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I'll get back to you with the rest at a later point in time, but yes I think SAF would sweep the league with this team. He was always the best at milking players for everything they had, and would turn his players into overachievers. With this crop of players he'd be challenging for the CL IMO.
I know what you mean. I had to watch the match after work, and wow was it not worth it. That performance was disrespectful to the badge. Nobody wants to step up and take responsibility; they all just pass the ball on to the next player hoping they will try something instead. And I am so sick and tired of 4-4-2.
Yeah, we probably won't have another long lasting manager unless Giggs is it. It's a little frightening that both SAF and LvG are saying Giggs will be our next manager. I'm not sure he's ready yet, but then again if he's good enough he's old enough, or well experienced enough in this case lol. If he will be manager anyway then 3-4 years might not make a huge difference, because some managers just have "it" while others don't.
I didn't watch that match. These days I barely have time for anything since my work hours are killing me. That'd be something though, learning to cross from Becks himself.
Probably Jones for me, but after factoring in his dismal injury record I'll just go with Blind instead. You can't play and develop if you're always injured. I agree on Blind, he would be a good CB if he had the physical qualities for it. If he played in Spain it wouldn't be that bad for him, but in England he won't cut it against the best teams.
I like Fellaini a lot, personally, but I agree he isn't being used properly so he should probably just go. What I don't get is that Fellaini is so much more than just someone to hoof the ball to, as is evident by how important he is for Belgium, but LvG doesn't seem to see it. Actually, what's really strange is that LvG is making the exact same mistakes he made last season with Fellaini and Young. Fellaini is being played as our plan B, and Young is being used as a makeshift FB, JUST LIKE LAST SEASON. Now, that wouldn't be so terrible if they didn't both prove they can be way more effective in other roles. It's like he wants them to be these types of players so badly that he's too stubborn to see the truth.
I hope it's a secret, but alas I don't think we will sign Herrmann. Transfers should definitely be secret, like Martial was. That came out of nowhere. I'm a bit envious of Bayern in regards to their transfer dealings; they usually have their entire window mapped out before the season is over and take care of everything in a snap.
Is Bale really that popular though? I dunno, I just never thought of him as a real "superstar" type player, probably because he's Welsh. I guess if he joined us it would lead to a huge number of shirt sales though. But yeah, for that cost we can just sign Herrmann, Rode, and probably Laporte too (not sure what his release clause is). And man, that team really was the best. I remember that game against Barca, when Scholes buried them with one of his classic goals. That was the year we won the CL I think.
I'm also a bit perplexed by how Schweinsteiger hasn't scored yet. He was very good at making late runs into the box or latching onto crosses or corners while at Bayern, so it's surprising that we haven't seen that yet. He kind of scored against Watford, but that was still an own goal.
Fischer looks really good. First off, he's from Ajax, and that's always good. Nobody teaches technique like Ajax. He looks really quick and agile, and he looks like he has a great shot. Looking at his Whoscored page was also positive. He has some assists (in the video he looks worryingly selfish) and passing is listed as a strength, while layoffs are listed as being typical of his game. Not bad for an alternative wide option, and at only 21 he still has lots of room to develop, especially under a manager like LvG.
Embolo also looks really good. The video showed his decision making as a weakness, but I never really noticed any poor decision making in the video. Granted, they wouldn't show it if he made a mistake and it didn't work out, but Fischer, for example, sometimes made the wrong decision but still scored. I didn't see that from Embolo. He's big, fast, and powerful, and he looks tenacious. I noticed he looked quite a bit more raw than Fischer, but after seeing he's only 18 years old that's perfectly understandable. I also liked that while he can dribble, he only seemed to do so when it actually made sense.
Both look like really good prospects. I like how finished Fischer looks, but it always worries me when I notice poor or selfish decision making in a highlight video. Embolo looks like he's more my cup of tea, but he isn't nearly as developed. Still, I would go for Embolo out of the two because Fischer looks like he could be one of those that tries to do too much himself. I'd have to actually see him play once or twice though before I can really judge.
Praise the old Gods and the new that Martial wasn't seriously injured.
What'd you make of the Watford game btw?
