A Blue Essien

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Everything posted by A Blue Essien

  1. One of the quickest to 50 PL goals, and I'm guessing our quickest ever? Yes, he has patches of bad from, and he's obviously not entirely happy in the country, but/if when he does go, we're really going to miss him IMO, regardless of who else comes in. I'm still hoping he signs an extension and sticks around.
  2. Big win. Slightly nervy at times, especially in the first half. Think the nerves from the stands transmitted to the pitch. Doesn't matter how we win though, just need to count down the points/wins required. Don't care if we concede 5 a game as long as we score 6, though I'm not sure my heart can take it. Thoughts: 1) Thought it was odd to line up in a 3-4-3 with Cesc as the right forward. Very odd. There were pro's and cons to it. Cesc, being as sensationally talented as he is, was ever so dangerous on the ball. The pass to Costa who set up the Hazard goal (what a finish btw), was delicious, and he continued to provide great delivery despite being in an unfamiliar advanced inside right position. He also ran his socks off, showing his professionalism and commitment to the cause, There's something almost endearing about him dragging himself around, despite his complete lack of pace. Having said that, whilst defending, he struggled to fill space, as say, Pedro would, or close down quickly, or provide an option on the counter. Not his fault, but I think Conte may have got it slightly wrong. I reckon that was rectified in the 2nd half, where we switched to a 3-5-2 and looked a lot more stable without the ball, and more in control with it. I would like to see Cesc involved a lot during the run in, but I'm not sure I want to see him as one of the forwards. 2) Individuals now and look no further than Costa. I can understand some of the criticism he's got, but I do think it's been a bit presumptuous and over the top. There' no doubt he's suffered from a bit of poor form, but the effort and endeavour has always been there. So happy to see him rewarded with 2 excellent goals. The first was Drogba like and the second Anelka like. Oh and he got an assist. Monster game. MOTM. Credit to our skipper as well. Cahill polarizes many, but his effort, commitment, and bravery can never be questioned. Fantastic header to give us a vital lead just before the half. Proud of Gary, he's one of us. Shout out to our WB's as well. They're just so important to our cause. Really need to get some cover for them this summer. 3) Credit to Saints, they worked hard, and generally played a fair game. Their extra rest showed in patches and they looked dangerous at times, especially on set pieces where the delivery was generally fantastic. Great header by the Champions League winner Bertrand as well. I have a lot of time for their team. Puel seems a gentleman too. 4) That's two 4-2's in a row now, and 2/3's of the week sorted. An absolutely huge game at Goodison to come, but for now we can put our feet up, rest a bit, and hope Spurs feel the pressure. At most we need 12 points from 5 games, and if Spurs drop any points (which I'm sure they will) that goes down to 9 or 10. Every win is big, let's focus on ourselves.
  3. Christensen fits the bill then. 6'2'' and very good with the ball. If we need to go big against a particular lineup, just play Christensen, Luiz, and Cahill, and that's not even considering Zouma. Not sure why we need to bring another in.
  4. I don't see any issue with the height of our CB's to be honest. Yes, Ake and Dave are on the smaller side, but despite that, you'll rarely see Ake losing a header. He has a great leap on him, and he's almost like Cannavaro in playing taller than he is. Those two aside, the other 4 (Zouma, Luiz, Cahill, and Christensen) are all 6.2 plus. We actually have a nice mix of man mountains, ball players, and speedy tacklers.
  5. Tough game, just over 72 hours after a physically and emotionally draining semi final. Thankfully we came out with a win which is the best tonic for tired minds and legs. Southampton are coming off a long break with fresh legs. They may not have much to play for, but they're not the sort to lay out the beach chairs and be spectators. They will make it difficult. Hazard, Costa, and Cesc are all relatively rested, so I'd start all 3. I'd go with Willian as well, and if it were up to me I'd retain Ake, though if Cahill's fit I fully expect him to come back in. Will require a big effort from Alonso and Moses to put in another 90 minutes of hard work, but it's gut check time and whoever plays needs to lay it all out there. Win this and the pressure transfers to Spurs in a way they haven't quite experienced yet. The crowd will be important. We shall not be moved.
