 6 slot we might have a good partner for Herrera because he can handle the long balls and positional defending while Herrera seems better at shorter range passing and physical defending. I think they might strike a good balance, and if he can also cover for the defensive positions in case of an emergency even better. Has it changed your mind now knowing he's actually been primarily a DM?
A loan deal is interesting though, I must say. Not sure about who is better out of Song and Guarin, both look quality, but it's a really good point about signing Strootman. I wish we knew what LvG's plans were because it's frustrating to try and figure it out without any clues lol.
Maybe he wants the CB line to look like Jones/Smalling-RCB, Evans/Carrick-CB, Rojo/Blackette-LCB? Jones has looked really solid defensively, and Rojo looked really solid at the WC. Maybe the pair of them would allow our CB to be more of a sweeper and less of a brick wall type player, which would make room for Carrick? Evans could then play the CB role as more of the lead defender when we need to play Smallling/Blackette. It's not ideal, because I would rather like a solid leader of a CB, but it doesn't look like it's definitely not LvG's plan.
That's a good point about Welbeck, but when he plays wide in a 4-3-3 for England he looks better in that sense. He's also said he enjoys playing wide for England better because there's more freedom in the role and he isn't tied so much to his defensive duties. It's probably not that hard to get him to understand the position and role he's supposed to fill, and LvG has historically been a stickler about these things so I can see him beating that into Welbeck very quickly.
Kagawa is interesting. I'm not too big a fan of him out wide in any way, but with Mata through the middle and the other winger providing more of the pacey, direct threat it could work out really well.
About Rojo, yeah I saw that in a couple plays too it wasn't just once. And... that was his highlight reel... Hopefully they are isolated incidents, but if they aren't that would suck.
What lineup do you want to see against Sunderland?
I want to see Cleverley given the opportunity to get at least 30 minutes to see what he can do, and I want to see Januzaj partner Rooney up top as long as Welbeck isn't fit yet. No more Rooney/Chicharito please lol. Kagawa also deserves the shot to start over Mata since Mata has been non-existent for 2 matches now. At WB Rafael should be good to go now so I think he and Young are our best (only) choices. I would have liked to see Fellaini get a chance to show what he can do purely as a 6, but that ship has sailed for now.
Yeah I could see another winger being part of the plans now that he's gone. Hard to say who it will be though, because neither Di Maria nor Cuadrado look likely at this point, and we haven't been linked to anyone else.
Good to hear, I think he's a brilliant player and would love to have Di Maria. With the way he's been treated at Real it'd be nice to get him so he can be appreciated, plus he's already won the CL now so maybe it isn't as important to him to be in it anymore, or maybe at least not for this upcoming season.
I want Blind still. His versatility is something we need in the starting 11 or on the bench. With the amount of shape changing we'll probably end up doing we could really use a chameleon like him. I also really want an experienced CB to be our leader at the back. Benatia looks set for Bayern, which doesn't leave many options. Perhaps Vlaar will have to do, can't say who else is out there that we could realistically target at this point.
Those are the 2 I want most. I'm not too worried about a winger just yet because if we play Welbeck or Januzaj as the CF, or the pair of them as the wingers in the 4-3-3, we have serviceable options there. I'd rather have our defense set and covered than work on our attack more.
I can agree on waiting for Strootman. At this point it seems the most logical choice, plus it gives LvG more time to assess whether there really is something worthwhile in Fellaini, Cleverley and Fletcher.
Saw the video. He seems really good at instinctive play, and his defending was often smart and physical when necessary. He's good in the air and pretty good with the ball at his feet, which is good. One thing I noticed though is that he's a lot better when he only has one clear option available to him on the ball. Sometimes when he had no clear-cut best option he hesitated quite a bit before making his decision, and if that's in a highlight video then who knows how often he does so in a real game. That's the only worrying sign I picked up on really. What'd you think?
You probably know this but the Rojo deal is done. At least we signed somebody now...
Naaa don't worry it's all about the thoughts. I honestly didn't realize there were mistakes, guess I was too into it. The thought and analysis behind what you wrote, however littered with mistakes it might have been (again can't even remember them lol), is what counts.
Bravo man, that was one of the best assessments I've ever read, hands down. You were entirely fair all the way through and completely objective. It was a real pleasure to read that and I don't really have anything to add, except that if anyone can fix the mental issues in Fellaini, that man is named Louis van Gaal.
Or actually, Jupp Heynckes could have done it too, but he's retired now. I mean, look at what he did with Robben! That season he when he came back into the team, he was suddenly a team-first player. He defended, he passed, he made good decisions, he was more aware of his teammates, he created space better, he remembered not to switch off when the ball wasn't at his feet. It was incredible.
After seeing that, and the change in Ribery since joining Munich, I don't think any player is out of reach. Fellaini can also be "fixed" if they can, and that's why I don't believe he's a lost cause.
Anyway, just gotta say bravo one more time and thanks for sharing that with me.
Yeah it was certainly too short a time to really judge him, but I have to work with what I have. The bit of time I've seen him play around the defensive midfield area I was impressed with what I saw, and I hope he keeps that up. I also hope that LvG doesn't use him as a target man and that he doesn't put him in for Herrera unless we need to defend a lead.
