Mark Antony

Football: Silly season

435 posts in this topic

Just now, Calibandar said:

I don't know. I'd like for Neymar to stay with Barca but reports are suggesting a deal is very close, with Neymar apparently haveing said goodbye to some teammates already. We'll see.

Don't know about that. For every report saying a deal is close, you're likely to find another one contradicting that claim. At the end of the day, it seems to me that contradictory information is being deliberately leaked to the press which is a classic tactic used by agents to secure more money for their client (remember, how many times was Ronaldo "close" to rejoining United). Still think Neymar is more likely to stay with Barca. Afterall, reports have been saying for some time now that PSG are prepared to meet his buyout clause and that Neymar has already agreed personal terms with them. If that was indeed the case, this transfer should have been done already.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 20.7.2017 at 11:26 PM, Consigliere said:

The issue of players having to be released mid-season for AFCON is no more. The tournament will take place over June and July from 2019 onwards. About time.

Saw this in passing. My first thought (okay, my second thought; my first being "finally") was "does this exclude many countries as hosts on account of the rainy season?". 

At least in Ethiopia, European summer is bang in the middle of the rainy season. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, that with the expansion to 24 teams the number of possible hosts is pretty small now. Which is one of the reasons hosting it outside Africa was suggested, but thankfully rejected for now. I feel sorry for Cameroon who have had a totally different tournament foisted on them only 18 months before it was supposed to start. Now they need at least another 2 more stadiums than they were anticipating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it is a bit unfair on Cameroon. A part of me is actually glad that the number of potential hosts is likely to be reduced though. There have been too many AFCON tournaments held by countries that simply do not possess the proper infrastructure to host a major tournament which has resulted in poor playing surfaces, poor training facilities, accommodation, transportation etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With the money City are spending again this year you really expect them to win the league and at least hit CL semis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Mark Antony said:

With the money City are spending again this year you really expect them to win the league and at least hit CL semis.

They do have the best squad on paper. They will also get Gabriel Jesus back, who one might tend to forget but he is rated as Brazil's biggest talent. 

Of course, even that squad does not translate per se to being better than United, Spurs or Chelsea. I'd put Liverpool's squad a notch below that even if they keep Coutinho. Arsenal's as well. I think we might have a serious 6 horse race here, but then we think that every year. But realistically, City has the best squad on paper, especially in depth, but United and Chelsea are close to it, and Spurs of course is a well oiled machine which counts for a lot. And City certainly is not now, nor has it even been, a well oiled machine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Calibandar said:

Question is, with Morata signed, what happens to Diego Costa? It seems incompatible given the style they play.


Costa's leaving, that was made clear ages ago. They just need to find someone to buy him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, l2 0 5 5 said:

Looks like Mendy is going to City for 52 mill. Danilo appears to be on his way too. Monaco have been gutted this summer. 

That more or less ends any chance that Lemar leaves. I also think Mbappe stays another year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Mark Antony said:

With the money City are spending again this year you really expect them to win the league and at least hit CL semis.

That would be the expectation, yes. It was clear that City's back five needed sorting out and they have made the requisite signings so all that remains to be seen is whether the new recruits perform better especially from a defensive standpoint. Plus, one would expect that the playing style Pep implemented last season is going to be more polished now.

 

The teams that should be a bit concerned are Liverpool and Spurs. Spurs are indeed a well-oiled machine but have not added anything to their squad and you have to wonder whether they will be as bulletproof playing at Wembley as they were at WHL. Liverpool certainly need to make a few more quality signings. How many times last season did 'Pool fans bemoan the lack of depth? The club has to address that given the extra European fixtures this season not to mention an additional two fixtures (CL qualifiers) right at the start of the season.

 

As for United, I think we are still short in the midfield department. A CDM is a must (more important than a LW imo). Fellaini and Carrick aren't enough as backup. The make or break for United will be whether the likes of Rashford, Martial, Mkhi and Pogba contribute enough goals. Last season was not good enough. Even if Lukaku scores 20+ for us, if a couple of those guys don't get into double figures as well then we will be in trouble.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Calibandar said:

Of course, even that squad does not translate per se to being better than United, Spurs or Chelsea. I'd put Liverpool's squad a notch below that even if they keep Coutinho. Arsenal's as well. I think we might have a serious 6 horse race here, but then we think that every year. But realistically, City has the best squad on paper, especially in depth, but United and Chelsea are close to it, and Spurs of course is a well oiled machine which counts for a lot. And City certainly is not now, nor has it even been, a well oiled machine.

