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  1. Antonio Conte - Now Officially Manager

    Antonio Conte delivered a training-ground message to his Chelsea players to 'man up' as he made it clear he was still the manager, ­despite a week of speculation over his future. Chelsea’s squad returned to work on Friday and were left in no doubt about what head coach Conte now expects of them after granting ­captain Gary Cahill’s request for three days off after the embarrassing 4-1 defeat by Watford. That result had come on the back of a 3-0 loss at home to Bournemouth and prompted suggestions Conte could be sacked before the end of the season, when he is ­expected to leave in any case. Conte remains in charge for Monday’s game against West Bromwich Albion and needs his players to back up their claims they are still behind him with a much-improved performance. On their return to training, players were told that now was the time to prove they were men and to face up to the challenge ahead of them. Conte had accused them of ­playing with fear and questioned their character in the immediate ­aftermath of the Watford defeat, and the Italian made it clear ­on Friday that there was no room for any sort of immaturity. Publicly, at least, Conte seems confident his message will have hit the spot. Asked whether his squad could respond in the right manner to two successive defeats, he said: “We are talking about players who have played at this level for many years. Honestly, I think these type of players can find the right strength to fight the fear.” Conte acknowledged that more bad results could dictate his immediate future, but insisted he did not fear for his position. “I’m not thinking, for one moment, about the possibility of going away from this club,” he said. “My commitment is totally for this club, like that of my players. But, as you know very well because we are talking about football, a lot of times – I don’t agree with this – the manager and the coach depends on the results. In this case, we are having poor results. For this reason, we have to pay great attention.” Chelsea fans have remained supportive of Conte, chanting his name in each of the club’s past two defeats, and the 48-year-old added: “I have to say thanks to the fans. From the start of my experience with Chelsea, they tried to stay behind me in every game, in every game, and they continue to do this. I’m very proud of this. “They are understanding that I’m doing all myself, maybe more, for this club. I want to say thanks to the fans because they deserve the best and I’ll try with my players to give them the best satisfaction.” Conte has not absolved himself of any blame for a run of just two wins in their past 10 games and neither will he allow the Chelsea board to shift all the responsibility on to him and his players. “In every situation, positive and negative. When you have this period with such poor results, you have to divide the responsibility between me, the players and the club,” he said. Conte insisted record-signing Alvaro Morata would miss the West Brom match and admitted Chelsea were in the dark over how long the striker would be out with his back injury. Olivier Giroud could make his first start. “Morata, no,” said Conte. “Giroud has trained and will be in contention. We are talking a lot about bad results, but sometimes we forget we are facing a serious situation. “Players like Morata are very important and have been missing for a long period of time. I don’t know how long he will be out. We are struggling a lot to find a solution to solve the pain in his back. “If you ask me whether he needs a day, a month or the rest of the season, I don’t know. For this reason, I’m a bit worried. You know very well the importance of the player.” Despite Morata’s absence, Conte defended his decision to allow Michy Batshuayi to join Borussia Dortmund on loan by adding: “We took a decision. Now I think this is not important to say ‘we could have done this’ or ‘we should have done that’. We have to focus on the present to finish the season in the best way possible and not to have regrets for anything.”
  2. Dzeko the Gecko

    Dzeko is a fantastic signing but it remains to be seen if Palermi keeps the form to prior to his injury. Roma fans saying he was amazing last year but the match he played since coming back he was really bad
  3. Not sure on this tbh. Cagey win
  4. Antonio Conte - Now Officially Manager

    Let me also end with the following: I don't think either Drinkwater or Bakayoko have enough to warrant starts for Chelsea, and neither of them based on what we see can elevate us to the top or maintain our top of the league. However, with Bakayoko, we can at least hold some hope that there's a scope for improvement, because he's still very young whereas Drinkwater is almost 28. Drinkwater has spent the entirety of his career in the English leagues whereas Bakayoko has only just moved. And hence I would rather continually play Bakayoko in the hope that he does improve and show us the qualities that he showed when he bossed Manchester City, rather than Drinkwater where he had a good season along with every other play in some freak season when otherwise we know he is a limited footballer with little scope for improvement. This also makes sense in the context that if Conte wants to assimilate Bakayoko it makes more sense to play him regularly than Drinkwater who was bought for depth. This all depends on how well Barkley does though. Hopefully he does enough to drive them both out
  5. Tiémoué Bakayoko

