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Jordan La Cabra

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About Jordan La Cabra

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  1. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: dropping clangers and scoring bangers

    Another positive result away from home for Chelsea. I didn't even think they played that brilliantly against Southampton, yet still managed to register four goals. They are now the third highest scorers in the league, which is mighty impressive when you consider 13 out of the 18 league goals have been scored from academy products (Abraham 8, Mount 4, Tomori 1). Compared to the previous two seasons, Chelsea are a far more enjoyable side to watch. Passing accuracy and passes per game have both gone down this season compared to last (89% to 83% / 659.74 to 547.75), which is an example of how they have become more direct going forward. Last season they were so boring to watch, despite enjoying large amounts of possession. The way they moved the ball forward seemed very rigid when compared to the way they play this season. Obviously, they concede far too many goals (only Southampton, Norwich and Watford have conceded more league goals this season), but I think being able to score as many as they are scoring at the moment is a good starting base for this team. Looking at Liverpool's progression under Klopp, in his first full season, only Arsenal had conceded more goals in the top 6 teams than Liverpool, yet only the three teams that finished above them (Chelsea, Spurs, Man City) had scored more. In Klopp's second full season, Liverpool were the second highest goal scorers in the top 6, but had conceded more goals than the three teams that finished above them again (Man City, Man United and Spurs). Last season, though, they had the best defence in the league and were able to finish with 97 points; this season, they have the best defence so far and also hold an 8 point lead at the top. With Liverpool under Klopp (full seasons), they had always been able to score a good amount of goals to get them into the top four, but it was the shoring up at the back that enabled them to move from that strong starting base of being in the top 4 to a team competing to win the title. It may take Lampard a while to get Chelsea conceding fewer goals, but the fact they can score a lot of goals is a good base to build from.
  2. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: same old, same old

    That was a very important win for Chelsea, having lost the opening group game at home to Valencia. In the first half, we were unable to keep the ball for extended periods because of how well Lille were able to press, but in the second half we grew more into the game and were able to play, without playing excellent, either. I was very impressed by Abraham's performance. He took his goal well, but it was his hold up and link up play that stood out; he was so good with his back to play. Defensively, he is very important for Chelsea in our own box when we try to defend corners and with his mobility and ability to press high up the pitch. He may have had games where he scored braces and a hat trick for us this season, but last night was probably his most impressive performance all round. What a player Tomori is, too. Defensively, he has been our best centre back this season. He has strength, exceptional speed for a centre back and good reading of the game. Even on the ball, he has the ability to play a pass, like the brilliant ball he played in for Abraham's goal. A lot of the younger players at Chelsea have been standing out this season, but one player that has really impressed in the last few games has been Willian. His work ethic and his running on the ball seems to have gone up a level this season.
  3. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: same old, same old

    I love this Chelsea team. It's so much more enjoyable watching your team when you see it filled with players who have been there since they were kids and have worked hard to make it through the ranks to get their chance. I've been excited to see Reece James play in a competitive game for Chelsea for a long time, and it certainly didn't disappoint: one goal (a curler from outside the box) and two assists. He definitely has the more natural style of a modern FB compared to Azpilicueta. James will have to bide his time, but he will certainly get his chance in the league if he keeps playing like this when he gets a run out. Marc Guehi looked very comfortable at the back. Obviously he didn't have loads to do, but even on the ball, he looked assured and mature. Hudson-Odoi coming back and scoring was great to see. I think what I like most about him is his ability to mix it up from LW; he can cut in on his favoured right, but he is also as adept at going down the outside on his left and playing a cross. His goal actually came from shifting onto his left and shooting. Substitutes Tino Anjorin and Ian Maatsen both put in strong performances. It was the first time I had seen either play and now, having seen Anjorin, I see where the Loftus-Cheek comparisons come from; he seems to share that languid style with RLC. Maatsen looks every inch the modern FB, always looking to get forward - he must have covered some ground despite only coming on in the second half. The main praise, though, is reserved for Billy Gilmour. 18 years of age and he totally bossed the midfield. Yes, he will rarely play a game for Chelsea where he gets as much time on the ball as he did last night, but he made the absolute best of the opportunity he had by keeping things moving in midfield by always being an option to pass to. Some of the passes he sprayed out wide were very Fabregas-esque, too.
  4. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: same old, same old