Liverpool desperately needs another centraback, and preferably a good central midfielder with a good distribution. (I know I'Ve said many times). They might go without that playmaking midfielder, if Salah performs exceptionally well on the wing, but it's far from ideal. The more urgent need is for another centreback however, I don't think they can't work around that problem. If Matip picks up an injury, they're stuck with Lovren and Klavan (and maybe an academy prospect). With their increased number of matches next season, there's no way they will be competing. Maybe this situation will force Klopp to pardon Sakho, but given that Sakho is way too inconsistent, and that Klopp would probably lose face to some degree, I don't think that's way to go for Liverpool either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that Liverpool should be concerned again about lack of depth, but we're also not real contenders yet for the title so it's more of an uncertainty than a risk.  Top 4 again would be a victory and an outperformance.  The problem for Liverpool is the big gap between their best and what they deliver missing just 2-3 of their starters, as Coutinho, Mane, Henderson, Matip and Lallana all showed us last year.  Fixing that gap would make the squad look much deeper.  Klopp seems reluctant to buy too many players at once, so the squad will be stretched again and he has to justify that preference by getting more from his very youthful bench.  The biggest advantage for Liverpool is continuity as other teams, other than Spurs, have more changes to absorb.  

New transfers are only successful about half the time regardless of price.  Lukaku and Morata are great additions but Ibra and Costa are big losses.  Lack of spending is not always as bad as moaning fans make out.

City look ridiculously strong on paper.  That was true last year too.  They'll put up huge scores against some smaller teams and then they'll have to see if they can sustain it against a low block every week. This is the third year in a row that they've thrown big money at that defense.  If Kompany is injured, they'll probably still ship soft goals.

After City, Chelsea look the best team on paper but a thinner squad.  They were very lucky last year with injuries and consistency of form.  They've added well without disrupting too much, and they won't have such a weak start to the season this time. They look really well prepared provided they get similar luck with no injuries.  It's more realistic that they'll have more disruption to manage.  They might be very dependent on Hazard.

Spurs look well set too.  No major changes but all the key players are fit, young stars are a year more experienced, and they were already incredibly consistent.  Playing at Wembley will be tough because the small field at WHL suited their press.  Similar to Liverpool, any injuries to two or more at a time of Kane, Ali, Erickson, Wanyama or Vertonghen would leave them struggling. 

Beyond those three, I think it gets really unpredictable.  Liverpool I mentioned already.  Arsenal were a one-player team for most of last year, even if they do decide to hang on to him for one final year at any cost.  United have a huge squad of indifferent players and/or indifferent form and just lost their major source of goals.  It's exciting just how uncertain are the prospects for those teams.  All three should finish somewhere between second and sixth, but I couldn't predict where. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey does anybody here know any lower level football coaches I could talk to? I'm working on a football data visualization project and could use input from someone who know what he or she is talking about.

We have a dataset with player positions for a couple high-ish level club friendly matches and would like some input as to whether some of the stuff we're doing would be useful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't know how reliable these people are but Marca are reporting that Real Madrid have agreed a deal worth €180m with Monaco for Mbappe. This makes PSG's willingness to pay Neymar's release clause almost reasonable. At least Neymar is a proven world class player. While Mbappe has the potential to be world class, smashing the transfer record for a player who has only ever played one season of top flight football seems a massive risk. Hope this works out for Mbappe as he's going to be facing stiff competition for a starting berth. I'd hate to see such a promising talent struggling for game time and curtailing his progress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/23/2017 at 9:24 AM, Calibandar said:

Question is, with Morata signed, what happens to Diego Costa? It seems incompatible given the style they play.

City has been going crazier than crazy this summer. Their squad is immense and bulking with talent at every position.

It's quite unbelievable really.

As for Monaco, apparently Madrid is willing to bid over 100 million for Mbappe.

Diego is sure as gone. Seems likely that he'll go back to Atletico. I guess they'll just loan him out till January since they have the transfer ban till then. Last I read the sides are squabbling about the price. He seems like a guy that the teammates love, but has to be a pain in the ass from a manager's perspective. 

