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Ready Player One

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About Ready Player One

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  1. I thought he was really poor in this game (although TBF, he's not the only one, and I'm not looking to single him out or slate him above others), but I don't think that's his fault. I think the problem with Ruben is that he looks like a physical beast, but he's not that player at all. He is class on the ball. Absolute class. That's his game. Elegant, stylish, great touch. He can explode past players in little bursts, but he isn't a 90 mins grafter who can (or should) chase opposition attackers around the pitch. He's a strolling ballplayer. Nothing wrong with that either, if you have the talent he has (and when he's had the chance this season to show how talented he is in attacking positions, he's taken it. No-one can doubt that any more IMO). If we want to use him deep, play him in the Jorginho role. It would be a waste of his talent, but not as much as asking him to bomb up and down the pitch for 90 mins, tracking midfield runs, then making his own. It's like having a Ferrari and using it as a tractor. Personally, I want to see him as a No.10. Leave him up the pitch. He can make a difference; score goals, make goals, use his outstanding skill level to terrorise defences. We should be asking opposition players if they can live with him, not forcing him to deal with them. I think Conte had him right, and he's an attacking player, not a traditional mid (although Conte didn't have a position for him in that kind of role either, but that's more about Conte's systems than him IMO). I don't want to see him chasing around the pitch forlornly, looking knackered, and getting outmuscled by midgets. He has it in him to be the English Zidane, but it seems like he's expected to be the English Viera, because it's England and he's English and that's what's "expected". "You gotta work hard, smash into tackles, run all day, be like Henderson and Milner, good English pros". I love a good hard-working pro as much as anyone, but that's never going to be RLC. He has other, much rarer, gifts. TBH if he's going to be given the role he had in this game, we may as well play Barkley. He's nowhere near RLC in terms of talent, but he can run for 90 mins.
  2. There is a theory that football is a "weak link" game, in that your worst player costs you more often than your best player benefits you (as opposed to basketball which is a "strong link" game, your best player is more important than whether his team-mates are bobbins or not, because he will score sh*t tons regardless). It came from the book "The Numbers Game", which had good stuff and bad stuff, but this was a good theory I think. In this context, I think the amount that Roman has invested in the youth team doesn't actually benefit our youth prospects. If you have a team full of players who are fixing to be good solid championship pros (but are never likely to make it at our level), they will beat most teams who have one or two potential top talents who will go on to be Prem (or equivalent) stars, but also a handful of players who will never make it as pros at all. The amount they have won is meaningless, as it's not because they're truly the elite at that level. It's because our worst player at that level is leagues better than everyone else's worst player, because we likely spent a (relative) ton of money on buying him from the a Danish youth team or whatever. Because of that, I've been pretty cold on youth players breaking through in general. Your record in youth football here is pretty meaningless, because of the way we do it. I will say that CHO and Christensen look a different level to pretty much every other player we've had coming through the youth system in the last decade and a half though; based on their appearances in the first team. But, I still get why managers aren't as trusting of youth here, as it's really hard to tell who's a CHO and who's a Musonda/Kakuta/So on without actually putting them in the first team.
  3. I also thought he was excellent against Spurs. And I thought Emerson was very good against City. And Azpilicueta was very good in both games. The benefit to the FBs of playing slightly more defensively and actually giving them some cover is the main difference tho, rather than them magically becoming better players. The constant pressing regardless of situation wasn't working, and was exposing our defence. the idea that they need help isn't a knock on any of them. It's a team game. All of these guys can look like good players in the right system, and all of them will get slaughtered if we leave them constantly exposed. I'm glad Sarri has adapted a little bit, because he needed to. What we were doing was making the whole team look worse than it is. Right now, it's two good performances on the spin, against two very good teams.
  4. TBH a lot of the frustration with Sarri seems to be that he doesn't change things when things are going badly. The like for like FB swap in a couple of recent defeats in particular has been a bit cringe. I think he'd get more support from the matchday fans if he at least tried something different, whether it worked or not. We can see it's not working. He must be able to see it's not working. Everyone can see it's not working. Why keep doing it? Change things up for 20 mins. I think that's what the "f*ck Sarriball" chants were about. We're getting beat by Utd. Planning for next season be bollocksed. Do something to get us back in the game. Don't fiddle about with the fullbacks.