    Wasn't a bad performance from Chelsea despite losing to Liverpool. I don't think either team was at their best, but Liverpool are so effective now that they can beat teams like Chelsea without playing brilliantly themselves. There's something about this Liverpool that's similar to the old Mourinho Chelsea team. Liverpool can switch it on and play stylish football, but when they need to battle and make it tough for the opposition, they can do that just as well. Watching Liverpool against Chelsea and against Newcastle last week, one thing that impressed me was just how good their crossing is. Not every cross found a Liverpool player, but Chelsea or Newcastle had to defend really well to get a flick or a block on the crosses coming in. Watching Chelsea's crossing at times this season, we sometimes make it easy for the defending team. The same goes for Man United yesterday; some of the crosses they put in against West Ham were so easy to defend. A lot of Liverpool's crosses are a true test for the side they are playing against.
  5. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: same old, same old

    As rubbish as Real Madrid were, I was impressed by how PSG stepped it up without who you would probably consider to be their three best players in Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani. What was interesting from Real Madrid's perspective, though, was that Bale was one of their better performers. Considering all the talk of Zidane wanting him to be sold in the summer, he seems to have started the season in decent form.
  6. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: same old, same old

    Chelsea played well enough to get something from that game last night, but just weren't good enough when the opportunities to score arrived. Valencia took their goal well from a nicely worked set piece. Ajax sailing to an easy win over Lille makes the victory for Valencia at Stamford Bridge become even more vital. While Chelsea didn't draw one of the biggest names from pot 2, I would say our group is quite well balanced, so to start on a defeat isn't ideal for the team. Disappointing to see Mount go off injured. He has been one of the best players in the team this season, and we look better having his energy on the pitch.
  7. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: same old, same old

    Yeah, that was a really good result away to Wolves. The transfer ban has obviously helped the young players get a chance to play in the first team, but it's not like these young players are the only players we have available. Tammy is keeping Giroud and Batshuayi out of the starting XI. Mount has kept Barkley, Pedro and Willian all out of the starting XI at different games this season. And Timori kept Christensen out vs Sheff United and kept Zouma out yesterday. These players are being played on merit. In fact, the likes of Mount and Abraham have been two of our best players this season. Despite only having won twice, I think we have played well at some point in every game, which is something we are able to build upon. I didn't see the first half of the Sheff United game and we were pretty poor in the second half of it, but in general, we have had good spells in each game so far. Frank's flexibility tactically is something that has impressed me. We have had a few seasons of being very one dimensional. Now, we can field different line ups and different formations and seem equally capable of playing each new style.
  8. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: A New Hope

    Was pleased with a pretty good performance from Chelsea away to Norwich. So far, I can't really complain about any of the performances from Lampard's side. Each game we have been able to go forward and create many more chances than I expected this side to be able to. We go forward with pace, and we have actually been very entertaining to watch, which couldn't be said for the 17/18 season under Conte, where we were devoid of ideas and overly negative, or the 18/19 under Sarri, where we trudged through the winter and spring months with a one dimensional and aimless possession based style. Under Lampard, we are able to move the ball a lot quicker, which is what Sarri wanted to do, but was unable to get us to do. Part of that may have been down to having more individualistic players like Hazard and Willian featuring more last season and Sarri's possession based style seeming very rigid in comparison to Lampard's, which seems to allow for more freedom. Mount's integration to the first team has been exceptional; he's been one of our best performers in every game we have played. Emerson seems to have levelled up, and is so far looking like one of the best full backs in the league. Take Abraham's goals from the game and he still played really well. He held the ball up and played some nice one touch passes. Defensively, we still look very easy to score against, although I thought our centre backs had a better game on Saturday - particularly Zouma. The only consolation for our defence is that our best centre back, Rudiger, still isn't back from injury. I will reserve judgement on our defence until I see how we perform when he returns.
  9. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: A New Hope

