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Jordan La Cabra

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About Jordan La Cabra

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  1. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: The art of lowering expectations

    Maybe 16/17 Conte, but certainly not 17/18, where he had the Chelsea XI back off Man City and watch them set passing records without even trying to tackle. What was most impressive about the victory against Man City was that Sarri finally showed his tactical flexibilty as a coach. In every game prior to this, we basically had the same approach, same system, same team, and within games, Sarri's substitutions were predictable and always like-for-like: Morata for Giroud, Willian for Pedro, Barkley/Loftus-Cheek for Kovacic or vice versa. I thought playing without a recognised striker was a risk - it certainly didn't work in the first half. At times in the first half it would have been good to have had an option to go long to to relieve pressure, but we continued to play our way out to decent effect. In the second half, when we started to get more possession, the decision to play without a striker looked a wise one. The obvious stand out performances came from Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz and Kante, but I have to give credit to Alonso, who showed a defensive discipline I have rarely seen from him. Kovacic had one of his best performances until his injury. These types of games against opposition who press really well may suit him better. Due to his excellent ball control, he was able to wriggle or dribble his way out of trouble when Man City players were pressing him. It's games where we expect to dominate the ball that Barkley or Loftus-Cheek might prove the better options, as they carry more of a goal scoring threat, which is something we clearly lack. For all the talk of Kante not playing in his best position, it was against the best opposition that he had his best performance in his new position - and it was his work on the ball that really impressed me. The problem isn't that he can't play as a box-to-box midfielder; it's more that Jorginho is limited in the holding role.
  2. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: The art of lowering expectations

    What I think is different is that Moyes was taking over a group of players that had experienced Sir Alex managing them. A lot of them vastly experienced senior professionals who were already PL champions. Rio Ferdinand has mentioned how he noticed the drop off in training techniques and mentality going into games when Moyes was in charge. This current crop of Man United players aren’t senior pros who have won lots of titles. The core of this Man United team is quite youthful, with a lot of players that you would imagine could improve even further under the right coaching/tactical system. Moyes was taking over from what was already a successful coaching/tactical system. The current system at Man United doesn’t seem to be getting the best results out of these players.
  3. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: The art of lowering expectations

    On the topic of Eddie Howe, if I were a Man United fan, he’d be one of the managers that I would want to takeover from Jose. I agree with the comments suggesting he’d be even more of a risk than Moyes was, but the job he has done at Bournemouth is incredible, the football he has them playing is exciting, and he has done all this on a much smaller budget. Under Jose, more players appear to have regressed at Man United. Howe improves players and gets them playing at a level beyond what you think they are capable of. Look at the transformation of players like Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser as examples. I was watching a Premier League Review show the other night and there was a feature on Howe. In it, he basically said he didn’t think he had the personality to be a manager. This ties in with one of the issues levelled at him when people talk about him taking the next step at a big club. People say that he hasn’t managed ‘big name players’, but that might actually be a good thing for a manager at Man United. Jose certainly has the personality and has managed some of the biggest names in the game, but he seems to be doing a poor job of managing these players at Man United. Part of that could be that Jose’s man management techniques don’t work on the current generation of players at Man United. It might well be that some experienced managers like Jose have too much experience managing big names, and not all of that experience is good. ETA: If Poch was to become available, I think he would be the best fit for the role.
  4. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: The art of lowering expectations

