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abramovich

The State of Our Midfield

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Started to post it in a reply in the Rumours section but then decided it was better suited to this part of the forum.

We seem to have plenty of midfielders, but when you start analyzing it, things aren't great. Who in our current mdfield looks a safe bet to be a mainstay at the team for years to come? At the moment probably Kovacic, given his age, playing characheristics and current form, but that's about it, everybody else has question marks over them.

Kante is great when fit but he's been plagued by injuries this season and is turning 29 in a month. Normally I'd be 100% against it but if recent rumours about Real being interested and him wanting another challenge are true perhaps this is the best time to cash in on the little fella. It could turn into one of those Liverpool/Torres situations where the sousers robbed us blind because we got the broken down version of the player instead of a star striker we thought we were getting. If Pool kept Torres around for a bit longer the whole world would realize he's a shadow of his former self and they'll be f**ked. Now I don't know  what the deal with Kante's injuries is and I love him as a player but given how competitive and inflated the transfer maket is and financial fair play issues, we need to be shrewd and smart about it, because we need to make money in order to spend it.

Ruben is a major talent but can he stay fit long enough to actually have a future in the team? You can't really rebuild the team with the player in mind who you can't count on to be around for large parts of the season. I genuinely hope he puts his fitness troubles behind him but again, a huge question mark.

Jorginho is very good in a certain setup but pretty much useless and lightweight outside of it. His experience and leadership ability are important in a team with so many young players but unless we're building a team that fits his style, he's more of a luxury player, and even at times, a liability. Sarri apparently wants to a reunion and Juve's got money. Again, timing. I'm not saying we have to sell him, but as far as I'm concerned, no-one is untouchable in this team. Then there's this Milinkovic-Savic lad who's apparently very good with a ball at his feet and strong enough to deal with the physicality of the EPL. Just a thought.

Barkley certainly has some ability but it just seems he doesn't have the personality to make it in a top team. Very inconsistent and he's at the age where he can't rely on potential, he needs to start delivering now. I thought this was supposed to be the 'make it or break it' season for him but his off the field antics and inconsistent form really put to bed the argument whether he'll ever be top class midfielder. Theres' still time left in the season but he needs to magically turn into 25-year old version of Frank Lampard for the next two-and-a-half months to convince me he's the real deal, otherwise he's a benchwarmer next season, at best.

I'm not mentioning Mount because he's more of a number ten and not really a CM.

Edited by abramovich

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Ruben has bene out for a year with a major injury. Major talent but will he ever be the same again? Does anybody on here have any knowledge about these injuries, and how likely you are to recover fully. 

 

Barkley has never been given a run of games. Some might say he hasn't deserved a run. Others might say he can't find his best form unless he gets a run. I think he has been hard done by at Chelsea, but others will disagree.

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6 minutes ago, Davey Baby said:

Ruben has bene out for a year with a major injury. Major talent but will he ever be the same again? Does anybody on here have any knowledge about these injuries, and how likely you are to recover fully. 

 

Barkley has never been given a run of games. Some might say he hasn't deserved a run. Others might say he can't find his best form unless he gets a run. I think he has been hard done by at Chelsea, but others will disagree.

I do and this is coming from someone who doesn't particularly dislike him. I felt sorry for him being here under Conte but he's had a lot of minutes in the last 18 months under two managers who highly prioritize developing the players they have, he's had a huge chance to kick on and just hasn't, although that said he should start against Bayern.

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There is basically no problem with our midfield, part from Kante having some injuries this season. Next season add Ampadu, RLC...we're fine.

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26 minutes ago, Gol15 said:

There is basically no problem with our midfield, part from Kante having some injuries this season. Next season add Ampadu, RLC...we're fine.

And what has Ampadu done to date to suggest his return will  strengthen our midfield so much we don't need to buy anyone? Ihave nothing against him, just need to see what he can on a regular basis before passing a judgment.

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6 minutes ago, abramovich said:

And what has Ampadu done to date to suggest his return will  strengthen our midfield so much we don't need to buy anyone? Ihave nothing against him, just need to see what he can on a regular basis before passing a judgment.

Well I think that after his CL game he looks like a nice talent that we should keep. If we are to buy anyone we must sell either Kante or Jorginho, otherwise Ampadu will most likely go on loan again.

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I want to see the Jorgi, Kova and Mount midfield for an extended period, I think they complement eachother very well and we play our best football with those three.

Can't wait to see the trio against Bayern.

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53 minutes ago, abramovich said:

Billy is too lightweight and inexperienced. He needs to go on loan, get some regular playing time and bulk up.

Wasn’t Gianfranco Zola too lightweight when we signed him?

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We need a goal scorer in midfield,if Cheek doesn't get back to his best,I would get rid of either Kante or Jorge and look to buy one in,we have certainly missed goals from midfield.

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36 minutes ago, Gol15 said:

Well I think that after his CL game he looks like a nice talent that we should keep. If we are to buy anyone we must sell either Kante or Jorginho, otherwise Ampadu will most likely go on loan again.

It was just one CL match and he played as a centreback, by the way, not in midfield. It's unfortunate that Ethan wasted a whole season on a bench at Leipzig instead of getting valuable playing time but it doesn't change the fact that he needs to get playing time and develop somehwere else before he can get a shot at Chelsea.

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34 minutes ago, Munkworth said:

Wasn’t Gianfranco Zola too lightweight when we signed him?