    Fitness seems to be one of the things Chelsea need to improve on. At the moment, we look good in the first half of games, but poor in the second. Sky Sports showed a comparison in the build up to the Wolves vs Man United game last night of Chelsea's stats in the first half of the two PL fixtures compared to the second half and the drop off was significant. In the first half against Man United, we played quite well, then faded in the second. For 120 minutes against Liverpool, we played really well, but maybe the players were buoyed on by the fact there was a trophy to play for. First 20 minutes against Leicester, we played with an intensity rarely seen from a Chelsea side at Stamford Bridge, but after having played 120 minutes midweek, it was likely the players were going to tire and be unable to keep that level up through the entire game. However, there have been some positives. We press much better from the front than we ever have. I thought it was a brilliant piece of play from Mason Mount for his goal against Leicester. The way he won the ball so quickly from Ndidi was nearly more impressive than his finish for the goal. The way he plays isn't too dissimilar to the way Oscar played for us during Mourinho's second spell at the club. We have actually had the third most shots after Man City and Spurs, but to have only scored one goal from the 32 shots over two league games is a very poor conversion rate. Another problem is that only five shots have come from centre forwards - four for Abraham and one for Giroud. What Giroud brings, though, is the ability to occupy centre backs and create space for the attacking midfielders and wingers to move into, and he did that very well in the opening stages of the Leicester game. Abraham brings the speed and mobility to get in behind the opposition's defence and also the ability to close down opposition defenders on the ball.
  10. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: A New Hope

    Yeah, at times under Sarri, Kante was flying forward to press high up the pitch and not being able to win the ball, so when he was bypassed and the opposition team played through us, he was effectively far too high up in the opposition half to offer us any help when the opposition broke into our half of the pitch. When Kante did win the ball back high, he often ended up creating great goal scoring opportunities, though. The only issue was it seemed like the rewards for having him press so high didn’t pay off as often as we would have liked. More often, we seemed to be lamenting that he wasn’t positioned closer to the defence to offer it more protection. I still thought he was brilliant for us for the most part under Sarri. His goal output increased and he showed that he had many more dimensions as a midfielder.
  11. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: A New Hope

    Yeah, since he came to the Premier League he generally played in a system that had only two central midfielders. At Leicester, he played in a 4-4-2 alongside Drinkwater. He moved to Chelsea, where the first two years he played in a 3-4-3 alongside Matic/Fabregas/Bakayoko; though when Conte used a 3-5-2, Kante played as the central player in a three man midfield. Internationally, too, he has mainly played alongside Pogba in a 4-2-3-1. When Sarri came and changed Chelsea's formation to a 4-3-3, Kante was moved to the right of a midfield three to accommodate Jorginho's central role. Sarri got a lot of stick about that, with people saying Kante should have been playing in the holding role, but I thought Kante suited the role Sarri gave him on the right better than he would have suited playing in the middle, considering the attributes required to play in Sarri's midfield. That's why I was glad to see that Lampard looks as if he is going to continue using Jorginho and Kante in the same positions when he plays them in a 4-3-3.
  12. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: A New Hope

    I was really impressed by Chelsea's performance last night. In particular, I thought our midfield was excellent, winning so many balls and putting together some really quick passing moves in tight spaces. For Kante to put in a performance like that over 120 minutes after having an injury and picking up another small knock on Sunday is quite incredible. Last season, Sarri got a lot of stick for playing Kante on the right of a midfield three, so I was glad to see Lampard play him there again last night. If we are playing 433, that is Kante's best position, as it offers him more freedom to press high and carry the ball forwards. Sometimes he is pigeon-holed as simply being good at recovery possession, but his ability with the ball in dribbling and passing is very underrated. After not originally being a big fan of Jorginho's, in the final third period of last season, Jorginho really started to impress me and he has continued his good form into this season. I thought last night was one of his best performances in a Chelsea shirt. He is proving not only to always offer a passing option for other players and being a clever long and short passer himself, but he is improved with his ability to press and win the ball back. He also has shown that he is a big game player, with some of his best performances coming in the League Cup final, home to Spurs last season, the Europa League final, Man United away on Sunday and last night in the Super Cup. On his full debut, I thought Pulisic put in a really good shift. He has a similarity to Pedro in the way that he looks to make runs in behind the opposition defence.
  13. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: A New Hope

    In that sense, then Chelsea's forward line is too weak for us to be considered top four quality - after Sunday you could say that our defence is also too weak for us to be considered top four quality. Arsenal's first choice defensive options are weaker than Man United's, too - and maybe even weaker than Chelsea's, on paper, though Arsenal have the best options up front. One of the three teams will probably finish in the top four, unless the stronger mid-table teams are able to finish above ahead of them. Chelsea weren't necessarily 'top three quality' last season but we finished there, albeit miles off of first and second. It is not a stretch to say Man United can be considered a top 4 quality team this season, given the fact the teams they are competing to finish in the top 4 ahead of have equal deficiencies in their squads.
  14. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: A New Hope

