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Rob B   
1 hour ago, Blue_In_Every_Way said:

Another potential banana skin avoided and another test passed. In terms of consistency this season we have really done well. 

Also, has Fabregas finally sealed his place in our starting midfield lineup? I sure hope so.

I hope so too, but if he has, it wouldn't have been last night that sealed it. 

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chelboy   

Tottenham are our main rivals. They will finish on at least 80 points. They have no Europe too. Their fixture list is a perfect list for a title chasing team.

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10 minutes ago, chelboy said:

Tottenham are our main rivals. They will finish on at least 80 points. They have no Europe too. Their fixture list is a perfect list for a title chasing team.

Relax, it's Tottenham.

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jones   

Great win, but silly to concede in injury time.

First time I have seen Fabregas in the deep Pirlo role flanked by Matic and Kante. Could see Conte mix up between 3-4-3 and 3-5-2 next season. I think we need more tactical flexibility, as teams will start to better know how to break us down. It will also allow us to use players' versatility in order to build quality and depth without adding too many numbers:

In order to fully compete next season, we need five capable first team CMs, five capable first team AMs and three capable first team CFs. 13 players for five positions is clearly over the top, and would not work from a squad happiness perspective either. But we clearly need more players than we have now. Let's say, for the example's sake, that we increase our current 9 players for these 5 positions to 11. Batshuayi out on loan, and Llorente, Griezmann and Nainggolan in.

5 CMs (where Fabregas could also play AM), 4 AMs (where Griezmann could also play CF) and two CFs. Every player offers proper competition. There is also enough versatility to be tactically flexible and help us adapt to injuries on key players. And there should be enough games to make sure everyone is satisfied and on their toes to offer the preferred XI proper competition.

That for me is the right amount of quality and depth.

 

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Very happy with that. Great result and a pretty good performance. Sure, West Ham started the better but we grew into the game and demonstrated some great qualities. Another huge win in the grand scheme of things.

Thoughts:

1) I know we would have preferred to monopolize possession and entirely dictate the game, but I love the fact that if need be, we can sit back, stay organized and break with pace on the counter. We're the only one of the top 6 that can play that way and it's the reason why we're close to winning 2 titles in 3 years. I love that commitment, that dogged desire to work and it looks like everyone has bought into it. 

2) Thought we combated their aerial barrage very well, with each member taking turns to occupy Carroll. Azpi, Luiz, Cahill, Alonso, and even Moses managed to win headers and make things difficult for him. It was a brilliant team effort and should soothe a few concerns in regards to our supposed aerial vulnerability. 

3) We switched to the 3-5-2 earlier than usual and you can see why; we're just so solid lined up that way. Conte is moving to it more and more to shut games down. I prefer the 3-4-3 for it's attacking potency and believe we should start the majority of games that way, but the 3-5-2 is a real option now. Interestingly, for the 3 in midfield, Cesc sits deepest with Matic and Kante acting as the B2B runners. They do all the dirty work with Cesc occupying the middle and playing out from there. Could see us using the 3-5-2 a lot in Europe.

4) As for individuals, it's a little unfair to single anyone out, as I thought everyone played a part. The back 3, in particular, were so solid. Moses had a good game, Kante was everywhere, and Hazard is just a joy to watch. That pass off his back, anyone? Taking the piss there. And for all the criticism of Costa, he continues to work his arse off and score vital goals. Whilst we sat off West Ham, he had the sole duty of pressing from the front. Conte was gesturing for the others to sit back and urging Costa to chase after the ball. He does the work of two men. 

5) In the context of the title race, that was another huge win. The last 6 points we've picked up must surely have demoralized the chasing pack (just City and Spurs left now). I reckon another 20 odd points will do it. From 11 games, that shouldn't be too difficult. Still a ways to go but we're inching closer. 

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5 hours ago, zaffo said:

We've got a few tricky fixtures too, however a 10 point lead is a natural bonus and may be just a touch beyond being caught.

Assuming City beat Stoke in their game in hand tomorrow, its only an 8  point lead.

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Yep still work to be done. Excellent result last night in what I thought might have been a tricky game, had we conceded where Moses blocked near the line it may well have been trickier. We did well scoring when we did because prior to that it felt like West Ham were building up a head of steam.

The only dissapointment for me was us losing a little focus after the great save from Costas shot, we seemed to get sloppy then and it let them into the game. Not Fabregases best match imo he may well find himself on the bench again for the Stoke game.

