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Football: “WHAT THE F*CK WAS THAT”?

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On 10/01/2018 at 0:52 PM, JordanJH1993 said:

Arsenal Invincibles and City-so-far Invincibles combined XI on Sky Sports. They're jumping the gun, as usual, but it's quite a tough team to pick. But here's mine:

4-2-3-1: Ederson; Kyle Walker, Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure, Ashley Cole; Patrick Viera, Kevin De Bruyne; David Silva, Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp; Thierry Henry.

That Arsenal team wasn't 'that' good, they just didn't lose any games, their points total was nothing special, in line with most other PL winners of the last 10-15 years.  I'd probably only go with 3 that are bankers to make that team, Cole, Viera, Henry.

Edited by BigFatCoward

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1 hour ago, BigFatCoward said:

That Arsenal team wasn't 'that' good, they just didn't lose any games, their points total was nothing special, in line with most other PL winners of the last 10-15 years.  I'd probably only go with 3 that are bankers to make that team, Cole, Viera, Henry.

Oh, I agree. I think Man United have had a fair few sides that were better than the Invincibles - Chelsea, too. But it was a man for man combined XI; it just so happens that I'd pick more men from the Arsenal 2003/04 season XI than I would from the current Man City XI. Though, Kolo Toure is up for debate, but neither Otamendi or Stones are outstanding options, either, which made me go for the partnership of Toure and Campbell; one that played together 34 or 35 times that season.

And Dennis Bergkamp is always a banker, for me.

 

Man United linked with Alexis Sanchez. Still think he is Man City bound, whether it be this window or in the summer.

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Berkamp and Pires have to be bankers, surely? Their points total might not have been phenomenal, but it was a brilliant team.

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The Invincibles’ may not have had the greatest points total, but they have a classic starting XI. Everyone can rhyme off that line up from that season: Lehmann; Lauren, Toure, Campbell, Cole; Pires, Gilberto, Viera, Ljungberg; Bergkamp, Henry. Other players came in and played here and there, of course, but that XI was the main one.

The only other classic XI in the Premier League era I can think of is the Man United team of the late 90s, early 00s: Schmeichel; Neville, Stam, Johnsen (his was interchangeable, I think), Irwin; Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs; Cole, Yorke. That XI is even more impressive as their success was over a sustained period of time.

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26 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

The Invincibles’ may not have had the greatest points total, but they have a classic starting XI. Everyone can rhyme off that line up from that season: Lehmann; Lauren, Toure, Campbell, Cole; Pires, Gilberto, Viera, Ljungberg; Bergkamp, Henry. Other players came in and played here and there, of course, but that XI was the main one.

The only other classic XI in the Premier League era I can think of is the Man United team of the late 90s, early 00s: Schmeichel; Neville, Stam, Johnsen (his was interchangeable, I think), Irwin; Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs; Cole, Yorke. That XI is even more impressive as their success was over a sustained period of time.

Well, that was really down to that United team basically winning everything in '99. With CL, League and FA Cup.

Although, Schmeichel was past his prime already and on his way out (didn't he leave United at the end of that Season and was replaced with Barthez (mixed success) and later on with van der Sar). Stam left soon after his falling out with Ferguson (and was replaced with Blanc for a year I think). You could also add their fringe players with Sherringham, Solskjaer, Butt, Brown and the other Neville. Our local United supporters can point out if I had forgotten anyone who should have been metioned.

As for the invincibles Bergkamp was a bit past it imo. So my mixed team looked more like.

Ederson - Walker, Stones, Campbell, Cole - Vieira, Fernandinho - Pires, de Bruyne, Sterling (or Sane whoever you prefer) - Henry.

4-2-3-1 formation.

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30 minutes ago, Notone said:

Well, that was really down to that United team basically winning everything in '99. With CL, League and FA Cup.

Although, Schmeichel was past his prime already and on his way out (didn't he leave United at the end of that Season and was replaced with Barthez (mixed success) and later on with van der Sar). Stam left soon after his falling out with Ferguson (and was replaced with Blanc for a year I think). You could also add their fringe players with Sherringham, Solskjaer, Butt, Brown and the other Neville. Our local United supporters can point out if I had forgotten anyone who should have been metioned.

 

That period where they won three titles in a row - 98/99, 99/00, 00/01 - the core of the side was made up of the majority of that XI I named.

Schmeichel left after the Treble, but in came Barthez. Gary Neville was the main stay at RB - as was Stam at CB (who won three titles in his three full season at at Man U; sadly his last season was blighted by injury). Silvestre came in for Johnsen to partner him. Blanc was even there briefly. Irwin stayed until 2012, but ended up sharing duties with Phil Neville. The midfield stayed as that Beckham, Scholes, Keane, Giggs (with Butt coming in) midfield; easiliest the most well remembered midfield in Premier League history. And up front they had Cole and Yorke with that alternatives of Solskjaer and Sheringham, who ended up PFA player of the year in 2001 despite being well into his thirties by then.

