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About DaRick

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    Brisbane, QLD, Australia

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  1. FTR, non-US residents won't be able to view this without a VPN.
  2. If there's one word that comes to mind when describing Pedro's time here, it would be 'spectacular'. Spectacular goals at spectacular moments, allied with a spectacular work rate. From his performance on debut, to his absolute pearlers at crucial moments in 2016/17 against Tottenham and Everton, Pedro always did have a flair for the spectacular. Even when things weren't working for him, or even when he was shoved into a formation that didn't suit his abilities (Conte's 3-5-2), he always gave it 100% on the pitch. When things were working for him, Pedro could combine well, especially with Hazard and Costa, and find space as he weaved into the box (mostly from the right), before unleashing a shot at goal in his uniquely two-footed style. So let us wish for Pedro to have more spectacular moments at Roma, while remembering his spectacular 2016/17.
  3. He's been up there with our best players since the restart, but I reckon there are a few reasons why: 1) His tendency to perform in vital moments (cup finals/crunch games) 2) His tendency to go on hot streaks and score in clumps - partially due to his nature as a target man but I think also due to fluctuating confidence levels 3) The nature of the defences he's been up against (teams tend to sit back against us because they expect to exploit our problems finishing before picking us off on the counter - if there's anything that Giroud thrives against, it's a deep defence due to his target-man qualities) 4) Pulisic has been extremely dangerous since the restart, forcing the opposition to man-mark him, which in turn allows Giroud more space (which he really needs because of his lack of pace). Wolves marking Pulisic made him less effective, but it allowed Giroud to wrap the game up.
  4. You're right; it's no big deal at the end of the day, but what sort of keeper do you think he was? Certainly not a Courtois-style shot-stopper? I certainly never said that he was equivalent in ability to Neuer, more that his style approximated his far more than it did a traditional shot-stopper. I don't think him misplacing passes ala Joe Hart has been much of a factor in his decline. Complaints have (rightly) abounded RE his concentration/positioning/frailty/command of the box, but not necessarily his passing.
  5. Last season he was generally considered by this forum to be adequate at worst. He was certainly good at passing and coming off his line to make Neuer-like saves. The passing ability still remains, but there are three problems: 1) his positioning has deteriorated, so he's being beaten by long shots that he would not have necessarily been beaten by last season, 2) his loss of confidence has made him second-guess himself so he's lost that Neuer-like ability to act as a sweeper keeper by instinctively coming off his line and 3) his lack of wrist strength means that he parries balls near where opposition players are. It hasn't worked out and he needs to replaced for his own good as much as ours, but there's a bit of revisionism on this forum regarding his performances while at this club. He was nowhere near this bad last season.
  6. Yeah, move over SAF, Ole is where it's at. Finishing 3rd with 66 whole points! Stuff of legends, I tells ya! 🤪
  7. Brilliant stuff Frank. I have to concede that I was pessimistic about his ability to achieve Top 4 given the array of factors that were against him: 1) players dropping like flies, 2) limited managerial experience and 3) what was effectively a two-window transfer ban. But I should have realised that this is Frank Lampard. A man with such unparalleled reserves of determination and intelligence that he silenced the knockers who thought he wouldn't amount to much as a player when he was back at West Ham by becoming a PL legend. If he could do so as a player, he could easily do so as a manager, and so he has. Sums up the man really.
  8. Incidentally, I had some furniture delivered to my house over a week ago and the delivery man happened to be from Leeds. He was very effusive about Bielsa and he was confident that Leeds were going to be promoted. Apparently he had been a season ticket holder at Leeds for 25 years. He seemed pretty positive about Chelsea's prospects going forward, too.
