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Mateo Kovačić


Sindre
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That's great news. Only having three available natural centre midfielders has been a huge strain on us in terms of rotation (although at least it has given Gilmour game time which he wouldn't otherwise have had); having Kovačić back for the run-in is a huge positive.

He hasn't played in over a month so we'll need to rebuild his match fitness. If possible we should bring him off the bench tomorrow.

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16 hours ago, Sindre said:

He's back.

Brilliant news as far as i'm concerned. Probably won't start tomorrow but i'll be surprised if he doesn't start the following three.

I'd agree. A fully fit Kante / Kovacic central pairing will be a huge boost for the final 3 games.

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Great to have him back even though he nearly gave me a heart attack. after a month out a bit of rustiness was to be expected. Unfortunate that his mistake led to a goal and nearly cost us the match. I hope he’ll be in full stride by the next match. 

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We got somehow lucky yesterday but in the grand scheme of things, of course only if it's nothing serious with Kanté, it's extremely helpful for him to get a good deal of minutes before the CL final. That rustiness needs real game time to wear off. Cost us -1 in goal difference though (and almost two points). Had some really good moments too and our play from the back is much more fluid with him than with Kanté - if both would be at 100% I wouldn't know who to start in the final.

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Posted (edited)

@axman2526 I agree that Kanté is more likely to start since Tuchel will play starters that are at 100% (is Kanté though?), but Kova is a natural candidate for a sub (we have five in the CL), so even if it helps him for those 30+ mins as a sub - with a potential OT - it'd be worth it. Especially since playing Kanté against Villa is dangerous re injury.  I just hope we get a break once and Liverpool bottles it tonight. Don't see it happening though.

Edited by weetee
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2 hours ago, weetee said:

@axman2526 I agree that Kanté is more likely to start since Tuchel will play starters that are at 100% (is Kanté though?), but Kova is a natural candidate for a sub (we have five in the CL), so even if it helps him for those 30+ mins as a sub - with a potential OT - it'd be worth it. Especially since playing Kanté against Villa is dangerous re injury.  I just hope we get a break once and Liverpool bottles it tonight. Don't see it happening though.

If we are to overcome Cities best team, we need Kante at 150%. That clear.

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Kova was obviously a little rusty at times yesterday. Only to be expected with the time he has had out. 

Need both Kova and Kante 100% fit and available for the final.

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12 hours ago, weetee said:

We got somehow lucky yesterday but in the grand scheme of things, of course only if it's nothing serious with Kanté, it's extremely helpful for him to get a good deal of minutes before the CL final. That rustiness needs real game time to wear off. Cost us -1 in goal difference though (and almost two points). Had some really good moments too and our play from the back is much more fluid with him than with Kanté - if both would be at 100% I wouldn't know who to start in the final.

That one is easy. You start both of them. Same as the 2nd leg against Athletico. 

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9 hours ago, just said:

That one is easy. You start both of them. Same as the 2nd leg against Athletico. 

Interesting. Forgot about that..was the only time they did it though, right?

Not sure if Kova can get his engine going that fast anyway to 100%. So I tend to believe I'd rather have a 100% Jorgi+ Kanté starting (which would be immense already) and have Kova on the bench who can give 100% for about 60mins. I would hate to have Kova start and then have to exchange him come crucial time. But we'll see soon enough. Glad he's back, we did miss his input.

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Looks rusty. That's both games he's been caught out numerous times faffing around with the ball, one lead to a goal, today it didn't, but he can';t be doing that against City.

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43 minutes ago, Zeta said:

Looks rusty. That's both games he's been caught out numerous times faffing around with the ball, one lead to a goal, today it didn't, but he can';t be doing that against City.

I don't blame Kova at all for McGinn's chance. Jorginho should never have given him such a hospital pass when Kova was being so closely marked.

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I think the rustiness two games in after so many out is par for the course. Kante was also a bit rusty coming back from injury back in feb or March (can’t remember exactly) and wasn’t cut enough slack. Same situation here imo.

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It's games like today that remind you why we will struggle to compete at the very top with players like Kovacic and Jorginho.

I always maintain that both a very decent squad players but when it comes to the crunch, neither would be in my regular starting 11 as neither offer enough and both struggle when pressed and harassed. 

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16 minutes ago, Nibs said:

It's games like today that remind you why we will struggle to compete at the very top with players like Kovacic and Jorginho.

I always maintain that both a very decent squad players but when it comes to the crunch, neither would be in my regular starting 11 as neither offer enough and both struggle when pressed and harassed. 

That’s not true of Kovacic and they are not the same type of player. Resistance to the press is one of his strengths. He did indeed make some mistakes and look rusty last couple of games but this was for the simple reason that he was out for a pretty long spell. See above re Kante. Kova was offering a lot before the injury and justifiably getting rave reviews. Maybe give him a chance to get back to full fitness. He should be entering his prime next season. 

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Just now, Dean said:

That’s not true of Kovacic and they are not the same type of player. Resistance to the press is one of his strengths. He did indeed make some mistakes and look rusty last couple of games but this was for the simple reason that he was out for a pretty long spell. See above re Kante. Kova was offering a lot before the injury and justifiably getting rave reviews. Maybe give him a chance to get back to full fitness. He should be entering his prime next season. 

But his prime still won't be good enough. He's not world class like Kante.

He carries the ball well but invariably doesn't do a lot with it. Even kante carries more of a goal threat. 

Happy for him to be a squad player but not a player to start regularly for me and if he starts the CL final, I can see City getting at him as one of our weaknesses. Pep will have done his homework and know that if either Jorginho or Kovacic start (God forbid both), press them and it's easy pickings.

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2 hours ago, Nibs said:

It's games like today that remind you why we will struggle to compete at the very top with players like Kovacic and Jorginho.

I always maintain that both a very decent squad players but when it comes to the crunch, neither would be in my regular starting 11 as neither offer enough and both struggle when pressed and harassed. 

Two extremely overrated players on here. I’ve said before and I stand by it, we won’t get close to winning the league with those two as our starting midfielders. Jorgi is a sideways backwards pass merchant and Kova is a very aesthetically pleasing with the ball at his feet but has no ability to shoot or play a killer pass, neither are brilliant defensively either.

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1 hour ago, Nibs said:

But his prime still won't be good enough. He's not world class like Kante.

He carries the ball well but invariably doesn't do a lot with it. Even kante carries more of a goal threat. 

Happy for him to be a squad player but not a player to start regularly for me and if he starts the CL final, I can see City getting at him as one of our weaknesses. Pep will have done his homework and know that if either Jorginho or Kovacic start (God forbid both), press them and it's easy pickings.

Let’s revisit this next season 

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