Manchester United fans react to their draw with Club Brugge, Arsenal readers are impressed by more than just Bukayo Saka, and Liverpool supporters wonder if they can upgrade Mohamed Salah – all in Your Says of the Day.
Any day you get to play Mata, Lingard, Perreira, Lindelof and Dalot in the starting 11 and manage to escape defeat is a bonus. Should see us through to next round with a full strength team at OT.
Very tough watch and a considerable amount of deadwood still to be shifted….
Good result considering the range of squad players used, zero wide players available and no recovery or prep time from a big game at Chelsea.
Squad players who are a level below what’s required become much less of a problem if the summer recruitment is good. You can take 1 or 2 of them coming into a team of good players. Our problem has been we’ve had 3 or 4 of them as regular starters without enough surrounding quality to carry them.
We are just 3 points off 4th spot.. it’s too early to give in and go all in at this stage, it was a good call to rest most of the players and 1-1 away in Europe is a good result
I’m pretty sure Ole can see who isn’t good enough. Since he’s come in he’s instantly identified the deadwood we already knew, like Darmian and Rojo etc. The other thing he did was he took the rest of the sh*te out of the first team, all the players who were first team regulars the season before, like Valencia, Young, Smalling, Jones, Matic, Sanchez etc.
He’s knows Pereira isn’t good enough. He’s only playing through a combination of injuries to better players or squad rotation. His main blind spot is Jesse Lingard (although he’s even got p*ssed off with him recently too). I think the problem with Lingard is that he actually carries out the press instructions probably better than anyone else in the entire squad. Fernandes is good at it as is Rashford. If you had those 3 behind Martial I’m sure we’d be very good at the high press. I’d actually have Lingard over Dan James on the right hand side at the moment.
But I think Lingard too will be gone in the summer or certainly will suffer the same fate as Young and Jones have, he’ll be nowhere near the first team.
Players like Lingard and Pereira have to play because currently there’s no-one else. Chong and Gomes have so far failed to step up which doesn’t leave us with many options when there are loads of games on. Assuming we beat Brugge then we’ll play 11 games in 6 weeks, we’ve already lost Rashford to an overuse injury, so we can’t play our strongest team at all times. Currently I think Ole et al believe the top 4 is the biggest goal at the moment and are keeping what you’d call the first team for the PL hence resting Fred and Bruno against Brugge.
Also, if Ole had gotten rid of all the players who we considered dead wood when Mourinho was in charge then we’d currently have about 6 players at the club! I think there’s been a reasonable moving on of players since Ole took over and I don’t think that there’s much doubt about Jones etc being moved on should the opportunity arise.
Im going to be cautiously optimistic. Looking at this year as it’s unfolded, I feel we’re not as far away as people might think. Ole needs to learn to break down smaller sides, yes. Positives: were still in the hunt for top 4 (which I feel we will get anyway) despite crippling injury losses. Our best players this year have all been signings or kids Ole has brought in. If we do our business right in summer ie
Maguire lindelof bailly smalling tuanzebe
Fred/mctominay/matic +1 signing
Rashford martial greenwood James +1 signing
That is a side not far off competing with the best. 2 players of the ilk of Partey, Ndidi, Grealish, Maddison in the middle. Sancho on the right and that side looks a lot better! All assuming Pogba leaves to fund it all.
As much as people rave about this Liverpool team, it wasn’t long ago they had a strike force of Rickie Lambert, Benteke and Balotelli. Let’s try be positive
Job done. I’m happy. I was nervous as they’re a strong team and have done very well. Even in the CL if anyone watched them their performances have been impressive.
The thing I like about Arteta is he seems to know what he’s doing. He came with a clear plan and implemented it. The plan was to be patient, not to concede and take our chances. TBH, I was going to have a go at Laca as he was back to his usual poor self that he’s been this season, but he redeemed himself right there at the end. Could’ve scored another, he should’ve passed it to pepe in the end. Anyways, that goal should do more good for his confidence.
Yet another clean sheet With basically the same defense that all of us labelled awful.
Just a shoutout to SAKA, the guy is just unbelievable for his age. For me our goal was all about that Pin point pass. Just brilliant, good movement by laca but what a pass.
The way he’s performing, the guy’s value is only going up and should he leave it should not be for less than 50m.
One more thing, Arteta. Let’s not forget he’s yet again converted a winger/midfielder to a left back Very successfully. Now we know who was responsible for making Zinchenko and Delph play at left back successfully at City. He has the brains.
not the best performance by any stretch but a win is a win and a clean sheet is always nice but the GK being MOM is never great! still we just need to keep this up, keep chipping away, improving and getting more confidence
Whatever it takes we must get Saka tied down to a long term contract. He is vital to our future
agreed on that, he keeps showing it, hopefully Arteta will make him stay and believe in the project that he would be vital to
Yes he has to stay, we also need to tie down Willock, Smith-Rowe, Nketiah, Nelson. They have to be the bedrock of future sides. Dump, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Xhaka and Ozil, this will greatly reduce our wage bill. Saliba is arriving let’s add genuine defensive quality and add a top quality central midfielder to replace the immobile lump Xhaka. I wouldn’t be that unhappy if Abameyang & Lacazette left as long as they were replaced with young quality players. It’s not going to happen overnight but the foundations are there as long as the hierarchy don’t mess it up.
