A Blue Essien

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Everything posted by A Blue Essien

  1. I really like Bats, I think he's a promising player with some very good attributes. However, I think it's becoming apparent that he doesn't quite excel at anything in particular. Pace: good Strength: good Technical ability: good Finishing: good Going by that, he has everything to be a very good player, but we tend to demand a lot more from our strikers. I'm not sure he has it in him to raise his level significantly. Still a decent option though.
  2. Sometimes it's very nice to be proven wrong. 1) I thought the team were struggling for confidence and morale was low, but the way they went about their business showed a team united in their effort and motivation. It was very encouraging to see the way we came together and sacrificed on the pitch. The celebrations after showed just how much it meant to everyone. 2) I certainly did not see us lining up in a 3-5-2, especially since we hadn't used the formation for a single minute in pre-season. I definitely think it caught out Spurs and played a big part in nullifying their strengths. Kudos to Conte for springing the surprise. Big win, even this early in the season. You really don't want o be 5-6 points behind, even if it's just a couple of games in. It's especially delicious how it's halted the whole 'Chelsea in crises' narrative that the press were so giddy in pursuing. This must be so gutted. Now, let's follow this up with another win at home, a few signings, and the likes of Hazard, Bakayoko, and Pedro back to full fitness.
  3. He has 3 years remaining on his contract and his GM has said that he's happy to stay and that they don't want to sell. Seems pretty clear to me.
  4. Training photos are always happy affairs, almost overly so. I think morale is down because of the poor result against Burnley (making it 4 losses in a row) lack of transfer movement and the complete lack of available bodies off the bench. The entire squad is acutely aware of the problems we're facing, seeing as the coach has been complaining for weeks and the captain has even come out and said we need more players. You really don't think that frustration hasn't crept down to the rest of the squad? Consciously or subconsciously, it has an effect. And that's without addressing all the fallout from the Costa affair.
  5. Hard to be optimistic for this one. Doubt Bakayoko or Hazard will start and we're really down to the bare bones. The morale is down, the team and coach look deflated and Spurs are playing their first game at Wembley in what is their cup final. They'll come out steaming with a high press and their usual physicality. On top of that, we have Anthony Flipping Taylor as the ref. I really hope we come out to play though. Sitting deep and trying to hit them on the break isn't the way to go IMO as right now we don't seem to have the organization or confidence to shut other teams down. If we can somehow go ahead then that changes things and we can then actively look to hit them on the break, but as long as it's 0-0 we should try to play. Would take a point here, even if that means it's only 1 point after 2 games and likely being 5 points behind the leaders already. Better than nothing.
  6. Agreed. I think we'll do very well to get 3 in. Say 1 in before deadline day and a couple of of deals on the last day. And that's a best case scenario. Because he's available on a free in 9 months. As a few others have mentioned, Juve's GM has come out and stated that Sandro is happy to stay. It's been a waste of time. I like Alonso a lot, but his limitations are glaring and the huge bid for Sandro suggests that an upgrade is being pursued. It's remarkable how much space Alonso is regularly afforded and how often he's unable to make use of that space due to his lack of pace. By his second or 3rd touch, he's been closed down and has to backwards because he can't go past a player. His pace also makes him a liability in defensive 1 v 1's as a winger can blow by him quite easily. Imagine how much damage a pacey attacking option would do down the left. Hazard has never had the luxury of someone taking advantage of all that space.
  7. I think it's up to Atletico to be honest. They're obviously trying to drive the price down, seeing as they're the only destination for him. It could be a deadline day deal and we may just have to accept a cut price offer.
  8. At Juve, allegedly, for not selling. Which is pretty hilarious. If Wenger is insistent on hanging on to the likes of Sanchez, Ozil, and Ox, there's going to be quite a fight to sign them as free agents next summer. Will be interesting to see who's in the mix and who prevails. It'll be a wage battle I reckon. Watford would ask for £40m for Deeney. Can only see Drinkwater as a possibility among those. I reckon Cedric might be someone we consider as well. Interesting that; don't often see loan swaps.
