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Tony Tone

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About Tony Tone

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    Football and, well, Footy

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  1. Doesn’t sound good for Kovacic unfortunately. Gilmour will seemingly play. RLC got the full 90 mins with the U23s Tuesday so may start if we are struggling for numbers I expect but imagine Frank wants to give him a bit more time. 60 mins perhaps? I prefer Mount in the wide left position rather than centre mid but beggars can’t be choosers...
  2. Excellent result! My quick thoughts: - Barkley a frustrating talent. Clearly has skill / talent, but too often makes the wrong decision for me. This performance summed him up perfectly, sublime moments surrounded by a a lack of vision and some poor decisions in critical areas - Gilmour was immense. Not only on the ball, but his directing of play. He is vocal, shows no fear and was a breath of fresh air. Have a lot of hope for him becoming a star. Hope he sees a bit more game time through the run in. Thought we looked a bit exposed with him, Mount and Barkley in CM but the Willian injury and Jorginho coming on, Mount moving to the left 'wing' seemed to fix that. - Kepa deserves a recall. Big Willy hasnt exactly set the world alight or changed any of the underlying stats. Kepa's ceiling is higher and he did everything right last night. - Giroud. Not much more I can say. He helps us relieve some of the pressure through his hold up play, heading etc. As we don't keep possession well when in front, we need someone like him. His link up play and general effort was also excellent. Miles ahead of Bat Man for me (I like Michy and want him to do well but...) - Alonso our best left sided option. Was solid defensively (can't always say that) and useful in attack. The extra dimension going forward when we sometimes lack a solution makes up for the defensive weaknesses in my view. At points during the game, I was still worried about a few things, particularly our ability to maintain possession and look solid. Shape wasnt too bad and we seemed more disciplined, but still looks quite open to me at times. Also, we played out the back horrendously. Take nothing away - great result. Lets hope the draw is kind....Que sera sera....
  3. I’m going to keep it brief as I would like to consign that one to a dusty forgotten cupboard in my brain. Firstly, it wasn’t much better than watching us under the bad days of Sarri - at least we had Hazard then. The lack of cutting edge is painful. I’ll probably get pelters but I would like to see Alonso back for the options he gives us going forward - it’s not like Azpi is a great left back anyway. Feels like too much loyalty to the captain... Giroud showed why we should trust him more as a second option to Tammy. Not just the goal/no goal, but also just making a nuisance of himself and linking play. The ball comes back way too quickly when sometimes we just need to control things and he helps us do that in my opinion. Looks like I’m harping back to 2018, I know, but we need to try something different in my opinion. Look like a bunch of headless chickens sometimes and it showed today. Time for Super Frank to show us what he’s got...
  4. What a frustrating, gut wrenching match. I just didn’t see us losing it, but nevertheless it’s a bit of the same old story. Struggle to break teams down, changes come too late, fragile at back (particularly in goal in my opinion). I’m also getting the feeling that Lamps banging on about us not being clinical enough is becoming a bit of a self fulfilling prophesy with our players. Many are young and I just don’t think him constantly banging on about it, to ensure he gets backing from the board, is helping confidence amongst the group. Kepa is a massive issue for me - I just don’t see him saving us points. He’s fragile and whilst he might make a good save every now and again, I struggle to see how he elevates the team in any way. We’ve invested a lot in him so I don’t see the club making a change but it’s clear Frank isn’t happy with him either. We are a bit stuck here. It’s not all bad and we have to remember we’ll have games like this with an inexperienced squad of players, but there are some things we are consistently seeing that would need to see addressed. We can’t give the team/coaches a pass forever but need to be patient.
  5. Agree with most of the comments about a lack of ideas in key creative positions, CHO’s lack of cutting edge, inability to break teams down at home etc. Today felt like a total and utter mess. Stadium wasn’t really buzzing, frustration from early on and performance was much the same. No patience on ball and just didn’t create anything. I was baffled by team selection. Alonso was excellent on Sunday - he should have been given another game against a team that would need breaking down as he gives us quality options in attack and Stuart Armstrong / Che Adams / anyone in the Saints attack should be easily handled, even with his defensive frailties. We can’t unlock teams at home and recent stats are a serious concern for me (West Ham, Bournemouth, Southampton - no points, no goals scored). I suppose there is work to be done and we knew that from the beginning, but the shape of results earlier in the season had me excited that we might have been further ahead than we were. Looking like that’s not the case but hopefully we can fix this worrying patch. Not all about signing players though. We have quality but need to get the selection and tactics right to utilise what we have. As others have said, Lamps gets a pass for now - he says the right things and is very aware, let’s just hope we make (and see) positive change
  6. Agree we should play a strong team, but hard to know what that is right now as we have good options in a bunch of positions. Think there is value in some rotation to keep things fresh. Would like to see James come in, Emerson to get game time, maybe a rotation at striker although I think Abraham needs a goal after 3 games without one. Rotation at centre back feels like we don't lose anything. Apart from that, would keep centre mid strong as that is what makes us tick. Looking forward to this one!