    They might not be an amazing counter attacking team, but it is style that suits them and one that works well for them against teams that play as Chelsea did on Sunday. Man City, for instance, will likely go to Old Trafford and try to press high and play possession football, but they will do it much better than Chelsea did and Man United may struggle to counter attack well against them, because Man City's players are able to get back into a defensive shape quickly after they lose the ball. Against teams that are poorly set up to defend against counter attacks, Man United should have success, as they have all the ingredients to play that style successfully: a much stronger defence than last season (including a ball playing centre back like Maguire to start attacks), a midfielder who can charge forward in transition with the ball from deep and also play excellent long passes from deep in Pogba, and a very fast forward line, with players who are good in one on one positions vs goalkeepers (Martial and Rashford). I would say Man United are top four quality now. We go into this season knowing that Man City and Liverpool set a very high standard last season and were well ahead of everyone else. Chelsea may have come third ahead of Tottenham last season, but Tottenham were able to strengthen their squad this summer while Chelsea lost their best player and were unable to buy replacements. Tottenham look in better shape with their squad this season than they did going into last season. When you look at the other teams competing for the top four, the spine of Man United's best starting XI is actually quite strong now - certainly stronger than Chelsea and Arsenal's. They have the best goalkeeper and maybe the best first choice back line outside of Man City and Liverpool, though it is close between them and Tottenham. Keeping hold of Pogba will be vital for them, though.
  15. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: A New Hope

    It was never going to be easy going to Old Trafford to start Chelsea's season, but we made it far too easy for Man United. Once we started chasing the game and throwing numbers forward, we were left too open at the back, with the defensive having very little protection from the midfield. In the first half, I thought our midfield did a good job on the ball and off it, but that fell away early in the second. Hopefully, the return of Kante to the first team will help that, as he covers the ground quick and is our best midfielder for winning the ball back. Despite what Mourinho suggested in the Sky Sports studio after the game, our young players didn't play badly at all. Mason Mount (along with Emerson) was one of the brightest spots of the game for Chelsea. Mount made clever runs and had some cute interchanges with the players around him. He certainly didn't look out of his depth making his PL debut away to Old Trafford. Abraham didn't have much to work with, in fairness, but I didn't look at his performance and think we'd have been much better had Giroud played in his place. A lot of criticism has come in for Azpilicueta, which, at times, I feel is unfair on him. He isn't the typical modern day full back; the way he plays as a full back looks more unnatural, especially when compared to Emerson on the other side, who clearly fits the bill of the modern full back. Azpilicueta, though, can produce a very good cross, and with towering forwards like Giroud and Abraham at Chelsea, that may come in handy, even if he lacks the capacity to drive forward and beat his man (Azpi prefers to run into space and cross or play one-twos to get around his opposite number). What is interesting about Azpi, though, is that he was signed for Chelsea as a right back - that is his 'natural' position. Despite this, his best form came playing as a left back under Mourinho and a right centre back under Conte. Last season was probably the first time he didn't perform to the highest of standards, and that was his first season playing at right back since 2012-13, which was his first season at the club. Last season he did chip in with some assists and had some strong defensive performances, such as the home 2-0 victory against Man City, but overall, his form dipped since he started being asked to play as an offensive full back, which it looks like Lampard wants him to continue doing. Reece James is the young player at Chelsea I am most looking forward to seeing play in the first team, and once he comes back from injury, he may have his chance to take Azpi's place. If he does, I would like to see Frank give Azpi a chance at centre back. He has played there briefly a few times last season during a few games, but was at his best as RCB in a back three under Conte. Centre-back is definitely different in a three compared to a four, but his defensive qualities are his main strength. He may not be the tallest, but centre forwards are no longer all big guys over 6 feet. Azpi is still our captain, so if James was to take his place at right back, our backline would be lacking leadership without his presence. As for Man United, I have to say how impressed I was by Maguire on his debut. Wan-Bissaka and James can be pleased with their contributions as well. What Man United were able to show was just how good of a counter attacking team they are. If teams come to Old Trafford and try to push up and play as expansively as Chelsea did, Man United will pick them off, but after such a strong counter attacking performance and such a naïve defensive set up from Chelsea, I'd say all opposition teams will have learned a lot from that game about how not to set up against Man United. If Man United are able to adapt their style of play so that they can control games and break teams down, they will be a serious proposition this year, but that has been an aspect of Man United's game that they have struggled at over the past few seasons. It will be an interesting watch when they play against Wolves next week, who you'd expect wouldn't afford them the same chances Chelsea did on Sunday.
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