I was ecstatic about our starting 11 and fully expected the mesmerizing display they put on while Herrera was still playing, but LvG made more match day errors following his injury. I have no idea why he would change his setup when he has Pereira on the bench to fill right in where Herrera was, especially when it got us a goal in 11 minutes while really threatening to get more and when he planned to use Pereira anyway. It made no sense to me to switch into a now foreign formation hoping, I imagine, to hold onto the lead. There were still 70 minutes on the clock and Watford was getting destroyed by all the movement and positional fluidity.
It was so frustrating to see it play out the way it did, especially since it was so obvious we lacked that one extra player up front to really cause damage. Mata, Memphis and Lingard couldn't do it with just the three of them. I have to say though, Lingard impresses me more and more every time I see him. He really needs to polish off his skills on the ball, but his decision making is usually great. More than that though I love his movement and how he opens up space for others. That can't be taught; you either have it or you don't, and Lingard definitely has it. He kind of reminds me of Mueller in a way in that he doesn't really have a best position but can play all the attacking roles, and that he's more of a supporting cast kind of attacker in that he makes it easier for everyone around him to play their game. Of course he's nowhere near Mueller, who is easily one of the very best players in the world, but he makes a similar type of impact and I really like it. If he could polish off his abilities I think he can be an important player for us, and I think he could easily notch 10 goals and 10 assists a season or so.
Yo KL, thanks for adding me mate!
Martial injured *wants to cry*
Yeah it really does depend on LvG, and it's scary how he doesn't see it when it's so clear. Reminds me somewhat of Pellegrini in that the squad is capable of doing much better, but the manager appears to be holding them back. I can't disregard the work LvG has done to transform the club and build a foundation for the future, but honestly, I think he would have been more effective as a Director of Football. He can line up targets, direct the academy in what kinds of players to produce and what qualities are important, and influence the style of football being played by the first team and ensure whoever is manager adheres to certain values, but as a match day manager I think he might have lost the plot a little. How many times has his starting 11 been wrong, or his substitutions been wrong, or how many times has his game plan not been ideal? It's just something I've been thinking about lately a little.
Definitely better options than Calhanoglu, especially for our needs. He's too similar to Mata, but not as good.
You know, I've always thought the same about Rojo. His temperament just isn't right for it. It seemed everyone else thought he'd be great for CB, so I just kind of went with it, but it's been my suspicion that he is far too rash for the position. Yeah I completely forgot about that youngster, Borthwick-Jackson was it? I dunno. Anyway, I think I was kind of spacing out at that point of the match because I don't remember him on the pitch at all haha
I also wouldn't bet on any of our CBs having a Smalling-like turnaround this season, but I thought Mike himself was done after the red card so I'll be patient for now. Nobody worth it in the long run will probably be available in January anyway, so they've got until summer. By then, if nobody has convinced for at least the whole of the second half of the season, and by that I mean really CONVINCED, then we should go all out for Laporte.
Hmmm it would make it somewhat tight in the midfield if we signed both Rode and Tielemans. Schweinsteiger and Carrick will need to be phased out, and we could just use them tactically and as extra cover like SAF and Moyes did Scholes and Giggs. That'd leave us with Schneiderlin, Herrera, Rode, Tielemans, Pereira and Fellaini, if I'm not forgetting anyone, fighting for regular minutes in 3 positions. 6 players plus 2 veterans as cover seems 1 too many, but Pereira can play on either wing and Fellaini can play further forward as well. Carrick should also be done pretty soon. I'm not sure, it seems doable, and it would only get easier as another season or 2 pass and Carrick and Schweinsteiger are gone. 4 first choice midfielders is a good number so that injury doesn't completely wreck us, and Schneiderlin, Rode, Herrera and Tielemans represent that. I would go for it.
I feel the same about Herrmann. He's on the brink of blowing up, like Reus was before his Dortmund move.
Yeah it's pretty harsh of me to just want to throw Memphis away. The awful truth of the matter is that he's the kind of player that just doesn't appeal to me. But, he can still turn it around and start playing a more team oriented style. I mean, if Robben could under Jupp Heynckes then anyone can, although he has since reverted to the selfish player he's always been.