Mightily impressed with Werner last night. Not much meat on him but he’s fast, aggressive, intelligent and demanding of himself and his team-mates. Looks as tho he can operate anywhere along the front three.
Rob Fort Worth TX
IMO the main thing that has set us apart from the rest of the league this season has been how we’ve managed our squad. Over the festive period and January, what I’ve observed is clubs putting out their best squads for every game in desperate attempts to get points on the board, which is why we’ve seen the likes of Chelsea and Leicester fall away since that period. It’s no accident that we’ve been winning the fitness battle in most games which is pretty much 1/2 the job done. Having witnessed this, I’m sure that most managers decided to put their pedal to the floor in hopes that the mid-season break would provide the rest needed at that stage in the season. With the players rejuvenated by the break I think we’ll see some improved performances against us like we did at the start of the season but ultimately for that to fall away towards the end of the season.
Having said that, I think we still have a lot we can improve on. I believe we can score a lot more goals if we bring in the right players in the right positions. Offensive set-pieces in particular have been poor of late and it’s not surprising given that VVD is our only outlet. For every moment of magic from Salah, there’s another 10 incidents that he doesn’t pick out a pass, takes an awful touch, finishes poorly or loses the ball in general. Add to that his lack of defensive contribution and I find myself wondering if there really isn’t another player out there that can improve on that. I don’t know if he’s played too many games or whatever but we need to bring in some proper cover. Origi hasn’t had the same magic this season and Shaq will most likely leave. I say let both go, bring in 2 new forwards, develop Minamino in a similar style to Keita, promote Jones and push Ox to cover FB like Milner has done for us because frankly, he’s been awful in midfield and further forward bar the odd goal. A CB that can carry goal threat to replace Lovren wouldn’t be amiss either.
Was thinking yesterday about a) our defeat at Atletico Madrid and b) potential ins and outs and please don’t take me for being a ungrateful SoB because I’m not, I consider myself a pragmatic thinker (lol), but Simeone would have prepared against Klopp’s 433 system and we gave him our 433 system.
Now, I know hindsight is a convenient thing and I’m not saying for one minute that a change in formation would have made any difference but something ‘different’ may have made a difference tuther night but it could also have ended 2 or 3-0 and our rigid 433 made sure it ended just 1-0 so we’ve a great chance of progressing. Hope I don’t sound conflicting. Just putting my thoughts into print.
What I’m saying is I would like to see a little more flexibility when it comes to approaching games. Klopp has changed things in the second halves, which is great to see, but our 433 won’t always work every week (40 odd games unbeaten Rob!) but you know what I mean.
We have a defined playing style within the 433 and I would like to see one say in a 4231 with a true 10 and a true 9. It’s something different to throw at the opposition but the main reason is potential targets (such as Werner, Havertz etc) may find it difficult to assimilate into our 433 thus choosing another path in their career/development and us losing out some great players to strengthen our unit.
I believe, to achieve longevity in our success, we need another option as more teams, like Atl. Madrid, may start working us out. Anyone else have similar thoughts or am I just being a spoiled old slag!
Rob Fort Worth TX
Klopp usually leaves the major system changes to the pre-season. Doubt we’ll do anything drastic right now but I do agree that we need to change something over time and we have done over the past few years. Right now, it’s pretty evident that teams are focusing on shutting down our FBs which forces the creative responsibility back onto the front 3. Personally don’t think 4-2-3-1 is the way forward for us. We would want to keep that system of 2 attacking focal points, from out wide and with the front 3. Moving forward, I quite like the concept of overlapping CBs that Sheffield currently use, but for us I would imagine that would take the shape of a 3-4-3 as opposed to a back 5 as we only keep 2 defenders back when attacking. The way I see it, this relieves some of the defensive responsibilities from the FBs while providing some extra support out wide. Another way to look at it would be to have someone overlapping the FB and TAA coming inside and playmaking from a more centralized role. Fabinho and Henderson could sit back and spray the passes while the front 3 wouldn’t change too much tactically. The extra CB would also help with set-pieces. That’s just my take on how we can progress while trying to maintain the strengths we currently have.
Mourinho says Chelsea are very lucky because his team has so many injuries. Mind games? i hope Frank doesn’t fall into that trap.
You have to chuckle at Mourinho. Pulisic, Tammy, Hudson Odoi and Loftus Cheek were all out injured v United RLC has been missing all season and Kante was injured v United as was Christansen and Kante is out until mid March at the earliest.
Yet Spurs have all the injuries.😊
nine nine nine