 

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paulw66   
14 hours ago, StebzAno said:

Quality goal from Hazard, but again credit to Kante also, our little retriever, he just doesn't stop.

PS: a little puzzled by the negativity, we're playing really well here.

Welcome to the MDF. I avoid this place during a game as it can be nothing short of embarrassing. 

14 hours ago, Mark Kelly said:

Sadly the ref can't see it. I think Kouyate has made forty odd fouls by now . No cards.

Was pulling my hair out. He committed 4 fouls in the space of half an hour. The booking for "persistent fouling" doesn't apply if you play for a smaller team in a game against a bigger team, particularly in the first half. Fabregas did one foul, got booked. 

13 hours ago, zaffo said:

Was it Zouma with the horrid pass inside to give the ball away? 

No, it was Dave. They do look alike though, so can see the mistake :-)

3 hours ago, chelboy said:

Tottenham are our main rivals. They will finish on at least 80 points. They have no Europe too. Their fixture list is a perfect list for a title chasing team.

We will get at least 85 IMO. 5 of our last 6 home games are relatively straight forward plus Stoke, WBA and Bournemouth away should be a minimum of 6/7 points

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StebzAno   
14 hours ago, kev61 said:

I thought it was Fabregas  bloody Croation streams

Yes, quite disappointed in Fab this match.  He was quite possibly, perhaps quite probably, the worst player on the pitch yesterday.  Lost heaps of posession, slow, lacked passing quality, almost gave away a pen through a handball, gave away a dangerous free kick, unnecessary challenges that could've seen him off for two yellows, and was very much influential in allowing them to break our clean sheet by falling in front of Caroll to let Ayew through, he even had a clear shot on goal at point but lacked the finish.  It's a shame as I did see him getting a good run of games at least until Man City, but wouldn't be surprised if Matic comes back into the starting lineup.

That aside we maintained control most of the time and it was a delight to watch.  Impressive energetic displays from Hazard and Pedro. Solid from Kante, Luiz and Cahill, a few too many mistakes from Azpiliceuta for me though.  Costa was quiet at first, and if I'm honest his goal was a reward of West Ham's defense.  If I was a Hammers fan then I'd be cussing big time at letting that in.  However he did seem to pickup after a while although still not as driven as I've seen him.  Hazard took the spotlight up front.

West Ham did finally start to test us but by then I think we went to a 5-2-3, with Moses and Alonso playing so deep, even before Matic came on with about half hour to go.  Their Randolph also did well in keeping out some very decent efforts from us.

Overall very happy with the game, and still maintaining a gap of 10 points.

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Diddymen   
29 minutes ago, StebzAno said:

Yes, quite disappointed in Fab this match.  He was quite possibly, perhaps quite probably, the worst player on the pitch yesterday.  Lost heaps of posession, slow, lacked passing quality, almost gave away a pen through a handball, gave away a dangerous free kick, unnecessary challenges that could've seen him off for two yellows, and was very much influential in allowing them to break our clean sheet by falling in front of Caroll to let Ayew through, he even had a clear shot on goal at point but lacked the finish.  It's a shame as I did see him getting a good run of games at least until Man City, but wouldn't be surprised if Matic comes back into the starting lineup.

That aside we maintained control most of the time and it was a delight to watch.  Impressive energetic displays from Hazard and Pedro. Solid from Kante, Luiz and Cahill, a few too many mistakes from Azpiliceuta for me though.  Costa was quiet at first, and if I'm honest his goal was a reward of West Ham's defense.  If I was a Hammers fan then I'd be cussing big time at letting that in.  However he did seem to pickup after a while although still not as driven as I've seen him.  Hazard took the spotlight up front.

West Ham did finally start to test us but by then I think we went to a 5-2-3, with Moses and Alonso playing so deep, even before Matic came on with about half hour to go.  Their Randolph also did well in keeping out some very decent efforts from us.

Overall very happy with the game, and still maintaining a gap of 10 points.

I agree with your assessment on Fabregas. for all the talk before on how much space he would have, I didn't see it. there were a few over top passes to Pedro (first 10 secs) which I think he thought he should have done better and a similar over top pass to Costa. Aside from that, it just seems he wasn't comfortable.

I have mentioned this before, but I am slightly concerned on Costa (even though he scored) he doesn't have that zip about him...I thought willian gave the ball away after he came on. Defence were great though...hope Stoke down tools like they did against the spuds..

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