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Daniel Sturridge to…
Does anyone else think Sturridge would be perfect for Man Utd?!
I’ll get my coat…
Alexis Sanchez to…
I dont understand why Chelsea wont bid for Sanchez.
In terms of strikers we are short of quality up front, and Sanchez will make an amazing striker for us.
Chelsea is obviously struggling to score goals. Why are we not interested in Sanchez or even Ozil/Mahrez. And why would we ever want to buy a perennially injured striker like Andy Carroll instead.
Offer both the guys (Ozil and Sanchez) north of 250k/week and Arsenal 25mill a player and be done with it. Sanchez will get into a team which is regularly winning trophies and has good ambition.
Both of them also stand much better chance of starting in Chelsea than at City. Maybe Ozil will have a much better chance at ManU but Sanchez at ManU will most certainly hinder growth of Lingard, Rashford and Martial.
I am starting to feel, we are now more interested in balancing books (cheap player with good sell on value) rather than go for top quality player, and hence have regressed in terms of recruitment of top players.
We need to support the manager, get some top players and get rid of dead wood.
That being said, I agree with Aravind that our tactical set up is not good enough against lower half teams. We should stop having 2-3 defensive mids and play some attackers/attacking footy and thump opposition. We all know scoring first goal makes the game open, and allows us to exploit holes and try and score many more in turn giving the attackers more confidence.
And Iwobi to replace him? Really?
In response to Phil Pearce’s email on Alex Iwobi, first of all it’s generally not the best idea to present some bang average stats (at best) on a player you are about to conclude should replace a world class one. I for one have no idea what Wenger sees in Iwobi, in the same way I have no idea what he ever saw in Senderos or Chamakh or Stepanovs or Andre Santos or Denilson or Squillaci or Park Chu Young or Lord Bendtner himself.
As far as I can see, Iwobi has shown very little to warrant investing more time in him to the extent that he could replace Sanchez. I agree of course that it’s a laudable idea to invest in young players and promote from within, but only when significant promise has been shown, not 1 goal (against newly promoted Brighton) and 1 assist in 12 full games this season. Compare Iwobi to Rashford or Dele Alli and the gulf in quality is vast. Those are the kinds of players a Top 6 club should invest in.
I’ve watched him play and technically gifted is not the phrase I’d use, in fact he often looks like he never really has the ball under control and often stifles an attacking move. I think the real question here is whether Wenger really has an eye for potential anymore and certainly whether he’s even capable of nurturing it. Oh dear, I’ve turned this into another Wenger out mail haven’t I…
More on Chelsea
I just have a small point to make as I feel it is important. Aravind is spot on actually, Kev.
The 352 which is trying all Chelsea fans’ patience at the moment is not the “same system we were creaming ourselves over” last year. That was 343.
Conte went 352 for big away games (Spurs and Atleti) and it worked really nicely. I think this was largely because we had low possession in those games and, as it was the beginning of the season, high energy levels. The hazard and morata exchanges were lovely to watch. Chances would be sparse and excellent link up play between them would offer the chances.
Conte has now taken that big match formation and used it to try and plug our leaky defence. We are now in the winter months with a leggy squad and yet the system is being used for all matches which have generally been against lower half opposition. We have all the ball but have lost an extra man in attack and have a rather flat middle 3. Cue stodgy football and 0-0s at Everton West Ham and now at home to Arsenal. Painful stuff to watch. The system relies on Hazard and Morata who basically have no cover in the squad currently – it all looks a bit flat at the moment.
Pedro and William added so much to the 343 last season – that is what we were creaming over. Incidentally, the 343s over Christmas… Huddersfield (we scored 3) and Stoke (we scored 5 – although Sparky gave us a helping hand with team selection). Conte has sacrificed creativity for supposed defensive solidity. For one of Europe’s elite teams the last few weeks have been so painfully negative. Give us back 343 Antonio!
Other sports have managed it
Many sports have got VAR right so there’s no reason to believe football can’t either. Cricket and tennis sprint to mind. So taking lessons from these sports, here’s how it could work in VAR:- Each team is given 2 challenges which they team can use at any time in the game to appeal decision.
– If a challenge is successful, it will not reduce the number of challenges available to the team
– Referees have the option to refer VAR for any decision they are unsure about
– When such a challenge is made, the referee has to make a moving gesture similar to one used in cricket so the watching fans are clear that decision is being reviewed
– If game goes to half time, each team is awarded one more challenge
And to the general arguments against VAR:
1. It’s not 100% reliable: Nor are linesmen / assistant referees etc. Should be remove them too? The point of VAR is it increases efficiency. No solution can ever be 100% accurate but we can endeavor for the best.