    I only saw the highlights of the Wolves game but I was over at Stamford Bridge for the PAOK and Fulham matches. Games where teams sit off us, like PAOK, we tend to do better. In the first half against Fulham, they offered very little, so we were able to get a goal then control the game. At half time, they made a couple of substitutions and really started to bring the game to us, pressing the ball and targeting the wide areas. Callum Chambers came close to scoring twice. Loftus-Cheek made a difference when he came on, and was able to score to put it to 2-0 and win the game, but by the looks of the highlights, the game against Wolves was very similar. We seemed to dominate the first half but only scored the one goal; Wolves, like Fulham, played a lot better in the second half, but unlike Fulham, they were able to score. At the moment, it seems like we have the quality to create chances, but the lack of quality to take them, which means teams like Wolves can grow in confidence by staying in games, knowing that a goal is all they need to turn the tie. Man United fans who watched the game between us and them will know how much you can get at Chelsea if you stay in the game long enough to gain momentum and get a goal. The first half at of that game at Stamford Bridge, we completely controlled the game, Morata missed a sitter early in the second, and Man United started to play and press, turning the game from being 0-1 down to being 2-1 up with two goals in quick succession. Against world class opposition like Man City, they will be looking to take the game to us right from the start rather than hoping to stay in the game and get the odd chance. Our high defensive line coupled with the fact our full backs aren't the quickest means team get chances us. The Arsenal game was the best example. Bellerin kept getting in behind to create chances with cut back crosses. That was a game we won, but also a game that Arsenal had more than enough chances to win. Everytime we don't win a game people will question Sarri not playing Kante as a defensive midfielder, but I saw against Fulham exactly why Sarri plays Kante where he does. In the first half, he was able to win the ball high and in the Fulham half, before playing Pedro in for the opener. In general, though, Kante was very good that day. Against opposition we expect to beat, I agree with Kante being played further forward, but against stronger opposition, especially away from home, a 4-2-3-1 with Kante alongside Jorginho might be the best option. However, Sarri seems set in his 4-3-3, with his particular style, and I can why Sarri thinks that, in his system, Kante in the middle of the midfield three wouldn't work as well as a more technical midfielder like Jorginho or Fabregas.
  5. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: Attempting to stay ahead (in your) City.

    Well, that was a pathetic performance from Chelsea. As poor as we were, credit has to go to Tottenham for stopping us from playing. One of the main problems with our style of play is how influential Jorginho is to the success of it. Sarri has brought Jorginho with him from Napoli because he is that vital to Sarri's style of play, so it seems obvious for the opposition that if they cancel Jorginho out of the game, Chelsea will struggle. Tottenham pressed him really well and gave him little time on the ball. It looked at times like Dele Alli was nearly man marking Jorginho, so that when the ball came to him, his only option was to pass back to the centre backs. Without Jorginho to circulate the ball, we were unable to get any rhythm and hardly put a move together. The other problem with Jorginho is Kante's position. In games like that, away from home against one of the best teams in the league, it might be best to have Kante in a more defensive role. Kante is one of the best midfielders in Europe when it comes to winning the ball, so it is a good idea to put him further forward to win the ball back in higher areas, but in certain games, it might be better to be a bit more conservative and have him further back to protect the defence. The third goal was an example of this. When Son was going on his mazy run against Jorginho and David Luiz, Kante was in an advanced position, no use to anyone.
  6. Jordan La Cabra

    JK Rowling announces Five 'Fantastic Beasts' films

    I think everyone has done a good job of highlighting the positives and negatives of this film, so I am not going to repeat any points apart from one. I am a sucker for little things in movies like people who are related actually looking alike, so it pleases me that Eddie Redmayne and Callum Turner could actually pass for brothers. What doesn't please me, though, is that Callum clearly looks a lot younger than Eddie (as he is 8 years younger in real life), despite Theseus actually being 8 or 9 years older than Newt in the story. But, hey, I don't think either actor would be quite as good in the other's role. Probably, I'd rather they actually looked like brothers than looked nothing like brothers but looked the right age! Anyway, onto Credence...
  7. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: Attempting to stay ahead (in your) City.

    One win (Crystal Palace) and three draws (Liverpool, Man United, Everton) out of the last four home games for Chelsea. The fact we haven't been able to turn those draws into wins shows we aren't title challengers this season. I thought Chelsea played pretty well yesterday, we just couldn't get the ball to go in the net. Alonso, our left back, was our main goal threat, which is the main reason that I don't think we are good enough to contend for the title. Chelsea do have goals in the team, as we have wingers, midfielders and defenders who are all capable of chipping in with a decent amount, but we need more goals from the actual strikers. Watching Chelsea, then watching Man City straight after really showed the gulf between us and them.
  8. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: Attempting to stay ahead (in your) City.

