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Sorry I've been a bit MIA. My brother's visiting from Calgary and it's been crazy. He's leaving really early Thursday so I'll get back to you then. What do you make of Martial though? Never seen him play, but I heard he's fast as hell.
Mmm I missed the first 30 minutes because I kind of fell back asleep. Found out the match was at 7:45 at about 3 in the morning, and by the time I actually got to bed it was like 4 lol.
What I did see though wasn't good. I'm not a fan of the 4-2-2-2ish formation. We need a clear cut number 10 if we're going for a 2-1 central midfield. The only time we have someone playing clever balls through the middle is when Mata cuts inside. I have no idea how someone like LvG who has always played a 1 striker system (barring the world cup) now wants to run a setup with 2.
Memphis' decision making bothers me too. He looks to shoot too often, but that's just a matter of taste. Most people like it, and it can be effective, but I prefer it when players shoot when the opportunity presents itself rather than trying to force the opportunity.
With both our wingers looking to cut inside we need our FBs to do more in the attacking third. Darmian hasn't looked that great with his deliveries, and Shaw is being overlooked too often on the left.
Rooney was more involved in the game as a whole, but he isn't providing us with a striker's qualities. Chicharito has looked way better for us both times he played. Fellaini would probably do a better job too just because he'll scare the hell out of CBs with his height.
Our midfield looks undermanned with basically a flat 2 in the middle with no linkup between them and the attackers. It's not as bad as it was under SAF (the last few seasons) and Moyes because we have better midfielders, but the disconnect is there again. We need Herrera there. If LvG is too dumb to see that he should go.
The best part of our team is surprisingly still the back line. I just hope at least one more CB can step up and play at a high level, otherwise it'll be a disaster if Smalling or Blind get injured.
Romero scares me. He doesn't seem like the brightest fellow, and I get the deer in headlights feel from sometimes. So far he's been okay, but I'm worried about relying on him.
So, what I want to see from now on is a 4-3-3/4-1-4-1 formation with Chicharito up top, better attacking output from Darmian, better use of Shaw in the attacking third, and the Schmidfield + Herrera in the middle.
How about you, what do you think of our performance vs Newcastle and the team in general so far?
But hey, at least we're targeted Mueller even though Bayern said he won't be sold at any price #logic
At this point I'd take 32m, or whatever it was, Benteke over Rooney. I'd take Fellaini over Rooney. I most certainly would rather develop Wilson than keep playing Rooney. LvG just needs to grow some balls and drop his captain. Based on merit he'd probably never make it back in the side again.
I literally, LITERALLY burst out laughing at his attempts to play. Holy fk we would have been better off if he'd simply sat on the bench and let us play 10v11 because at least then our players wouldn't feel tempted to pass him the ball.
Glad you liked it lol.
Ya LvG can be really frustrating. What he does very well is set up the foundation for another manager to capitalize off of though, because the players he builds around are usually technically great and hard workers who play for the team. He hasn't really blown me away either, but I'm perhaps not as bothered by him as you are.
The only point I have against Young on the right is that his main weapon on the left is his ability to go both ways. He's stronger cutting in so defenders show him the byline, which is the more dangerous area. On the right cutting the ball back doesn't work so well for him and he becomes a lot more like Valencia. Like I said before though, if he plays the role like Mata with positional freedom I can see him having a big impact. He doesn't make incisive runs from the left because he likes to provide the width, but IMO his best asset is his eye for a run, so he might just do better on the other side. Shaw and Darmian are the ones providing the width most of the time anyway.
Actually, that reminds me of something I posted on an article. Replace Rooney with Fellaini to have some height in the box (both are pretty sloppy with the ball anyway), play Mata as the right sided playmaker, Young in the middle so he can overload either wing and make the runs into space Mata loves to find with the ball (these 2 could swap around though, the way I envision it they'd both be playing a relatively free role), Shaw and Darmian provide the traditional width, and that leaves Memphis free to be our primary goalscoring threat off the left wing. That was the way I wrote it but as long as he doesn't always hug the touchline, Young would be better on the right as he can provide a wide threat when needed and still cut inside to make his runs. Anyway, this is probably what I'd do. I lost all faith in Rooney poking goals in after he took a year to control that pass against Tottenham...
