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About samhoward17

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  1. My personal feeling on Barkley is that he is actually holding Everton back. Having him in the number 10 position is a huge handicap. Runs with his head down, often gives the ball away, poor defensively, lacks intelligence with his runs and shoots from everywhere. He is actually one of the big reasons why I've changed my mind on Lukaku. Never been his biggest fan but if he can score 24 league goals with Barkley as his main provider then what could he do with Cesc threading through balls?
  2. Fabregas showed exactly why he is such an important player for us. His numbers this year are absurd. 11 assists and 4 goals in just 1165 minutes. That's a goal involvement once every 77 minutes. What has impressed me the most from him this year has been his exemplary attitude at all times. Even at the beginning of the season when he was receiving paltry minutes he was still seen encouraging others and even winning us games with 10 minutes on the pitch. His post match interview on Sky last night was very impressive and if it wasn't for the Arsenal connection he would be a worthy Captain. One comment last night mentioned how he has probably achieved more this season than in many others despite the limited minutes. He has often been accused of being a half season player and whilst I do think he has been underused, this has enabled him to stay fresh and on top of his game all throughout the season. I think his days of playing 50/60 games a season are gone as his legs have got nearly 700 games in them across 13 years. With the added games next year there is certainly room for him at the club and I wouldn't be surprised to see a move to 352 especially in Europe. Having a player like that to unlock any team that defends deep is invaluable and exactly what our rivals have lacked this season.
  3. Since the Palace defeat watching Chelsea has not been quite as fun. I have gone into every game positive and with the knowledge we should win but there's been a distinct nervousness watching games especially with the goals we have conceded. Since the Spurs game we have actually been playing very well and whilst the goals and victories have been great, getting there must have pushed my heart rate up a few knots. The Everton game was a massive win as it was the most difficult game remaining by a mile and in the space of 5 days we have gone from needing 12 points from 15 to 6 from 12. We do of course have to win these games but I fully expect to start watching Chelsea batter these teams with very little nerves and full enjoyment. Spurs have been on a great run but have tended to bully poor teams rather than be truly tested and I would be very surprised if we don't see a complete GD swing in our favour in the next 4 games. Now I'm just pissed we have to wait until Monday.
  4. Crespo was class and a real shame he never really got settled in the country. His off the ball movement was the best I've ever seen combined with clinical finishing. He's often forgotten and rarely mentioned in the media but he was key in the title winning season of 05/06. Whenever he is brought up in here I have got the feeling that everyone appreciates him just as much as I do though.
  5. Thanks for this link. My personal favourite: Best centre forward performance I can remember seeing at Ashton gate today...completely unplayable...beastmode 23 people like this.
  6. Costa was brilliant last night, not only did he provide an assist and two quality goals he was constantly running in behind their centre backs. His no look touch through to Hazard in the first half was sublime and really should have resulted in a goal. His second goal was a thing of beauty and showed the ability to play in small spaces in which I anticipate Lukaku may struggle if he does replace him. I've spoken up quite a few times in support of Costa in particular because I think he is a unorthodox player who attempts high risk dribbles. All players suffer dips in form and that brilliant pass I described earlier would have bounced straight through to the keeper 2 weeks ago. I believe its nothing to do with desire or effort but in actual fact he is a confidence player who is targeted every single week by at least two defenders and with no support from referees. Drogba, Rooney, Aguero, they are all streaky players who go 6 games looking like they have their boots on the wrong feet and then go 6 games where they are unplayable. I personally believe he gets a lot of stick due to the constant rumours about wanting out but if we are judging him on his performance his goal record is excellent. Many are very quick to turn on him but he has won us more points than any other player has in the league. Without him there would be no title that's a certainty! Thought it was clear that Southampton have spent much of the last 10 days working on set piece routines. With a delivery as good as Ward-Prowse I think any team would have struggled to deal with those corners. He was whipping the ball in with so much pace and accuracy it was too risky for Courtois to come out and they had predesigned movements where Gabbiadini would go to the far post. When a team has that much time to prepare I think you have to hold your hands up and say well done. Fabregas and Hazard were both delightful and if we can get them both on the pitch in this form with Costa back scoring then teams are going to struggle to contain us. Fingers crossed for a Palace win tonight.
  7. Southampton very much a sit deep and counter team so Cesc is certainly needed. I probably would have opted for Willian over Matic but not too many complaints.
  8. Whilst always welcome I would snatch your hand off for a 1-0 right now. We still have Boro, Watford and Sunderland to play at home so I would expect that GD gap to close significantly. Spurs have been on a good run but have significantly improved their GD by beating up terrible teams at home in recent weeks.
  9. Bats looked sluggish for me on Saturday. Yes he had a couple of nice touches but in general I thought he added nothing. It's easy not to give the ball away if your being utterly dominated and never make runs, compete for the ball or offer to feet. We had no outlet up top until changes were made and this was a significant reason why we were under pressure. Without a willing runner leading the line the whole team gets back up and we end up retreating deeper and deeper. I am not writing him off totally because I was impressed with what I saw in the early season. I think he is suffering from a severe lack of game time and certainly looks nowhere near as sharp as he did early on. Best scenario is a PL loan next year.
  10. Ake looks like he belongs at this level. On the left of a back three is certainly his best position and he is a quality ball playing centre back. The only issue is both his and Azpi's height in the same team but it's not like many teams play two up top anyway. I would personally like to see him retained for Southampton as they only have Gabbiadini as a striker and he's not the type that will test us aerially. He could be really handy against teams that play with smaller, nipper strikers such as City and Liverpool.