  6. Good questions. Tammy's very good, but he needs to play. At this stage in his development it makes no sense to stick around as 3rd choice striker with a few cup games and sub appearances. We should take advantage of his incredible season and secure him a loan to a PL club. It needs, however, to be a club that plays him, which is often difficult to guarantee at a top division club. A hypothetical of Lukaku, Bats, and Tammy would be definitely be enough, but as mentioned I wouldn't keep Tammy and sacrifice his development. So either we bring in a seasoned pro as 3rd choice or use a makeshift like Hazard or Pedro. As for CB's, I think we're sorted with Azpi, Luiz, Cahill, Zouma, Ake, and Christensen. It certainly isn't a pressing need. What we do need are 2 WB's, a CM, an AM, a ST if Diego leaves and a new number 2 for the almost certainly departing Begovic. With that in mind, you'd hope Traore and Baker could fill up some of those requirements.
  7. Probably not. Dave, Luiz and Hazard could all stake a claim. It's more of a 2 year appreciation vote, I think. Anyways, he's ours and he's brilliant.
  8. Easy: both Manchester clubs dumped into the Europa. They, along with Spurs will be our biggest challengers next season and the hard long slog of Thursday-Sunday fixtures would be ideal. Would prefer Liverpool to have won, if only so Palace had something to play for against Spurs.
  9. Michy has all the attributes to be a very good player but he needs to play. Not sure Conte entirely rates him so will be interesting to see what we do in the summer.
  10. Get in. Big win, hard fought and hugely enjoyable. A real lift to the team and supporters. After a tricky couple of weeks, we needed this. Thoughts: 1) Brave of Antonio to go without Diego, Eden, and Cesc but one often gets rewarded for bravery. Staying in the game before bringing on the big guns turned out to be a masterstroke. Can you imagine the psychological affect of seeing 3 big hitters come on in the final 3rd of the game, with your legs tiring? At the same time, Pochettino got it wrong. Starting Son at LWB was a fatal error. And why didn't he start Walker? I'm not certainly not complaining and it's good to see our formation still harrowing opposition managers. 2) Individuals now and I'm going to focus on the 3 coming in: Mitchy, Willian and Ake. Lots of criticism for the Belgian, but he's barely played 550 minutes the entire season and to come into a game of this intensity against the best defense in the league was always going to a very difficult task. In the circumstances, I thought he did well. Willian was excellent, just perfect for a game like this and on a big pitch. Took his set pieces wonderfully and was unlucky to be subbed off. Great team player and a wonderful asset. Speaking of assets, how good is Ake? Honestly, he's often one of the best players on the pitch every time he steps out there. I really think he should be playing more. Just wish he was a couple of inches taller. A quick shout out to Moses, who was my MOTM. Won the penalty and the corner which led to the 3rd goal. Never stops working and is often our main outlet. He's a very important player for us. 3) As I mentioned earlier in this thread, this could have a huge psychological effect. We now go into the midweek game with a spring in our steps (with some major players rested) and a real desire to push the lead up to 7. Spurs will have to respond having been bruised and scarred. Just a pity they're up against Palace who have no time to recover, with Big Sam all but throwing in the towel saying he'll play a second string. Regardless, we need to do our job and this win gives us a huge lift. 4) Arsenal in the final, which is exactly what we want. Let's not get too confident, but it should be a memorable day out. Arsenal have switched to 3 at the back themselves, so coming up against us who are more adept at it could prove to be very difficult. First things first: let's win the league.
  11. Difficult game, nervy game, important game. Usually, with a league title being fought for, I wouldn't be devastated if we didn't go through here, but seeing as we're playing Spurs who are chasing us in the league, I think it's very important to win. Imagine if we do win. We then go into Tuesday's game against Southampton on a high. Say we win that and open up the lead to 7. Spurs would have to follow up with a tough game at Palace, having just been knocked out of the cup and seen the lead back up to 7. There would be immense pressure on them. On the flip side, if we lose, we go into Tuesday's game with tired legs and wary minds. This is the start of the most important week of the season. Win 3 games in a a week and we're looking at a very good chance of winning the double. I d'd rather not contemplate what a bad week would entail. As for team composition, it's a tough one. Personally, I'd like to see Fabregas start. Indeed I reckon he should start for the remainder of the season. He has fresh legs, great quality, and is a winner. I know Conte would like to sure things up with the Kante/Matic pairing but I don't think you can ignore Cesc's quality for a game like this. I'd also like to see Willian start. It's a big pitch and will require sacrifice and hard work. I think Willian's facets will be required here. Apparently Cahill is suffering from illness and was only yesterday released from hospital. Honestly I'd like to see JT start. I actually think that would give us a big boost...and there's the romanticism as well. I'm expecting Costa to silence his critics here. I sincerely hope so. We need him. We need everyone to show up. Lets do this.
