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Everything posted by Consigliere

  1. Yes.
  2. At least something to smile about for Arsenal fans. And in the unlikely event that this is Wenger's last game for the club, at least he would go out with a trophy. Arsenal were the better side on the day and with a depleted defence as well.
  3. Fortunate goal but overall Arsenal will be disappointed to be only one goal up.
  4. I'd have loved for us to sign Morata but it looks like he's heading to AC Milan. Not convinced about Belotti either especially given the ludicrous price-tag that has been rumoured. It's an awfully big risk for a player with only one good season under his belt. ETA. I'd be okay if we can get that price down to something reasonable (by today's standards anyway) as he does seem to be the type of forward who could excel under Mourinho.
  5. The problem with Shaw is that while he could be a quality player there have been question marks over his fitness since he arrived at the club. And he has been hampered by injuries since joining as well. We don't have anyone who can replicate what he brings to the team attacking-wise in his absence. Hopefully he isn't going to be in the mould of Smalling and Jones when it comes to injuries. A forward, central midfielder and CB should be our top priorities though - looks like Carrick will be offered an extension so we might only look to sign one CM. A CB is a must since Rojo will miss around 4-5 months of next season and Smalling and Jones can't be relied upon given their injury records.
  6. Bernado Silva is a good player yet I don't think he makes a big difference to City. Just adds more depth to an area where they are already strong. Now if they manage to land both Mendy and Walker as well then that would be a big upgrade to an area of the team where they are weakest. Hopefully we can beat them to Mendy though.
  7. Yeah, Mourinho has adopted a conservative approach in the last month or so which is not pretty to watch. Hopefully next season he gets back to the more attacking brand of football that he employed for most of this season. To be fair though, you rarely get an open game in a final but Ajax were there for the taking and had we been braver going forward, we could have had three or four. Then again given that we have been so shit in front of goal this season, Mourinho probably rightly decided to keep things tight rather than go for more goals and potentially expose ourselves to the counter.
  8. Professional performance. Just like the game against Chelsea where were scored early in both halves, we were able to control the game and snuffed out our opponents. Our game management is very good. So it turned out to be a decent first season under Mourinho (two trophies+community shield+automatic entry into the CL). I say only decent because we should not lose sight of the fact that our league campaign was very disappointing. Considering the amount of money that has been invested, struggling for fourth place (and failing in three out of four seasons since SAF's retirement) is really not good enough. Oh, and Herrera is a beast!
  9. There is absolutely no way that the number of teams in the EPL will be reduced. I also find it highly unlikely that the C1C will be scrapped. Not only will this result in a rift with the Football League, it would not go down well with the majority of premier league teams either. While the C1C might be seen as a nuisance to the "elite few", I would think that the majority of premier league clubs view it as a great opportunity to win some silverware. I'm willing to bet that any motion put to premier league clubs to abandon the C1C would fail. I think that when debating the issue of a winter break in England, people need to be realistic. Reducing the number of EPL teams and scrapping a cup competition are not realistic proposals. There is room for streamlining the schedule to allow for a break without going to such extremes. In addition to scrapping all cup replays and making the C1C semi final a one-off game at a neutral venue, another area that can be streamlined is for EPL clubs to enter the FA Cup in the fourth round/round of 32 as it is in Spain. This would mean that the maximum number of domestic fixtures in England is only one more than Spain. Surely one extra match/round can be squeezed in over the course of a nine month season to allow for an 18 day winter break.
  10. I think it's doable. As I previously mentioned the maximum amount of domestic fixtures in England is only three more games than Spain despite having two domestic cup competitions. Scrapping FA Cup replays and a two legged C1C semi final should free up enough space to allow for a winter break.
  11. @baxus - that's why I suggest the break is taken sometime in January so as not to interfere with the festive season fixtures. Anyway, I agree with the above post in that English sides need to improve technically as well as adopt smarter tactics. Spanish sides from top to bottom look far more comfortable and confident on the ball than their English counterparts. In addition, it seems that in England players are praised for running around like headless chickens chasing lost causes until they run themselves into the ground - this is where smarter tactics come in.
