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About spadefx

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    On the Bench

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  1. Tony Gale is unbearable to listen to, and our defensive shape has been awful. We have three central midfielders and I've yet to see two contribute defensively or follow their man. Cesc justifies his selection as only he, Hazard and Morata have looked capable of creating a chance, but Bakayoko's barely contributed a thing. Lucky to not be two down, and absolutely crying out for a half time change. If Bakayoko remains on the pitch with the option we have on the bench I'll be stunned.
  2. Eden Hazard

    Not sure I understand the logic behind this 'rumour' circulating. Hazard's never seemed one to be effected by media speculation, and by all accounts seems pretty settled here. He's a family man, and taking face value from his interviews are settled and happy in London. I'd argue we match Man Utd's domestic and European ambition, and while we're not on their level commercially, we can comfortably match whatever wages they offer. He'd be joining a side with a manager he clearly didn't thrive under, who evidently tried to convert his role into one he didn't enjoy, and Hazard absolutely plays better when he's enjoying his football. I can see a French or Spanish move at some point in his career if he has his heart set on it, however he won't be the star man at those clubs, and wouldn't be allowed the freedom in attack he has under Conte, so I don't see it happening any time soon. Bizarre rumour all round for me. Not likely to happen, not likely to unsettle the club/player.
  3. Chelsea's UCL credentials

    Pretty happy with the draw, we have a knack of really stepping it up for the big games, and on recent evidence are plenty guilty of being complacent when we have the 'favourites' tag. When everything clicks with this side we're capable of beating anyone, we've got plenty of big game players in the squad and there's very few teams better than us at setting up to sit deep and counter. Nothing to lose as everyone will expect we drop out, but I can't help but fancy us and can't wait for the matches.
  4. We played the last 20 against West Ham with a back 4 (Azpi, Cahill, Christensen, Moses), so it wouldn't be the biggest surprise if we went with it. For me there has to be changes, I can understand sticking with the same lineup & formation going into the game on Saturday given its worked of late, but we barely threatened at all in the 90, and the effort (or lack thereof) from several players has to warrant dropping. For me: (3-4-3) - Courtois - Azpi, Christensen, Rudiger - Moses, Kante, Drinkwater, Alonso - Pedro, Batshuayi, Hazard
  5. 15 minutes, in desperate need of two goals as even a draw is no use whatsoever, and there's maybe 3 players somewhat interested in closing down or getting in the box going forward. An unacceptable attitude. West Ham have wanted it more today, but I don't feel like they had to strain particularly for this. A rollover first half, and only a marginal effort increase in the second. Totally deserved defeat when the full time whistle blows.
  6. Attacks just collapsing on the wings. Zappacosta continually attempting more than he's capable of and losing possession, Alonso just recycling or punting a hopeful cross any time he finds space. Really need to sacrifice a defender (preferably Zappacosta, who's been just as useless at the back) for a player with some end product, seeing as we only have 2 on the pitch. Preferably soon, before WH ride this momentum and hit us for 2.
  7. Unfortunate that Drinkwater's out, as I assume he'd be a definite starter after sitting out midweek. Think this could be a dangerous game to rest key players, or lose the 3-man midfield, so I suspect it'll be a similar lineup to Wednesday barring Alonso's return and possibly a start for Rudiger. Same situation as most weeks, 3 points needed and well achievable if we're at the races, but a dangerous opponents just as desperate for points. Hopefully Hazard continues his magnificent form.
  8. As ever, potential banana skin, and a a team not to underestimate. Absolutely no idea what lineup/formation we'll go for in this one. Pedro, Willian, Luiz & Rudiger could all feature, I doubt Cesc will sit out again, and if Moses is nearing full fitness he should return too. Could definitely see quite a few changes.
  9. A few thoughts... A point's frustrating, but it was probably a fair result on the balance of chances. Anfield's never easy, particularly when they raise the game for clubs like us, I'm not too disappointed. Good reaction after going the goal down, worried our heads would drop but we pushed them, and Conte made the bold changes. Perhaps Cesc starting would've improved the result, but Drinkwater put in a very good shift, kept Coutinho quiet, had a nearly assist and a nearly goal. As will be rightly discussed, Bakayoko had an awful game. I'll forgive the touch ahead of their goal, as that was a tricky spot, but he barely put a foot right at any other stage. It'll be interesting to see if Conte considers a Cesc, Drinkwater, Kante trio. I think Danny's tenacity might be a good compromise for the physicality we'd (in theory) lose without Bakayoko. Azpi was excellent again, as was Kante. Hazard faded, but tore them to shreds first half. Zappacosta was hopeless going forward, and not much better defensively. Roll on Moses returning. Willian again making a big contribution, but I don't see where he fits in from the start. It's rarely dull watching us anyway, I'll take a point gained, roll on the next one now.
  10. Interesting one. A few great first half performances, and a few woeful. Bakayoko might as well be at home, completely absent defensively and he's been more effective at starting Liverpool attacks than their entire midfield. And Zappacosta, I can't fault his effort or work rate, real knack of being in the right position, but awful in the tackle and so wasteful in the final third. Alonso's done OK against their danger man, particularly given the pace difference. Azpi, Kante, Drinkwater and Hazard have kept us in this and kept us threatening. Need to introduce Cesc and (if fit, hopefully) Moses early. Fancy us in this half.
  11. Key thing for me is that we don't let the heads drop if we go a goal or two down. Liverpool are very dangerous going forward, but they don't close games well. Can see there being a few goals in this, and as long as we have the legs (and shooting boots on) in the latter stages I fancy us taking three points.
  12. Hazard and Cesc controlling this, with Morata and Kante linking well with them. And I don't think we've really stepped out of 2nd gear, when our attackers aren't close enough to wrestle or stamp WBA look lost as to how to defend. The odd thing is though we've been sloppy too, Zappacosta and Bakayoko consistently gifting back possession, and Alonso struggling with Phillips' pace on the wing. Strange match but we're long due a game comfortably going our way, so happy days. Hopefully some early subs to rest any tired legs ahead of the midweek journey now.
  13. Happy the team that bossed the last game are all fit to start, strongest lineup for us right now I reckon. Pacey options on the bench if needed, and pleased Luiz has returned to the squad after whatever went on. Fancy us to win the midfield battle, we'll create plenty so just as long as someone has brought their shooting boots (or head, in Morata's case!). It's been too long, roll on kick off.
  14. Reckon we need to continue with the 3 man midfield. WBA might not have the quality of Man Utd, but they'll overrun us in the middle if we revert back to 3-4-3. Livermore, Barry & Krychowiak are no slouches, and points are as massive for them as us right now. Unfortunate that it looks like Moses will miss this also, but it will be another opportunity for Zappacosta to impress, we need our wing backs to step up and support the attacks without Pedro/Willian stretching teams. Azpilicueta performs wherever played, but our back 3 looks less settled without him. I'd be wary moving him out wide to make space for Rudiger (despite him looking more settled in than Zappacosta so far). Christensen more than justified his selection last weekend, albeit if it was Luiz' petulance that landed him the start. The rest of the team picks itself if fit, and if we show the same fight we did against Man Utd then we should have the creativity to take a tricky 3 points here. Courtois - Azpi, Christensen, Cahill - Zappacosta, Cesc, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso - Hazard, Morata
  15. Emanalo The Problem

    Beyond total speculation, I've no idea how much or little influence he's directly had on the club. Beyond the "the individual" speech he's largely kept out of the spotlight, as you'd expect. Hopefully there's no negative effect in our future transfer dealings, as by and large they've been good while he's been in the role. Presumably he's had some influence in our success while here, so thanks and good luck elsewhere.