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About samhoward17

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  1. Chelsea 3 Sheffield Wednesday 0

    Of course, in regard to this I would like to see Alonso start tomorrow. I think Emerson deserves a run for the next few PL games as he seems to be hitting form whilst Alonso has been quite poor for a while now. A rest should do Alonso good and healthy competition might make him step up his game. After the Arsenal game when Sarri made his comments he mentioned that there might be a few small changes. Perhaps dropping Alonso is one. It never hurts to show that a senior player is not untouchable.
  2. Official: Chelsea sign Gonzalo Higuain

    I really liked his energy on the side against Spurs. Often he was screaming at the ref and asking for Tottenham players to get booked and genuinely seemed very happy to be here. One underestimated element of this signing could be the value he adds as a respected voice and leader in the dressing room. One that will back Sarri as well. Not sure how much to take from it but he looks sharp in this video. Of course he was unopposed against the goalkeeper however if anyone has seen Morata in the warm up before games you'll know this is a step up. The passion shown as well could hardly by further from the sulky cloud he replaced. Certainly looks confident.
  3. Official: Cesc Fabregas Leaves For Monaco

    I was extremely shocked when Henry got the job. I always thought he was awful as a pundit with most of what he said not really making any sense. Zidane an obvious exception but always thought defensively minded players make better managers. Incredible natural talents like Henry can find it difficult to understand why players can't do what he used to, perhaps Zidane would be the same if he were not managing a super team. All the Belgians seem to speak very highly of Henry but again they have some world class talents. I've heard that Glenn Hoddle used to rub some of his players up the wrong way as he would still be the best player in training and was not shy about it. Some of the stories that have come out, if true are quite comical. From the article above where he called an opposition players grandmother a whore. 'I regret my comments from the bench. It was a human reaction, I'm still human. I regret it. 'Sometimes I do it in English. Maybe in English it wouldn't have been as noticeable. No, I'm joking. I should not do it.' Probably ill advised timing for a joke. Emenalo has officially been sacked now and Jardim is back in. Reports are Jardim and Emenalo did not get along and the owner did not like the business that was done last summer. All seems very chaotic and a surprise as Monaco seemed to be a very well run club for the last few years. Poor Cesc might just be questioning his decision to go there.
  4. Official: Chelsea sign Gonzalo Higuain

    If he can avoid being blown over by a gust of wind or complaining about the rain he will be an improvement. I'm excited to see if we now have a player who will get to in the 6 yard box. If we do then this should lift the rest of the team.
  5. Transfer Talk Topic

    Plus the game against Wolves where he rotated the whole team and we ended up losing.
  6. Agreed. We are not free flowing yet but Sarri is right to prioritise the defence. On course for 81 points and 1 point off third place. Most predicted us 5th or 6th at the start of the season. Sarri took over a team playing a completely different style of play and had one summer with his best players not returning until 1 week before the season. Poch, Klopp and Guardiola have all had at least 2 years, Poch double and have their teams complete. Imagine where we would be if we had a striker that actually suited our system.
  7. Transfer Talk Topic

    Both Parades and Barrella look like quality players but also hard bastards which is okay by me. Need a few more who can go toe to toe with the thugs at Spurs and the rest. We have Luiz (who may leave) and Rudiger but not a lot else. In this regard we still haven't replaced Terry, Brana and Costa.
  8. Official: Chelsea Sign Christian Pulisic

    It's the exact same as the Naby Keita deal Liverpool made about 12 months before he joined. Sometimes in order to sign a highly coveted player you need to go early. I'm just happy he will be joining on day one of pre-season rather than deadline day. Also heard murmers that there's a transfer ban coming and this is our way of navigating it. That would provide a few problems.
  9. Crystal Palace 0 Chelsea 1

    Thought we played well dominating the game, creating chances and not allowing any on our own goal. That we have so many clean sheets this season is a testament to how the team is defending as I don't think Kepa has been more than average. Azpi brilliant again, completely smothered their best player and one who has caused us a few problems in the past. His deliverys are improving as well just a shame that no one actually runs to the front post. Kante also brilliant and improving every single week with his attacking contributions. Earlier in the season many have asked why he is the furthest foward CM rather than Barkley / Kovacic. From Sarri's comments it seems they are also being asked to get forward they just aren't doing it as well or often. His ability to get in the box and then also get back into position should not be underestimated. Injuries in key areas did not help. When the only attacking option you have on the bench is Morata then you have issues. Let's hope RLC, Pedro or CHO are back quick because Morata attitude and performances look like he's already out the door. Is Higuain the long term answer? Not a chance but by virtue of being able to play 90 minutes without getting blown over by a gust of wind he will improve us for 6 months on a loan. A striker who actually gets in the 6 yard box will make a huge difference. Think it's time for either Emerson or Zappa to get a game ahead of Alonso who looks like he needs a rest. Not been in great form for a few weeks and his yellow card was probably a key indicator at his frustration with his own game right now. After seeing half a season of Barkley playing regularly I still do not rate him at all. He's gone from a frustrating number 10 who would give the ball away often but produce the odd spectacular moment to a nothing ball recycler who rarely does anything at all. The biggest issue is he still has the capacity to give the ball away, often in very bad areas, whilst the spectacular moments are almost never seen. Can press a bit but mostly a liability in defence. It drives me mad that he is on the pitch ahead of Cesc and the fact we may lose him because of it is mind boggling. Games like this are crying out for a player who can pick a pass through the eye of a needle. I have wanted to see Cesc and Jorginho together all season as I think they will compliment each other well but sadly I just don't see it ever happening.
  10. Chelsea 2 Manchester City 0