Definitely agreed on letting the attack loose lol. It makes no sense why he doesn't do it.
Yeah that also has me a bit confused about the GK situation. Maybe LvG didn't expect Johnstone to have the preseason he did. I dunno, we'll just have to wait and see about it I guess.
Yeah Rooney is a cancer to the team right now. Maybe not that bad, but he's a bad rash that's keeping us from reaching our true potential.
Not sold on Kane either. The guy had one good season. He's nowhere near proven enough for that kind of a fee and to be our go-to striker.
I was also really impressed with Smalling. Before last season I considered him the least talented out of Evans, Jones, Rojo and himself. Now he's the best of the bunch by far.
The Tottenham game was a bit of a shambles of a display. And if we are to continue with an actual CAM position, then yeah, it makes no sense why we wouldn't play a world class CAM in that spot. When Young plays that would mean he has to play in the right though, so I would want to see him play in a similar way to how Mata plays it. The guy has a really good eye for a run, and Mata will be able to find him every single time he makes those runs. It's like that match against Galaxy, when Herrera picked out his run about 3-4 times and all of them ended up in a goal.
I'm a little torn on what I want for our other signings.
First off, a CB would be good just because of how injury prone ours are, regardless of how I feel about their quality. Winger, definitely. We have 3 senior players who play winger right now in Memphis, Young and Mata. With the amount of matches we play we'll need one more. I'm not including Januzaj because despite his early promise he still plays more like a youth player. But between him, Perreira and Lingard we have good cover behind our hopefully 4 senior wingers.
ST is a necessity of course, but still pointless if Rooney always plays. I'd rather not sign one because it will just throw the team out of balance. While he's still here we might as well just give the extra minutes to Wilson to see if he can develop the way everyone expects him to.
For GK I'm most torn. I don't know if Johnstone's preseason was a fluke or not. If it wasn't, then I want him developed for the position as soon as possible. Nothing better than having a great academy graduate be an integral part of the first team. In that scenario, it would be best to sign a good veteran (ironically Valdes would have been perfect for that lol) who can hold the position until Johnstone is ready. I haven't seen him play enough though. If this was a fluke, then definitely Oblak. I just wouldn't want us to sign a young keeper if he's got real potential because academy graduates should come first if they're good enough.
Whew, Young got his extension. Very glad he got it. Obviously he's one of my favourite players, though that is quite inexplicable to the majority of people lol.
ADM is gone now. Also a relief.
You know, considering that front 3, I'd rather play Pedro on the left, Mata on the right, and Memphis as our CF. But that's just a pipe dream since Wayne is captain. Ugh, can't he just head back to Everton already? Take a pay cut (you earned enough) and go back home. And if we don't end up signing Pedro, which seems unlikely at this point, then I'd play Young over Rooney as well. Rooney just kind of... sucks. Pedro could also play as our ST/CF, but LvG seems to have it in mind to play Memphis somewhere down the middle which is why I suggested the front 3 the way I did.
I'm pretty sure LvG does consider the 4-2-3-1 a variant of the 4-3-3.
I would say another big problem with the Bale transfer is that Bale seems to have his heart set on Madrid. If he wanted to play for United I have a feeling he'd already be a United player, but since he wants to be in Madrid I think this might end up being one of those "destined to be" transfers that never happen. I like your optimism though, because Bale is the kind of player to take us to the next level.
The only reasoning I can think of for why LvG played our CBs the way he did was to balance out the qualities. He might have felt Blind and Smalling weren't such a great combination and Jones and Evans also weren't. Laporte does look exactly like what we need at CB in terms of playing qualities (reader, distributor). I'm surprised nobody has tried to sign him yet to be honest. I've been adamant so far about having a leader in our defensive line, but maybe Smalling can be that guy, especially with a more stable midfield ahead of him now. I mean, the guy is our 3rd choice captain, so maybe he's all the leader we need right now. In that case, Laporte would be an amazing signing, but I think McNair can also be that player for us. I'm not sure I really agree with the notion that the RCB should be right footed and the LCB should be left footed. Look at some of the top partnerships (Hummels/Boateng, Ramos/Pepe, Godin/Miranda, Ferdinand/Vidic) there are plenty of right and right footed CBs playing together at the highest level.