    Yeah, had a good few performances when he was dropped. Bossed the Man City game as well. We've failed to really make a similar kind of impact that we did in our title winning season and much of that is due to the lack of transition between the midfield and attack, lack of creativity, and reliance on certain players Only our defence looks good. Not really sure why we didn't go a multi dimensional player like Fabinho instead and keep RLC rather than Drinkwater. Weigl is a player I really like but I don't see him solving the transition issues that we currently have The issue is, now that we have Barkley does this lower any chance of signing anybody else? We'll have too many midfielders by the end of the season.
  6. Antonio Conte - Now Officially Manager

    Also, I find your logic towards Drinkwater contradicting. You're practically claiming Drinkwater had no significant on the Leicester team and he was a passenger, how is that no the same for Bakayoko? Who was probably one of Monaco's worst performers out of the whole bunch? Preface by saying if I cannot see anything henceforth that is not repeated or not worth replying to, then I won't reply. Let's start: You can pick out any game from Drinkwater and every criticism detailed in the reply above applies about him not having any sufficient qualities to make him good enough for the team. The Arsenal game was the example that showed that the his limitations the most, and I pointed out that it was just that, an example where both players were bad but Drinkwater was worse. I have not actually praised his performances instead of continually pointing out that Bakayoko has been poor for us but instead has qualities that can be worked upon based on what Conte has shown with players like Moses and even players like Kante (improving passing). Maybe it wasn't clear: Bakayoko was the least important player but it's obvious he did show quality and was a player for the future designed to learn from Matic rather than just being shown to replace him straight away: the argument initially was replying to Van B that Drinkwater was really good for us (which I disagreed with) and that Bakayoko has been just as poor, but at least has scope for improvement in his qualities. So this point really should be done that somehow I'm praising Bakayoko. It is clear, as mentioned, what Conte's intentions were, and that was what was argued Secondly, you should re-read what was pointed out: there was no implication of him being a passenger and not being good for the team, but instead to the rebuttal to his general abilities as a player through the Cleverley comparison that what he showed last year that his performances could be substituted by another player in King and Leicester would have still performed exceptionally, but replace any of the GK/Mahrez/Vardy/Kante and the differences would be far more obvious. I dismiss your claim as a platitude because you did very little to support your point and gave a substandard counter of 'you didn't watch this guys game'. I responded appropriately with a more detailed explanation on the importance of the players for Leicester's season. I can say that Drinkwater was Leicester's 5th most important player but 5th out of a team of 11 players and when then gap between him and the above is significant, then it's not really worth pointing out is it? Bakayoko was the 9th most important player but all the players before him were significantly better than what that Leicester side have. All you've done is now shown me a clip: which to me doesn't really suggest any suitable counter point other than showing a highlights video which can be done to show anything about a player, or showing stats which can be used to show that Lovren was a better CB than Terry a few seasons ago or that Herrera is a better midfielder than Kante. My hoofball comment is simply a microcosm of what his performances have become; his best attribute was his passing but since then was not repeated last season and is more like aimlessly passing it around the pitch and not knowing what he should be doing. The comment was made in relation to him being an average player like Cleverley by pointing out his lack of consistency elsewhere. I can just as well say that Cleverley was at least good enough to play under an Alex Ferguson United for 3 seasons, but his overall ability it just more suited to a lower tabe team like Watford or Everton. If we were to ask people to compare, then I can't really envisage people saying that Danny is a lot better. Both have had their good moments, perhaps Drinkwater more noticeably, but both average overall with limited abilities. For example, see here: https://www.foxestalk.co.uk/topic/110666-the-future-is-bright/?tab=comments#comment-4192418 https://www.foxestalk.co.uk/topic/108748-daniel-amartey/?page=54&tab=comments#comment-4574115 for somebody suggesting a similar thing. Yes, he was important in promotion and winning the league, but other than that he's nothing but average. Like you say, every player played their part last season, including Wes Morgan or Huth, but that doesn't reflect their natural ability or that they revert to normally performances after, which is what has been shown during his time at Chelsea. In fairness, looking at the previous season much of the team was sh*t (even Mahrez) but Mahrez showed his class once Ranieri was sacked as did some others, but Drinkwater was probably the most regressed throughout. You suggest I'm clutching at straws but all you've said there is 'no no athleticism does factor in', when I said 'athleticism doesn't just come into factor' (hence there's no attack for that comment) but that technical feats are important, so nothing I've said was wrong. You suggest a sarcastic punt at the athleticism comment which might be the case but it doesn't appear to be immediately obvious (nor reasonable), nor does it warrant a suggestion of 'aimlessly trying to win a point', more like an attempt to save face from your side. I would argue that Puyol's technical ability or Thiago Silva helped them far more out at 'keeping up with players' and intercepting passes than their athleticism would have. Obviously, looking at midfielders like Busquets and Martinez, they have both, and hence are have been some of the best in their position, but even then they're more reliant on their technical ability than physicality. Yes, and Drinkwater looked poor without Kante near him as well last season. Cleverley looked sh*t without Carrick near him. So it seems like there's not really any kind of contradiction with what has been said. All players aren't the best but need world class players like Kante to help them out. Actually we have, against the best teams in the league of Spurs and Manchester United. His inability to mark players isn't down to a lack of speed (maybe lateral quickness and being mentally quick, Kante is probably the quickest in our team laterally, probably quicker than Hazard in that sense) but if you let Baka just run down a line vertically he's pretty fast. Similar to Yaya Toure/Pogba I'd say in that once he gets going he's hard to stop, just lacks the end product to make it useful unlike what Toure had. That's what Baka needs to do Drinkwater like every other player on the Leicester team played out of their minds that season; only Mahrez/Kante/Vardy/Kasper have been shown to retain that, so that's regardless of him being a PL winner when many other performances have been average. This also explains why those players were all linked with bigger clubs whereas Drinkwater never was. And yes he's got a fair bit to go, no disagreement there. If Bakayoko doesn't work out, then that more likely means we see a replacement for him rather than Drinkwater coming in, because that's all he'll ever amount to. And yes, if we find out Bakayoko doesn't improve than Danny would have shown to be more useful - but how much of that we can attribute to Bakayoko not having a proper pre season (more beneficial for him than Danny) or having Matic help him out (like Conte wanted) we won't actually know. For example, how much can we attribute our poor season to Mourinho when he left the club compared to having little pre-season? It depends on how Barkley and RLC fits in as well, and I envisage he'd be slightly behind Bakayoko (maybe the same level) but ahead of Danny. At this point, we're going to end up with too many bit part players and not enough quality, which probably leaves Drinkwater to the less important part of Chelsea
  7. Antonio Conte - Now Officially Manager

