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No I haven't been watching the Copa America. South American teams just don't really appeal to me. They often have a tendency to play with a more flair-y individualistic style, whereas I enjoy the more systematic, team-oriented European game. I've been watching quite a bit of the WWC instead, though my work hours overlap with the midweek matches.
I'm just not sure how LvG would keep everyone satisfied with minutes if he has 2 great players for every position, since great players generally want to be the ones playing.
If we assume Rooney is a lock for the ST position, seeing as how he's the captain, and that we'll be playing with 5 midfielders, I think we're too stacked on attack-minded midfielders. One position will go to a defensive type midfielders, like Carrick or Schneiderlin, and the other 4 will be attack minded. Mata, Young, Herrera and Fellaini have all done well this past season, especially Herrera who should be a starter no matter how we line up. Di Maria is insanely talented but hasn't hit his stride yet. If he does, he would push anyone out of the starting 11, including Memphis and Firmino (if we really are getting him).
That's already 5 players for 4 positions. Add in 2 more and it's a clusterf*ck of players who's talent merits minutes (Mata, Di Maria), a player who needs the minutes to continue developing (Memphis), players at an age where game time will fine tune their game and take them to the next level (Herrera, 25, and Firmino, 23), and players in their prime who will want to be playing regularly during their peak years (Fellaini and Young). And that's all assuming that Januzaj goes out on loan.
I don't think it's possible to juggle so many players and give them all the minutes they deserve. IMO something has to give. Either Firmino isn't actually being signed, or someone is being sold (possibly Di Maria because even if he wants to stay, LvG might not want him anymore).
The only other scenario that makes sense to me is if either Memphis or Firmino is signed with the intention of converting them into a CF.
Errr forgot to mention that he's also a pretty accomplished goalscorer.
No worries. With the season over and the transfer window not open yet it's been hard to get excited about anything.
Firmino is a very good player. Haven't watched him too often, but he's like a roaming 10 who should also be pretty good off the wing if he's given the freedom to play like Mata has. Good dribbler and has a good eye for a pass. Having said all that, not sure why we'd sign him when we're stacked in the attacking midfield.
What do you think the chances of DDG staying are? At this point it SEEMS almost sure he's going this summer, but with the lack of anything official from him I still have a bit of belief that he will stay. Just a bit though, it's very likely he's gone.
If he does sign for Real I want someone for whom we are the "final" destination. I want someone who's dream is to play for United, or at least someone who doesn't really have any ties to any other top club or league in particular. That would rule out, for instance, Leno since I can already see him going to Bayern when they eventually need to replace Neuer. I would also want someone who isn't heading into the final years of their career, like Cech. Someone borderline great now, with room to further improve. While he isn't too young, Lloris would be a great option, however getting a player from Tottenham is just too frustrating.
Is there anyone you can think of that fits the description of what I'm looking for?
Naaa I thought Bayern were pretty bad. They held strong defensively, considering the suicidal tactics, but the midfield lost and the attack was isolated. If the game plan had been to park the bus then I would have agreed they weren't too bad considering how they lost, but in an attempt to go out and beat Barca they failed horribly.
I do think Rooney does play sometimes purely because he's captain, but mostly I think he plays because he's the best of a poor bunch from our strikers. I'll stand by my opinion that Rooney is nothing more than a good attacking utility player. I also think you can't build a dominant side around him. If he was sold it'd be for the best, but like you said, it just won't happen.
That being said I was more impressed with his performance today. He seemed to make more of an effort to play the simpler pass and was much more involved.
I was also impressed with Shaw to an extent. He showed much greater restraint in the way he attacked, but unfortunately it was a bit too much. Still, if I have to choose between him being the primary attacker down the left or Young, right now it's a no brainer to go with Young. Defensively I thought Shaw was excellent.
I thought Blind did really well all in all, but WTF was he thinking for the goal?
I did think that as a team we were worse than in previous games though. We really benefited from CP playing a more open game. We're not ready to break open a parked bus yet, so the extra space worked out in our benefit. Had they sat deeper and only attacked via counters through their wingers they might have won it.
What'd you think of the game today?
Barca vs Bayern? It's a little bittersweet TBH.
The bitter being that the game was a horrendous loss, the sweet being that Pep might finally get the f**king axe. I haven't been happy with him from day one, and it's only gotten worse since. Bayern's record against top sides has been laughably bad since Pep took over, because his style was figured out before he even joined Bayern. He has evolved the look of his style, but fundamentally it still has the same weaknesses which he has failed to address.
Other problems I have with him:
- his insistence on sticking with Rafinha, who is at best a mid-table player
- converting the best RB into a CM (and I'm getting irritated at Lahm for insisting on playing in midfield)
- favouring Spanish players (and Rafinha), and refusing to pretty much ever substitute them
- changing the entire style of the most dominant team at the time
- being arrogant about his tactics
- holding a suicidal high line
- replacing Kroos with Alonso (though the board is primarily at fault here for refusing to pay him the same amount as Mueller/Alaba because he's more of a loner)
- forcing Mandzukic out by completely disrespecting him
I could go on but you get the idea. I look at the team now and I can't recognize the Jupp Heynckes team that dominated everyone with his 4-2-3-1 even though many of the players are the same. I just want Guardiola out, but it won't happen because Rummenigge, who basically runs Bayern, has a love affair with Pep akin to that of a decidedly average girl who somehow got to go to prom with the captain of the football team. He's like a teenage girl, too mesmerised by Guardiola being at Bayern to realize that he's taking a steaming shit all over the club and it's fans.