Yup, I think DDG is really dumb to want to go. He's an Atleti boy, first of all, so I'm not sure why the hell he wants to represent Real anyway. Real fans are also horrible, like you said, and will have no problem booing his ass into oblivion. If only the worthless fuck (if he ends up staying and playing his heart out, I apologize lol) would sign an extension so we have more bargaining power, because the way it is right now Real will just wait and get him for free rather than selling us a player of theirs in return.
The reason I find McNair the most exciting of our academy products is kind of inexplicable. Sometimes when I watch a player, I get this feeling about them. For example, the first time I saw Schweinsteiger play at the 2006 world cup I got that feeling (didn't have club coverage before). When I saw Toni Kroos for the first time I got the same feeling, as I did with Mueller. Boateng is another one that gave me that feeling. Those are some of the biggest success stories of my "feeling" (and to be fair to me, Schweinsteiger and Boateng didn't look like world beaters back then), and so when I get that instinct I go with it. That isn't to say it's always right though because I felt the same way about Clevs, Welbeck and, oddly enough, Buttner. Anyway, McNair gives me the same feeling (also Johnstone), and that makes him the most exciting prospect for me. I'm nearly as excited about Johnstone as well.
Oddly enough, I never got that feeling about Januzaj. Anyway, I never really thought of him as a classic CF but more of a F9, like Messi when he played the role. He's always been a bit of a shoot-first kind of winger, and he loves to cut inside. He would still probably need a bit of bulking up, but he wouldn't need to be too bulky to play that kind of role. His close control is amazing, and his ability to drift past players can be essential to creating space for a shot. He's comfortable shooting from distance and from close range, and his movement is intelligent. Plus, like I said, he does have a tendency to eye up the goal whenever he can. That's why I see him fitting that role.
Good to know I didn't miss much in the PSG match.
I'm good at getting my account suspended :)
Hey, my bad for taking so long to get back to you lol. I've been lazy and my account got suspended for something I didn't want to "apologize" to B/R for, so I had to make a new one. You can just keep posting on the page you've been using though.
I'll reply to the older comment first.
Couldn't believe that LvG singled Young out like that. What purpose does it serve to say that about a player who's been working hard to improve? He's been a pretty good manager for us, but he's often had some problems with what he says. It's like what he said about not having a 20 goal a season striker. It's true, but you don't need to say it quite like that.
I'm pretty pissed about ADM and the way he's handling this transfer. We don't need snakes like that at OT. How can a professional player under contract just not show up like that? Good riddance that he's going. Let's hope the next player we get wants to play for the badge.
Mmm ya Pedro does seem like a good player for us theoretically, I'm only worried about how to balance all the minutes these players need. Actually, thinking about it now with Herrera playing in a deeper role we really only have Young, Mata, Memphis and Fellaini for those attacking midfield positions, with the youngsters behind. Considering how many games we'll play this season we could actually use another 1st team player. Lingard, Pereira and Januzaj should get plenty of chances in the Capital 1 and FA cups.
Following the PSG match it does seem like the 4-2-3-1 is here to stay. How do you feel about that? I think I might prefer the 4-3-3 for us because our players are more suited to it.
I do think we'll replace ADM with a star signing. It seems like someone at some level of management is keen on getting big names in, though I'm not sure whether that's Woodward, LvG or someone else. Anyway, who that player will be I think will be a bit of a surprise until it happens, much like ADM was himself. The reason I think that is that there really isn't anyone readily available right now. Whoever that player ends up being they'll have to push for the move.
Okay, the newer comment now.
1. I agree and disagree. I think with Smalling leading the back line (assuming he can continue his form from last season) I think we'll be good enough for a push for the PL title, but it won't be enough for the CL. Smalling was playing at an "international" level towards the end of the season, and if he can keep improving he should reach a world class level IMO. Evans had a horror-show of a season, and I get the feeling you don't like him all that much, but he's definitely better than that. We can't forget, in our last title winning season he was our best defender. If he can regain that form and Smalling keeps his up then we have a really good PL caliber CB pairing in them.