  12. Alright, puff the cheeks out and it's time for another big effort. 3rd game in a week with lots of tired limbs and tense minds. We have the benefit of not having to travel very far, and Bournemouth will be as tired as we are, but that doesn't make it any easier. Bournemouth are difficult to play against, especially at their place. They have a small, tight stadium, with all the hysteria and claustrophobia that that brings. They won't sit back and defend their box either, so it's going to be an up and down game. We're going to have to be sharp to win. Ideally we'd switch it up a bit to bring in some sharpness but I doubt Conte will change it up too much. Would hope Moses is back, but I doubt it. If that's the case we'll probably see Pedro start at RWB again, with Willian coming in. That just leaves the Matic/Fabregas choice again. I'd probably start Matic, seeing as this would be Cesc's 3rd start in a week and we could probably do with his class and fresh legs off the bench. It's a tough one though. The next 4 games are, IMO, decisive. It's our toughest little run left (Bournemouth A, Man U A, Southampton H, and Everton A). We then have the likes of Middlesbrough, WBA, Sunderland and Watford, 3 of which are at home. Concurrently, Spurs have their easiest run in the next 4 (Watford H, Bournemouth H, Palace A, Arsenal H). They then have the likes of West Ham, Man U, Hul,l and Leicester, 3 of which are away. If we can keep the lead at 7 going into the last 4 fixtures, we should be home and dry.
  13. Haha, brilliant.
  14. ^^^ Yes, I think the contract extension will be contingent on significant investment. Also I think Roman has finally learned that you have to continue to strengthen, even when you're at the top. Will be a very interesting summer.
  15. Get in. Big, big win. Doesn't matter how we get the points, just need to keep racking them up. Nervy game, especially with events elsewhere, but we held our nerve and put in a performance that reeks of champions. Some thoughts: 1) Individuals first and let's look no further than Hazard. Perhaps we've become accustomed to his ridiculous balance, acceleration and ball control, but it's no less remarkable every time it's on display. He's a phenomenal talent who does amazing things with the ball. We're privileged to have him and should really appreciate what we have. From Cooke to Nevin to Zola to Robben to Hazard, there are some that just stand out that little bit more. 2) I criticized them a few days ago and will praise them now. Cahill was very solid. It's the type of backs to the wall performance that he tends to revel in and he certainly did. He's bounced back again, which indicates a strong character. Thought Matic added some real solidity as well. Tactically, he's an intelligent player who fills space and directs play to less dangerous areas. Thought he really stifled Silva when he came on. 3) This was probably the earliest we've switched to 3-5-2 and once again it's proven effective in shutting down the game. I was a bit nervous with Pedro at RWB but he coped well, especially with the outstanding Azpi guiding him from behind. A 3rd goal would have left us all feeling a lot more comfortable, but we managed the game well. Conte got it right today. He's a thinking manager who reacts quickly and isn't afraid to adjust accordingly. That's vital, as we need him to be on his A game for the run in. 4) Speaking of the run in, that's another important 3 points in the bank. At most we need 18 now, so that's 6 wins and 2 losses, or 5 wins and 3 draws. The latter seems entirely feasible, and that's assuming Spurs win out, which I highly doubt they will. Something like 13-15 points will be enough IMO, but of course, it's one game at a time.
  16. My first choice would be Aubameyang. Insanely quick, good athlete and a quality finisher. Will cost a bomb but if we're selling Costa, we'll have the money. Apart from him, the other two options would be the youngsters tearing up Serie A in Icardi and Belotti. Haven't seen enough of either to make a judgment but they're very highly rated. Lukaku's game is pretty obvious; he's not a terrier who's constantly snapping at heels and covering lots of ground and he never will be. What he does do are multiple high intensity sprints during a game. He conserves his energy in order to be be able to employ these sprints, often towards the end of games when there's more space. Personally, if we're playing one up top, we need a worker, a terrier, a high energy forward, which Lukaku isn't.
