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About samhoward17

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  1. Oxlade would be a fantastic signing and is just about as good as it gets if we want to sign a young English player. I have always been a big fan of his and he was excellent at RWB last season. A bit like Moses he looked like he was made for the position whilst his end product is significantly superior to Victor. He would also remove the need to buy an AM with his ability to cover in multiple positions including CM as well. Most importantly he can take a HG spot freeing up the foreign space we have wasted on GK3. Way superior to Barkley and only 23, please buy. On Wilshere, stay well away. Fantastic player back when he was 17 and outplaying Iniesta and Xavi in the Champions League but unfortunately he is completely shot now. I see the point about Arsenals poor physio department but I honestly think he is broken as a player. As a teenager he had pace and tenacity to add to his passing quality. He then missed a season fairly young and came back a yard slower. A bit like Hazard he has always had that dribbling technique where he waits until the last moment before touching the ball away from the defender. Unlike Hazard he does not have abnormal flexibility and acceleration to avoid getting snapped in half. He also has the tendency to jump into 5050s that his brittle limbs cannot handle. Last season he actually managed to complete a few 90 minute matches and played more than he had for a long time. The reason for this is because Eddie Howe pretty much told him to forget about tackling and gave him a free licence to attack only. His passing ability alone is not enough to justify his selection and it was no coincidence that Bournemouth started winning games as soon as they dropped him. He then proceeded to get injured for 4 months. It is telling that Bournemouth seem totally uninterested in signing him and there is no space for such a limited played in our 2 CM midfield. He is no longer the box to box player that he was 5 years ago and if we are looking at technical midfielders who are not that defensive we already have Lewis Baker who is our own youth product and physically capable of starting games.
  2. Boga is a complete tank! Remember seeing highlights of him last year and was very impressed. Clearly can beat a man but also wins many fouls before getting straight back on his feet, demanding the ball and running straight at the opponent again. I was very surprised he featured so little although in fairness he was at the club which came bottom of the league before appointing Tony Adams as manager so clearly they had no idea what they were doing. According to reports Musonda has filled out a bit but Boga looks far closer to being first team ready in my opinion. Due to our paper thin squad he will get a few chances to impress on tour and may even earn himself a squad position. Whether or not this equates to actual minutes is anyone's guess but until we sign somebody the spot is temporarily his. No doubt we will go to the market but if it's for a multi position player like Ox he may stick around as 4th/5th option. Certainly a far better player than the massively overrated Adama Traore who we were linked with earlier this season. Surround him with players on his technical level and above and he will flourish. Unfortunately it's the hope that kills us.
  3. I have been thinking for a while we may move towards a 352 and with the more mobile Bakayoko replacing Matic we should see far more of Cesc this season. One thing this does mean is that Baker would be a legitimate option as he is far better suited to playing in a 3. Could offer a genuine passing and set piece option off the bench which outside of Cesc we lack. I would also be fine with Willian playing in the middle as well with Luiz/ Azpi as a last resort.
  4. So it seems to just be a pay rise rather than an extension. Pretty sure he had two years on his deal anyway.....
  5. I do not like idea of Moses further forward as I really do not think he has the technical ability or end product to be one of the 2 AM's. 5th choice? sure but if he is 4th option that means he is first sub with Hazard out injured currently. Very happy with him at WB but if we want to seriously challenge on all fronts we need to sign another AM. On Mahrez, surely if he joined and teams marked him out of the game then that would free up others such as Hazard and Cesc? Personally I think he would be a very good option as he would get more room in our team with the attention on our other stars. Either way its only a positive as you cannot exactly double mark every single player on the pitch meaning someone somewhere is going to get space. I wouldn't be surprised if by December Cahill has been eased out of the team for one of Rudiger / Christensen on this point. He was fantastic for much of last season and scored some invaluable goals but there were certain games (Old Trafford especially) where teams just allowed Cahill the freedom of the pitch and swarmed the rest of our players. Having technically skilled players all over the pitch will make us more adaptable and it should free up our match winners further up the pitch when our defenders are stronger on the ball.