What I mean is not that they only had XI players, but that everyone could name that squad and still can. You and I have just proved my point about how memorable their side was. I’m no Man United fan and I am not sure if you are (?) but we both easily recall their squad from that time because it was the same core of players and together they had three incredible years of unprecedented success in the Premier League era. 

The Invincles are the same. They probably weren’t even Arsenal’s best side of the PL era, but the feat they pulled off makes their XI so easy to remember.

Chelsea hold the record for most points, fewest goals conceded, most clean sheets all from the 04/05 season, but I doubt that squad is that easily remembered by non Chelsea fans. Same for our side in 09/10 that have the record for most goals in a season. I’d say even last year’s Chelsea team will be soon forgotten despite breaking the record for wins in a PL season.

This Man City team could well go on to be the greatest PL team in a single season and be remembered like the Man United team from 99-01 and the 03/04 Arsenal side, but it is easier for me to recall the players in the squad for Man United 99-01 and Arsenal 03/04 season than it is for me to tell you the players in Man City’s squad when they won the league in 11/12 and 13/14, despite them only being a few years ago.

Honourable mention for Leicester. Their core of players that won the 15/16 title will be easily remember for years to come, too.

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13 hours ago, JordanJH1993 said:

This Man City team could well go on to be the greatest PL team in a single season and be remembered like the Man United team from 99-01 and the 03/04 Arsenal side, but it is easier for me to recall the players in the squad for Man United 99-01 and Arsenal 03/04 season than it is for me to tell you the players in Man City’s squad when they won the league in 11/12 and 13/14, despite them only being a few years ago.

Honourable mention for Leicester. Their core of players that won the 15/16 title will be easily remember for years to come, too.

Indeed. But it's worth noticeable that if it wasn't for QPR refusing the ball and Gerrard slipping, Man City would probably not have a single PL title for 40 years.

Thus, the weaker are the opponents, the easier it is to recall a winning XI. If Pep's team win the league (they may actually do at least a double) without being defeated, as you said it, they have a strong claim to be reminded as one of the greatests teams of PL history. But if they do so, it will partly be because of Chelsea and Man Utd failing to be title contenders, as their squads are weaker and their managers made worst choices in the transfer window. (so far)

But yeah, that City XI will probably (and unfortunately) stay in history anyway, especially that midfield of KDB, Silva, Fernandinho. Unlike the City sides from 11/12 and 13/14, who had to cope with tougher opponents (Sir Alex's United then Rodgers's Liverpool and José's Chelsea)

And I agree about Leicester. That Drinkwater-Kanté midfield, added to that Mahrez-Vardy connection, will stay in memories.

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Liverpool are only one point lower and in the same table position at the same point (22 games) as last year.  My recollection was of us sweeping aside a lot of teams last season up through December, and being second in the table, before we collapsed in January and February from fatigue, injuries and absences (Matip and Mane unavailable during the ACN).  

I think perhaps the gap in recollection is because last season we reached 22 games late in January, so it already included some of our collapse.  

It’s funny how particularly strong or weak segments stand out in memory but there is still very strong mean reversion in general, with total spending still having by far the highest R-squared explanatory power for points totals over long periods. 

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3 hours ago, Sandokan I Ironborn said:

 

Thus, the weaker are the opponents, the easier it is to recall a winning XI. If Pep's team win the league (they may actually do at least a double) without being defeated, as you said it, they have a strong claim to be reminded as one of the greatests teams of PL history. But if they do so, it will partly be because of Chelsea and Man Utd failing to be title contenders, as their squads are weaker and their managers made worst choices in the transfer window. (so far)

 

To be fair, i don't think how much more they had spent would be making a difference. Even if they were on pace to reach 90 points (the rough total you normally need to win the title) they would still be 10 points behind city right now.  Though having someone breathing down their necks may make city more inclined to tighten up.

Edited by BigFatCoward

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Things seem to be hotting up with the Alexis to Man United rumours.

As much as I wouldn’t like to see Man United become stronger, it would be nice egg in the face for Man City, who are showing no urgency, as they seem arrogant enough to assume if they don’t get him now, they’ll get him for free in the summer.

Fair play to Man United, they haven’t just accepted that he is Man City bound and they’ve taken a chance to see if he can be swayed. As they are somewhat behind Man City on the Alexis hunt, they’d have to pay more in terms of transfer fee and wage to secure him. The higher transfer fee would definitely appeal to Arsenal, despite the fact Man United are a closer rival to them than Man City.

It’s a joke that Chelsea aren’t interest in him. What we are lacking this season is goals, and he has proven in his three and a half years in England that he is a regular goalscorer.