I agree it was just insane to resort to that tactic. I keep thinking about it and it just makes no sense why LvG would do that. It's frustrating really. There might be merit to what you said about him trying to give players different roles to see how they do though, I could see that being the reason.
Yeah with this formation winning the midfield battle is more important than anything. We need them to win it for our WBs to push forward and for our forwards to be fed the ball. We can't really resort to anything else aside from long balls because this formation isn't really that great (compared to other variations like the 4-3-3 for example) at countering or playing down the wings.
James probably wouldn't have been much better, but I just didn't understand the decision to bench him in favour of Lingard/Januzaj on the wing. He has been decent enough and Young is fairly pacey, so why disregard the preseason preparation to try something new? Maybe it goes back to what you said about Fellaini though and he was just trying different things to get a feel for his players.
The real key to James playing at WB though is that it would have freed up Lingard or Januzaj to play with Rooney up front, which I think would have been better than partnering him with Hernandez again. It just doesn't seem to work in this formation, and by now I hope that LvG either has a tinkering worked up to fix it or he scraps it.
Unfortunately it now looks like Bayern are in for Benatia and will land him or something. It's what others are saying, I'm often way behind on transfer news. I hope we get him because out of LvG and Guardiola I'd much rather see Guardiola fail since his woes are of his own design.
With Rooney it wasn't that he was bad all game, it was just that for all his moments of magic he also had a moment of brainlessness to go with it. Those stop/start moments to our attacks were often caused by him and Januzaj, which is weird in a game where Nani also featured. Switched numbers indeed lol.
Yeah if RvP or Welbeck aren't ready to step in, it's time to go to 4-3-3 for now. We have the players to play it effectively, so we should go with it. I agree that we shouldn't try to please them, and if we sign players for a 4-3-3 it should be better because it's a more fluid formation in terms of taking on other shapes, like 4-5-1 or 4-2-3-1. The formation has more promise in general, and if 3-5-2 doesn't fit the rest of the team and only suits Rooney and RvP then I agree we should scrap it.
Definitely agree on Nani. What I thought was very promising was that on other occasions when he isn't in top form he's a liability on the pitch. Yesterday he certainly wasn't at his best, but he didn't screw things up and even did a few good things. If he can keep that up and turn his performance range from 2/10-9/10 to something like a 5/10-9/10 that would amazing. As long as he isn't absolutely detrimental to all our play when he isn't at his best and is just okay then it might not be a total waste for him to stay on.
I also want to see someone come in badly, but we are pretty ravaged by injury ATM so I'm not going to get all that desperate for new players. I want us to get the right players rather than anyone, and from what you said it seems like you agree.
I agree that Fellaini shouldn't be kept as a desperate times target man. He has impressed me as a DM both times I saw him there so far under LvG, so I think he can really make something of himself there. In the game today, for example, he made 1 tackle and 2 interceptions in a 30 minute appearance, of which 15 were spent being a target man. That's a pretty good return. Don't have the stats for the last match but I think he also stopped quite a few attacks, or at least I remember him doing so.
If the moving forward is part of his game then I'm sure LvG will iron that out. If LvG wants that then I think he's making a mistake and Fellaini should not be kept for that reason. I got into it pretty big with Abz over Fellaini, and you can head over to his page and check out my reply to him for the full thing if you're interested. It's a little aggressive because I was peeved that he called him totally useless and because I felt he was being unfair.
Yeah I'm the same with defending. Once I'm being run at I don't know what to do. And my finishing is just god awful. I can't keep count of how many times I'm through, one on one with the keeper and hit it limply toward him. I just can't get the handle on it lol
Yeah we definitely should've been able to pull through. Definitely thought we should have started James at WB in Rafael's absence, it made more sense to me.
I'm not sure if we were missing the players for 3-5-2 so much as we weren't using the right ones. Januzaj and Lingard are no WBs, but James has done well enough in that role and we could have used him, which would have been no different than a couple of our preseason games. I also would have much rather had Januzaj up front than Hernandez because I'm not fond at all of the Chicha-Rooney partnership. This is one of those matches where we could have used someone like Januzaj or Welbeck driving things forward through the middle, because like you said our WBs weren't really doing much in an attacking sense.
I also thought that the play wasn't shifting from right to left enough. We constantly tried going down our right side but it wasn't effective, and rarely tried to attack down the left. Cleverley is decent at switching the play with his long balls, so we could have used him today for that.
Yeah the defending was pretty shambolic at times. We need a leader back there, and I agree that Carrick would have at least been aware enough to cut down Ki's space.
Mata has been worrying me, but to be fair to him his passing options weren't very good. The WBs weren't doing anything, Hernandez was nowhere to be found, and Rooney was deeper than he was quite often. He needs more people around him to be effective, but I hope next game Kagawa gets his shot.
And by the way, how many times did Rooney deliver a simply awful pass in the buildup to a promising attack? He was so off in that regard today, which was really shameful for the captain of the side. I expected more from him.
