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About samhoward17

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  1. Only just considered that Blackburn were also managed by Mark Hughes that day. If anyone wants to see a bitter man I would suggest watching his post-match conference. When asked whether his players targeted Costa he said it was the other way around and that Conte encourages 'gamesmanship'. Slightly ironic given the filthy tactics today and I seem to remember dropping points here in past seasons when the time wasting usually starts before half-time.
  2. Initially I did assume it was a 433 but I personally thought RLC was playing far closer to Costa. Before he came on Cesc was drifting in a free role but soon dropped in alongside Kante. To be honest there's not much difference between the 4231 / 424 I just thought it was a bit of a kamikaze tactic and resulted in us losing control for a period. I agree Ruben did play well but I do not see his future in the deeper midfield and I don't think he's played that role at all since Conte came in.
  3. What a win! Stoke kicked lumps out of us for 90 minutes and the referee was very poor. First half Martins Indi and Shawcross were intent on giving Costa rough treatment and he inevitably lost his head when the ref repeatedly failed to give anything. Costa did not react well to this and I have to say that at half time I was very frustrated with him and worried about a red card. Second half he was excellent. He started staying on his feet and suddenly his touch was back, reminded me of the recent West Ham game where his play followed a similar pattern. Thought the penalty was incredibly soft and nowhere near as bad as what Costa was receiving with every touch. I can kind of see the reasoning to start Matic as this was a very physical game but without Hazard and Fabregas on the pitch we lacked a cutting edge. This inevitably ended with the 70 minute sub of Cesc with a remit to save a game that was falling away. I did not like the 424 panic formation that we changed to and as soon as we got the goal and switched back to a back 3 I thought we regained control of the game. I think the issue with four at the back is Alonso suddenly having to play far deeper and Azpi whose attacking ability from RB has never been his strongest point. Ruben was good when he came on and a bit like Deli Alli I think we may find his best position is playing in this half space position on the left of a front three. David Luiz has been an absolute rock at the back all season but in recent weeks we are starting to see his passing ability again. It's no coincidence that the knee brace has come off ever since he was rested vs Wolves. Undoubtedly been the best defender in the league this season and hilarious to see so many pundits and journalists actually admitting they were wrong on this one. Could we even see Graeme Souness eating some humble pie? Doubtful. The goal from Cahill felt like a huge moment and I think this win away to the orcs trying to decapitate our players was a real Blackburn 05 moment. Seeing Conte hanging off of the roof of the dugout will live long in my memory.
  4. Hazard injured and Cesc left on the bench. Not sure about that decision, think the first half might be a quiet one unfortunately. Expect Fabregas to come on after 60 with the remit to save the day. We know Pedro is reliable but we really need Willian to step up today and he should get an opportunity to play from the left for once so no excuses.
  5. Mertens at the right price yes though like Pedro he is 29 so ideally we would buy a little younger. Please stay well away from Barkley he is barely Everton class let alone Chelsea. The definition of a highlight reel player. Gives the ball away countless times every game and takes an enormous amount of shots from ridiculous angles. He has had 64 shots in the league this season and scored just 4 goals. Fortunately this rumour doesn't make any sense as we no longer play with a number 10. He is just as much of a defensive liability as Fabregas and Mata but nowhere near as effective on the ball. The only young English midfielder that interests me is Oxlade-Chamberlain who I have always felt is deployed much better centrally. There have been rumours he wants out and with Wenger potentially gone it maybe a good time to swoop in. Would also be hilarious if he came here and stayed fit for a whole season.
  6. His touch may not have been as sharp in recent weeks but you cannot underestimate his value leading the line. He is still getting into goal scoring positions and there's a reason Batshuayi is not trusted to lead the line. He's very inexperienced playing as a lone striker and even struggled to hold up the ball against Brentford. On Monday Costa occupied Smalling and Rojo on whilst they were pulling his shirt and kicking lumps out of him. He still made a nuisance of himself and should've had two goals. I would bet Michy wouldn't have been in position for either of those chances. Costa has always been a streaky player, we need to keep faith and understand that his next hot streak is round the corner.