  17. Thank you for your post. Very informative and much appreciated. Good luck for the rest of the season. Sincerely hope you stay up. Tammy's a natural goalscorer and it's good to see him start off so well in senior football. With the extremely high standards that need to be met in order to break into the senior squad, he needed to hit the ground running and boy has he. The next step, in regards to where he plays, will be very interesting and possibly defining. Let's hope we get it right. In that regard, I've been thinking about this for a while: it's doubly hard for attacking players to break through. The main (possibly only) basis for them to break through is goals. In terms of forwards, it's only really Bertand Traore who's deemed remotely close to breaking through, and with 'only' 8 goals in 29 appearances for Ajax this season, it probably isn't enough for him to come back and stake a claim. Whilst other youngsters, specifically defenders and CM's like Christensen, Ake, Baker, and Chalobah stand a better chance due to different requirements, the likes of Tammy, Kasey, Izzy, Bertrand, Boga and Musonda need raw numbers to break through. Right now it's only really Tammy doing that, and he'll need at least another year of production to make a Chelsea senior squad of 25, let alone a chance of making the first XI. It's harsh, but that's how it is I'm afraid.
  18. Interesting post. Yes, Romelu is lethal when he has space to run into, and he certainly isn't one to produce deft touches at the edge of the box., however, he's an excellent finisher so I do think he'd be an asset when we're trying to break down teams. His movement in the penalty box is good, he's always looking to find space, he's great in the air, and would always occupy a couple of defenders. His major weakness, especially when it comes to Conte's demands, is his work rate. To be honest, we need a demon leading the line. Someone who sacrifices himself for the team. Someone, quite simply, who doesn't stop running. Romelu is not that player, and that's why I don't understand why Conte would want him.
  19. Unfortunately, due to dropping points against Palace, we have to win this one. If we had won against Palace and still been 10 points ahead, I would have been fairly happy with a draw here. With Spurs playing at the same time, the lead could swing in either direction. Let's hope it goes our way. Usual XI, with Willian and Matic to start in place of Pedro and Cesc. If Moses is out, then Azpi to RWB and Zouma in. Luckily, Arsenal did us a favour and kept the game live till the very end. City will have a few tired legs on Wednesday, hopefully we can take advantage. It's a huge game, probably the biggest of the season.
  20. Disappointing. Frustrating. Annoying. The old cliche about being 'one of those days' tends to be used a lot, and fortunately we haven't experienced many of those in the recent past, so I suppose it was coming. Hopefully it's the last time this season it rears its ugly head. Some thoughts: 1) In the past, I've been effusive about individual performances so I suppose it's only fair to highlight performances that haven't been satisfactory. I thought Cahill was poor. I'll forgive the first goal, as there were 4 guys around Zaha who somehow managed to squeeze a shot through the lot of them. The second goal was terrible though. Gary did his familiar back pedaling, to such a frantic effect that he was twisting and turning so much that he didn't know where the ball was. Very poor. 2) I thought Matic was average as well, though I don't understand why he played in the first place. To be honest, I thought Conte got it wrong starting with a 3-5-2. We haven't started with it all season, rather we've used it to shut games down. I don't think the players were entirely sure how to position themselves in a 3-5-2 when we're on the front foot. The 3 in midfield seemed disorganized and for the first time since we moved to 3 in the back, there was space between the midfield and defense. Think Conte got a bit cute for this game. I don't see us starting with a 3-5-2 again this season. 3) Let's look at some positives: we played well. It would be a worry if this was a poor performance, but it wasn't. We were sharp, moved the ball well, and showed great desire to get back into the game. As mentioned, it was one of those games where the ball just wouldn't go in. It wasn't for a lack of trying, and that bodes well for the future. 4) Arsenal did us a favour yesterday, so with City still 11 points behind (and 8 points behind even if they beat us), it still looks like Spurs are our only challengers. Unfortunately, they keep winning (it's 4 in a row now) so Wednesday becomes that much more important. We need to keep the lead to 7 and above. If it drops to 5 or lower, things become very tight and nervy. It was never going to be easy, and I suppose a blip was always on the cards. This week, with 3 games in 7 days was always going to be vital. We need to win the next 2 games. It's time to keep our nerve.
