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  1. i agree. kante runs around a lot because he's the best runner ever seen on a football pitch. it works more often that not (because kante is a bonafide freak), but if kante fails to break up play, he has left an acre of space behind him. you cannot have both of your midfield players do that (and we only play with 2 central midfield players, so...). matic makes up for his lack of leg speed by clogging up passing lanes through the middle of the pitch with his ichabod legs and positioning himself very well to take the first sting out of oppositions counter attack. the difference in how we stopped counter attacks against spuds and how they did it was striking (we were never really in danger, where as spuds didn't seem to know what to do when countered on), and matic is very good at clogging up the dangerous areas the opposing team will counter in. you could talk football tactics until you're blue in the face, but with that being said, it is pretty simple for me. 1) conte has showed to be ruthless enough to drop vaning regulars/'favorites' (oscar, terry, ivanovic, i would add fabregas as well) 2) we are in contention and probably favorites for the double so knowing that 1) conte has dropped previous 'undroppables' (ie. not scared of dropping players he thinks doesn't do a job) and 2) we are looking to have one of our best seasons ever after one of our worst in 20-25 years, the proof really is in the pudding. matic must be doing something correct in contes mind or else he would have been dropped, and conte probably deserves the benefit of the doubt.
  2. this is the one, absolutely. whilst i don't think we'll get him (reckon real are favorites, as the always are), if we at least don't try i'll be pretty disappointed. twice in a row he's been the best player on the pitch in the quarter finals of the champions league (at 19!!!), arguably four games in a row if you count the city game. never have i ever seen a faster player, and he manages to bring the ball with him, holding it up if thats required. the qualities mbappe brings to the table is what's going to win trophies in the future, raw pace and power. i really don't think the premier league defenders are equipped to deal with an athlete-football crossover like mbappe, and he already thrashes europe, so please, at least give it a go and try to get the guy!
  3. i rate the most important positions as: 1a) striker 1b) goalie 3) central midfield players 4) offensive creators 5) the mid centre back in a back 3 6) wingbacks 7) the outside centre backs out of these, 1a), 3) and 6) should imo be top priority for the summer. 1) a striker who can a) finish well and b) create his own shot (to ease our hazard dependency). lukaku seems to be the best bet for me. (belotti, mbappe, morata, sanchez, aubameyang) 2) a midfield player with both engine, leg speed and passing ability. i really like naby keita from leipzig. (kessie, fabinho, bakayoko, nainggolan) 3) a left (wing) back to cover and challenge alonso (who i think is fantastic in the epl, but fear might get exposed to the more uptempo cl). mendy seems to fit the bill, not too familiar with other left backs unfortunately. if we manage to secure these three key positions, we can start to fill out our squad even more. we also have very interesting players coming back from loan. i would expect conte to seriously look at christensen (who i think is a star and super star in the making) and abraham to at least get a look.
  4. 1. you said that matic is poor under pressure, i countered you with objective stats to show that that might not be true. 2. you then said that these stats doesn't matter, that the only stats that matters is goals, assists and clean sheets. 3. when your trifecta of stats inconveniently are used against you, you imply that i'm the one trying to cherrypick stats. 4. you then finish off by getting angry and reverts back to your tried and "true" opinion. shall we rinse and repeat?
  5. do you agree that matic has been a part in our best run of games ever as a football club? do you agree that matic is our second best passer/creator since he has 6 assists, more than anyone except for fabregas who also has 6? because if you want to argue this way, the constant criticism against matic becomes even less factual/nuanced and more based on perception and assumption.
  6. i don't think this is true and i'm guessing it's because matic' long legs makes him seem clumsier than he is. over the whole season, matic is dispossesed once every game on an average. kante, for example, is disposessed 0,9 times, so theres not a lot in that statistic. as for passing percentage, matic hits his passes with an accuracy of 87,9%, with many of these in a forward direction (difficult passes). kante hits them at a percentage of 87,7% (still very good), but doesn't try to penetrate the opposition nearly as often as matic does (conte even said he hits too many vertical passes). if you want to look at our games against the two hardest pressing teams in the league, spurs and liverpool, then the stats continue to disprove the notion than matic is poor on the ball relative to our other players. against liverpool, matic passes with an accuracy of 80%, the highest on our team that day. kante passes with an "accuracy" of 67,5%. the same game matic is dispossesed 1 time, where as kante is dispossesed 3 times. against spurs, matic has a passing accuracy of 94,9%, again the highest on our team for that day, whilst kante passes with an accuracy of 76,7%. in this game matic is dispossesed 1 time, kante 4 times. both against liverpool and spurs the statistics show that kante lost the ball far far more frequently than matic in the games against the two hardest running teams in the league.
  7. if we don't count liverpool and arsenal into this equation, which i believe we shouldn't for obvious reasons, i don't really agree with this. we were dominant over 90 minutes against both spuds and united at home, and being on the ropes against a city side away isn't that much of a shame imo. when city field one of the most attacking line ups in premier league history you're bound to have chances against you. yesterdays game was always going to be them pressing and us defending imo, and even though we were outnumbered, mostly in midfield, they created very, very little. had we not made two huge similar individual mistakes in defence, the game would have been a mourinho vintage performance away from home.