  11. The change to 352 really helped us gain control of the midfield and it was very odd to see them take off Wanyama shortly after and as soon as that happened it really was over.
  12. Wow absolutely buzzing. After seeing the team that started that really could not have gone better. For the first 20 minutes we were excellent and really causing them problems. After that we dropped about 10 yards and allowed them to dictate possession. We were probably fortunate to go into half time leading but Lloris was very fortunate to get away with a clear hand ball. I thought the back three was excellent especially Ake who was my MOTM. No blame for him on the Kane goal which was either genius or very lucky and the second goal was the fault of the midfield for allowing Eriksen so much time to play that pass. It really was an incredible piece of skill and very difficult to blame any of the defence for that. Yes Spurs had a lot of possession, yes they had many corners but did they create any clear cut chances? Have to remember we rested our three best attacking players for the more important league game and as soon as Hazard and Cesc came on there was only going to be one winner. Both were a class above any other player on the pitch and bringing on such quality against tiring legs was always going to cause them problems. Costa wasn't at his best but was considerably better than Batshuayi who was completely invisible bar that back heel at the start. I mentioned before the game about Spurs' record on bigger pitches and they were unable to pin us in our half as there was an extra few yards of space to pass out. Having Ake instead of Cahill / Zouma certainly helped in this area as well. Cannot see them having anywhere near as much success with their style of play at Wembley next season. Watching the game with my work colleagues including 3 United fans, an Arsenal fan and a massive Spurs fan was a risky strategy but all the sweeter at full time. Seeing quality players like Lloris have such an uncharacteristically poor game was hilarious and comforting to know that Spurs still have the ability to bottle the big stage. This was the perfect response today and fully deserved as the team that defended better and were more clinical in front of goal. The Spurs fans all vacated Wembley on about 85 minutes and seeing thousands of red seats with time left should hopefully demoralise a few of the Spurs players. They have been on an incredible run but have some really tough games coming up whilst we should be chomping at the bit to take on Southampton. The double is on, UP THE CHELS. P.S. I am absolutely certain I am not the only one who was about to hurl all kinds of abuse at Matic for even attempting that shot before going absolutely mental and praising his god-like qualities.
  13. Each time we've played Spurs we have struggled when pinned in on the tight pitches of Shite Hart Lane and the Bridge as they press very well. City had the exact same issue but if you look at all of the games Spurs have played away on bigger pitches they have struggled to cover the greater space. They have lost at Old Trafford & Anfield, were battered by City in a draw and of course the games at Wembley as well. I'm hoping our half-press will suit the larger space and that it will also allow us to pass out from the back as like it or not we will attempt to do. I think it's important to make a change to 352 with Fabregas coming in to attempt to overrun their very strong midfield and give Hazard someone to play with. Like a few others I wouldn't mind seeing Chalobah instead of Matic to get some extra legs in the middle but I would be surprised to see it happen. Jose had clearly been designing a master plan to combat our system and Pochettino could easily try mimic that or use the 343 that worked so well against is before. I am hoping a slight change can make a big difference in the center and lets not forget Danny Rose is out. He completely bossed Pedro and Moses on that day but I really fancy more success against Ben Davies. We as fans need to stay positive and provide support to the players because an anxious atmosphere is not going to help matters. Alonso and Courtois are back which is very important whilst the only player out is Cahill. I expect to see Zouma in on the right again with Azpi moving to LCB. 3-1 to the blues. Up the Chels.
  14. Very nervy game last night due to the pressure form the weekend game. First half was frenetic and they were fortunate to score from a total cock up from Teebow. Aside from this he was excellent last night as he has been all season so I'm happy to write this one off as a minor blip. His distribution this season has improved considerably and last night I don't think he was helped by the awkward Zouma and Cahill as the main passing options. No doubt he was at fault for the goal but like Spurs before panic set in playing out from the back and with the defence that played it seemed a dangerous tactic. When Hazard is in this mood he is incredible to watch. Every time the ball was drilled in his direction his first touch cushioned the ball into his stride effortlessly. The penalty and the chance at the end illustrates he is not the cold blooded finisher of a Messi/Ronaldo but I think it's important to concentrate on the mesmerising things he does do. Last night he was absolved of any defensive responsibilities and thrived in a system playing completely to his strengths, certainly won't get that in Madrid. I thought Costa battled very well considering the rest of the team was about 30 metres away. Kompany showed he is still a physical beast and I thought Diego did well with the little ball he received. I think it's unfair to criticise him for having few touches when our game plan was so clearly to sit deep and allow them to have possession. A thankless task for a lone striker and it's easy to forget just 3 or 4 games ago people were slamming Hazard when he had a few quiet games. It's great we are so fortunate that each of our players have stepped up and made the difference at varying stages of the season. Final mention for the often criticised Gary Cahill who was an absolute rock last night. He may not be the long term option but we could do far worse as other clubs do. Don't be so quick to throw away a player who has shown great leadership skills and even if he isn't an automatic starter every week he will still be invaluable to have around the squad.
  15. 4 against Sunderland, 2 vs Hull when game was already finished. No braces for Costa all season and he has scored in 16 different league games. Costa is considerably more consistent when it counts and always gives you an outlet even when he's off form.