  21. Yes, agree as well, apart for the CB bit, where I think we're fine. He's brilliant aerially, possibly the best in the league. He's also quick and strong and fairly good on the ball. Yeah, he's occasionally suspect defensively but he's still a very good player who should only get better, but I don't think he's a priority for us.
  22. The recent article on the Guardian regarding Neymar's transfer is quite revealing in regards to our pursuit of him, and I think could play a part in our handling of Hazard. The relevant passages are as follows: ''For Sonda and his investment advisers, the focus was on continuing to cultivate a relationship with Neymar’s father and trying, with his consent, to secure a big profit by promoting the idea of transferring Neymar. Trips to Europe became commonplace. Carlezzo says a Sonda executive told him of a meeting between Neymar Sr and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in London. In August 2010 Neymar made his debut for Brazil in a friendly against the USA. On the same day, Chelsea made an offer to sign him. “We had a meeting in the Hilton Hotel on Lexington Avenue” in New York, Motta said. Seated in the lobby were Neymar’s father, Ribeiro, Pini Zahavi, the Israeli dealmaker who knew Abramovich, a delegation from Chelsea and Luis Álvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro, the newly elected Santos president. Luis Álvaro ended the conversation quickly. He rejected the €35m being offered by the Premier League team. While he tried to appear calm, he was spooked by Chelsea’s push to sign Neymar immediately.'' ''Still, Real Madrid felt they were making progress with Neymar’s father. Motta even drew up a contract between the club and Neymar. Abramovich had not given up wooing Neymar either. Michael Emenalo, Chelsea’s director of football, flew to Santos to try again. He met Neymar and proceeded to deliver one of the best sales pitches Motta had ever heard. “It was the very first time that I saw Neymar’s father listen to someone for more than 30 minutes without looking at his mobile,” Motta said. Emenalo told the story of the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan. How Chicago was not a big team, but together they evolved into international icons. Neymar could become Chelsea’s Michael Jordan, Emenalo said. José Mourinho was about to return to the club as manager and he wants to sign you, the Nigerian added. “You are going to lead Chelsea to the top.” https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/mar/30/neymar-brazil-barcelona-santos-transfer Certainly an interesting and revealing anecdote of how we try to woo targets. I think it's relevant because IMO Hazard is now the Neymar of our team. He's the global icon and in many ways the face of the team. There's no way we're going to willingly let him go.
  23. Good post. RLC is in dire need of regular playing time and therefore a loan next season. The problem is that he's being treated as the jewel of the academy and kept around in the hope that he breaks straight through. As a result, he's arguably stagnated over the past 2 seasons. Yes, RLC is reaching an age now where either he pushes through or falls away. He has all the talent and physique to do the former, but sometimes it doesn't quite work that way. As for the others, surely Ake is more than a bet right now, seeing as a PL team bid £18m for his acquisition?
  24. Yes, the Ronaldo comparison is a relevant one, however, he actively agitated for a move, which I'm not sure Hazard will do. Additionally, if we remember, Fergie refused to let him leave, literally forcing him against his will to stay another year. I'm not saying we'll do that, but sometimes the player doesn't always get his way. As for Ronaldo needing replacing, whilst I agree, he did just sign an extension in November 2016, tying him down to 2021. He's not going anywhere for a while yet. Yes, interesting, but not sure how much truth there is to any of this. We can crave Sanchez as much as we want but I just don't see Arsenal selling to us. Alaba, too, is vital to Bayern and contracted to 2021. Don't see Bayern letting him go. But yes, these are the sort of players we should be targeting. Indeed. For me, quite simply, Lukaku is a natural goalscorer. He's inherently a very good finisher. His movement is very good (he's always looking to find space and gesturing to where he wants the ball), he's strong, and almost impossible to stop once he gets going. He'll score goals wherever he goes and at 23 has plenty of years ahead of him. Seeing as he wants out, and has a connection to us, I think we should be all over this deal.
  25. I think that even if Costa stays and signs a new contract, we'll most likely be signing another striker. I say that because Mitchy doesn't really seem to be trusted by Conte and we need at least 2 usable strikers next season, maybe even 3 seeing as 3-5-2 may be used more going forward. As for Hazard, my gut says he'll stay. He's our prized asset and there's no way Roman will sign off on him. Just no way, regardless of the offer. The only way we'll sell is if he agitates and puts in a transfer request, and he doesn't seem the sort to do that. I could be wrong but that's just my feeling.