    Another positive display from Chelsea. We started slowly but began to control the game soon after. A defensive error from David Luiz left Townsend clean through to score. Our problem, defensively, is that, while we don't offer teams many chances to score against us, the ones we do offer them tend to be very good chances, from which they are likely to score. That comes, clearly, from playing a high defensive line - something these players aren't used to. I remember when AVB tried to introduce a high line it was nearly unheard of at the club. The players failed to adapt to it, especially David Luiz. I think this is why Sarri still looks at us as a work in progress, despite the positive start to the season. The players have taken to the idea of playing a possession based style of play like ducks to water. Effectively, this is the style the players have been itching to play for years, so it should have been no surprise that they would relish the opportunity and adapt to his methods quickly. However, as they have been used to more pragmatic, counter attacking style managers in Mourinho and Conte, who prefer them to defend deep and contain teams, it should also be no surprise that the switchover to a high line is causing them some problems at the back. Arsenal gave us the biggest test so far, but Man United troubled Chelsea's backline in the second half of their recent fixture. At the moment, our back line is going to give away chances, especially against teams that counter attack well and look to go down our left hand side, where Hazard rarely tracks back, where the most attacking of our midfielders usually plays (Kovacic, Barkley or Loftus-Cheek), and where Marcos Alonso leaves space, as he spends most of his time in the opposition half. It could end up being a bit like Man City's first season under Guardiola. They started very well, but struggled badly against strong counter attacking teams - particularly Conte's Chelsea. I'm probably most impressed with the fact we have scored so many goals - second only to Man City for goals scored. Last season, we really struggled to score, particularly when Morata's form dipped off. Until about November / December last season, I thought we looked like the second best team in the league, but when the goals dried up, we turned to mush. Morata has done really well to find his scoring boots again. His is very much a confidence player, and, at the moment, he looks confident. Holding the ball up and playing with his back to goal isn't his strength; playing on the shoulder of the defender and making clever runs in behind is. One thing about Morata, even when he was in poor form, is that he gets chances to score. He has a knack for finding the right place to be in, and we need to play to that. I wonder if Morata has played better the past two games as Hazard didn't play against Burnley and didn't start against Crystal Palace. Hazard did set up Morata's second yesterday, though it was from a set-piece rather than a passage of play. Hazard seems to have a better understanding with Giroud, though, as Giroud is the more 'traditional number 9' (sorry, BFC!). Giroud has the ability to bring Hazard into play and create more chances for him to score (he has assisted Hazard for 3 goals this season, I think). This is our joint third best start to a Premier League season in terms of points, but with Man City playing the way they are, it is hard to consider Chelsea a true title contender.
  9. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: Remain in Europe

    Hudson-Odoi has looked very impressive any time I have seen him play for Chelsea. From what I saw / read of pre-season, he seemed to be the star player, so I thought he would have been afforded a few more opportunities this season than he has been, especially after he started in the Community Shield. The problem is that he is up against Hazard, Willian, Pedro and Moses. Even Moses, who has been a regular the past two seasons, has barely had any game time. Sarri has set up his three starting XIs in the Europa League to be quite strong. Now that we have won those three games, he may rotate a bit more in the final three, which may give Hudson-Odoi his chance. The same applies for Ampadu, though he is injured. Ampadu and Hudson-Odoi are the first two young players to be given game time at Chelsea that I really think took their opportunities to showcase their talents, even if they have only been cameos. And, unlike Man City, Chelsea haven't really had many comfortable wins to bring young players on during the latter stages.
  10. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: Remain in Europe