2. It slows down the game: Throw-ins, fouls etc reduce the game by almost half an hour of 1/3 of a match. Would a couple of minutes really make a difference?
3. It reduces the excitement: It hasn’t done so in cricket or tennis. Why should it be different for football. In fact, it can be argued, it adds to the drama
4. There are still many grey areas: That’s also true abut decisions made by referees. Yet no one’s arguing that they should be removed altogether.
If VAR was around to catch Pires’ shameful dive at Pompey, Arsenal wouldn’t have gone unbeaten for a season.
Can we retrospectively remove the title?
The City super power
While I reflect with sadness that most likely Chelsea won’t probably sign Sanchez and even Ozil, I realize that if Pep gets his wishes and signs Sanchez plus a few other players in the summer… we (EPL) will finally have a footballing super power and which can go toe to toe with Real , Barcelona, BM and PSG.
While it does hurt a bit to imagine City will roll over the league ala PSG. But the thought we are so close to having a PL team which will be Champions League favorite is nice.
I and finally other PL viewers/fans will get a geniunely strong footballing side to dominate and support in CL. I have to be honest it will be a welcome change given the defensive(mildly boring) teams from Chelsea and ManU , followed by some attack then crumble teams from Liverpool and Spurs.
What do other mailboxers think of ManCity turning into a super power in CL and give us much needed cheer in that competition.
Big Weekend‘s little brother
Newcastle United-Swansea City. You can’t really argue with the Swans’ first two league performances under Carlos Carvalhal, but there’s still a long way to go with this squad. Tammy Abraham has hit the skids, so Wilfried Bony is now the main man up front, with help from Jordan Ayew. Expect Swansea to play much more on the front foot than they did under Paul Clement. Sam Clucas was superb at the base of midfield against Spurs, and has the chance to make the job his own. With Jamaal Lascelles back, and Ciaran Clark in good form, Newcastle’s defence is back to where it was—which means we’re back to the goal-scoring problem. I say play Ayoze Perez and Jacob Murphy, because they offer the most fluid attacking you’ve got, and try them with Dwight Gayle at striker, reserving Joselu (who slows things down too much) for a plan B.
Stat: Among strikers who have played at least 1000 minutes, Joselu’s 7.8 aerials won/90 is second only to Christian Benteke’s 9.3.
West Bromwich Albion-Brighton & Hove Albion. Alan Pardew has my genuine sympathy. He’s been handed a squad fit primarily for Pulisball, and to make it worse, continual injuries to his most creative players. Hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see how they stay up. Can they possibly score against a cautious, solid side like Brighton? When the teams met on the South Coast in September, Pascal Gross tore the Baggies apart in a scintillating second half. West Brom rallied late, but their only goal was scored by one of the wounded, James Morrison. Matt Phillips is reportedly fit, so he’ll have to carry much of the creative load on the right. The Seagulls still don’t have a reliable striker, but that’s what the transfer window is for, and winger José Izquierdo was superb in the recent 2-2 draw with Bournemouth. In goal, Mat Ryan has been a revelation—which is exactly what Pardew could use right now.
Stat: Among central defenders who have played at least 1000 minutes, Shane Duffy is second in clearances per 90 minutes. Lewis Dunk, his partner, is 27th. (Ashley Williams is first.)
Crystal Palace-Burnley. The most fascinating game of the round. As Burnley start to slip ever so slightly, Palace are coming on strong, having lost only once in their last ten, to Arsenal. If Wilfried Zaha attacks from the left, he’ll go up against a Phil Bardsley who’s in the form of his life. On the other side, Charlie Taylor, starting for the injured Stephen Ward, will probably have to face Andros Townsend. The aerial battle between Christian Benteke and Ben Mee/James Tarkowski should also be a highlight. With Robbie Brady out long-term, Burnley have acquired winger Georges-Kévin N’Koudou on loan from Spurs, and Sean Dyche has said he might put him in the lineup immediately. Burnley have played a bit more conservatively lately, with more long ball, without much success—but Palace have been pressing effectively, and the long ball might be a necessity.
Stat: With Brady injured, Johan Berg Gudmundsson is Burnley’s only player with more than one assist.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA