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Alli is the new Rooney
The constant strops and anger, and rude gesture, picked up by the cameras. The obvious talent but flattering to deceive performance. The sheer refusal of any commentator to criticise a single thing he does.
Wayne might have retired but Dele looks like he is the man to step up to the role.
Matt, EFC (Never realised how one-footed Alli is either), London
All observations with no statistics or obvious examples to back them up, but you wanted new, so here goes:
* Everyone’s first and second touch is atrocious when wearing an England shirt (at least as far as the first 30mins are usually concerned); something that doesn’t seem to be as pronounced at club level. The same problem that more than a few leveled at Rooney in his later years at United afflicts duty-bound England players.
* The decision making, particularly in the final third, lacks thought. Every pass or shot seems rushed.
* The run of certain players tend to be into blind alleys, requiring backtracking, which allows opposing defenders time to readjust and find their position again.
* The opposition consistently make the pitch feel smaller, reducing width in our half and space between the lines in their own. This is where our lack of poise and technique is exposed.
* There is no fluidity in our passing.
* The wide-men aren’t tucking in enough to afford our full-backs the space to get behind the opposition defence. Or worse, the full-backs don’t even attempt the run.
* We don’t press. We allow the opposition far too much time on the ball. They look better for it and when at Wembley, this irritates the home support, creating a negative vibe that then feeds down to the pitch.
* We never take the game too the opposition. We spend far too much time just trying to look comfortable as an XI, as if it’s the very first time we’ve ever played together.
* I don’t think our players trust in each other and their own ability when playing for England. There is a hesitancy in the pass or cross because they believe that no one will be on the end of it, or they don’t believe that their key passes will be built upon.
James F, BCFC KRO (Some of them are new right?)
…Couldn’t think of 16 so have 10
– Marcus Rashford has to start over Sterling every time now.
– Dele Ali is our best player but he loves to over complicate things.
– How is Walker worth £50m! Is you take away his pace he wouldn’t get into a championship team.
– Henderson does a great job at keeping the ball moving and nicking the ball back despite the whole of twitter thinking he’s useless, very under appreciated.
– Glenn Hoddle loves Joe Hart.
– Joe Hart is shite!
– The Ox has so much energy, if Klopp can turn him into Lallana mark 2 he’ll be worth every bit of £40m.
– We are a lot better than people think, when we are attacking with confidence we look unplayable, we also have plenty of options off the bench.
– Phil Jones looks like he wears running shoes and jeans on a Saturday night, he also looks like a great defender sometimes.
– The silence after Clive mentioned DR Congo was definitely the producers muting Glenn Hoddle’s mic, just in case.
James Harley LFC
A happy Northern Irelander
It seems there has been a real downer on international weeks over the last few years, something that I as a Norn Iron fan have never really understood. It probably stems from not supporting any EPL sides, regularly attending international games and knowing that win or lose I will get to enjoy a pretty boisterous atmosphere (and a beer).
Obviously we are experiencing something of a purple patch, breaking records, actually beating other teams and threatening to qualify for a world cup, however I have looked forward to international weeks for years and genuinely enjoy watching the qualifying games (not that I had much of a chance to watch us in any of the finals).
So my question is, is it just me? Does anyone else enjoy getting away from highlights of Stoke v Crystal Palace (sorry Ed), even if it’s just England lethargically having to deal with the likes of Lithuania, or Northern Ireland over celebrating a win against San Marino?
Steve (You have to publish my mail because my team is normally crap) Belfast
On the best 30 seconds of England’s qualifying campaign
How sweet were each and everyone of those 30 seconds without commentary. No matter how lofty Dele Alli’s achievements are in the future nothing will ever surpass crashing the collective PFM consciousness by giving the ref ‘The Finger’ on live TV.
The 30 seconds it took for the hive brain to reboot and re-connect with its drones were incredible. The peace was heavenly.
Now if we can only convince Harry Kane to get “F*** Redknapp” tattooed on his forehead, it might cause a critical PFM meltdown and give us all some lasting peace.
Dave, Manchester (Harry, if you’re reading this, it’s the right thing to do, help us out)
Yay for losses
It’s more exciting watching England when we’re losing !
Why do we screw over England wingers?
Marcus Rashford has never played right wing. Oxlade-Chamberlain has never played left wing. Yet that’s where they line up for England.
Raheem Sterling (good right winger) has never been able to play left wing (can’t cross with left foot, can’t dribble from left side, can’t cut inside and shoot). Yet that’s where he was stuck against Malta before being dropped after an inevitably poor performance.
And no-one comments on it! Left wing and right wing require different skill sets. If Bertrand and Walker were swapped, people would comment. Why is it different with England wingers?