  8. i think this is an over reaction. not just because conte has had only half a season to work, but also because i really didn't think yesterdays game was as one sided as it is presented on this forum. both hazard and costa had great chances in the 1st half before spuds even got a sniff and had the opportunity to level it after half time. nothing affects a game more than goals and when they put away their two chances and we fail to capitalize on ours the nature of the game is the way it is. that is not to say that i don't think we can strengthen both our first XI and our squad! i think 3-4-3 is just a stepping stone towards 3-5-2, which in theory should be much more solid (due to modern footballs penchant for central play) and as good offensively (especially if you have two goal threatening midfield players). i think the rumored bakayoko, nainggolan and kessie is an indication as to where conte wants this team.
  9. he started out as a defender but has gradually been moved up the pitch due to his fantastic fitness levels and penchant for getting into good goal scoring positions and finishing them off. whether or not kessie will come (or will be good enough), i think he's the sort of player profile we should be looking for. the level of athleticism top flight football is demanding is increasing and will only increase, and kessie is definitely in this mould.
  10. i think scholes is one of the worst pundits out there, but he made an interesting point about how different playing styles can make for different seasons. scholes made the point that liverpool, although extremely solid looking as of now, plays with an intensity rarely seen (gegenpress and all that). he then made the point that spurs play similarly, but ended up knackered in march-april last year. klopps philosophy might work in germany with their winter break, but he doesn't have that luxury in england. city focuses more on possession, but play the same intensive pressing game. i don't think we are as dependent on winning the ball back as fast as the other contenders. i think we are the team best equipped to sit back and soak up pressure (a lot of it down to our formation) and playing purely a counter attacking style if needed, and i also think conte is the most cynical manager out of the top 5-6 candidates (at least certainly more than klopp and guardiola). i thought this was an interesting angle to look at things from.
  11. hazard scored the first, and most important, goal pretty much all by himself. he then made a turn that turned into lots of space and an inch perfect pass to pedro for the second. he hit the corner that matic flicked on for costas goal. the fourth, although flawless from our team (23 moves) and pedro, was far from scored when hazard recieved the ball. to top it off he was the one that forced stekelenburg to save, only for pedro to tap in the fifth. don't care how anyone else has impacted the game, when you're directly involved in all our five goals you are the motm. nothing affects the game as much as goals.
  12. surely conte would have seen a potential wing back in rahman when he saw one in moses... ...
  13. maybe the team plays well when and because matic plays well.
  14. i think that fabregas is somewhat, if not completely, done at the top level just like rooney is. i think that his legs are simply not the up to that of the demands of professional sport, especially the midfield role. defensively, since he can't run, he can't close down oppo players fast enough and he can't track runners coming from deep from the opposing team. offensively, since he can't run, he can't dribble the ball without running the severe risk of losing it and he can't make runs fast or often enough to create space for his team mates (or himself if teams close him down well enough). couple this with his lack of defensive discipline (which is natural since he's never had to defend in his career before), you get a stationary one dimensional player who's only use is if he has a force field shielding him so he can spray passes (which only really happens if he's a super sub and the oppo team has parked the bus and/or has had a man sent off). however, if you were to shoehorn fabregas in to the team, i think the only position he can play is that deep pirlo-role (he's not even half as good imo, but ok) with two extremely strong runners and tacklers in front of him. that way he could rely more on positioning (which i unfortunately don't think he has) while defending. fabregas has had a long career, playing professional football since 17 years old. he has always struggled with inconsistancy, a testament to his lack of natural athleticism imo (because his technique hasn't gone away after christmas every season he's played). i think the niggling injuries he has had has finally caught up with him, making him not fit for how football is played in 2016.
  15. this is probably somewhat controversial to have as an opinion on here, but i'll try. to start off, neither cahill nor ivanovic should play at any top club. their pace and technique severely hinders our ability to play further up the pitch and our ball retention capabilities. a) we cannot press high up the pitch like every top european team does and should do and b) we cannot trust our defenders to play out from the back. this means a low line, winning the ball far away from the oppositions goal and endless hoofing of balls up the pitch (or losing the ball to opposing players in dangerous areas). in midfield a problem is that our best passer can't run and doesn't know how to defend for toffee (because he's never done it). i mean can't literally run, he's the worst athlete on a football pitch i've seen in my life. there's a reason why pirlo and xavi, both twice as good as fabregas in that deep lying role, got shafted from juve and barca, they just couldn't keep up anymore. fab has played professional football for 13 years already, he's for me finished as a top player for a top winning side like rooney is for united. the legs are simply gone for the demands of professional sport in 2016. as for our offense, i strongly suggest that conte start looking towards playing two up front. costa doesn't have the patience or discipline to lead the line alone for my liking. if he gets a goal early then he's on, but if not he'll start drifting to the wings, not being a focal point for the team. having him play off of someone, whether this is hazard as a supporting striker or playing batshuayi as a battering ram would do costa and our team a world of good in my opinion. looking at the pure attacking options of every other top team, it's way beyond what we have. maybe not in pure ability, i rate costa, hazard and willian highly in terms of pure talent, but they seem to lack cohesion, discipline and intelligence from what i've seen. i have covered costa in the paragraph above, but hazard and willian are equally frustrating for me. they just don't run, or at least make smart runs, off the ball. you never see them make intelligent runs behind the lines, they are always looking for the ball in their feet. to cover the best team in england atm, sterling, kdb, silva and sane/nolito all make great runs in behind. this stretches our the oppositions teams, making more room to play that decisive pass we seem to lack. there are a lot of problems but at least this is my point of view on things. the transitional period we should have had a long time ago must finally be done, but i think that we have one of the best men for the job (but hey, only time will tell).