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About spadefx

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    On the Bench

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  1. Cardiff have been better than I'd expected, hadn't seen them this season and figured they'd sit deep for the first hour. The time wasting been frustrating but they're definitely a dangerous side, particularly at set pieces which is no surprise. Still not a fan of our zonal marking, always think everyone's too stationary to compete properly with an attacker that's had a run up. Hazard's been a joy to watch again, I'll never tire of watching him play. Giroud's had a great half as well, as have the supporting midfield pack. Hope we can get another goal or two early to finish this off.
  2. spadefx

    Mateo Kovačić

    Didn't know much about him before he joined admittedly, can't actually remember seeing him stand out in the few RM games I've seen in recent years, but he's looked great so far. Has all the aggressive tenacity we've been needing in the centre of midfield, his close control has been excellent, he's quick to move the ball on forward, and seems in really in sync with Hazard on the left. Obviously he'll need time to settle in to the team and league before we see the best of him, and we have a very fired up Barkley waiting to rotate in / and push to displace him. Didn't expect we'd have really good selection problems in central midfield this season, but glad for it.
  3. Delighted with the win, we've managed to get 12 from 12 while still really finding our feet in this system. Probably a bit fortunate Bournemouth opened up in the second half, if they'd camped up for a draw all game I don't think we were going to cut through. Pedro the difference for me (yes he had a lot more space to operate in when he came on than Willian had), he looked so keen to run at and in behind defenders, and took the gamble on a shot in area where a lot of our attacks break down and recycle. There was again a few mistakes that could've cost us, but they're becoming less frequent, I think this is all shaping up to be a really positive season.
  4. We'll have to agree to disagree, it wasn't a stellar performance from him but he put in a shift, and Giroud had the same trouble for 20 of his 30. And maybe Hazard's knock in the first half stuck with him? There wasn't a lot of space to sprint, and Yedlin's pretty rapid himself. Hey ho anyway, its a win, cheers to 3 more points!
  5. To be fair on Morata, he had 2 of 3 centre backs glued to him at all times, and still managed to hold up and distribute today. I don't think he did his job any better/worse than the rest of our attackers today, given what we were up against.
  6. I know we've set up ultra defensively in the past, but Newcastle didn't even attempt to play for 80 minutes. I know a few Newcastle fans, and that must've been painful to support. Don't think we approached our attack quite right, too slow and central a lot of the time. Credit to Alonso for breaking the lines, although it wasn't a penalty. And elbow on Giroud aside, their goal is exactly why Luiz is a liability in games, solid for 89 minutes but switched off at a crucial moment that could've cost us two points. Foul or not, and even if he thought he heard a whistle, his instinct has to be to defend the cross regardless. That aside its three points, 9 from 9, and we're far from the finished article. Couldn't really ask for a better start.
  7. Didn't think we looked comfortable with the zonal marking at set pieces last weekend, and Newcastle are definitely looking to test that weakness. It's their only real threat but it's one that could easily work. They've had to work hard to shut us out all half, and they'll tire for sure, but we absolutely cannot concede first and give them something more to hold on to. It's been a largely controlled first half, but we never really over commited to try and break their defence. I'd like to see more play on the wings personally, its a congested box and a decent cross could fall anywhere. Looking forward to the second half.
  8. Great start to the season. 3 goals, clean sheet, and signs that the new system is taking shape. Realistically that was the ideal outcome from this one. Missed this!
  9. Pretty happy with that first half. Two up is more than we deserve but no complaints! There's moments when we look a bit lost as to to how to play it out the back. We've cleared upfield under pressure under the last two managers so I suppose it'll take time to adjust. Wary about the zonal setpiece marking too, but maybe the positioning was off for when they hit the post. That aside though, up the pace and its pretty promising. Lets see this out, and looking forward to seeing Hazard back in the second half.
  10. While I agree Ampadu and Hudson Odoi showed a lot of potential in pre-season, I don't think I'd be gambling with either in the season opener. Sarri's first few weeks/months will be figuring who works best in his system, of course the more experienced/senior guys will feature first. I'm optimistic about this one. There's obviously weaknesses and Huddersfield are a strong side, but I think this will be a good game and a great opportunity to kickstart the season in the right way. Hoping for an aggressive, attacking performance, and a goal or two for Morata to wake him up in 2018.
  11. spadefx

    Jack Butland

    I'll weigh in on the Butland vote, he's not an upgrade on Courtois, but I don't see him as much of a downgrade either. I've lived with a Stoke fan who regularly praised Butland for saving them points weekly. I've watched enough of Stoke to know he's a solid all rounder, and could absolutely thrive in our squad. I don't see us being (realistically) linked with any truly top-tier goalkeepers, so it makes sense to be looking at good domestic options with Premier League experience. There's not many available that tick those boxes. I think he'd be a good signing.
  12. spadefx

    Welcome Ross Barkley

    I would've been fine with him leaving before pre-season began this summer, but it looks like he's approached his recovery with a great attitude. He wasn't spectacular on Sunday, nobody was, but I think there was a lot of promise there. The physicality and tenacity was there, even if he did take the odd heavy touch and choose the wrong pass. Significant upgrade on what Bakayoko and Drinkwater showed (albeit in deeper roles) last season, Can see that position being his to lose right now. Suspect (and hope) he'll lineup alongside Kante and Jorginho in the season opener, and I fancy that to be the strongest central midfield we've fielded in a long time.
  13. Agreed on the centre backs. Neither seem to know whether to press or sit back. The line's been all over the place at times too. Early days so I can understand, but there hasn't been much good from either centre back in this match.
  14. Not a great first half, but there's been a few good moments. Its my first look at the back 4 and Jorginho pulling the strings. Can definitely see it working, but we'll need time to get everyone in sync. Hudson Odoi looks a bright spark, although its concerning nobody else looks all that dangerous in the final 3rd. Barkley's had good moments too. Two players definitely capable of competing for game time this season.