  6. Regarding our other business, I am happy with the Rudiger signing who should be a very solid, flexible alternative with the pace to enable us to play a high line. He allows us further tactical fluidity and I can see us switching to a back four more often. I do agree that with the potential signings of both Danilo and Sandro we look a little heavy on numbers in defence. I fully expect Zouma to go out on loan as he looks ill suited to a back three and both Azpi and Alonso can cover his position. Rudiger seems to have the athletic capabilities of Zouma but is considerably more comfortable on the ball. I would expect the back three from last year to start the season with Cahill the most vulnerable to a challenge from the bench. Last year we played the same eleven nearly every single week. Options are good as there will be injuries, players that don't work and we will have to rotate more often. Many have mentioned how they are surprised that we are upgrading at wing back but there is no way you can successfully ask your wing backs to bomb up and down in 3 games a week. Its imperative we have good options to challenge on more than one front. If we can sign Bakayoko, Morata, Rudiger, Sandro, Danilo, Llorente plus one AM we would be very well placed for the season. Unfortunately my instinct tells me the Danilo move is likely to be instead of Sandro as opposed to together. Spending nearly £100million on two wing backs would be bold but surprising and it is my understanding that Danilo has covered often at LB. He seems to be excellent going forward but slightly suspect defensively though this doesn’t bother me as much if we continue with the back three. With Juve strongly linked with Danilo all summer I am not sure this is going to help in any Sandro negotiations but we will see. What we are doing is bringing in multi-purpose, adaptable players which is exactly what we need to move up a level. Having players such as Cahill, Matic, Moses and Alonso in rotation rather than guaranteed starting will help to prevent disasters such as Old Trafford and Wembley when our game plan was out thought and we had little options to change it up. I am certainly hoping the added pace all over the pitch will give Conte the confidence to trust Cesc as a starter as we do still lack another creative passer in deep areas. The transfer window has been a slow start but it is certainly no time to panic and I am certain we are about to see a very busy few weeks. Nothing our rivals have done has worried me at all as none of their key weaknesses have been addressed. Liverpool: Signed Salah who will be a very good player to rotate with Mane, Firmino and Coutinho but have not resolved their key issues of an out and out goal scorer and a leaky defence/poor goalkeeper. United: Have replaced a good but limited Striker with another in Lukaku. Still think they will be too predictable against lesser sides and lack a Fabregas style passer from deep. City: Have signed an unknown keeper who will probably improve them, also signed a David Silva clone but have failed to address any of their defensive issues. Currently have no full backs registered at the club and bar the crocked Kompany have no reliable centre backs. The fact Yaya is still a regular should be a concern and they probably need to replace Gundogan after one season. Spurs: No signings although certainly have the best team of the rest. If they fail to strengthen they may find themselves left behind especially with them having to play at Wembley all season. They were poor in all of their games at bigger pitches last year such as Wembley, The Etihad, Emirates, Anfield and Old Trafford. It will be interesting to see how this develops. Arsenal: Lacazette is a decent signing. I am not convinced he is any better than Giroud but he will be a good alternative for them. Not as good as any of the other strikers on the market and I can’t see him improving them especially if Sanchez leaves. Lets all try to remember that we are on day 2 of pre-season and that last year Alonso and Luis were effectively signed on deadline day. Our manager and half the squad also turned up a number of weeks late and that didn't exactly turn out too badly did it ;).