    There's nothing in my comment that suggests a strong appraisal of Bakayoko's performance; I'm not sure how you can avoid me saying he's been really poor and that he was Monaco's least important player. Instead, my comment referred to both Drinkwater and Bakayoko being poor but Bakayoko being more athletic than he is which gives him the edge as a player for us, which isn't really controversial. The game against Arsenal was just an example and no, I disagree that Bakayoko was far worse -- the most obvious for me was Drinkwater I recommend you go on FoxesTalk or Reddit and ask or research for yourself on the importance of the players, because I'm not wasting my time with somebody who isn't really aware of the roles played and dishes out platitudes like 'You clearly didn't watch X team'. Nobody suggested that he didn't do an good or satisfactory job with Kanté but you take Drinkwater and put in Andy King and Leicester would've still shown dominance over many teams like they did then -- take Mahrez and replace him with somebody else and Vardy suddenly stops scoring so many goals. Take Vardy out and put Okazaki and Mahrez's passes go wayward or not followed through by the forward . Take Kanté out and replace him with Amartey and the midfield suddenly doesn't keep possession as well as they do, they get dominated in the middle and they don't form as many intricate passes as they would be able to with Kante's interception and readability Furthermore, your rebuke of the Cleverley comparison by mentioning his performances in that particular season is a total misfire. Let's not forget the fact that, regardless of his injury, he was very lethargic in his last season and was constantly just hoofing it up to his team and didn't do the same job as he could've done the previous season, even with somebody like N'didi who's shown some brilliance albeit inconsistent this season *(see below for an expansion on this). For the record, I was in Leicester a fair few times in 2016 so I caught a fair few games on the way! Marking players doesn't just come from athleticism, it comes from your technical ability in reading the game and anticipating what the opponent's next move would be, which Bakayoko has none of. The natural athleticism refers to him being able to be physical or sturdy when shielding the ball or holding onto the ball in midfield battles or having good fitness, something that was shown in a few glimpses in Monaco but wasn't really exemplified because of how good Fabinho was at doing his job, nor was it necessary. *(This relates to both the second and third quotes) . Bakayoko was never bad at Monaco but as I repeat was never the most important player, Drinkwater might've been important in Leicester's season but was far less important than the other players mentioned and played SIGNIFICANTLY (forget the caps.) less effectual this season and last for Leicester, whilst Kante Vardy and Mahrez weren't for their teams. Why? Well because they're much better than Drinkwater is, and played far more of a role in their win than he did. Drinkwater has no fill in qualities that Chelsea can use other than his passing (which wasn't really up to standard this season and isn't better than Fabregas so doesn't warrant him starting). Bakayoko has been poor but he's basically a baby compared to the rest of our squad and has qualities that can be worked on. He's got pace, can dribble with the ball and is very strong. His problem is that he holds onto the ball for too long (which you might have implied?) and because of that is dispossessed. He's also got poor lateral movement so you can play around him. However, if you get him going forward and improve his passing (like Conte has shown with some of his players) then he would be very useful. So to conclude, neither Bakayoko or Danny have high ability, both haven't performed to a top standard for a club like Chelsea but Bakayoko's physical prowess makes him more useful for Chelsea than Drinkwater which is why Conte bought Drinkwater to be a squad player, and Bakayoko to replace Nemanja. The intention is clear and it's obvious Bakayoko has more room for improvement than Drinkwater does
  8. Antonio Conte - Now Officially Manager