  9. Unfortunately, with respect to the American posters here, many Americans really are that ignorant and blindly patriotic. A few observations about Pulisic: - He does cut inside at times, but he then tends to drift outside and attack from the left (sometimes he does switch wings though). By doing this, he either acts as a dummy runner (drawing defenders onto him), or leaves defenders out of position so he is free to run into the box. - Speaking of running into the box, he is certainly far more direct than Hazard. Hazard is obviously a Chelsea legend and still superior on paper, but one thing Hazard was criticised for at times (not necessarily by yours truly) was being a little too unselfish, namely by passing the ball to a teammate when maybe he should have made a bombing run into the box. - Pulisic is the opposite. While he does have the vision to pass the ball to teammates at times (leading to goals early in the season), he prefers going on mazy runs and weaving through defences. This looks great when it comes off, but can lead to him hogging the ball and going for glory when passing to a teammate would have been a better option. - He definitely likes placing his shots into either corner. A lot of his finishes have been neat corner shots. - Technically (in terms of passing, crossing and ball control), I think he's fine, but not brilliant. Where he really shines is on the counter and against higher defensive lines (as seen against Man City). He takes off like a rocket and once he gets going he is very hard to stop. He's IMO at least as good as a younger Hazard in that regard. - He's surprisingly decent in the air. His headers are off at times, but he has a really good jump on him. Sort of like a cut-rate version of Tim Cahill. - He's not astonishingly weak, but he is still IMO a bit too readily knocked off the ball. Maybe more strength training is needed. - Prior to the restart, I thought he was fine until his injury, but rather up-and-down. He's really been consistently dangerous since the restart though. His finishing seems to have improved immensely, and it makes him that much more valuable given the shortage of goals elsewhere in the side. Besides being a natural dummy runner, it also forces defenders to man-mark him more so it gives Giroud/Abraham/Willian more space to do their thing. Given Abraham's mediocre technique, Giroud's lack of legs and Willian's mediocre decision-making when pressured, that can only be a good thing. Indeed, Giroud and Willian have contributed a great deal since the restart and that's not a coincidence. One can only imagine what players with legs and decent technique/finishing (Havertz/Werner) could do when given space. Defenders will have a hell of a time deciding whom to mark. I assume they'll mark Werner more given that he'll be the CF, which will IMO make Pulisic more damaging next season, injury permitting. I have to admit that I wasn't enthused by Pulisic's transfer, but I'm glad to say that he's proven me wrong. He's been more successful this season than I could have anticipated. Well done Christian.
  10. Remember the old nursery rhyme boys: "With a nick nack paddy whack Give a dog a bone North Londoners f**k OFF HOME!"
  11. I'll get criticised for this, but as soon as I saw the lineup I worried that this might be a draw or a loss. Hence why I literally hedged my bets 10 minutes before kickoff. Silver lining to a pathetic day. I can't understand why Frank started Kante when we're playing Arsenal shortly, against a side that was always likely to park the bus, when we've struggled to break down sides before with him in the pivot.
  12. My impression from what Liga NOS followers have said: - Likes to burst forward - Good movement going forward - Good finisher for an AM - can finish chances from difficult angles - Primarily an AM, not a CM, so he would be competition for Mount more so than Kovacic/Jorginho/Kante - Better defensively than Barkley and has good playmaking abilities, so would likely fill in at DLP better over the long term if needed - Very good long range passer, pretty good short range passer - better than Barkley/Mount in this respect - Not really a box-to-box midfielder, but nonetheless energetic and should last 90 minutes pretty comfortably - Dangerous free kick taker and long-distance shooter who can really curl his shots - A real fighter - apparently the heart and soul of his side so he won't quit when the chips are down - Unproven against big opposition - hasn't done all that much in the CL against superior opposition - Not particularly fast or strong - could get bullied off the ball in the PL The last two issues are a concern, but he could always work on his strength and maybe in a better team he'd do better against strong opponents given his mentality. I would support his purchase and have Barkley sold/loaned out.
  13. Our best performance for quite a while. Not having to play two games a week probably allowed us to not only keep our energy levels up throughout the game, but also move the ball more quickly rather than just conserving as much energy as possible (although we still meandered at times). Our backline looks considerably more solid with little Rudiger back.
  14. Real case to be made for strengthening squad depth in January, for a good chunk of ours just doesn't cut it (ST in particular). LB is different in that there are two squad options where there should be a bonafide starter. If Azpi wants to play LB (which will harm us offensively), then we'll more cover on RB too. Seems like a very flat, lifeless performance. New manager bounce + fatigued side never bode well.

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