Oh and regarding Bale, I've given up on him TBH. He seems too obsessed with Real, and has repeatedly said he wants to stay. I don't read into it that he wants to leave when he's said the opposite so many times. Plus, he'd be so expensive it would hurt. Still, strictly objectively looking at him as a player, he is a damn good choice. The only thing about him though is that it seems he'd be the type to want the team built around him, and I don't like that. Teams are most dangerous when they have 3-5 players who can step up and be the danger man, not one go-to guy.
Ronaldo is way too expensive for a (soon to be) 31 year old. He can probably continue longer than most due to his insane physique and work ethic, but he won't be as dominant. Plus, same problem as Bale in the team being built around him. I'd rather have us play like Bayern (with CoCo on the wings and not Robben) than Real or Barca before they found their balance in MSN. To be completely fair though, whatever Ronaldo's transfer fee would be is probably negligible due to the fact that shirt sales alone will in all likelihood make up for it. Just about every United fan out there would want a Ronaldo shirt lol.
Yeah man, there was no reason to let Chicharito go. Martial was completely unproven and nobody would have imagined he'd have the impact he had. Chicharito also embodies exactly what LvG was looking for in a striker, with clever movement, pace, and few touches.
Okay good, I thought I was totally crazy about the whole Buttner thing. I agree he should have been a LW or LM instead of a LB. I said at one point I wouldn't be surprised if he had a Bale-like positional transformation throughout his career lol.
My problem is that I don't watch a lot of football outside of the Bundesliga and United, and when I do watch I'm hyper focused on what the players on whatever team I want to win are doing. The opposition barely registers in terms of individual players lol. That's why I barely know any other players, like Fischer or Embolo.
And I guess since Griezmann can play RW we should probably target him. I just don't like how few assists he gets. If we have him on the right and Memphis on the left, that might be too many chance-takers. Martial will be starved of service up front and will serve mostly to swallow up rebounds and create space with runs.
That assist was a masterclass lol. Martial is just something else.
Did you hear another Germany game was targeted? It's starting to seem like ISIS has something against the German NT, though it probably had to do with how many high ranking German officials would be attending the match. I hope someone stops them before they can cause any more damage, but I doubt they will.
Paul Merson, wow. What a clown. Tottenham and Chelsea finishing top 4? LOL. One of them might, hell it might even be Chelsea if they can turn their season around after the international break, but both are not finishing top 4. Definitely not above us. Especially Tottenham. They just don't have what it takes to finish above the best of the PL. They have a good squad, but not a great one.
I'll have to disagree with you slightly. I think we have the squad to win the league, or at least the starting 11 to.
City SHOULD be favourites, on paper, but they have always been worse than the sum of their parts. That isn't going to change this season, I think. Plus they usually have a collapse. Arsenal, likewise, look like contenders at one point in the season, then collapse and fight it out for 4th. I have no belief in Arsenal lol.
Now, I don't think we are necessarily better than either team right now, in terms of our players, but our style is much more suited to winning a league. City, like you said, get complacent, and usually go through a bad patch of results when key players get injured. Arsenal, well let's just revisit their title credentials in February, by when I'll expect they'll have collapsed already. What we need to do is find a way to score consistently. Our defense is the best in the league right now, our midfield can boss anyone if the right players are used (even Arsenal, and we already destroyed Citeh's midfield), and we have the best GK in the league.
In the attack, if we use our best players in their best positions, plus Herrera in midfield, we will be unstoppable in the league. I'm very convinced of that. The 4-3-3 of last season with Morgan holding, Bastian and Herrera in the advanced 2, Young left, Martial CF and Mata RW, like you said, and we will stomp teams. I don't even think we need January signings TBH. I have a lot of faith in our squad right now.
Anderson I don't know too well, so I can't say anything about him either. Calhanoglu is overrated I'm afraid. I still watch Bundesliga on a weekly basis, I just watch far more BVB, BMG, S04, B04 and Wolfsburg now, and only watch Bayern this season when they come up against one of those. BVB is the team I watch the most these days in the Bundesliga, with BMG and B04 joint second. So I see Calhanoglu in action quite often.
