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About spadefx

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    On the Bench

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. Great game, absolutely bossed it, and in reality should've been 3 or 4, with Man Utd down to at least 10. Much better intensity. We worked harder than they did all over the pitch, exactly as we did all of last season, and what we need to be doing every game of this. That back 3 looked considerably more solid with Christensen at the heart, and we looked a more balanced attacking unit in a 3-5-2. Delighted, and take a bow Morata. That was a great shift, now lets see that level every game.
  6. Good half, this back three looks very composed, we're moving the ball a lot quicker and should really have a goal to show. Wing backs need to start making the most of the spaces they're finding though. How Herrera hasn't had 3 yellows already is beyond me too, standard United bias from a referee. Smalling & Jones look like they cant wait until full time for Morata and Hazard's shirts either.
  7. I'm not jumping on the Cahill criticism bandwagon, he's been far from stellar but there's been plenty worse culprits, he's still among the first names on the team sheet for me. One thing he doesn't lack is desire/attitude, and this has been a bigger reason for recent poor showings than any individual errors. Fabregas has gradually become our biggest liability, he's one of the few match winners we have in our side but since he's effectively been guaranteed a starting position he's sauntered through games, and consistently switched off (or just lost interest) when we've needed tenacity in the middle. Luiz too has been guilty of lazy play and an "oh well" body language. There's no denying they're among the best players (on paper) in our team, but it is little wonder others are underperforming around them when these are the leaders setting the example. One of our strikers desperately needs to hit form too, the hold up play's been largely awful from both this season, and while Michy has a knack for in-box positioning and Morata's build up play have been improvements on what Costa offered us last season, if we can't retain possession under the first challenge we're going to keep putting pressure on our defence. I'm optimistic we can get a win Sunday, but we desperately need Kante back in midfield, and a slice of luck going forward for once. A disciplined, organised performance, with the right intensity on the pitch and we should be capable of beating anyone. Roll on Sunday.
  8. We're doing everything right except the easy stuff tonight. Two split second defensive brain farts and probably 4 chances as good as on a plate wasted. Still fancy us to get a result.
  9. Pity Kante's out but I'm sure Cesc will step up and put the shift in needed. Bakayoko's gradually getting into the swing of things for us too and we'll need him at his best to compete with this Roma midfield. Cahill back in was obvious, and the right call in my opinion, we need the leaders and big characters on the pitch. Confident we can take at least a point tonight, strong 11, Willian and Batshuayi can stretch and threaten a tired opposition off the bench and we have defensive options if we need to tighten up. Buzzing for this one, love Champions League nights.
  10. Two of our Spaniards with exactly opposite problems ruining their game. Morata's confidence looks to be at absolute zero, nothing going right. Cesc slowly strutting about admiring wayward passes like he's played a worldy. Pedro looks the only likely scorer in this team today. Need a wakeup.
  11. Actually hoping to see Morata start this. I understand the logic in rotating him out, but I see this as an ideal game for him to be involved in. He's scored and setup a few so far, but he's not looked properly in-sync with the team nor totally comfortable with the physicality of the league (yet). That'll come with time on the pitch, and tomorrow night might be a very beneficial test for him.
  12. Good win, the opposition didn't have much sting nor defensive savvy but we got the three points, some nice goals and some minutes for players still bedding in, can't ask for much more! Willian was the standout for me, looked the most dangerous of our attackers throughout and he was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet. And Zappacosta's goal was a bad cross all day long, but another promising shift from him, very energetic and hopefully the confidence boost will help him settle in. Boost with the Roma Altetico game ending a draw too, this could be a very tight group. Great feeling to be back!
  13. That was a good match to watch, I don't think Leicester are as threatening a counter-attacking side as they have been but we kept them relatively contained. We were wasteful up top but we scored enough to win, so long as we're improving and picking up points I can't moan too much. Personally felt Fabregas struggled to make an impact higher up the pitch. I can see a 3-5-2 formation working when we have less of the ball but I think Willian may have been more effective in that role today. My only complaint comes after their goal, where we almost started to play too casually in an attempt to slow the game down. Better sides will punish us if we dither in possession and we were light in the tackles towards the end, nearly letting them in behind. Zappacosta looked promising when he came on. The end product wasn't quite there but that should come when he settles in. There were a few really good performances but Kante once again gets my MOTM. Another superb all round display, and a fine goal to win us the match. Now for Tuesday night, its been too long without!
  14. We officially have an incompetent board

    I think this has the potential to be remembered as quite a good summer window, all things considered. The vast majority of us would've been fine with a Matic for Bakayoko swap on last season's performances, and with the transfer fees effectively identical that's what it is. Costa severed his ties so his exile/exit was inevitable. There were very few high quality strikers available and I'd argue with Morata we have every chance of having brought in the best one. We've brought in much needed depth in defence with Rudiger fitting in well so far and Christensen putting in an excellent shift against Spurs. Zappacosta looks very capable of challenging for the RWB position, and Drinkwater comes in as an experienced hard-working all-rounder to give us another option in central midfield. There weren't many players available that would realistically improve our 11 from the start. I don't think we paid over-the-odds for anyone and we haven't forked out massive wage packets for the sake of it. We're starting this season in a stronger position than we did last year (admittedly our squad was small then, and very much in need of multiple reinforcements), we've broken our transfer record, and we've done it all relaitvely quietly behind the noise of the Manchester clubs' intakes. Time will tell, but I think we're looking good, and amazingly for current Champions we're flying under the radar, which tends to be when we succeed. I think this could be a very good season for us.
  15. Welcome N’Golo Kante

    Every time I watch him play I'm amazed. He's tireless off the ball, relentlessly harasses opposition, and seems to take tackles & interceptions so neatly in his stride. The speed at which he can move from 'knicking' the ball to moving it on and setting us an attack is second to none in my opinion. Clearly been working on his close control and distribution and its showing. Absolutely one of the best midfielders around at the moment, and a complete bargain when you consider this season's going rates.