    Yeah, that's a fair point. The only way for Sarri to see that is to give him more of a chance. If by the end of the season he hasn't fitted into Sarri's style, then it may well be best to sell him, but I think he should be given the entire season to work with Sarri. I think that this is a good season for Loftus-Cheek to try emerge at Chelsea. Given that we are in the Europa League, Chelsea may play around 60 games this season, which could give Loftus-Cheek a fair few opportunities to play, even if it isn't predominately in the Premier League. Usually, if we are in the Champions League, the only chance for rotation is in the cups, which wouldn't amount to many games. With Europa League, there can almost be a squad for the Premier League and a squad for Europe and the cups. BT Sports showed the stats comparing the amount of games Loftus-Cheek had played compared to Dele Alli. Despite being the same age, Alli has played 240 career club matches compared to Loftus-Cheek's 61. You have to take into account that Alli broke through at a lower league club and Loftus-Cheek has been trying to break through at a club competing for Premier League titles, but it is quite a difference in games when you see that Loftus-Cheek is older than Alli by a few months. Loftus-Cheek might not want to wait around much longer for game time at Chelsea, but I would like to see him succeed at the club, especially when his talent is clear to see.
  11. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: Remain in Europe

    He seems to care a lot about the Chelsea fans, still. Three wins out of three for Chelsea in the Europa League. Hopefully that gives Sarri a bit more leeway to rotate in the final three group games. It was nice to see an academy product score a hat-trick, no matter what level the opposition were. I thought Loftus-Cheek's overall performance was very good, even without the goals. He ran a lot, made tackles, looked interested and when he picked the ball up from deep positions and made driving runs, he was very difficult to stop. Obviously, he wouldn't be afforded as much time and space in the Premier League, but he possesses the strength, speed, balance and dribbling ability that you'd imagine he should be able to hold his own, if given a chance. At the moment, though, it seems like there are three midfielders fighting for one spot. Jorginho is first pick in the middle of the three man midfield, with Kante the first choice beside him, as he is the only true defensive midfielder we have. On the other side of Jorginho, Kovacic, Barkley and Loftus-Cheek are up against each other for the final starting berth. Kovacic has started the season quite well; his main talent seems to be in his ability to carry the ball forwards and link up with the forwards, which he probably does the best out of the three. He seems to be a bit more switched on defensively, tracking back more than the others, which probably gives him the edge at the moment. In and around the box, he doesn't seem to be a natural goal scorer, and given the fact our strikers aren't providing us with many goals, we need players chipping in from other areas. Barkley and Loftus-Cheek need to keep continuing to improve the defensive side of their games if they want to play more. Watching the post match discussion between Owen Hargreaves and Glenn Hoddle, there were suggestions that if Loftus-Cheek didn't get more game time that he'd have to leave the club. If he were to leave, I'd rather it be on a loan deal rather than a permanent one, but I'd rather he didn't leave at all. Kovacic is only on loan at Chelsea. In today's market, he is probably worth upwards of £60m. When he goes back to Real Madrid, we will lose a £60m+ player, which means we'd have to go into the market again, either to replace him or to try and sign him. If Loftus-Cheek can improve defensively and tactically, by learning Sarri's way of playing, there would be no need for Chelsea to splash out to replace or buy Kovacic. Even if it means Loftus-Cheek not playing as much as he'd want to, I still think it would be a good idea for him to stick around at Chelsea for the whole season, so that he can take in as much information from Sarri as possible in order to become the ready made replacement for Kovacic when he goes back to Real Madrid. It would be a bit like the Phil Foden situation at Man City. Obviously, Foden is a lot younger and isn't at the stage in his career that he should be a regular, as is the case with Loftus Cheek. But Foden could go out on loan to any team in the Championship and probably play 30-40 games this season, but he is staying at Man City, where he may not play as much, but by training everyday with the Man City players and being coached by Guardiola, he will be better set to slot into Man City's team when he is completely ready. That sounds like a better alternative to going out on loan and playing in completely different systems and styles than the ones in which Guardiola demands.
  12. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: Remain in Europe