Zola was small in size but he wasn't weak, and he was 30 when he joined us. Billy is a skinny 18-year old, he'll get bullied and outmuscled at the PL level. He has very high footballing IQ and great potential, but his body is still growing and developing.

There are exceptions, of course, like RLC at 18 who was a already a beast but most youngsters need to toughen up to adapt to playing at that level.

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So many options, and although its not always been great this season in the middle of the park, i dont think it is a major issue aft the moment.

It would be great if we had a player that can move the ball like jorginho, cover ground and defend like kante, and built like RLC, but im not sure who is on the market, that hets close to that criteria. Saul and Ruiz were mentioned in a previous thread, and we have been linked to Soumare aswell.

If we address the front line and left back, then we can see how the ground lies. More goals and better balance in defence will alleviate some pressure of team as a whole. 

Then in 12 months time, we will know whether RLCcan be relied on, and we will have a better idea about gilmour and Ampadu. 

Kante and Jorginho have still got 3 years on their contracts, so next summer would probably be the best time to look at whether either are going to be sold or commit to a new deal. 

 

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2 hours ago, abramovich said:

Zola was small in size but he wasn't weak, and he was 30 when he joined us. Billy is a skinny 18-year old, he'll get bullied and outmuscled at the PL level. He has very high footballing IQ and great potential, but his body is still growing and developing.

There are exceptions, of course, like RLC at 18 who was a already a beast but most youngsters need to toughen up to adapt to playing at that level.

Wasn’t David Silva going to get bullied at City? Juan Mata here? Eden? If they can’t catch you they can’t kick you!

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When I saw the name of the thread, I rolled my eyes I have to be honest, because I'm a bit sick of people overanalysing the midfield when it's the least of our current problems but this was a great post. 

I honestly see no issues with the Jorginho-Kovacic midfield though, I think it works a lot better than what many people think it does, and people on here still keep ignoring the facts that as soon as we broke that partnership up we started to rapidly drop points. Maybe it's not ideal, maybe it can be upgraded... But I think we have to prioritise other areas first, most definitely the left back situation. The Kante situation doesn't look good, he won't have long at top level anymore, and he's not playing well when he comes into the side, especially in games where we dominate possession, that signals that the system and our way of playing doesn't suit him. Just like Mourinho's didn't suit Juan Mata after Juan Mata was our little starlet and arguably the best player in the Premier League for two years before we sold him.

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4 minutes ago, Munkworth said:

Wasn’t David Silva going to get bullied at City? Juan Mata here? Eden? If they can’t catch you they can’t kick you!

All those players came to the league in their 20s, what part of still developing and not fully grown people don't understand? I believe it was the Carabao Cup game vs MU when young Billy was given his first start and he was really struggling. The lad needs to follow the footsteps of Mount, Abraham, Tomori, James and get valuable experience and playing time somewhere else first.

Last but not least, Hazard is deceptively strong, he is literally impossible to knock of the ball. Once again, I'm not talking about size, but age and strength.

 

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On 24/02/2020 at 16:11, abramovich said:

It was just one CL match and he played as a centreback, by the way, not in midfield. It's unfortunate that Ethan wasted a whole season on a bench at Leipzig instead of getting valuable playing time but it doesn't change the fact that he needs to get playing time and develop somehwere else before he can get a shot at Chelsea.

Agreed. Is he even a midfielder?

I'm with you Roman, I think our central midfield is often an issue when we play physical sides that close us down quickly, and have posted my thoughts on this many times.

I also don't share the opinion some espouse that Kante has had a nightmare season and at 29 is finished at the top level.

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For the rest of this season.

Against the defensive teams.

Jorginho - Kovacic

     Mount/RLC

 

Against attacking sides.

Kante - Kovacic

  Mount/RLC

 

Next season, I would like to see a complete change in our approach. If Kante is still here, then he must be instructed to play more defensively, I don't care if he can play box to box, the simple fact is he kills our attacks against defensive teams and leaves us a man short in midfield on the turn over. He's been half the player he was since Sarri started giving him more of a free role. If Loftus-Cheek returns as good as he was at the end of last season, then there is no need for somebody like Kante to be so involved in our attacks, Loftus-Cheek is good enough to shoulder the burden on his own.

Kante's energy and defensive capabilities, Kovacic's skillful feet and ability to turn and leave players for dead and Loftus-Cheek's power, drive and goal scoring ability could become a world class midfield.

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This is the first time I have seen this video & this thread is a perfect place - the interview does show the comparison of how Super Frank wants the midfield to play & how Don Mauricio wanted it done - enjoy

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Seeing Arsenal last night and thinking back to us in 17/18 makes me really appreciate our current midfield options.

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The midfield is the least of our worries. apart from being on the small side i think we have a good midfield. Liverpool are going to win the league this year and won the champions league last season with a midfield of henderson, wijnaldom, chamberlain, keita, lallana, milner and Fabinho. I would be hard pushed to see were any of them play for us maybe Fabinho as he would add height when defending set plays and offer more protection in front of the back 4. 

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On 24/02/2020 at 14:41, abramovich said:

Billy is too lightweight and inexperienced. He needs to go on loan, get some regular playing time and bulk up.

Had no problem dealing with a tank like Fabinho though. I think he's more than ready to step up, I wouldnt want to loan him out. Would rather he stay with the squad and start in the carabao and FA cup games

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