  7. We have to be happy going away to Burnley and winning comprehensively. Thought we looked very good in all phases, even when they put us under a bit of pressure in first half. We looked more solid than we have done. Some glass half empty observations (sorry to be a bit negative): - We still give up clear cut opportunities defensively. It will happen with younger players, but its not like they were great moves by Burnley. Still lots of room for improvement re defensive solidity. Rudiger and Kante, if we ever see them again, will help. - Pulisic did will in broken play and had a bit of fortune with the goals, but didn't feel he deserved all the hype he got. Still feels a bit scattergun, but he is young and is showing promise. - VAR is a ever increasing pain for me. Seems they set the bar so high for some decisions and incredibly low for others. Need to iron this out quickly. - Wonder whether Frank could be making changes earlier in the game to freshen things up. Seem to be quite late to me - when comfortable at 3 up, would have liked to see Giroud sooner for example. In general, really happy with what we have seen in recent weeks. Arguably we should be beating all these teams anyway and we'll have harder runs of fixtures in the coming months, but we've done what we had to (and looked good at it).
  8. From the press conference: Rudiger out, Christensen trained today and should be ok, Giroud over his bug. Expect Lampard will go back to his preferred 4 at the back. Not my first choice team but what I expect to see: Kepa, Azpi, Tomori, Christensen, Alonso, Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic, Willian, Mount, Abraham
  9. At risk of repeating everyone elses comments, I was very happy with last night. Quick thoughts from me: - Reece James is the REAL DEAL. He will be our starting right back soon enough. Looked like a man against boys out there. - Billy Gilmour - loved what I saw. Always wanting possession, vocal in midfield telling others what to do and where to move (including Barkley) and dictated the play. Classy. We did think the same with Mceachran at one point though but perhaps the game today is more suited to that type of player and think Billy offers a bit more to the team. - CHO was a bit rusty but he never gave up and is clearly a fiery competitor. Loved his passion and so pleased he got his goal. Showed flashes. The only way is up. - Anjorin and Maatsen looked tidy, Anjorin in particular, especially given his size. Exciting for the future. Hopefully the club start to see the blueprint for getting these boys into our first team in the next few years. - Guehi was as advertised. Never really troubled and looked assured. Happy to have that depth there. - Experienced campaigners did well. Showed fight, passion etc. all the things we expect to see, even against lower opposition. - Pulisic is a worry for me. Was invisible in the second half and i'm struggling to see what he offers. A bit of pace, but what else? Looked short on confidence and ideas. Need to give him time clearly. but I didn't see any reason for the hype. - We need to play with a 10. Pedro in that role offered very little and kept drifting so we had too big a gap between midfield and attack down the middle. Grimsby let us come onto them so wasn't too much of an issue, but against teams that press, we need a link between the central midfielders and the striker that isn't just out on the wings. - Disappointed we conceded and did fall asleep at a few set pieces again. We need to fix that - the biggest worry for me continues to be the defense. All in all, a feel good evening in many aspects. Hopefully monkey off the back at home and we dispose of Brighton with confidence at the weekend. UTC!
  10. It wasn't that bad last night was it? I thought we played ok and put quite a lot of pressure on them, albeit in short spells (end of first half, beginning of second in particular). I do think we missed a link between midfield and attack when Mount went off. I would have thought Barkley over Pedro for that early sub might have made the difference. At the very least bring some midfield creativity on early in the second half - felt obvious to me. Valencia are nothing special, neither are Lille by the looks of things. We got caught sleeping at a set piece, but were warned as fell asleep at one of their corners earlier in the half. We can still make it out of this group based on quality, but we know playing in Europe takes some adjustment. Many good teams have struggled - think Man City in their first few years. Our inexperience, not lack of quality, is the only risk for me.
  11. Lampard has said he wants to maintain momentum and balance that with rotation. Think what you have proposed does that - some extra experience for Champions League is a must for me. Pulisic could be any one of a number of players in my team, potentially Barkley.
  12. Cracking result and, at least for me, pretty unexpected. I really like us in a 3-4-3 / 3-4-2-1 formation. I think it makes the most of the players we have at our disposal and limits the exposure to our weaknesses. I appreciate I'll be one of the minority, but I prefer Alonso>Emerson, especially in this formation. Offers more going forward and not that much worse of a defender in my opinion (will get shot down for that!). Not sure we'll stick with it though as Lamps talked specifically about adapting to Wolves, but we'll see. Nice balance of fixtures in next few games to (CL, League Cup, Liv) to see how this plays out but its given me room for even more optimism.
  13. I was sat with my boy in the 'family' area. Sheff Utd fans sounded pretty loud from there....thought they had a decent turn out. I normally sit MHL and amazing to hear how the chants from MH don't really travel to the other end of the ground unless very loud or the whole ground gets involved.
  14. Second half has left me so angry - having to sit through it, see and hear the momentum changing and yet no reaction from our team. We let them come onto us and couldn’t string two passes together apart from across the back four. We need more composure and understand when we need to take the sting out of the game. Appreciate that we have a young squad, but against lesser players, we should be easily seeing them off through 45 mins of football. And unexplainable substitutions in my view. Not going to go into all the subs, but quite how Pulisic stayed on for 90 mins is a mystery to me. Still 100% behind the boys but even in a transitional season, it’s got to be better than that.
  15. Agree entirely. Think we are seeing more from many of our midfielders, including Kovacic, which is encouraging. Lampard effect perhaps? Think and hope there is more to come from him

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