In conclusion, Sterling’s good on the right, Rashford’s good on the left, and Oxlade-Chamberlain’s a £40 million centre midfielder.
Also, Jake Livermore?
The second half of the transfer window ratings
Thank you for posting yesterdays ratings, more distractions from work for me.
Manchester City – A
Sorted a lot of the issues in goal/wing backs. Didn’t lose anyone important. For me still lacking a bit in CB but can’t complain with that window.
Manchester United – A+
I think they are the major winners. Needed a superstar striker? Got him. Needed some defensive minded midfielders to unleash Pogba and Miki? Got him. Needed to add depth at CB? Got him. Didn’t lose anyone. Perfect
Newcastle – D –
I mean, its bad. Lejeune might be decent. That’s about it. Lost some non-Premier League players, gained some non-Premier League players. Don’t see anything positive here really
Southampton – C +
Don’t know much about these players, football manager tells me Lemina is good. For the first time they also didn’t lose much so I guess it could be seen as a positive window but, as we keep being told, everyone else is spending
Stoke – B
Wimmer is a decent signing and I like Zouma as well, while Jesse might bring some much needed goal threat. Don’t think losing Arnautovic is going to leave many tears but don’t think the squad is particularly better than last year
Swansea – B –
Sanches what? Should be a solid signing. Bony coming back was another great bit of business. Think they will miss Sigurdson and Cork though but all in all, an ok window.
Tottenham – B
Sanchez and Aurier are good buys, Llorente I am less sure about. So they haven’t really improved their squad much at all. Replaced everyone they lost essentially, but didn’t progress. Not the end of the world as they were decent last season but not a fun transfer window.
Watford – B
Richarlison looks good, Gray is ok. Cleverly/Hughes/Chalobah add a nice fresh midfield that will need to gel. Also didn’t lose anyone important so all in all, a decent window for Watford who should be safe.
West Brom – A –
Wait what? Burke, Gibbs and Jay are all good signing, Grzegorz Krychowiak is a very good signing, I’m not sure how but anyway. Lost nobody, very solid window with minimal fuss, classy
West Ham – C –
Little Pea is a smart signing, Joe Hart is decent and Arnautovic is overpriced. No obvious people leaving, but it was good to keep the likes of Lanzini. However, I don’t feel they have done enough this window. Hernandez might save them, but it might not be enough
So West Brom, Liverpool and the Manchester two have won the window for me.
Best signing: Maguire or Matic (for what he does for Pogba)
Worst Signing: I’m going with Arnautovic, I don’t think he offers enough consistently
Rob A (always forget accumulators on WCQ are pointless…) AFC
Has the homegrown rule become counter-productive?
I think the homegrown rule has become counter-productive. To explain – top sides need squad depth, which can only be achieved by having U21s or homegrown players (otherwise squad is limited to 17). This leads to the top clubs over-valuing homegrown squad players, and then leaving them to rot in the reserves, hindering their development.
Case in point – Fabian Delph: never good enough for City’s first team, but City won’t sell him because if they did they’d need to find an alternative homegrown player to fill the ranks or reduce their senior squad by one. Even if England were strong, there wouldn’t be enough good homegrown players to go round the top clubs with a fighting chance of making the first team, so this is a lasting problem – the result being a coterie of English players, (some) with potential, rotting in the reserves rather than being sold somewhere they could develop. Would England now be better served by abolishing this rule?
(And viewed this way, it’s also possible to view the decision to loan out Loftus-Cheek and others as rather noble – a commitment to their development even though it came at the expense of the club’s short term squad priorities)
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, Singapore
Thoughts on Chelsea’s window
Some late thoughts on Chelsea’s transfer window:
1. Incoming Transfers:
A. Strengthening the main XI: Each year the board + coach combo ventures to strengthen some weaknesses in our main XI (hello Gary Cahill). In that context, I’ve felt our biggest weakness (again hello Cahill) was a desperate need to upgrade our defense and midfield. Yes, we got Kante who was a much needed buy. But we are not talking of an exceptional midfield player, but a midfield as a whole.
I’m always of the opinion that the three thirds of the pitch need diversity, blend and ultimately balance. For e.g. when we have a wide player like Hazard who is amazing with the ball, I’d prefer another wide player like Pedro who can make terrific off-the-ball runs. That way there is variety and balance in the attack.
Now coming to our main XI, the Cahill and Matic position needed bad upgrading. Matic has never been the same player since the Barnes tackle in early 2015. He is more of a deep lying play maker (lite-Pirlo) than a lite-Makelele. It’s hilarious that people associate him with a defensive player because of his height and physique when his real strength is his technique and a very good vertical pass. Chelsea needed someone who was more mobile in that position with our back 3 formation.
