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About spadefx

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    On the Bench

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  1. Not much of anything that game. Avoided defeat, Giroud scored a peach, and the fringe players got some minutes. Benefits of clearing the group early, hopefully a valuable rest for the majority of our first team squad going into the weekend.
  2. Superb win. We found our stride second half, the first can be forgotten as a nervy story of containment. Luiz, Rudiger and Azpi were excellent, and Alonso was solid second half. The movement and energy levels from the front three was superb also, justified that selection entirely, we looked very dangerous on the break. Thought Kante and Jorginho grew into it after nervy starts, Kante in particular had a great 2nd half. Kovacic looked the most comfortable of the three first half, hopefully the injury's not too serious. But to be fair, Barkley and Loftus Cheek stepped up in what had to be a difficult game to join late, both very good alternatives for that role. Split between Azpi and Luiz for MOTM for this, both led the team so well. Delighted with this result, hopefully shakes off the dip in form, and reiginites the faith in this promising system we're growing into!
  3. We've been pretty difficult to break down, but have been lucky not to concede when the midfield have been caught in the possession. So tired of City's forwards getting a free pass to foul when pressing without cards. No punishment, and always their advantage - either we lose momentum with a free kick or they win the ball. Kante's goal was well taken, Pedro and Luiz excellent in the build up. Kovacic has been good too. Kante and Jorginho need to stop rushing/panicking on the ball. Hope we can see this out, we're set up well to be a threat on the break, and they'll have to commit to score. Hopefully see Emerson at some point too, before one of Alonso's mistakes costs us.
  4. On the Emerson/Alonso debate, the rotation should've happened sooner, but from the start today wasn't the right call. If Emerson had started, and flopped, he'd be slaughtered and we'd be dealing with two out of form/low confidence left backs. He'll be eased in for sure, as pointed out above he's been picked ahead of Zappa on the bench for the first league game in a long time. This could well be (an overdue) last start for Alonso for a while if he underperforms again.
  5. The front 3 makes sense, Giroud and Morata have offered next to nothing for weeks (arguably longer), but it's the lack of physicality that concerns me. No height anywhere outside of the back four, and while Kante & Kovacic are tenacious, they aren't all that imposing. We'll struggle to retain much in the air, but then that's usually the case with Morata anyway. It's a strong team with the ball on the ground, passing and movement should be good, and we're well set up to counter. Hope the selection pays off, hasn't worked often with the false 9, quietly optimistic.
  6. Absolutely no reason we can't get a result in this one. Man City aren't invincible, and they've rode their luck a fair bit in their last two games. Frustrating that Loftus Cheek and Pedro are probably our only two goal threats as of late, and the former isn't likely to start, but we're hardly playing terrible, just really lacking a cutting edge. We'll create chances for sure, and we're capable of limiting theirs. Can't see why it's all doom and gloom, we have a knack of finding a way as underdogs anyway. Hoping/optimistic for this to be a good weekend to get the league form back on track.
  7. It's been evident all season we're still a way off from playing the way we can in this system, it'll take time and personnel tweaks, so I can't jump on the disaster bandwagon. The threat offered from Giroud/Morata is almost completely nil right now, and that's going to hold us back every game. And while I do like how Jorginho operates in that deep lying role, our entire system in possession revolves around him. Tottenham stopped him last weekend, and Wolves comfortable dealt with Cesc tonight, so that's clearly a position that needs focus. Kante's annoyingly a problem too, as while he's absolutely one of the best defensive midfielders around, he's been really struggling with being pressed himself, and his possession losses have left us exposed without a, well... him..., behind to cover. Combine this with drops in the form of Hazard and Alonso (effectively removing any attacking threat down our left for the last few weeks) it's fairly understandable we aren't coasting to victory every weekend. On the plus side, Loftus Cheek was good again tonight, Christensen maybe less so but got much needed minutes, and we can hopefully take a lot of lessons learned into City at the weekend. Still think we're on the right track, even tonight it's a lot better than last season, we were bound to hit a blip in form so lets see us shake it off on Saturday with a huge win. KTBFFH!
  8. Wolves have looked good, and they've made it as difficult for us in possession as anyone has this season, they just lack the quality on the ball to punish us like Spurs did last weekend. Fabregas has been completely marked out of the game, and for me hasn't done enough to find space to influence. Great last ditch tackle from him, but you could argue it was his own poor positioning that meant it was needed. Wolves will tire, and the front three need to be alert to take the chance when it comes, as we might just need the 2nd to seal this. Would like to see more build up through Loftus Cheek too, mostly going through Kante/Willian so far. Hope we can see this one out with another goal or two and put us on the front foot for the weekend.
  9. spadefx

    Chelsea v Fulham (PL) Sun 2nd Dec 12:00 UK

    Exactly, Costa knew precisely what he was doing and how much he could get away with, there was a reason he very rarely saw a second yellow. Morata's have only ever been for petulance. We have two of the most likeable, selfless strikers in the league, but neither are natural goalscorers in the slightest, and it'll keep costing us.
  10. spadefx

    Chelsea v Fulham (PL) Sun 2nd Dec 12:00 UK

    If it wasn't for his injury, he might've been ahead of Barkley in the pecking order recently. Ironically it's Barkley's knock that's probably given him minutes today, and he's taken the opportunity.
  11. spadefx

    Chelsea v Fulham (PL) Sun 2nd Dec 12:00 UK

    So pleased for Loftus Cheek, great assist from Hazard. Our two players most comfortable in front of goal (by a frustrating margin) get the goals.
  12. spadefx

    Chelsea v Fulham (PL) Sun 2nd Dec 12:00 UK

    I can't say he's stood out as poor all season, but this and last weekend for sure. Don't see Emerson as a massive upgrade but on this evidence he should be given a chance.
  13. spadefx

    Chelsea v Fulham (PL) Sun 2nd Dec 12:00 UK

    Alonso has made Kamara look world class. He's looked so off the pace all day today.
  14. Agree that Hudson Odoi absolutely delivered last night, but the selections up to this point have been fairly understandable. We're still only a few months into playing this new system, and we looked very raw in the opening Europa League games, even with relatively strong XI's. We have a big pool of players to choose from, and naturally the more experienced 'fringe' players would be given their opportunities first. Barkley broke into the league lineup from these games, Loftus Cheek is pushing too, and so long as Sarri sees the obvious progression from and gives more opportunities to the likes of Christensen and CHO off the back of these games then I think its pretty much been spot on. Can't agree with piss poor group either, every team's given us problems, particularly away from home. These are teams full of international players, maybe not British household names but the top level physicality and organisation was there to see, even if there was a technical gap in quality. Won the group, not dropped a point, and almost the full squad had some part to play. Obviously not the European competition we want to be in but I'd say Sarri's made the most of it, it's been a good set of Thursday nights.
  15. Glad we won tonight, but thought Derby were particularly good, and with better composure in front of goal both ends that could've been 5-5. Our second string defence performed like one, and I don't think any of the 4 will elbow their way up the pecking order on that evidence. Thought the midfield was good under the high press, but we did miss the more direct threat Hazard, Pedro and recently Barkley show. And Morata still hesitating in and around the box, which is incredibly frustrating given his positioning (and midfield service) was really good tonight. More food for thought than positives I reckon, but happy with another win.