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xCELERYx   
1 hour ago, Ham said:

Interesting that he still publicly expects more of Baka. I've been mighty impressed already. 

I can see him becoming our Yaya. 

Throw in a fully fit Hazard and boom!

He expects more when he has the ball, which I think is a fair ask. He has some good moments of play but then is let down by a poor touch or pass. If he polishes up on those, we've got a genuine CM who can play both ends of the pitch and make an impact. Could well become a hybrid of Essien/Yaya if everything clicks. 

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Vinod   
26 minutes ago, xCELERYx said:

He expects more when he has the ball, which I think is a fair ask. He has some good moments of play but then is let down by a poor touch or pass. If he polishes up on those, we've got a genuine CM who can play both ends of the pitch and make an impact. Could well become a hybrid of Essien/Yaya if everything clicks. 

We have a gem in our hands. 

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xCELERYx   
11 minutes ago, Vinod said:

We have a gem in our hands. 

Could well have. Even if he doesn't reach those heights, he'll still be a very good player. Can already see the benefits of having a player like him in the side. We're quicker in midfield because of it, we can press more frequently and with Baka's extra mobility, speed and power, he can break the line with a powerful run forward. 

Add Drinkwater for Fabregas and we have a fairly dynamic midfield all of a sudden.

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Vinod   
1 hour ago, xCELERYx said:

Could well have. Even if he doesn't reach those heights, he'll still be a very good player. Can already see the benefits of having a player like him in the side. We're quicker in midfield because of it, we can press more frequently and with Baka's extra mobility, speed and power, he can break the line with a powerful run forward. 

Add Drinkwater for Fabregas and we have a fairly dynamic midfield all of a sudden.

You see Essien would have struggled a little bit with technique in the modern game where most top CMs have a combination of technique, awareness and fiestiness. The game has come a long way in the last 5 years. Yaya's mobility would have held him back. Baka, is not very far from being as effective as Essien at his peak. I feel all he needs is a bit of experience and tactical awareness to be as good as Essien. Add a bit of technique and refinement, he will be amongst the best CMs in the planet. You could say the similar things and more about Pogba, but I don't think he has that humility and focus.

Also, it gives me a lot of comfort that Baka is working with a hands-on coach like Conte. 

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paulw66   

Should have won the game 4-0. 

Their penalty was a bit unlucky. Seeing it again, it seems Courtois swings his leg to clear the back pass, and doesn't see Vardy on his blinside

Another poor reffing decision cost us a comfortable ending. One of the clearest penatlies you will see when Maguire blocked Morata's header with his hands. Some poor decision making in the final third also cost us from killing it, but heh ho.

 

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Holymoly   

And so on to Arsenal at SB. Obviously Arsene will trot out the excuse that we have two more days to prepare while failing to recognise that the responsibility of why that is falls squarely on his shoulders. Really looking forward to this game where hopefully we will rub their noses in mid table mediocrity.

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Really good win at a tough ground in difficult conditions. Games coming off an international break are never easy but I thought we played well and Conte used the squad smartly. Would have been over earlier and we could have an easier finish but for poor finishing and a cracking save with both hands from Maguire. All in all, very pleasing.

Thoughts:

1) The structure in this team is very good. I watched the game with a friend who's a Man City fan and what he marvels most about our team is the adherence to individual roles. Everyone knows what is required of them, with and without the ball. There's a fluidity that goes beyond the individual and it's what will hold us in good stead (I hope) when the going gets tough. Conte is to praise for that; it's his coaching that forms the basis.

In that regard, we only conceded one counter attack, which came off our own corner, and a penalty that was due to a mistake. Otherwise we controlled the entire game. Shot prevention is probably our strongest asset and it was at the fore again.  

 

2) On to individuals and I'd like to focus on our 3 new signings who were all very good. Rudiger is a very solid and versatile CB that should only get better under Conte. He's had an assured start with us which is a big positive.

Morata was excellent as well. He was noticeably sharper than against Everton and was perhaps helped by Morgan not sticking to him when he came short, but his overall game was there to see. Still don't think he's at a 100% and seems to still be learning how to balance himself in certain situations but he's getting better and better. Once Hazard and Pedro reach full fitness and form, he'll be an even bigger threat.

Was very impressed with Bakayoko. He's still very raw (only just turned 23 after all) but what an absolute behemoth he is. His ability to shrug off challenges and burst through midfield is very Yaya like, and whilst he may not have the technical ability of Yaya, he's an absolute beast in his own right. The Kante-Baka duo in midfield is absolutely frightening. We will not lose many midfield battes, I promise you that.

 

3) Surprised to see us stick with the 3-4-3, but I suppose Conte knew Leicester would sit back (what was it, 35% possession for them in the first half?) and decided to play Cesc more advanced. It doesn't suit the Spaniard, he's much better playing deeper, and it didn't help having a scratchy Pedro either, but it did allow us to have some great options off the bench. Still, it's good to be able to mix it up and keep the opposition guessing. 

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Disappointing frankly.  We relied on both a fabulous Courtois save and an appalling Schmeichel error to win.  Leicester have done little else this season to suggest they'd be an improvement on last season and we made them look like the season before.  This was game 1 of 7 games in 21 days, not game 7,  we have had only one bad reffing decision so far this season and our first player is injured before he makes an appearance.

What I liked:  Bakayoko looks like a big hungry animal in  midfield, with mobility to match his physicality.  Morata looks more like a Chelsea player who has been introduced to his colleagues than a guy straight off the RM bench.  Brilliant save again by Courtois, he is on form.  Kante as ever.  ZappoCosta looks competent on a brief sight.
I didn't see a single Erikssen moment - that is where an oppo player deep in our half had time to look up and measure a pass.  We were on top of them throughout.
And we won, and like the press I like to believe that "winning" is a hidden quality teams possess even when you can't explain why.
(and the ref got pretty much everything right too).

What I didn't like:  I watched much of the Swansea Newcastle game which consisted of long passages of both teams giving the ball away to the oppo in midfield again and again.  Championship football.  High pace, aggressive, very competent hustling players on both sides, but not top level football.  Much of this game was the same.

Bakayoko in particular seems to win the ball and then give it straight back.  I'd like to think he is getting used to the pace of the prem, and to facing teams with 5 hustlers of their own who play in the same way he does.  Lets hope so.  But others, Alonso, Pedro, even Kante were doing the same.

Fabregas's passing skills add to the team in proportion to the number of players in front of him.  Playing him at AM cuts his contribution by a third.
I finished watching the game thinking how good Vardy, Mahrez and Maguire are.  First time in 5 years I have thought something like that.

Entertaining game, result in doubt to the end, battling performance, we won,  but this does not fill me with confidence for the season.

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paulw66   
46 minutes ago, Droy was my hero said:

we have had only one bad reffing decision so far this season and our first player is injured before he makes an appearance.

Gold.

Vertonghen should have seen red for Spurs, and if the Cahill red is correct, then Dier is also a red. Either way, that equates to one more bad one, either saying Cahill should have got yellow or Dier also getting red. 

Everton should have had 1 red for the rake on Fabregas (Gueye I think)

We had the clearest handball penalty not given against Leicester by Maguire. Blocked a goalbound header with his outstretched arms. 

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paulw66   
52 minutes ago, Droy was my hero said:

 

Bakayoko in particular seems to win the ball and then give it straight back.  I'd like to think he is getting used to the pace of the prem, and to facing teams with 5 hustlers of their own who play in the same way he does.  Lets hope so.  But others, Alonso, Pedro, even Kante were doing the same.

 

Their pass completion stats suggest otherwise. 

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