Bakayoko is someone who fits that role perfectly!
In defense, Rudiger has pace, technique and he has that fighter spirit in him. All ticks! The Costa situation was unfortunate, but when the bulldog you so love can only thrive in chaos, and when it cant find it outside and chooses to bite you, best is to unleash it and let it go. That’s what Chelsea have done and Morata is the correct signing for our midfield! I also wanted an upgrade in Moses position and Zappacosta (I dont know much about him) seems ok from what little I’ve read. Alex Sandro would have made a killer but I cant get all in one window. I give 9/10 for strengthening our first XI (Rudiger, Baka and Morata).
B. Strengthening the squad: We were short of depth last season but could manage it due to 10 less games. This was one area we needed to be careful about. Replacing Begovic with Caballero was a superb move. I badly wanted depth in wing backs, midfield and perhaps in attacking positions.
To me Drinkwater was a superb signing. Yes, I was appalled first, but the more I let it sink in it made total sense. He is far better than an average English midfield player of the past in terms of technique. Has played in a title winning team. Knows how to play with Kante. Adds the homegrown tag and importantly will add robustness in our midfield as he’s dynamic and has that physicality about him. Add to it the aesthetics of fabregas when needed. We have 4 very good midfield players for 2 (or 3) positions.
Zappacosta will add depth to wing back so we have Alonso, Moses, Zappacosta (and perhaps Azpilicueta) along with Kennedy. In defense Andreas Christensen is a star for the future. Arguably our best defender and can play anywhere in the back 3.
If we had signed Llorente or kept Remy I’d have been happy. But I expect a signing or two in January. In the wide positions I’d have loved Ox, but he chose Pool purely for a midfield position and I dont think he’d even make a decent midfield player, so no worries about that miss. I give a 5/10 for strengthening the squad (mainly due to missing on one more quality wing back)
C. Buying for loan army: Chelsea’s third buy is always for the loan farm. We’ve apparently signed some kids again (no, even I didnt bother because I dont want to have an attachment for academy knowing they wont make it anyways). Regardless of A and B, this will keep happening.
2. Outgoing transfers:
D. Permanent sales: Oscar, Ake, Chalobah, Matic (and others) – combined sales of more than 150m pounds from January to fund our 180m outlay – that is some business. I was in favor of selling Matic but not to solve Jose’s problems. But if that’s the best business we could get, I’m ok with it. Funding Baka for nothing is great!
We have a knack to get maximum value in our market. On a side note, as much as I love Hazard, should Real want him, President Perez can directly fund our new stadium. Think that would be a reasonable price. No? Again when it comes to sales I give a 6/10. Because we sold more than necessary (especially Chalobah)
E. Loans: Of all the academy players, Tammy Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are the two who are likely to make it to main eleven. That also a long shot. Therefore it’s imperative they had games under their belt. Tammy has been slowly getting the games at the right age. We really messed it with RLC by not sending him out earlier. I hope they are integrated sooner. I would give this a 8/10.
Overall I rate our incoming window a 7/10 (average) and outgoing 7/10 (average).
I think Chelsea have had one of our better windows this decade (2014 would be on par or slightly better). Our main XI has been strengthened, our depth has increased albeit marginally. Expect us to dip into January market again to finish the depth puzzle. All in all, a happy Chelsea fan.
Aravind, Chelsea Fan.
Get used to this Barcelona decline
There has been a lot of said about the decline of Barcelona especially after the loss of Neymar which was a huge blow not just for the loss of talent but also for their pride and club image. Barcelona were a powerhouse of world football, the club that most aspired to play for (if not their rivals Real Madrid) but now they seem tainted. They couldn’t bully Liverpool in to selling Countinho so it shows they have far less transfer muscle than they did previously especially against top EPL clubs. They got Dembele but paid a highly inflated price for a player who only has the potential to be world class and it just smacked of desperation.
The worst is yet to come from a club who have never recovered from the loss of Xavi. If losing their midfield general started their decline it must keep their owners up at night thinking of what happens when Messi is over the hill in 2-3 seasons time as I can’t see him being able to adapt his game to increase his longevity like Ronaldo. It doesn’t look like they could afford the next superstar whoever that is unless they pluck his from obscurity.
Real Madrid’s new found transfer and managerial rationalism makes matters even worse as they look set to dominate home and abroad for years. If Barcelona don’t fix themselves quick La Liga could turn into a Bundesliga situation with one dominant team leaving the rest in their wake season after season.
I’m no fan of Barca as many others aren’t so to see the most entitled club on the planet fall into disarray will be incredibly entertaining especially if it is worse than Man Utd in the post Fergie years (that era seems over now though). It will still be a shame as they were a pretty likable club to me before Messi and Guardiola rolled in.