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paulw66   

Be interesting to see the line up for this one. 

FA Cup has to be the priority, so perhaps one or two will be rested. 

Maybe Emerson will get a go if the FA do Alonso. 

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jones   

Hudson-Odoi should get a chance here, perfect opportunity for him.

Emerson to start is a no-brainer, and I also hope to see Barkley. We need answers on him before next season, given he has been out for almost a year.

4-3-3 is making more and more sense, only a question of time before Conte sees that as well:

Courtois

Zappacosta Rudiger Cahill Emerson

Barkley Kanté Bakayoko

Pedro Giroud CHO

 

 

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5 hours ago, NoblyBobly said:

...and Kante would be playing in a midfield four? 

In a midfield three. In my head Drinkwater is Makelele, Kanté is Essien and Barkley is Lampard. Willian is Duffer and Hazard is Robben. I might be deluded.

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1 minute ago, chiswickblue said:

In a midfield three. In my head Drinkwater is Makelele, Kanté is Essien and Barkley is Lampard. Willian is Duffer and Hazard is Robben. I might be deluded.


I think you may well have answered yourself 😉 

I know you mean in terms of their roles, but I can't see any place for Barkley other than as a '10' ... and a poor one at that! ... in a different formation. The closest we have to an '8' in our current squad is the early season Bakayoko, before whatever happened happened that turned him into a Hackney Marshes plodder.

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jones   

Barkley is obviously best when he is attacking space from deep positions. So the most advanced role in midfield in a 4-3-3 could be his best position. Same with Loftus-Cheek, although with less attacking output but better in build up/possession. Bakayoko should be a destroyer a la Essien when you look at his frame, but has been too weak and lacked determination. I'd have all of them as different options in a midfield three.

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3 minutes ago, jones said:

Barkley is obviously best when he is attacking space from deep positions. So the most advanced role in midfield in a 4-3-3 could be his best position. Same with Loftus-Cheek, although with less attacking output but better in build up/possession. Bakayoko should be a destroyer a la Essien when you look at his frame, but has been too weak and lacked determination. I'd have all of them as different options in a midfield three.

This is why the 'long-term' Barkley signing doesn't make much sense when we already have RLC - both could be an 8 in a 4-3-3 or a 10 in a 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-3.

I would think that Bakayoko is intended to be a 4 or a 6 behind or instead of Kanté but he's looked so out of place that it's been difficult to tell. Conte's obstinacy isn't helping now.

Central midfield looks more and more like an area where we've spent £90M approx this season without providing a single viable first XI option. Couldn't we have used Chalobah/Aké/RLC instead and spent the £90M on one top class player? Only if we were a club with a strategy that the first team coach could buy into.

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jones   
23 minutes ago, chiswickblue said:

This is why the 'long-term' Barkley signing doesn't make much sense when we already have RLC - both could be an 8 in a 4-3-3 or a 10 in a 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-3.

I would think that Bakayoko is intended to be a 4 or a 6 behind or instead of Kanté but he's looked so out of place that it's been difficult to tell. Conte's obstinacy isn't helping now.

Central midfield looks more and more like an area where we've spent £90M approx this season without providing a single viable first XI option. Couldn't we have used Chalobah/Aké/RLC instead and spent the £90M on one top class player? Only if we were a club with a strategy that the first team coach could buy into.

Yeah, it really is astonishing how we spent 90m on Barkley, Bakayoko and Drinkwater who have made absolutely minimal impact (if any) this season. I think RLC could have done better than Bakayoko if given the same amount of trust, Chalobah would have done no worse than Drinkwater (and would probably still be happy with the amount of game time), and the 130 minutes Barkley would be better spent at CHO. 

Refraining from buying those three players would not have us in any worse league position, RLC and Chalobah would likely be even better players than today and even more integrated in the team, and we could spend the 90mp on a world class CM this summer.

That being said, the 90mp spent would probably give us at least 70mp if we decided to liquidate this summer. But still, too much time and money mistakenly invested. You will never hit with every signing you make, but our hit rate lately has been horrible. Rudiger and Morata gets a ok from me, but the three others have failed magnificently.

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Ham   
6 hours ago, jones said:

Hudson-Odoi should get a chance here, perfect opportunity for him.

Emerson to start is a no-brainer, and I also hope to see Barkley. We need answers on him before next season, given he has been out for almost a year.

4-3-3 is making more and more sense, only a question of time before Conte sees that as well:

Courtois

Zappacosta Rudiger Cahill Emerson

Barkley Kanté Bakayoko

Pedro Giroud CHO

 

 

Yes 100%

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Ham   
2 hours ago, jones said:

Yeah, it really is astonishing how we spent 90m on Barkley, Bakayoko and Drinkwater who have made absolutely minimal impact (if any) this season. I think RLC could have done better than Bakayoko if given the same amount of trust, Chalobah would have done no worse than Drinkwater (and would probably still be happy with the amount of game time), and the 130 minutes Barkley would be better spent at CHO. 

 

 

Agree about 10%.

All of this is said with the benefit of hindsight. Nobody foresaw the car crash that Bakayoko has become. RLC is proving still that he's lazy on the pitch. His form is also erratic.

Drinkwater is not a bad player by any stretch of the imagination. He needs a run in the team. I honestly believe that the next Chalobah brother is a better prospect than the last. Nat hasn't set the world alight.

I'm still reserving judgement on Barkley.  He could still be shrewd business. He's still young. 

CHO is a breath of fresh air. I love him. He's got plenty of time. 

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14 minutes ago, Ham said:

Agree about 10%.

All of this is said with the benefit of hindsight. Nobody foresaw the car crash that Bakayoko has become. RLC is proving still that he's lazy on the pitch. His form is also erratic.

Drinkwater is not a bad player by any stretch of the imagination. He needs a run in the team. I honestly believe that the next Chalobah brother is a better prospect than the last. Nat hasn't set the world alight.

I'm still reserving judgement on Barkley.  He could still be shrewd business. He's still young. 

CHO is a breath of fresh air. I love him. He's got plenty of time. 

I think it was fair to say that with so few players, we were very dependent on the new ones to hit the ground running, and on the whole most new players don't.  

Batshuayi's failure to get it right 2nd season has cost us as much as Bakayoko (who I suspect was playing injured).  Drinkwaters failure to have a couple of months of consecutive fitness is another issue.  Luiz's fall out with Conte another.  Courtois's form another (and another player who might be a lot less fit that we suppose).  Zappacosta's failure to supplant Moses (or Conte's failure to see the blind obvious).  It is quite a  long list (and I agree RLC would probably have added to the issues, not solved any).

When you go on a run of 15 games without defeat, a whole lot of minor problems miraculously disappear (perhaps creating longer term issues the next season).  A few bad results and things that weren't supposed to be problems become major challenges.

It is quite normal for there to be problems with 4 or 5 players in a squad.  Injuries, personal issues, confidence issues, players or agents falling out with the manager, and just plain simple bad buys, they all happen at every club.  That, and gifting the manager the ability to motivate, is why you can't afford to skimp on a small squad.

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