  9. Well, the final 5-6 days falls within a fortnight so there is that! Brinkmanship, playing on desperation of club and/or player, and trying to save a buck. It's pretty ludicrous but you see it every year. Yes, you would think Matuidi would start and Bakayoko eased in, with Cesc offering an alternative. Ultimately I think his age was a factor for us. I think Pasalic was always one for the loan army. Doubt he'll ever play for us. Unfortunately it seems like the best young players go on loan to maximise their value for when we sell them. Christensen being the exception...so far. Yeah, I think it will be sooner rather than later, especially since Cahill relies on his physical attributes and those may fall away soon seeing as he's 32 later this year. I really don't think Juve will sell. If they were going to, it would have been earlier in the window when they would have had the chance to reinvest. I don't see such a huge deal being concluded in the final days of the window. I'll be very happy to be wrong.
  10. It's just the papers trying to drum up as much turmoil as possible. It's a pity we've made ourselves easy targets over the summer.
  11. We finished with 93 points last season. I think the expectation was to strengthen the squad and have another good go this season. No guarantee we'll have a late flurry of signings, especially in this transfer climate. The worry is that we get priced out and settle with a short squad. The difference is that last season we changed formation and went on a great run, playing one game a week. This time around the novelty has worn off, we have another major competition, and fewer players. Agree with your analysis of the game. Cedric is decent, nothing more, nothing less. We'd still have to overpay though. Yup. No way is he or any other rival selling to us.
  12. To elaborate on our squad and usability of young players in the lesser cup competitions, let's take a look at our second XI last season (keep in mind this was a squad that was generally considered light): Begovic; Zouma, JT, Ake; Aina, Cesc, Nate, Kenedy; Willian, Michy, RLC That's a pretty decent second XI to be honest. Mixture of youth and experience and some good quality. The thought for this season was to replace a few that would be leaving (Costa, JT) and add 3-4 quality players. Unfortunately we've let the likes of Matic, Zouma, JT, Ake, Aina, Nate, Kenedy and RLC go so we're very short. Our second XI, for now, is: Cabellero; Rudiger, Christensen, Nil; Nil, Cesc, Nil, Nil; Willian, Michy, Musonda So, we're basically 4 short of a usable second XI (CB, RWB, LWB, and CM). I think the 5 CB's we have is adequate so the real pressing requirements are 2 WB's and a CM. Another AM would be a bonus. So taking that into account, there's hope that we will make the necessary additions and are then able to field a decent second XI when needed. Work to be done but it's still salvageable.
  13. Our top 11-12 players are better, no doubt, but as you say that's not where the issue lies. Jose has a lot more usable players at his disposable and he's starting to get his identity across with a clear playing style emerging (a hard press and quick transitions with some real physicality throughout the team). In terms of personnel, they look ready for a long, arduous season. And that's worrying. If that's the profile of CM we're targeting, I don't see why the likes of N'zonzi or Seri aren't being pursued. Both quality players with buyouts in the mid 30m range. Indeed. Nobody has a clue. Barca have signed Semedo for the RB position so they're sorted. In fact that probably explains the links to Sergi Roberto. We currently don't really have any youth players available. Don't see the likes of Tomori or Scott starting even the League Cup. Musonda and Christensen are pretty much our only options there. Yeah, agree with this, Don't really rate Barkley and it seems like other teams don't either.