The thing about him is that free kicks are his only strength, and he really only has one angle and range where he's deadly from. It's that angle left of goal, slightly past the penalty box. I'm shit with yards lol. 25 yards maybe? I dunno. Basically, he shoots from there it's a goal, he shoots anywhere else and it isn't. In open play he has no real strengths and doesn't really fit into any positions. He's not fast enough to be on the wing. His passing is a bit too erratic, and he lacks the stamina and defensive ability to play in a deeper midfield role. He's no box-to-box player. He also lacks the ability to pick apart a defense that 10 needs, or rather he has the ability to land those passes but he seems to lack the eye for it. That's not to say he's a bad player, he certainly isn't, and at his age it's quite impressive that he's as good as he is, I just struggle to see where he really belongs because he has no exceptional talent besides free kicks from that one angle and range.
My brother is actually a Leverkusen fan, so he sees him in action every week, and he has the same opinion of him.
I too would promote Varela. Valencia isn't too old, and Darmian should be our RB for the foreseeable future, so I wouldn't sign another one. Varela is highly rated, he's waited for his chance since I've heard he's been pretty much ready for like 3 seasons now, and he should be fine with being cover for now.
What we really need, though, is for Darmian to push forward more, Mata needs a wide outlet with him to stretch play because he always cuts inside, and so he works so well with Valencia. Thinking about it, Mata is such a problem. He's too good for the bench, but not good enough to be the superstar the team builds around. He's starter quality, but lacks a place in our side outside of the RW position, but playing him at RW puts too much pressure on our RB to stretch play AND be back to defend if the ball is turned over.
To make it work we would probably need to hold a higher line so that Schneiderlin, as our DM, can be level with the CBs in what would basically amount to a back 3 at roughly the halfway line. With 3 players there to cover the back, there isn't as great a need for the FBs to be there to defend every single time. It will leave us a bit more exposed in the back, but we have to trust in Mike, Morgan, LCB, and DDG. If teams play defensively against us we can't keep half committing in attack just so our defense has the ideal number of players.
I agree that Herrera should not be sold, no matter what. He is the midfielder we need. I agree on the LCB spot and Blind, but McNair or Jones may still be able to nab one of the CB positions before the end of the season. Mike can play on both sides, and has under LvG, so he should be able to partner any of our CBs. Rojo right now is needed at LB, but he's also an option in the long run. I'm hoping one of those 3 can step up and be our second CB, but if they don't by the end of the season we definitely need one. Laporte would be perfect with Mike playing the way he is now. I would say we can also use a LB (do we have one in the academy?) since Shaw has been unlucky with injuries, and we have no other natural LBs. Rojo and Blind can cover, but we also need the depth at CB. Either a youngster or a veteran would be perfect for LB to have greater depth in the position.
A CM is also a good shout. We wouldn't really need a first choice midfielder, because Blind, Schneiderlin and Herrera represent our future first choice midfield to me, so a youngster would be good, like you said. With Blind and Schneiderlin being more tailored towards playing as 6's IMO, a box-to-box midfielder would be best. Pereira is more of a 10, Herrera is a b2b/10, so a b2b rounds it all out best. Rode might be leaving Bayern this season, and if he's available he'd a really good player for that role. The guy reminds me of a young Schweinsteiger. He's a machine in terms of running, is really good on the ball, and has a knack for getting involved in goals. Actually, with Schneiderlin holding and Rode and Herrera ahead of him, we'd have a monster midfield. I'm actually surprised that Guardiola hasn't used Rode much more than he has. In 97 minutes this season he has a goal and assist with 93.2% pass accuracy, and last season he had 3 goals and 5 assists across 1228 minutes, which equates to a goal or assist every 154 minutes. Yes, those numbers were for Bayern, who are a goal machine, but as a central midfielder who played sporadically those are some impressive numbers.
I don't know much about Tielemans, but Rode is 25, hungry, and more probably more proven. He can most likely make more of a direct impact right now. Plus, he works very well with Schweinsteiger. At the end of the day we could also just sign up both though lol.
A RW who can beat his man is also something we need, even if it isn't really a starter and just someone to rotate for Mata when we need that quality. Griezmann would be absolutely ideal. If we can snap him up we'd be set. If he isn't keen on leaving Atleti, then I'd personally go for Patrick Herrmann. He's among the fastest players I've ever seen, he tracks back, works hard, gets goals and assists, and single handedly ripped apart BVB, Bayern and Wolfsburg last season. In a counter attack the guy is unstoppable. I have really high hopes for him.