Would've answered earlier but the board shits itself when the tv show comes on every year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/23/2017 at 4:28 PM, Mexal said:

That more or less ends any chance that Lemar leaves. I also think Mbappe stays another year.

Yeah I saw that Monaco said that Mendy would be the last to leave this summer. Hard to weigh those words. I don't think Mbappe has to be in any hurry to leave being 18, though I'd think he'd start to question staying at Monaco another second with 3 contributors leaving for other squads this summer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Think Costa would have probably already been back at Atletico if it wasn't for the transfer ban. I doubt he wants to sit out out the first half of a world cup year. 

Coutinho to Barca rumors heating up last few days. Doubt it happens this summer but fully prepared for him to be off next year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

France are in danger of getting knocked out of the Women's Euros in the group stages unless they can find an equaliser down to 10 players.

 I'm always a bit disappointed with France at the major tournaments. They play the best football of any of the women's teams for me but they always seem to fall down when it comes to the big games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would be huge to retain Coutinho for this season, though. He's looked electric so far in pre-season. His feet are unbelievably quick (with those little pull-backs, turns and shimmies), his passing is spot on (long passing in particular), his vision is first-rate (as for the chipped assist to Salah against Leicester), his shooting and finishing are steadily improving and his free kicks are already world class. He's the one player we cannot afford to lose this summer, in my opinion.

It's imperative that we get Van Dijk (or someone of his quality at CB), but I'd much rather keep Coutinho than get Keita (not that I've seen that much of Keita).

I have to say, and this is with the caveat that I know it's dangerous to put too much stock in what happens in pre-season, but Salah is such a perfect addition to Klopp's team. Even without Mané, he dribbles, runs, creates space, scores goals. With Mané and Salah on the wings, and one of Firmino, Sturridge or Solanke up front (I have high hopes for this kid. His goal against Palace was that of a top class striker), and Coutinho and Hendo pulling the strings (and threatening from long range), I think teams that don't sit low against us are going to get torn to shreds. Most will sit deep, of course, and that's the challenge. But there were signs that we're learning how to deal with that, especially after going behind against Leicester.

Also, Trent Alexander-Arnold looks like he's ready to take the step up and challenge Clyne for the RB position. He arguably offers more going forward, even though he's presently a lot less secure defensively. It looks likely that Woodburn will be given chances in cups and for less important matches, and Ryan Kent is also someone who can make stuff happen off the bench. He dribbles too often and too much at the moment, but he can definitely be useful in creating something out of nothing towards the end of a close game. If Grujic can step up his game, that's another valuable 2nd string midfielder. And let's not forget Danny Ings, who will hopefully have a spell without injuries. I don't expect him to challenge for the starting 11, but again, someone you'd prefer on the bench to someone like Markovic. 

I really don't know what to think of Origi. Sometimes, he looks like a lightning-quick powerhouse with an unstoppable shot. When he's off the pace, he's about as useful as a door stop.

Squad depth is still an issue, especially at CB (although I suspect I'll soon prefer Joe Gomez to Klavan, and potentially Lovren as well), but it might not be as bad as people are making it out to be.

I do think Klopp knows what he's doing, and he's got a great track record of nurturing talent and bringing through players that no one had many expectations of. 

If we get Van Dijk (or another CB), I think our weak spot will be GK. Karius still looks shaky, and I doubt Mignolet is suddenly going to eradicate howlers or lack of box control from his game, and I'm worried it's gonna end up costing us points.

But I'm excited to see this Liverpool attack firing on all cylinders. Should be a sight to behold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kent's looked pretty good in the preseason games so far but I can't see him getting too many chances. I think Gomez looking so sharp is a bit of a bonus though. He looked a real prospect before he got injured so if he can develop into a good player things look a lot less thin at centre back.

Defensive midfield is a concern for me. Henderson's good when he's fit but my understanding is his foot problem is a chronic one so I'm not sure how often we can rely on him being fit. Can's not an ideal replacement and there's talk of him leaving.

France scrape through in the Women's Euros.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, ljkeane said:

Henderson's good when he's fit but my understanding is his foot problem is a chronic one so I'm not sure how often we can rely on him being fit.



Seems Fergie was right all along.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.