  14. Here we go then. Opening game and possibly the thinnest match day squad I've ever seen. Quite remarkable that it's come to this. Regardless, we have to make do I suppose and hope that we strengthen significantly in the few weeks that remain. It's important to pick up points and remain in contention for the first half dozen games of the season, so that once Hazard, Bakayoko and any incoming signings arrive we'll be in touching distance to the leaders. Our fixture list gets easier after the first 10 games or so and with a bigger squad we can then look to build up a head of steam. First things first and let's deal with Burnley. We've gotten a little lucky with the Andre Gray departure. He would have been the main threat here so let's hope to take advantage. Burnley will look to be physical and niggly and hope to spoil the day, but hopefully we'll have too much for them. Cesc will have a role to play in trying to unlock them. An early goal would lift everyone and make our lives a lot easier. A good win is important here I reckon, not just for the points but for the morale of the team and the supporters. We need a bit of a lift after a rather concerning off-season. I don't think he will start, but I would definitely go with Morata from the beginning. He's a confidence player and it would be a real boost for him. It would also give him a chance to get off the mark early and allay any criticism that lies in wake. I really do hope Conte starts with him. Otherwise the team will probably be much the same, with Moses' absence meaning Rudiger makes his debut as well. The bench is negligible: 3-4-3: Courtois; Rudiger, Luiz, Cahill; Azpi, Cesc, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Pedro Subs: Cabellero, Christensen, Tomori, Scott, Boga, Musonda, Michy
  15. I don't think Sandro's for sale to be honest. Not at this point anyway, we may have been able to get him earlier in the summer if we had put in a massive bid. But now with Alves and Bonucci gone, I really doubt they'll sell. As for Rose, as I mentioned earlier, we have the Sandro money so should really go big. The Walker fee of £50m should be the precedent so I imagine our first offer should be about £45m plus add-ons. I say that because we should really be moving quick on this and looking to land him with the second offer.
  16. He'd be an upgrade to anyone they have, but yes, we do have a more pressing need. Yes please. Quality player who'd do very well with the likes of Kante or Bakayoko beside him. Apparently he's put in a transfer request as well. Yes, it seems like Matic was in Conte's plans all along. Well said. Cancelo is at Valencia and seems a tidy player. It just seems like yet another random link to us though. Pogba is a good player but he runs the risk of remaining just that and not taking a significant step forward. Personally I think he's a bit too flash and tries to be overly dynamic and forceful. He's a highlights player to be honest and rarely does he influence games from start to finish. Long may it be. Agree with you guys. He's very good and probably has at least 3-4 quality seasons left in him. He fits a need and keeping in mind what we were willing to offer for Sandro, we really should push the boat out for him. The worry, of course, is that Levy will refuse to sell to us and send him to Utd instead, even if it's a lower offer. There's also Rose's statement about returning North, so he may prefer them as well.
  17. Good to hear. Seems a PR exercise but encouraging that Conte's come out in support of the club. Doesn't seem much in this tbh, though I do agree that £25-30 million is more realistic than the ridiculous 50m quoted earlier. Still about £10m overpriced IMO.
  18. Tick tock indeed. I was baffled and scared looking at the squad we took to Asia for pre-season, having never seen a squad so light. That was mitigated, slightly, by the Morata signing and the hope that further signings would quickly follow. That was about 19 days ago and we haven't signed anyone since. So now I'm baffled and scared looking at the squad on the verge of our first league game, not being able to remember a squad so light. Yeah I agree with this, except that I think Southampton are trying to drum interest so that they can sell to anyone but Liverpool. Ha, that made me lol. Yes, there certainly is a bit of deja va. Not enough signings, short pre-season, manager looking frustrated, player sold to a rival seemingly against the mangers wishes (Cech to Arsenal - Matic to Utd) and a tricky opening to the season on the cards. The positive is that we have time to rectify this and I do think the players we do have will be fitter and sharper than they were in 2015. Just over 3 weeks (22 days) to go. I don't have a problem with Alonso either. The problem is that we have no one else to compliment him. We literally don't have another left-footer in the squad bar Kenedy who's started his long walk of atonement. Who, to be fair, is a fantastic WUM. Our last signing was a club record £58m rising to 70m. Can't accuse us of penny pinching really. Yet. I'm with MT here; I really doubt Wenger will sell to us, even if that means AOC leaves on a free next season. That was 5 years ago and I dare say he learnt his lesson. Yes, they usually do and the 3-4 signings story to pacify the fan base has been doing the rounds for a while. However, I don't think those journalists have any idea who those 4 are and they're just regurgitating names. For example, they have no idea who we may target if Sandro's off the market (which seems likely). Also the Morata signing was confirmed within 24 hours of the news breaking (Di Marzio was first on that). Prior to the news breaking, it was a guessing game with Belotti, Auba, and Morata all linked. I reckon any further signings will happen without much public knowledge as well.