Yeah I agree on the 4-3-3. It looked really good when we started it, and we have the better options for it right now. It will allow us to play Januzaj, Rooney and Kagawa (I guess, or maybe Young) up front while retaining the midfield 3. RvP might be ready for next game though, not sure how his fitness is going, and if he is we'll see our full-power front 3 for the first time.
Januzaj? What Januzaj? All I saw was a Nani with the number 11 on his back. No end product, poor decision making, rashness in front of goal, lots of turnovers, poor pass accuracy. He had a lot of presence, but nothing came out of anything he did.
I agree on Young. He made some pretty good tackles, so it seems he's improving defensively in one-on-one situations and for winning the ball back, but he's nowhere near ready to be a LB.
Definitely agreed on Nani. I was pleasantly surprised with him, plus his one pass from the left wing to the center, to Rooney I think it was, was a peach. If he keeps this up maybe he can stick around, who knows.
I can agree that Rooney was unlucky not to get more than one goal, but the other aspects of his play were often quite poor as I've mentioned above. For the way he performed he wouldn't have really deserved more than a goal, but I would have definitely taken them lol. Ok, in regards to his performance other than his couple moments of magic, is an overstatement IMO.
What you said about Herrera and Fletcher is what I feel also helped out Mata. Everything was suddenly ticking much better, which made the decision to bring on Fellaini, and for Herrera of all people, all the more confusing. I like Fellaini and I think he can bring a lot to the table as a 6, but this was not the role for him to replace. We didn't need his qualities, as you said, and if he was to come on for anyone it should have been Fletcher to maybe make our midfield base more solid, provided that him moving forward up the pitch was LvG's idea and not a bad habit of the player. If it was by his own will that he decided to be a target man then it makes it all the more confusing why he was brought on. Terrible decision from LvG IMO.
Would have loved to see Kagawa come in. He needs more love from his managers, though maybe not as much as Klopp gave him. I mean, the whole melodramatic reactions are a bit much lol
Some reliable guy from Sky allegedly said Benatia is signing for us. Haven't seen it myself and I can't make any claims about its validity, but others I trust believe it. Blind will hopefully be signed, I still want him :) And after that if we can get a world class midfielder or winger/forward we should go for it, but only if it's the right player for the right price as I don't think it's all that desperate.
Copy/paste thoughts on game, typing this out on my phone while I wait in the car so mistakes may litter this.
Another game with the same problem. Hernandez and Rooney don't make a good duo in the 3-5-2 IMO and I'm tired of seeing it.
Chicharito had another game where he was a non-factor, and Rooney was hit or miss when he got involved. He had a few moments of brilliance and could have easily had a brace today, but his passing in the final third was just dreadful at times. He needs to do more to convince me he's the right fit for the CF role beside the ST, because so far he's only really impressed me as the ST in this setup.
Mata is having diffuculties right now for some reason and hasn't really impacted these last 2 ganes as much as I'd like, so maybe it's time to give Kagawa a start to see if he does any better here.
I was confused by the decision to start Lingard at WB. James has looked the better option there in preseason, and I don't think Lingard is good enough defensively for the role. He didn't excel in the role, but he didn't look terrible either. Young likewise was simply okay on the day, though for whatever reason the team played primarily through the right so he didn't get to receive too many passes and try things. He was naive as a FB and not confident about striking the right attacking/defending balance so he stayed back mostly. That's how it looked to me at least. He's not really suited to playing there unless he makes big improvements.
Nani surprisingly wasn't terrible to me. His decision making looked better and he looked sharper. There have been too many false dawns with him though so I'll need to see much more before I change my stance on him. Januzaj let his age show today. He was fiery and caused a lot problems for his FB, but his decison making was awful. Way too selfish and hungry to impress. I hope it's not the #11 getting to him, though I could see it having an effect on his game.
In midfield I wasn't too impressed with Herrera, which isn't to say I was disappointed but rather that he didn't really stand out too much. He has the ability but needs to polish it more. Fletcher I thought was decent. Nothing spectacular, but no one really was except Jones today. I thought Fellaini looked really good in the deeper role, but I wasn't sure why he was brought in in the first place. As a target man he wasn't too great later on, and we shouldn't resort to that tactic unless things get really desperate. If it was LvGs decision to do that then it wasn't a great one, and if it was Fellaini insisting on moving up then that has to be ironed out of his game. With the way he and Mata swapped my guess is that it was LvGs decision though.
The defence wasn't great. Jones had a strong game but the other 2 didn't look so great. I don't think they were terrible, but they definitely didn't wow anyone.
All in all this was a rather bad (considering the occasion) performance worthy of a 5-6/10 rating. I want to see better interplay in the midfield with smoother passing, more from Mata or a start for Kagawa, and a different strike partnership most of all. I also want to see James at WB over Januzaj or Lingard because he strikes a better balance in terms of attacking and defending.
I hope we sign at least Blind before this window closes. For me his utility is more important than a star signing ATM since we could use the extra option in the 3 areas he plays in, plus he's guaranteed to fit in LvGs setup and philosophy.