    Chelsea players out of contract at the end of the season: Cesc Fabregas: Up until his comments last week, stating how much he is enjoying working with Sarri and that he is open to signing a new deal, I thought that Fabregas leaving at the end of the season seemed the best option for both parties. Chelsea have got their money's worth out of him, and he has very little re-sell value now that he is predominately a bench player, who is into his 30's. He seems content with his role, even if he isn't playing as much. He could sign for another year. David Luiz: He admits that if Conte had stayed, he probably would have left the club in the summer window. Sarri has come in, restored him to the starting XI, and, so far, he is playing very well. Being first choice alongside Rudiger certainly strengthens his chances of getting a new deal. Gary Cahill: The club captain can't get into the first XI. There is talk of him leaving in the January window. That would disappoint me. I don't like seeing players that have given a lot for the club slip out in the January window. It happened with Ivanovic a couple of seasons ago. I suppose these players want to play, but it would seem more fitting for someone who has achieved as much as the club captain has to leave at the end of the season, rather than the January window. Olivier Giroud: At the moment, despite not having scored this season, he is still first choice striker. Morata has three goals in all competitions, but Giroud brings more to the team when he plays. It looks like Hazard enjoys playing with Giroud, as he can hold off defenders to give Hazard space to run into. Giroud has already chipped in with four assists this season. On current form, he should be offered a one year extension. Willy Caballero & Robert Green: Cabellero has only featured in the League Cup, while Green hasn't played at all. They are both 37 and 38, respectively - if they are happy enough in their roles, they may well be offered another year. We still have Eduardo on our books, who is featuring regularly on loan at Vitesse. Lucas Piazon: With no loan move for him in the summer, he is at Chelsea, at least until January. Would not surprise me if Chelsea renewed his contract, just so that they wouldn't lose out on making a profit from him.
  13. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: Remain in Europe

    So far, things have looked good for Chelsea under Sarri. Since the defeat against Man City in the Community Shield, we are unbeaten in all competitions. In the league, we find ourselves second on goal difference, level on points with Man City and Liverpool. After last season, I said that I'd sacrifice Chelsea winning any trophies this season, so long as I enjoy watching us play again. Going back to the Liverpool fixture in the league - normally after a late equaliser from a rival I'd feel slightly frustrated; this time I didn't, at all, because it was so refreshing to see us actually try to take on a rival. Mourinho and Conte brought great success to Chelsea, but we played pragmatic counter attacking football against our rivals - even at Stamford Bridge. At least, now, Sarri gives the players freedom to express themselves and entertain the fans. Some of the passing combinations Hazard, Willian, Pedro, Kovacic, Barkley, Jorginho etc have put together have been exquisite. I was pleased to see Barkley get a goal and assist - the first Englishman to do both in a game for Chelsea since Frank Lampard in 2013. I didn't think he had a great game yesterday - Kovacic keeps the ball better - but the start, the assist and the goal will hopefully give him another confidence boost. He seems to enjoy playing under Sarri, as he is able to play in what he truly believes is his best position. So far, my only gripe with the system is Kante's role within it. Not that he is playing badly, I'd just like him a bit further back to help protect the backline more. One of the more interesting comments from a player on Sarri come from Fabregas. He says he is enjoying working with Sarri so much that he wishes he'd come a bit earlier in his career. This is coming from a player that is yet to make a league appearance this season.
  14. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: Remain in Europe

    Mourinho did it, too - with Matic and Fabregas. In 14/15, Fabregas was able to play as the deep lying playmaker while Matic cleared things up in the middle of the park and helped protect the back four. I would like to see Sarri try a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Kante in alongside Jorginho, and with more emphasis on Kante providing defensive cover and less emphasis on him getting forward. The thing about Kante is that he will always put in a shift, no matter where he plays. He hasn't been playing badly in his new role under Sarri; it's just that he is probably the best defensive midfielder in the world, and we aren't playing him as one. The counter attack was on for West Ham on Sunday, so we will need more defensive cover against Liverpool, who will look to win the ball higher and spring forward quickly. Kante isn't much use to us if he up high in a wide position when we lose the ball; we need him around the middle of the park, so that we can have him available to stop the breaks. Like Matic in 14/15, Kante isn't just a good tackler or interceptor; he can pass, dribble and get forward, but it seems like that shouldn't be his main role.
  15. Jordan La Cabra

    Football: Sarri state of affairs

    I wonder if they will consider reviving something similar to the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
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