I don't watch any La Liga really, so I'm not sure if Griezmann can play on the right actually. He should be able to to, but if he can't then Herrmann becomes first choice for me, as he's a natural right winger. If Griezmann is available I'd still sign him in a heartbeat though and just play him on the left. It would suck for Memphis to be replaced so quickly, but players like Griezmann don't become available very often.
To be honest though, I just looked up their stats from last season and the 2 performed very similarly. Griezmann got 22 goals and 1 assist in ~3000 minutes (1 per 130) and Herrmann got 15 goals and 5 assists in ~2500 minutes (1 per 125). Both are the same age, and Herrmann is cheaper. Griezmann also plays more of a forward role while Herrmann often operates as a right midfielder instead. I'm starting to lean towards Herrmann to be honest. If we got both though... :D
Holy shit I think I just made a mess of my pants looking at that lineup. It's not as young as yours, but still a very young side. The front 3 in mine are also very interchangeable positionally. Assuming we keep Memphis though I'd go for Herrmann on the left as he's much more active as an assister than Griezmann. Memphis is a chance taker, and we don't need too many of those on the pitch at once.
Definitely not Kane. Holy jeezus we don't need another overrated, overpriced English striker. Kane is good, but not 50m good. I don't know Fekir that well, as I think I mentioned before. Can't say if he's a good fit or not. From the players I do know (which is basically just Bundesliga players lol) Kevin Volland and Yoshinori Muto stand out. Both are the same age at 23. Both are dribbly strikers like Martial (so the style would stay consistent), and both are good at taking up good positions. Muto is more of a pure striker, but he helps out defensively a lot. Chelski were interested in him, if you remember. In his first season in the Bundesliga so far he's got 6 goals and 2 assists across 962 minutes. Not a bad return. Volland has a more dangerous long range shot, but he'd also be more expensive. He has a worse return at 5 goals and an assist across 990 minutes, but he's more proven historically. He's very diverse in the kinds of goals he can score.
That shows his versatility. He used to play as a wide man before he was converted to striker, so he can also interchange positionally. Muto is more of a predator in the box comparatively, something more along the lines of Chicharito.
So, on to the youth (this scouting exercise was a ton of fun though). Wilson hasn't been good enough lately, and if he doesn't improve his form then he will probably be shipped out to a team like West Ham maybe. Something upper mid table probably. Maybe Everton. He's still a very promising player so he probably will get picked up by a good team, but now that we have Martial, who is just flat out better, he will probably need to look elsewhere for his future, especially considering Martial is just 19.
Pereira is insanely talented, but I'm not a fan of his decision making always. Still, it's way too early to write him off. Talent wise he's up there with the best youngsters in the world, and his touch is as silky as any I've seen. He should be able to eventually displace one of our midfielders if he fulfills his potential. At 19 he has plenty of time too. I would say he should be getting plenty of time as a rotational player in our midfield 3, whatever the shape may be. He can play in central midfield and as a 10 so I would give him at least 10-15 minutes just about every match. If he is to be loaned out, which may not be the worst idea this season and next since we have Carrick and Bastian around still, then I'd send him out to a Bundesliga side. Not one of the big boys, like that disastrous loan spell for Januzaj, but in any of the more mid-table sides he'd probably get good experience. The play style in Germany suits him, and he's less likely to be hit by a crunching tackle that derails his career, but the league is still more physical than the Spanish league.
Lingard, I have to admit he's my favourite of the bunch. Not just because of his recent showings either. I was most excited about him since last summer, or was it the summer before? I can't remember. Januzaj never gave me the spark of belief. I should explain. Sometimes when I see a player for the first time, I'll see something in them. It's inexplicable, but it happens. I'm in no way always right, but I've had some big successes. Schweinsteiger (back when he was a LM) was the one who caught my eye at the 2006 WC (didn't watch club football on a weekly basis before 2010) instead of the other German youngsters like Podolski and Lahm. In 2010 Mueller and Boateng were the ones I singled out while most people I knew were more excited about Ozil and KP Boateng. Shortly after I really watched Kroos for the first time and thought he was going to be star. Same with Reus. Goetze didn't give me the chills, by contrast. Ter Stegen is another who caught my eye. Herrmann did too a couple seasons ago. Lars Bender as well (who is a criminally underrated CM, the guy is world class), and Rode.