  7. Or Azpi at RWB, Cahill at RCB then Ake on the left of the three. That would be my preference. I sincerely hope the Pedro wing back experiment is over now, he got absolutely destroyed by Helder Costa in the Wolves game. The reason he has played so well this season is because he is so high up the pitch. He is able to make dangerous runs in behind and utilise he key strength which is directness and finishing ability. I would really worry about what Arnautovic or Shaqiri might do to him. Let's remember how poor he was last year playing deeper on the right and being asked to track the opposition full back. He is a great presser of the ball when on the front foot but not so great running in the other direction. This is also a key reason why I feel we've struggled at RW for so many years. I actually think someone such as Salah had the same issue and you can see how well he's doing at Roma now he is higher up the pitch and scaring teams with his pace on the last defender. Willian on the other hand was a JM favourite and the only player to truly play well on the right of the 4231. His skill set is more geared to towards recycling possession and he is far less direct meaning he is better suited to a deeper position. He has also shown he can hold down the right side when Costa, Fabregas, Hazard ect all drift to the left. I was convinced he would be the choice for the back up wing back and would still like to see this tried although I think the time to do this was in the early FA cup rounds rather than vital PL games. This is why I would lean towards the safety of Azpi at wing back and with Cesc, Hazard, Pedro and Diego up ahead we should have enough firepower.
  8. Completely agree on the Monaco hype. I would love to see Mbappe, Mendy, & Fabinho in our side whilst Bernardo Silva is a class player. Bakayoko is solid as well although I was less impressed by the right back Sidibe who I thought was a weak link in both games defensively. Unfortunately I cannot see us buying any of these players and City and United have been linked with all of them. It's almost too late now as they've had their breakout performance on the big stage and remember Martial cost something ridiculous like £50mill with add ons so Monaco don't let them go cheap. This is also a key reason why I have no concerns abouts Barca or any other club being linked with our players. Reportedly last summer we tried and failed to sign plenty of players including Koulibaly and Naingollan who we were apparently quoted in excess of £50million. If clubs like Roma and Napoli can reject bids this high do we really think that Chelsea with the PL money and Romans backing are going to let first team players leave for anything less than extortionate prices? Alonso is a decent performer and has been a good signing although not exactly a world beater. He cost us £24mill and we've also paid £16mill for completely unproven players like Baba Rahman. When Barca put in a bid of £40mill the club may listen but if they want the recently renewed Azpi they are in dreamworld.
  9. Telling everyone you have £200 million to spend certainly doesn't sound like a smart negotiation technique.
  10. Agreed if Moses is out I would personally prefer Ake with Azpi moving to RWB and us keeping the height at the back similar. Think Zouma is more likely to come in though especially given our troubles against Crouch in the home game. Stoke are not quite the in your face, long ball team they used to be and Cesc was actually selected in the home game so I expect another start on Saturday. Pedro in for Willian and the rest as usual. Thank god we've finally got a Saturday game I hate having to watch the other teams then wait until Monday. If we can win we would then provisionally go 13 points clear with City hosting Liverpool and Spurs hosting Southampton but without Kane. Both should be tough games and the pressure will be on if we can do our job first.