2. Definitely agree, though it's pointless while Rooney is guaranteed to start. All we'll do is play Rooney in midfield, and that will upset the balance of the whole team. Or the new striker will be played out of position or he'll rot on the bench. Regardless, we really need a world class goal scorer because like you said, we can't bank on Rooney scoring enough goals if we want to win the title. His first touch has been even poorer in preseason than I've ever seen it. Usually his first touch was insanely inconsistent, now it's flat-out poor. I think the best way to go about this situation is to sign a world class goal scorer who plays on the right wing. Bring Mata into the CAM position, rotate Young and Memphis on the left, and have the RW be one of our main goal scoring weapons. It would be especially good if that player could also play as a CF and take over Rooney's position in the team when LvG wakes up and realizes he isn't good enough.
3. DDG pissed me off more than ADM. At least with ADM we know PSG was always his first choice. DDG though. SMFH. The fans and club stood by him when he was garbage and supported him through his development, and that performance against PSG is how he repays us? Fuck him. If it were up to me I would keep him for the final year of his contract and just send him away on extended vacation (a la City with Tevez) so he can't even train with the team. More likely than not though he'll just be sold this season. You can't rely on a player who doesn't want to be there. Out of those 3 keepers I would go for Oblak probably. Levy is a royal pain in the ass to deal with, plus Lloris might one day want to play for PSG (though it doesn't seem so). Still, Levy is a pain in the ass. Leno has the look of a future Bayern keeper (in about 4-5 years, so a repeat of the DDG saga). Oblak doesn't have a home club to go to (a big one at least) so he wins by default for me lol.
5. Realizing now that his makes my question before redundant lol. 4-3-3 with that midfield would be amazing. Carrick, Fellaini and Mata would make a very strong backup midfield, though to be honest I'm not sure how I feel about Mata being "B" team. I really want to see him starting together with Herrera, but that's only feasible if we don't sign a RW goal machine, which will only be okay if we have a WC striker who can net us 25 goals a season. And that isn't possible as long as Rooney is guaranteed to start. We should have sold his ass so long ago....
Yeah I'm not sure what LvG is thinking with Blind starting at CB either. He's been a good player for us, and I really like him at LB (more than Shaw even because of the way he supports the LW instead of trying to be the LW), but he's not good enough a CB to be starting for us, especially in a back 4. If we were playing a back 3 (let's hope we aren't) he'd be a good choice, but not like this. I wouldn't be on board with signing 2 CBs though. I think there is enough promise in Smalling for us to give him another season. He was really good last season, and as a player who has been with us for a long time it'd be good to see him succeed. McNair also looks extremely promising, while Rojo, Jones and Evans (if he improves from last season) are all serviceable. Laporte coming in would hinder McNair's development too much I think. I just don't want this team to be unrecognizable from what it was, and there are very few players still around who came from the SAF era. From those Carrick is old, Rooney is past it, Young is 30 and not exactly world class, Valencia is average at best, DDG is a piece of shit, Jones won't be world class and Evans isn't, and that really only leaves Smalling who still could be if he builds on next season. That's why I'm so desperate to see him succeed.
I also want to see some of our youngsters well and truly break into the first team. Johnstone has me excited (it's too bad we don't have an old, reliable GK to hold the fort for a season or two while he develops) as well as Lingard. Pereira I'm not sold on. He seems like one of those immensely talented players with decision making problems. Hopefully it's just youth and he grows out of it. Januzaj finally has me thinking he's made it past last season and is ready to be a productive member of the fist team again. McNair is probably the most exciting of the bunch though.
BTW, what do you think of Januzaj? Winger, CAM or CF? I've thought since Moyes was around that he'd be ideal as a false-9 type forward. The match vs Barca was a good indication that I may have been right.
Also, can you recap the second half of the PSG match for me? I'm just remembering now I never actually got to watch it because I had to go pick someone up.