  12. Imo, the biggest factor is the lack of a winter break. The EPL really should look at emulating La Liga or Serie A in this regard which generally has 18 and 16 day breaks respectively. Looking at the number of domestic fixtures, La Liga has a total of 47 should a club reach the Copa Del Rey final whereas England has 50 (excluding replays) should a club reach both cup finals. Scrapping replays and having the C1C semi final as a one-off game at a neutral venue should free up the calender enough to ensure that the EPL can take at least a 16 day break in January. This not only benefits the teams competing in Europe either. It would help the majority of clubs that cannot afford to support a large squad as well. Not to mention, taking a break in January would allow managers a couple of weeks to do some transfer business if necessary without having to prepare for games coming thick and fast as well.
  13. Actually Mourinho did employ a positive brand of football for most of the season up until the last month or so. Hardly his fault that our forward players couldn't hit the broadside of a barn this season. Even Zlatan, our top scorer by a mile, sits at the top of the "big chances missed" table with 18. Most competitive of the top European leagues? Probably yes. Richest league? Undoubtedly. But the best league is La Liga which is ahead of the EPL when it comes to scouting, coaching, tactical nous and technical abilities. I would like to see the arguments for why a competitive domestic league is detrimental to European results because as far as I remember even back when the EPL was a two-horse race, English sides hardly dominated European competition. There was that purple patch in the CL from 2005-2012 but other than that period the current performances of English clubs in Europe seems to be par for the course.
  14. He'll probably get 20+ next season for Barca.
  15. That looks like a bad injury for Gabriel. Serious problems for Arsenal considering that Kos will miss the FA Cup final. ETA. Liverpool get a second. Should be a stroll from here against a toothless attack.
  16. Yeah, nice to see the kids playing well. Hopefully we can keep this up. Something to smile about at least after a very disappointing league campaign. Arsenal might be down to ten but it sure doesn't look like it atm. They look like the ones more likely to score another goal. Everton have been rubbish.
  17. Possible, I suppose. Although I hope that the stone dragons and wolf remain as stone and should Hobb write further books in this setting then I hope that the wolf remains as much in the background as Verity-as-Dragon. As one of Fitz' writings mentions in the final chapter, "stone remembers" and will be around long after dragons, elderlings and humans are gone. In a way they have achieved immortality. I hope that the wolf sees Kettricken and co. safely to the Mountain Kingdom then returns to where the stone dragons are, finds a nice comfy spot near Verity-as-Dragon and sleeps. Again possible but not something I see likely as happening. I think that Hobb introduced Impervious ships for a reason. These ships will replace the Liveships and ensure that trade on the Rain Wild River can continue. I also wonder whether all Liveships will want to transform, specifically Ophelia who was said to have no recollection of her dragon memories.
  18. Don't know about other browsers but if you are using Firefox then I suggest you download the add-on called NoScript. Mark as untrusted in NoScript and that popup will no longer bug you.
  19. Finished up a couple of days ago. I really enjoyed this final trilogy and would rank it right up there with Liveship Traders and, I daresay, I enjoyed Bee's pov a whole lot more than Fitz'. Her chapters got better and better as the books progressed. The ending was very fitting and pretty much perfect except that I was a little disappointed that neither Fitz nor the Fool reached the decision to join each other in the wolf on their own. For Fitz the idea was planted by Verity in the Skill-stream (which Fitz does not even remember) and left Fitz with two choices: either attempt to reach Buckkeep and probably die a horrible death before he even gets there or carve his wolf, which is no choice at all. And for the Fool, it took a lie from Bee to get him to join Fitz. Concerning future books: I hope that Hobb considers writing further in this setting centering around Bee. There was one chapter that gave me hope that this could happen - the chapter where Bee concludes that there was no justice in the destruction of Clerres, vengeance begets only more vengeance, that the descendants of the survivors of Clerres will grow up hating dragons and the Six Duchies and wondering if there will one day be a White Prophet who can break that cycle. In the same chapter she acknowledges herself as being the White Prophet of this time. The seeds for history repeating itself have already been planted with the destruction of Clerres as well as the Cassarick and moreso the Liveship dragons having spent too much time around humans which means there is a high probability that some of their offspring will turn out to be Abominations. Concerning Nettle: I strongly disagree with the negative views expressed by some. She has every right to feel some resentment towards Fitz. He was a non-existent parent and there is no doubt that her feelings of abandonment still run deep. Plus, I'm sure she was simply trying to protect Bee from the dangers of being used at court even though she did come across as a bit harsh. Nettle herself had to navigate court life without her father except in her case it was a conscious decision on the part of Fitz to avoid Buckkeep rather than death that kept him away. So Nettle being a little rough around the edges is completely understandable. Her handling of Chade obviously pained her but he was clearly a serious danger to all other skill users and as Skillmistress she really had no other alternative. Also, I don't believe for a second that she would have just erased Bee's Skill ability without first attempting to have her taught to control her ability. At most, I think should would have used elf bark to dull Bee's Skill temporarily until she could be taught to control her ability.