    Drinkwater has been anything but really good for us, what on earth? He's essentially a more experienced Tom Cleverley and was far behind the reason for Leicester's title success. Much of that was because of Vardy/ Mahrez Schmeichl and Kante. When he was playing against Arsenal he wasn't able to keep up with the pace at all and the game just passed him by. Bakayoko has been really poor but he has a natural raw athleticism that gives him the edge over Drinkwater in ability. That said, he was easily the least important player for Monaco last season and much of the midfield was run by Fabinho. You could even argue that their CBs were more important than him. Zappacosta? The fact that Torino/Juventus fans over on other forums said we overpaid for 25m says it all. Panic buy at end because we couldn't secure somebody else. Why we didn't go for Conti is a bit baffling because he was the exact same price and said that it's hard to not pay attention from big clubs. Granted he's injured now but that's an unfortunate training error not because he was injury prone. Regardless if Bakayoko was intended to play with Matic, if Matic didn't really find the idea appealing then maybe we should've looked at somebody older and with a skillset that's obvious -- not somebody who may or may not come good. Morata to be honest I'm a bit surprised. I didn't think his finishing would be this poor but I don't think it's bad recruitment -- him, Lukaku or Auba were the most obvious
  9. Following Our Nearest & Dearest Rivals, 2017/2018

    f**k off? They're destroying City and showing how it should be done.
  10. Eden Hazard

  11. Following Our Nearest & Dearest Rivals, 2017/2018

    Liverpool missed a top defender since their potency in attack is only behind City's but their ability to defend in set pieces and inability to read the forward movements let them down. This is an excellent signing and 75m is really a standard price these days. For the record, the money has always been there since their owners 'FSG' came into the fold, but didn't really have enough trust in the manager to offer those. Seems like Klopp has won their trust. Now according to their reliable journalists they'll be strongly monitoring Goreztka and Lemar, who would be pretty key especially if Coutinho would leave
  12. Riyad Mahrez

    Not really watched him play but some other folks on other football forums seem to rave about a guy called Malcom -- apparently MUFC want to bid 40m for him.
  13. Riyad Mahrez

    double post
  14. Following Our Nearest & Dearest Rivals, 2017/2018

    I remember in a controversial opinions thread it was controversial to suggest Pep is better than Mourinho (back when he was our manager) but this run is helping to cement that belief. This Man City is disgustingly good in particular when many of their best performing players aren't even in their prime (whilst many others are). Whilst our 2005/2006 sides were excellent, this team is straight up demolishing every team in their path, and they only games they've lost have been where they've played reserve teams. On track for 110 points at this rate which is down-right insane. Heck, even their weaker teams are doing well in the cup games. But players like Otamendi have somehow become fantastic passers, existing players like Aguero have raised their game in terms of their build up play and their ability to track back, Fernandinho has become even more versatile and players all round game in terms of their consistency and cohesion have improved dramatically (even Delph has for f**ks sake) This is when Stones has been injured for a while and ironed out a significant amount of his mistakes and a talent like Mendy is injured, leaving out options like Gundogan and co. Think only Ferguson with a stacked Manchester United team (like what Mourinho is attempting to do right now) would've been able to compete domestically; atm, I don't think any other team has the financial resources to match them other than Manchester United if we're taking FFP into account and the fact that Chelsea / Spurs are having to spend money on new stadiums.
  15. Chelsea's UCL credentials

    Chelsea will play Barcelona twice, Manchester United away and Manchester City away in the space of three weeks.