  5. I can't talk about all of the 29 cases, but the Bertrand case, we are bang to rights, and it's amazing we thought we could get away with that.
  6. i worry about him, not because he's a bad player (which he isn't IMO, regardless of his relative struggles), but because he doesn't seem to gel with Kante, and "Getting the best out of Kante" will be one of the things the next fella says at his first press conference.
  7. Emery's Arsenal are in pretty much the exact same position as us, but no-one is talking about sacking him. We created this high pressure environment for managers, this culture of "player power", and it's not going to change unless we choose to change it. The scenario will be exactly the same for the next guy. Whoever that is. We're dumping girlfriends the first time we see a wrinkle, or grey hair, and wondering why we don't have long term relationships. And no manager who genuinely wants a long term project would touch us with a barge pole, because everyone looking at us knows we're not a long term project. We're a whirlwind romance, but one that could get you a few trophies on a CV and a big payoff when it ends. And that's what managers want from us. The thing is, I don't think we want to change it. I think we do very well out of what we do, and we use that to justify it. But don't expect things like "this manager is the one it will be different for, we'll give him time, he'll overhaul the squad, and integrate the youth". It's not going to happen.
  8. United fans were saying the same thing before Solksjaer took over! New manager bounces are a thing. We've done pretty well off them too. If your board genuinely think of them as a tactic on the sport side, you're setting yourself up for a lot of boom and bust. I don't doubt that someone could come in, play more conservatively and go on a run, probably get us top 4. But then the next season you've got the same pressures as the last and the board will do the same the next time things go tits up. So you don't gamble on youth players you've never seen play, cos every loss is one step closer to you being axed for the next bounce. The players who've been there and done that will get the nod on rep alone. No manager who knows they are a bad 10 game run from the sack even if they won the CL or League a few months before is playing unknown quantities. And it creates an atmosphere where those core players can "stop playing for the manager" cos the manager is expendable and they are untouchable, and every set-back just ramps up the pressure on the manager because the club absolutely will sack you for the short term fix. We set that in stone years ago. It's not right or wrong TBF. Like I say, we've done well out of it. But it's boom and bust. One thing it is though, is depressing to watch over and over. Someone asks you if you're excited about your new manager, and you say "yeah, but he'll be gone by christmas". And it's only half joking. But hey. There's been great times too. Never thought I'd see us win what we have. Never thought we'd have this many cup finals and crunch games. Even now, trip to Wembley coming up. Big game. Cup final. Can't ask for much more than that as a fan. Que sera sera.
  9. Pressing is really hard TBF. It's hard work. It's difficult to get right against players who are good on the ball and who pass quickly. Sarri knows that, and we actually invite the press ourselves, just like City did today. We drop deep, split the CBs, knock the ball about one touch at the back. We want teams to press us, because it leaves more space for us further up the pitch. If pressing always worked, our tactics wouldn't work. Also, two of our front 3 are Hazard and Higuain, and we're asking those guys to press from the front like they're Shane Long? Against City? That's, at the very least, risky. It played into City's hands, and I don't blame the players. At the same time, if this is what Sarri wants to do, no ifs ands or buts, then from his perspective he may as well do it regardless of whether it works in the short term, and wait for us to give him the right players to compete with City on those terms. The question is whether he'll be here long enough for that wait to pay off. I suspect not.
  10. I'm a huge fan of Kante, but today he was arguably our worst player IMO. I don't think he should escape criticism, even if the criticism I could aim most at him was that he was doing what the manager told him. We needed him in front of the defence, not forlornly chasing CBs and getting easily by-passed. In terms of this thread, the FBs were poor too, but again, they were completely exposed. Still, those who want Alonso dropped for Emerson are getting their wish. That sub was Sarri publicly dropping Alonso. There was no other reason for it. I think we're reaching that point where there is going to be "palpable discord" again.
  11. I think the "fast-paced" part of that has gone missing. It was great when we did it. Maybe the players lost faith in it. I don't know. But it's slow passing and not much moving right now.
  12. TBF, I agree with this. So rather than get into a conversation that is casting wistful glances at oppo FBs, I'll compare him to Ivanovic. Good player, got important goals, added height to the side (and right now, we are a very small side), but lacked a yard of pace and got caught out sometimes because of it. We could upgrade, sure, but he's good enough, and managers aren't generally breaking the bank for FBs (Conte and anyone with a blank chequebook excepted) so we should probably get used to him. Especially as he is on £150k a week or whatever. Even if we wanted rid, I have no idea who would match those wages.
  13. For the very best players in the world, that is exactly what it is.

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