  19. Aurier's a beast and would be a quality addition, but the question marks over his attitude remain. Regardless, nobody can make a move on him until his appeal is heard. He was very solid against Arsenal, in fact the back 3 (and Kante) were our best players. Azpi is absolutely vital to our system as the RCB, evidenced by the fact that he completed more passes than anyone else in the league last season. IMO, Conte trusts him in that position unconditionally. This is absolutely true, and rather scarily confirmed by the club director, no less: If anything it's exactly the opposite to what we do. When's the last time we bought a 30 year old for a decent fee? Yes, we're under-stocked at AM, especially so considering how important they are to our system and how many minutes they'll be expected to play (off the bench as well) during the course of the season. Injuries and fatigue could be a real issue and I really don't see Conte trusting Musonda to play important minutes. Mahrez would be a solid addition but I don't see us interested, otherwise I reckon we would have made a move already. Unfortunately I don't see us adding to the position, for this season at least.
  20. At this point I'd play Bale at LWB! Absolutely. Yes. The WB's are absolutely vital to our entire play. Going forward, not only do they need to have good delivery, but they should be able to take on defenders as well. It's why, I reckon, Conte rates Moses highly and why, upgrade on Alonso is needed. He's often in acres of space and is unable to exploit it due to his lack of pace and inability to bypass defenders. Azpi, as clever as he is, can't go past players either. We need more dynamic, quality options there. Christensen is currently 5th in the pecking order. I wouldn't be surprised if he wants out by January. FWIW, I agree with you in regards to his quality. Usually Matt Law has some decent insight into our dealings, but at the moment it's quite amusing that no one has any idea who we're after. It's all a guessing game. For example, apart from Alex Sandro, does anyone have any clue who we're after for LWB? Even the media can't figure out who to link us to!
  21. Jose wouldn't sell to us, but even if he did I'm quite hesitant on Shaw. Has struggled with injuries, looks overweight, and I'm not sure he has the fire to succeed. Yes, I'd take that double signing. Seeing as Mahrez is still available, I'd definitely be in for him. Interesting. Was wondering what Lass was doing nowadays... I think we were. I remember Santos getting very worked up and the Brazilian President and Pele and the rest of the country got involved. Eventually Santos brought in some sponsors and investors to offer Neymar a new contract and he ended up staying. We definitely stirred the boat.
  22. I thought Kenedy had been banished for eternity so it's good he's still around. We don't have a back up LWB at the moment so if he can fill that role, I'm all for it. Anyone remotely usable is a positive right now. Would take him in a heartbeat. Would take Aurier too (who'd be great as a WB) but he's a bit of a loose cannon. City don't have a midfield (an ancient Yaya, a crocked Gundogan and a fading Fernandinho) and are pretty dodgy at CB as well. Can see them fading when the pressure is on. They'll score plenty though. Pretty sure it was John Percy reporting.
  23. Yes, you're right, I doubt those were first choices. The worry, as shared, is that we leave it too late and remain short.
  24. Haha, if only Dave! I reckon the first is a real possibility and could be a quality stop gap. I think the other 3 are penciled in as first teamers. Di Maira, Aurier, Matuidi, Ben Arfa, Krychowiak and Jese are rumoured to be transfer listed.
  25. Speaking of a fire sale, that's apparently exactly what PSG are about to have to balance the Neymar acquisition. Surely there's someone we can target?