  7. Not posted in a while as every time I go a day or two without checking the forum this thread seems to have jumped forward 20 pages. Finally managed to catch up so thought I would post a lengthy one with a few thoughts about the last couple of weeks so bear with me. First of all on Lukaku, I am actually very relieved we have avoided this one as whilst I do think he is a decent Premier League striker I do not think he has the capability to lead the line for a team with European and title winning objectives. He did impress me at times last season but it was almost always against bottom of the table fodder. He scored 4 vs Sunderland, 4 vs Bournemouth and also got a brace against Hull when they were already down to 10 men. Contrast this against his performances vs the big sides where he would often be invisible for 90 minutes. Going back a few years the moment I thought his Chelsea career was in serious danger was when he came on as a sub vs Bayern in the Super Cup as a young striker with much to prove against tiring legs. He was dreadful in this game, everything that was played into him bounced back, he barely broke a sweat and then missed a penalty in the shootout. Now despite his obvious improvements since then I saw the exact same performance and attitude in multiple games last season. I was especially disappointed with his performances home and away against us and away at Liverpool sticks in my memory as well. He is likely to score 15+ goals over the course of a season but is he really the player you want leading the line in big European games? Last season Ibra carried that United team for most of the year but when he got injured it became clear that his limitations were actually hindering the team as a whole. Their dominant performance against us at Old Trafford was only possible due to the high intensity pressing and movement they had with Rashford and Lingard. Forwards such as Ibra (current version), Giroud and Lukaku have very clear strengths and weaknesses and are all good players to have in your squad but can all be contained with the right system. I think you will struggle to win much with these players as teams will find ways to nullify their qualities and force them to play in areas in which they are uncomfortable. Azpi and Luiz completely suffocated him last season and he barely touched the ball in either game. Lukaku may be built like a Drogba type striker but I have always thought he is a much closer resemblance to Torres. He requires space to run into and is much more comfortable with the ball played ahead of him rather than with his back to goal. It will be the case that at times Jose’s style of play will suit him and also the way Conte played much of last season would utilise this as well. The problem is it limits us to this style of play meaning we will struggle to evolve. When we come up against a Burnley wall with 10 players behind the ball we will need to be cute and precise which is not really within his capabilities. Also if Conte ever does leave and we bring in another manager we may find ourselves with a big square peg. There has also been much talk about whether or not he was our first choice. A couple of weeks ago I was reading that Conte was furious because he wanted Morata and Emenalo was pushing for Lukaku but as soon as we are not signing Lukaku, Conte is apparently on the verge of leaving because of his anger. It’s impossible to know for sure but I personally feel strongly that Lukaku is not a Conte player. He famously will not shut up about how he needs his players to work, work, work and this is not Lukaku’s game at all. Lukaku tends to save his energy for around the box but compare this to Costa who even on a bad day will still give any centre back nightmares by harassing and pressing all game. Costa still scores the goals but what he brings to the team is so much more important, this is why I have been firmly in the Costa / Morata / Belotti camp from the beginning. There seems to be a big split on Morata and I can understand why as the fees being talked about are very high. Despite this I think that bar Aubameyang he is the single best option. I love his all round game, he's an excellent dribbler, great hold up play, good passer and he’s developing into a very good finisher whilst being superior to Costa in the air already. His numbers are not elite just yet and I will admit his second season at Juve wasn’t great but it’s well documented the issues he had that year. He totally lost form and admitted being affected by personal issues of which can happen to any young player playing abroad. There were also politics regarding the buy back clause and whether or not Real would pay it. I would recommend reading this interview from a couple months back, some very interesting comments on Conte as well. This is a player that scored both home and away against Dortmund in CL knockout round, home and away vs Real in CL semi and against Barca in the final as well. Even in his disappointing 15/16 he scored the winner in the Copa final vs Milan, he is a player with clear quality and talent who has shown that he can perform on the biggest occasions. It is no embarrassment to fail to break into that Madrid side and I honestly feel he is on the verge of a huge season in the right environment. His scoring record last year was insane and if you include internationals he scored 27 with a goal every 66 minutes. Some might argue this was mostly against inferior sides but he has already shown he can perform on the big stage in the past and last year he wasn’t exactly given the opportunity due to clashes with Ronaldo. The added bonus with Morata is even when he isn’t scoring he has an all round game that will bring more out of our other players especially Hazard and Cesc who will relish his ability to play in tight spaces. I tend to try and forget about the fee because it’s impossible for us to buy a proven striker sub £50mill anyway whilst long term I think he has the highest ceiling of all the potential signings due to this all round game.
  8. 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?
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.