  20. About damn time. I hope the sanctions aren't just slaps on the wrist. They should include a match ban plus a fine as well. For example, 1st offense = 2 match ban + 1 weeks wages, 2nd offense = 3 matches + 2 weeks wages, 3rd offense = 5 matches + 3 weeks wages etc. I also hope they eventually use video technology to bring players who feign injury to book - you know, the guys who receive barely a touch but go down like they've been shot in an attempt to get their opponent yellow/red carded.
  21. I also think that Morata would be a good fit for us and makes much more sense than Rodriguez given the needs of the team. Morata is the type of forward who could thrive under Mourinho. If DDG is indeed made part of the deal, we could get Morata + cash since apparently United have placed a £65m valuation on De Gea. I can't help but think that commercial reasons has trumped the needs of the team in going after Rodriguez. I'm quite sure that Mourinho would use Rodriguez as a #10 with Pogba and Herrera in a 4-2-3-1. I think we need another two central midfielders as well since we are thin in that department. Carrick is at the end of his career and Fellaini's all round game is just not good enough to be that high up in the pecking order - he can be useful as a squad player though. Plus we have players made of glass in our defense (Smalling, Jones and Shaw) so that area needs reinforcements too. So I think we will have just one big money signing up front. If we beat Ajax then I can see Griezmann joining since an 80+ million buyout is no problem for United. If we lose, then than transfer becomes much more difficult to complete.
  22. I doubt it will come down to a playoff for fourth spot. Just looking at the scenarios required for a playoff to happen makes this extremely unlikely. City and Liverpool are in the driving seat with Liverpool, on paper, having the easiest fixture of the three sides involved. I don't think that Arsenal's late season good form will be enough to secure a top four finish this time although it might be enough for Wenger to be offered a new contract. Which would be good news for rival fans as we can then be safe in the knowledge that Arsenal will not challenge for the league next season either. I'm quite underwhelmed by this. If rumours are true and Rodriguez is part of a deal to take DDG the other way, then I don't see why we aren't really testing Real's desire to sign DDG by asking for a player in a position we actually need i.e. CF or deep lying play-maker (Morata or Kroos).
  23. Great result for Monaco earlier today. Dortmund were woeful in the first half, improved in the 2nd and gave themselves a chance of getting through although Monaco will be favourites. Another poor display from Barca yesterday. Think Juve will be a much tougher proposition so long as they don't make the same mistake PSG did by going negative, sitting much too deep and inviting pressure. The Bayern/Madrid game has turned in Madrid's favour. They have looked much more threatening in the 2nd half and now with Martinez sent off they should be favourites to go on and get the win.
  24. So that's it for this season then. Apart from 4th place, there is nothing left to be decided. The blame for Hull's relegation lies squarely on the shoulders of the owners. Marco Silva exceeded expectations with the team he had at his disposal. Even Phelan before him did about as well as could be expected given all the issues before the season even started.
  25. I think Liverpool will get the win. West Ham have been poor at home this season (although they did beat Spurs last time out) while lately Liverpool have looked better away from home. It's a tough one to call but with West Ham having nothing to play for, their players might be half on holiday already.