I have to admit though, my track record is far, far better with German players than other ones LOL. I can't remember a German player I've seen the "spark" in that failed to make it. From non Germans though the list is quite extensive. Cleverley (I blame the Kevin Davies tackle, he would have been a star otherwise!), Welbeck (he still needs to figure out how to score, but when he does he can be a beast), Young, and Buttner (ya, I dunno, I really believed in him) all make that list. Nick Powell too. I didn't get the shivers from Januzaj (it's unfortunately starting to look like I was right...), Pereira, Memphis, or even Martial (really hope I'm wrong about Martial). Aubameyang is looking like a successful spark though, so all is not lost with non-Germans lol. I got the same feeling from Heung-Min Son, so let's see what happens with him.
So anyway, all that is to say I get the very good vibes from Lingard. My English track record is horse shit, so I'm probably wrong, but I can't help it. I'm excited about him. All that aside though, I'd still keep him on as cover for the attacking positions. Once he fills out his frame with some muscle he can be a real beast. And I think his decision making is innately very good, he only lacks experience. As a mature player, I think he'll be one who rarely makes a wrong move. No loan for Lingard, he needs to play at United.
I haven't seen Tuchel say that, but I can understand. I thought from the beginning that Januzaj is best suited as a false-9 because he's too selfish for a 10 and not fast enough to be a winger. He could be a bit of an inverted or false winger, but false-9 is where I see him performing best. He's not quite strong enough to be a conventional 9, but he is good at finding space and can wriggle around well with the ball. He's got the eye for the killer pass, but is also a great shooter of the ball. He can score long range and short range. His lack of pace would be covered by the more goal-hungry wingers in such a setup.
Anyway, I think his time for United is pretty much over as a starter. He wouldn't displace any of Mata/Young/Martial or Memphis in good form. But, he can adequately cover in any of the attacking positions, so I think he can still be sub. His tactical value as a dribbly player with a good shot should also not be underestimated, and I think he could be devastating as a f9 with the right setup (like if we had Griezmann and Herrmann on the wings, for example). Tactically, he's good to have around so I say he should be kept as a substitute. I agree that Memphis and Pereira are more naturally talented, while Lingard looks like more of a complete package in terms of ability. I doubt Januzaj is going to become the star most of us thought he would, which is unfortunate. He can still be a good player though.
Man, this was the most fun I've had with a comment in a while. So much football discussion, so much fantasy manager, so much fantasy scouting lol. Let me know what you think of all this.
Ugh international break, the bane of my existence. What do you make of our chances of winning the title? I think if, IF the attack can be sorted out and we play with more urgency we can win it. It's a big ask of LvG though...
Mmm well, to be fair to Lingard, he did really well to always be in position to have golden opportunities. I like his movement and positioning a lot. He definitely needs to work on his finishing and delivery however because you're absolutely right that it was awful. I'm surprised he was voted man of the match. That should have probably been Mike.
Anyway, I think he can become quite a player though if he works on his final ball and bulks up a bit. I like what he brings to the table.
I totally lost my shit too when Rooney missed that sitter. How bad can he be? It's not like his goal was a hard finish either, so I'm not sure why people are acting like Rooney played great. He was better than he's been, but it isn't hard to be better than terrible.
One thing that pisses me off is that Young plays too defensive as a FB. He's not the slowest guy and his recovery pace is decent enough, especially when Musa wasn't even playing on their left. The one time he actually went forward and he and Mata worked together they crafted one of our best chances of the match. He needs to get forward more as a FB, especially when the opposite FB is Rojo. Rojo should stay back to cover defensively (on most occasions), allowing Blind and Mike to shift right and cover the area behind Young while Carrick fills in any holes. Young doesn't need to be quite so cautious, though I'm glad he takes his defensive duties seriously.
And yeah... Herrera dropped for Rooney is just mind-boggling. I don't even know what to say about it really. LvG has built the foundation we need to evolve, and now it's time to bring someone else in to shape our team into a finished product.
We scored! We won! Huzzah!