    The blueprint for yesterday was the home game against Barca last season. Playing Hazard centrally allows you to use both Willian and Pedro wide who are without question the most effective pressers of the ball we have. Stones and Laporte had plenty of the ball but with those two blocking the channels and Kante and Kovacic covering the inside central areas we limited City to very little. This should be the system for big games going forward and you can even play those three with Giroud ahead against lesser sides. Kovacic has been brilliant in a handful of games this season, immediately this and the Liverpool game spring to mind. Against lesser sides he is not needed as an 8 so either play Cesc or drop the extra midfielder and play 4231. I think he has done enough to be a worthwhile permanent signing and he is ideal back up to the other two CM positions as well. The first half wasn't the best performance with the ball but we did keep our shape and even when City did have openings our defenders were throwing their bodies in front of the ball in a way Chelsea players always do best when we put in a big performance. We know Luiz can do this as represented by playing on one leg in Munich but to see Azpi back to form and Rudiger evolving into a top class centre back has given much promise for the future. With JT gone and Cahill on his way out we need these guys to carry this spirit on. We got bullied at Wembley but yesterday we stood up and showed our metal. Over the last few seasons we have lost many huge leaders but more importantly in JT, Ivan and Costa we have lost a few hard bastards. I would be looking to add one or two to the squad. Centre forward would be a start. The goal just before half time was reminiscent of the 2012 Drogba goal vs Barca in the way we brilliantly avoided their attempts to stop all counters and took the chance when it came. It seemed to energise the team and second half we came out on the front foot and played significantly better. We stopped giving the ball away, started threatening their goal and stopped them creating anything. Kepa: 7 - A couple of good interventions but also nearly gave them a needless goal at the end. Has made some great saves this season but also let in a few bad ones. I still need some convincing if he is the long term answer but there is talent there. Still relatively young for a goalkeeper and in a new league. Azpi: 9 - Back to his best and a brilliant performance. The last few weeks he's been back to his old self, all over the wingers like a rash and always touch tight. Saw off Sane who has been on fire recently and then completely nullified the form player in the league when Sterling switched across. Rudiger: 8 - Arguably our best player this season. Can't think of a mistake he's made. Has a superb long ball in his locker and adds bite to a team that needs it. Luiz: 9 - MOTM. Colossus performance. Fantastic on the ball and won countless headers and a couple of brilliant moments staying on his feet when Sane was in our 6 yard box. He's been due a goal but unlike the last beast header that hit the woodwork vs United this one got his name on scoresheet. Alonso: 5 - Poor first half and given real trouble by Sterling. This was less costly given the cover provided by Kova and Willian. Going through a bad patch which can happen to anyone. Might be worth giving him a rest in one or two games in the busy schedule. Jorginho: 6 - Quiet and gave the ball away in a terrible area in the first half. Struggled since teams have started to man mark him however when Luiz is in form this doesn't matter and he will soon get more space or Luiz will just dictate from deeper. Play Cesc alongside him and someone, somewhere is going to be the free man with the ability to hurt teams. Kante: 9 - Brilliant game and vital to both attack and defence. His ability to win the ball back but then also get into the 6 yard box unmarked should not be underestimated. Kovacic: 8 - Very good performance. And illustrated exactly why he should be starting these games. Willian: 7 - Pressed relentlessly and gave cover to Alonso that Hazard does not. Surprised when he cut in from the left with space he didn't bury it like he usually does from that angle. Always prefer him left or central. Pedro: 8 - The flee was everywhere nipping at the heels of City players and leading the press. A couple of quality passes led to big chances and one a goal. Hazard: 8 - Often isolated and did what he could to compete and won a few important free kicks. Bumped him to an 8 for 2 great assists. Subs Barkley: 7 - I have to admit I was concerned when Kova went off. He did very well and much better than previous cameo appearances against top sides RLC: 7 - Solid effort winning a few free kicks and holding the ball up. His ability to do this should mean he sees minutes as a sub AM especially against the top 6. Giroud: N/A
  11. Chelsea 2 Manchester City 0