Rant over. Glad the deal for Depay is done, and I hope he can be more of a team player than most of the others with a similar style to him. He's still young and LvG will be able to develop him, so I think it should be fine.
Signing Lacazette to keep him out of our rivals' hands would be a smart move, but honestly as long as Rooney is at the club I'd rather not for his (Lacazette's) and our sake. Rooney is the captain and will start. If we don't have a great striker he will play striker, where he is still somewhat decent and competitive at the highest level. If we have a striker like Lacazette, either he will start and Rooney will be in midfield, or he will rot on the bench. Rooney has the mindset of a midfielder in an SAF 4-4-2, and as such I'd much rather have him up top where he won't dictate the way we play.
Now if we sold Rooney... :D I'm getting chills just thinking about it.
Wouldn't say we were terrible in general, but our finishing was. Unlike against Chelsea and Everton we did create some decent chances, and enough of them to put away a team that parks the bus, but we didn't put those chances away.
Some noteworthy points from the game:
Rooney once again sucked it up in midfield, constantly playing the slowest ball imaginable wide to Valencia, most of which were promptly intercepted.
Young was doing very well again with Blind supporting him. When he plays with Shaw he takes on the supporting role, but Blind supports him instead and let's him be the "main" man on the wing. Probably our most dangerous player.
We had a lot more movement than in previous games. LvG seems to be working out a way to successfully break open a parked bus with a solid team effort rather than an x-factor player like Messi or Robben to do the hard part for you. The movement and quick passes were great for creating space, and lead to several decent chances where our shooting let us down.
Another tactic he tried, which didn't go across so well with others (though I really liked it myself) was to play Fellaini as the lone striker and have RvP and Rooney playing as attacking midfielders behind him. The execution needed a bit of work, but if I understand what he was attempting it was theoretically a great way to break open the bus. My understanding of the tactic was that Fellaini was meant to be a striker playing almost purely with his back to the net, serving as a conduit for our deeper players to bounce the ball off of. He kept the CBs occupied and used his strength and height to push them off, affording him an opportunity to then play the ball into the path of an onrushing Rooney/RvP or out wide to Mata/Young. It caused A LOT of panic in the WBA box and surrounding areas. midfielders were trying to track the runs of RvP (Rooney didn't really seem to understand the plan) while the defenders tried to surge forward to cut off his potential shooting space, or to block the shot itself. It worked because RvP and Rooney are both players who can score from further out and demand that respect from the opposing team. With the defense then panicking to cut them off they had opened space for others to exploit. LvG started this tactic in the second half and we had a great spell of dangerous play before WBA got their lucky goal off an unnecessary foul.
Di Maria was dreadful. He misplaced practically every pass, often making wild decisions. He had one dangerous long range shot at the end, but I suspect it may have been a mishit cross.
Herrera did well in the Carrick role again, and this time managed to get forward a bit more.
All in all it was a disappointing game in terms of the outcome, but I saw quite a few things that make me optimistic about the future.
Credit to Everton, they played very well, especially James McCarthy who must have had something like 9 blocks. Still, we were pretty terrible. Top 4 is looking a bit uncertain at the moment.
TBH I think Guendogan could play the Carrick role. Since he's come back from injury he's been sitting a bit deeper in midfield, playing a somewhat similar role to what Carrick does. He still ventures forward, no doubt about that, but he's been decidedly more reserved in his approach to the game, perhaps only due to injury.
I think it could go 2 ways with him in the squad. The first is for him to take over Carrick's role as the deepest midfielder, with the role evolving somewhat into a more CM role than a holding one. It would be tough to say whether it'd be defensive-minded enough to have a midfield trio of he, Herrera and Fellaini, but if all 3 are mindful of their duties then we could potentially have a very mobile, fluid midfield threesome who rotate and cause havoc. It would, in essence, be something akin to a double-pivot of Guendogan and Herrera, but with Fellaini also putting in a very active defensive shift as the more advanced midfielder.
The other I see this going is for him to be Fellaini's long term replacement in the 11, leaving us with the long term midfield trio of Blind, Herrera and Guendogan. I won't lie, the thought of the interplay possible between Herrera/Guendogan/Mata is mouth-watering to say the least, but the lack of height and physicality is a bit worrisome in this trio.
I think that the most likely scenario is that it will be a combination of the 2 possibilities, with LvG using either-or as he sees fit. BTW I guess Klopp to United is kind of dead now that he's pretty much guaranteed that Giggs will in fact be the next manager lol. I really hope he doesn't end up at Citeh though.