  11. In the ground last night I certainly didn't hear any anti-Jose chanting and by all accounts it was a small minority. Mourinho is a win at all costs manager and the kind of things he says now are the same that he used to back then and we found hilarious when everyone hated us. However I can't deny it hurts to read these unprovoked digs and part of me did hope he would have a bit more respect for us. I am disappointed in the chanting and despite my problems with his comments we should never resort to the sort of abuse we used to hear every week at away grounds. Personally I think the best way to move on is to support our new manager and ignore Jose and his comments, we are of course 10 points clear in the league. On the game, I was shocked to hear the amount of complaints for the ref. United started well in the game and we were struggling to move the ball quickly to begin with. Hazard then came to life and was electric for the remainder of the first half. Sadly the clear instructed treatment of him was stopping us from dominating and United got away with two or three yellows even before the major incident. Just before this the referee clearly calls Smalling over and warns him against the persistent rotational fouling. He let's Jones off the hook and just 2 seconds later Herrera dives in. Clear yellow and for once some protection for our star player. Both Valencia and Rojo were very fortunate to stay on the pitch whilst Pogba somehow avoided a single yellow. Costa's touch was poor tonight but United dealt with him excellently. He was up against 3 defenders who were all pulling his shirt and kicking him constantly. They were pushing the line of gamesmanship but in fairness this is an effective tactic against a striker of Diegos reputation. I remember Lucio doing the exact same job on Drogba when we played Jose's Inter. Still Diego did not stop running as usual and should've had another two goals. We all know he's not on top form but let's have some respect for the work he does for our team every single week. Hazard in the first half was absolutely electrifying and Kante brilliant as usual. Thought everyone else was okay bar Moses, Cahill and Alonso who were all wasteful. By the end it was very one sided and United were fortunate to only lose by one. A win is the most important thing and we now move onto Stoke.
  12. It does seem to have worked out nicely with Zlatan finally getting punished for something he's been doing all season. As much as it's typical Jose to be making up excuses it is definitely an advantage that they are currently on a Sunday league pitch in Russia and we are at Cobham plotting moves to exploit their weaknesses. Add in the fact it's at the Bridge and no replays we should really be playing a near full strength side and coming flying out the blocks. I've seen strikers such as Kane, Lukaku and Sanchez really struggle against our 3 man defence and I can't see Rashford or Rooney doing any better. Playing alone up front is hard enough against 2 centre backs but imagine coming up against us with the pace of Azpi and Luiz combined with the Strength and Aerial ability of Cahill and Luiz. The only potential changes I wouldn't mind are Ake for Alonso and Willian for Pedro. Other than that let's go full strength and make sure we win this.
  13. Really don't understand the criticism of Costa. The job of a lone striker is a thankless task and he worked tirelessly last night. There is no doubt his touch has not been quite right in recent weeks but even throughout this run I believe he is a more effective focal point than Kane, Lukaku, Aguero, Michy or any other striker in the league. He did not stop running all night, constantly pressed both their centre backs and was a complete nuisance. He always occupies two centrebacks and in the second half began to find his rhythm and but for a world class save would have had a second goal. Both he and Fabregas are world class and the reason why is they take risks. Fabregas attempts passes which neither Kante or Matic could even imagine and Costa is an unorthodox striker who dribbles awkwardly but effectively. Like Drogba before him when they try these things and they go wrong it can look messy but look at his goalscoring record and consider whether it is worth the odd giveaway. Anyway I actually thought we put in a quality professional performance last night bar the late consolation. Inevitably they tried to put us under some pressure from out wide but I thought this was completely ineffective. All of our back 5 were excellent in the air and the threat of Carroll was dealt with seamlessly. Good to see we are starting to improve in the one area of concern. Luiz excellent once again as was Kante bar a few poor passes. Even though it wasn't Fabregas' best game he still added significant value to the side moving the ball forward quickly. Hazard was on fire and as I keep saying he is a completely different player when Cesc is also on the pitch. They are not always defence splitting assists but unlike Matic and Kante he is constantly firing fast vertical passes between the lines. This allows Hazard to get the ball in one vs one situations before the opposition have time to retreat deep. This is also why Luiz is so valuable and last night he looked fitter to me and the incredible passes from pre-Aguero are starting to come back.
  14. Was in the cup semi final and earned them a 2-1 win. Vitesse have never won a major trophy in their history so there was massive pressure on that game and for him to score both goals indicates he does not shirk the big occasion.
  15. Courtois Azpi Luiz Cahill Moses Kante Matic Alonso Cesc Costa Hazard The above team offers the defensive cover of both Kante and Matic which I do think is needed in a potentially tough away London derby. It also allows us to squeeze in our three genuine world class attacking players and gives Hazard another player who is on his wavelength. Pedro has struggled away from the bridge in general and bringing him on against tiring legs is a great option to have for the second half.