    Happy with the team selection. With their high line not sure how much Giroud would be able to contribute and having both Pedro and Willian pressing out wide will give more protection to the full backs. We may still get stuffed but the blueprint for me is the home game vs Barca last year. Their squad is still insane but we couldn't have asked for more than their best two players being unavailable and back up striker. Morata not even on the bench. Probably for the best.
  12. Chelsea 2 Manchester City 0

    Aguero and De Bruyne both out. Still Aguero was out in this fixture a year ago and they played us off the park with Jesus up front. Funny looking back at that game I remember Morata was on fire and we started well, when he went off injured the crowd collectively sighed and the team lost all confidence. 1 year later and I don't want Morata near the pitch. His attitude is shocking. Shaving your head, kicking the ball away and arguing with the ref doesn't make you tough. Gets more yellows than Costa but the defenders barely know they've had a battle. Our battle this season is not with City so any result today is a success. Will be a very hard watch and if we try to play our usual way it could be a cricket score. I would be very tempted to drop Alonso either for Zappa or Emerson. Switching Azpi to the left to combat Sterling maybe a good idea. Kovacic simply has to start these games and in fairness he has been our best player in a couple of the toughest fixtures. Leaving the left back exposed with Hazard and one of the other CM's is only going to end badly. Kepa Zappa Rudiger Luiz Azpi Kante Jorginho Kovacic Pedro Giroud Hazard
  13. Chelsea 2 Fulham 0

    Switch Kante to the left if you must. Play Fabregas and it will be the opposition worrying about our attack rather than vise versa. Cesc has won us titles playing in a midfield 2 and now we play with a 3 with Jorginho deep and Kante alongside. Surely that's enough defensive cover? It's not like Barkley or RLC can defend any better than Cesc anyway. Kovacic clearly a very solid defence minded midfielder but really not needed in these games.
  14. Chelsea 2 Fulham 0

    I would personally pick the below team however wouldn't be top fussed as long as we see Cesc, Jorginho and Kante together. Kepa Zappa Rudiger Luiz Alonso Kante Jorginho Cesc Pedro Giroud Hazard Pedro provides more balance on the right especially with Giroud playing as he will make runs in behind. Even when Morata is playing okay I still think Hazard is twice the player alongside Giroud. Zappa over Azpi is an option I would seriously consider in these types of games as he offers more going forward. Most important player to start is Fabregas. He offers a cutting edge and whilst he may lack pace he speeds up everything with his technique and decision making. At home to Fulham it really would be daft to leave him out. He has just as much ability to get in the box as Barkley and against the worst defence in the league we should be going for the throat.
  15. We have seen some growing pains in the last few weeks and of course there is nothing like a derby defeat to bring out emotional opinions. 4th is about where we are at right now and where we all hoped to be by the end of the season. Pochettino is in the 5th year of his project, Klopp the 4th, Pep and Jose the 3rd and of course Sarri and Emery year 1. Besides Arsenal these are teams that are almost at the peak of their projects and it's not really fair to compare this team with any of them besides Arsenal. Spurs and Liverpool look complete teams and had City not been around would both have had a genuine shot at winning the league. I see it as quite funny that both finally get their act together and they have to compete with an unstoppable machine. Spurs did have a few sniffs of the league under Pocch but both came early on when they hilariously bottled it. The bad news for Spurs is the only way from here is down. Levy won't go and buy the premium final jigsaw signings like the best teams always have done, E.g. Costa/Cesc, Van Dijk/Allison and Van Persie as he has a very expensive stadium to pay for. Zero signings last summer and players like Eriksen who are very difficult to replace are running down their contract. From here Spurs only sign young players and that means their time is probably this season or never. Real/PSG likely to go big for Poch and if he goes it falls apart. Its easy to forget that we started the summer with Conte as manager. We brought in a new man with a totally opposite philosophy of football and due to the World Cup had barely a squad available 2 weeks before the season. At the moment I think we all agree that the football quality had been mixed. When it's bad it's like watching Arsenal which hurts but we've put faith in Sarri for a reason so I'm interested to see him do things his own way. I really hope he does make some tweaks. Priority should be getting Cesc on the pitch from the beginning in the number 8 role that no one else is nailing. Secondly play Hazard as a false 9 and get our 3 best attackers on the pitch from the start. Play Willian from the left where he is most effective and rest all three in the Thursday league. Come January find the best suited physical AM we can find that can play as a striker pay what is needed. Arnautovic may not have long on his contract and wants out, could be a good short term solution and still a couple years younger than Giroud. Richarlison and Zaha also both great long term alternatives.