Hazard is brilliant, but he has never been prolific. Morata started the season well, but now that he’s out of form, we don’t have a reliable source of goals. Alexis would be the perfect signing for us, as Morata would have someone to share the goalscoring job with. On form, though, Alexis is much more than just a goalscorer.  I’d love to see him and Hazard together, but I’d say there’s next to no chance.

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11 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

As much as I wouldn’t like to see Man United become stronger, it would be nice egg in the face for Man City, who are showing no urgency, as they seem arrogant enough to assume if they don’t get him now, they’ll get him for free in the summer.

In fairness I'm not sure refusing to pay £35 million for an out of form 29 year old with a few months left on his contract when they don't even particularly need him, especially if the reports of Jesus' injury not being as bad as initially feared are true, is a bad look for City. It seems like a pretty sound decision to me.

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Yeah, I though those Sanchez rumours were complete bullshit until that joint article by Simon Stone and David Ornstein. I guess it all comes down to Sanchez now - if he is dead set on joining City then no amount of money we offer Arsenal is going to change that. Although I feel that there must have been some contact between United and Sanchez's representatives to gauge his interest.

For City, I guess it makes sense for them to draw the line over the transfer fee. They don't really need Sanchez now. He is a luxury signing for them and with the news that Jesus's injury is not as bad as first thought (Pep says he will be back in 2-3 weeks) there is really no need for City to pay £35m for him even though they were prepared to fork over £60m 5 months ago.

I'm still not confident that Sanchez will pick us over City but if he does join then that is a big boost for us. City have the title wrapped up but 2nd to 6th are all in a close fight for three CL spots. It would also be a boost for both our CL and FA Cup campaigns as Sanchez isn't cup tied for either competition.

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I don't care where Sanchez goes now, I just want him to go. I want Wenger to go too so if losing Sanchez makes us worse, I'm good with it.

If we do replace Sanchez with Malcom, that could be fun. Love a good 20 year old Brazilian. 

Edited by Mexal

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15 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

Things seem to be hotting up with the Alexis to Man United rumours.

As much as I wouldn’t like to see Man United become stronger, it would be nice egg in the face for Man City, who are showing no urgency, as they seem arrogant enough to assume if they don’t get him now, they’ll get him for free in the summer.

Fair play to Man United, they haven’t just accepted that he is Man City bound and they’ve taken a chance to see if he can be swayed. As they are somewhat behind Man City on the Alexis hunt, they’d have to pay more in terms of transfer fee and wage to secure him. The higher transfer fee would definitely appeal to Arsenal, despite the fact Man United are a closer rival to them than Man City.

It’s a joke that Chelsea aren’t interest in him. What we are lacking this season is goals, and he has proven in his three and a half years in England that he is a regular goalscorer.

Sanchez would be a Luxury signing for City nothing more. I am not sure he would break into their line up, I mean who should he replace?

Left wing? Sane has played a pretty impressive campaign thus far (surely on course for the young player of the season award). Their forward line up with Aguerro and Jesus looks good enough, so even with Jesus out Sanchez would look more like a back up to me. The right wing is blocked with Sterling, who (like Sane) is also playing pretty impressively. So 35m for a bench warmer, who has 6 months left on his contract? Even with the silly money in the EPL that looks like a ridiculous piece of business.
I think Guardiola is right, the only position this City squad might need strengthening it's the centrebacks.

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38 minutes ago, Notone said:

Sanchez would be a Luxury signing for City nothing more. I am not sure he would break into their line up, I mean who should he replace?

Left wing? Sane has played a pretty impressive campaign thus far (surely on course for the young player of the season award). Their forward line up with Aguerro and Jesus looks good enough, so even with Jesus out Sanchez would look more like a back up to me. The right wing is blocked with Sterling, who (like Sane) is also playing pretty impressively. So 35m for a bench warmer, who has 6 months left on his contract? Even with the silly money in the EPL that looks like a ridiculous piece of business.
I think Guardiola is right, the only position this City squad might need strengthening it's the centrebacks.

As someone who has Sane in two different fantasy football teams, I can tell you he hasn’t been that impressive since October. That’s not the only way to judge a player, of course, but anytime I’ve watched them he has hardly stood out. If anyone in Man City is going to win young player of the season, it’s Sterling, who still qualifies as he’s just turned 23.

I don’t get this whole ‘do they really need Alexis?’, ‘where would he fit in?’ Etc. Every team needs to build and improve. No squad is ever good enough. No squad can’t be improved. 

Man City’s attack is brilliant - the best in the league - but when a quality player is available, especially one that wants to join them, they still should try to sign him. Yes, their centrebacks is the most urgent area to improve, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be in the market for quality forwards if they become available.

 

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41 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

As someone who has Sane in two different fantasy football teams, I can tell you he hasn’t been that impressive since October. That’s not the only way to judge a player, of course, but anytime I’ve watched them he has hardly stood out. If anyone in Man City is going to win young player of the season, it’s Sterling, who still qualifies as he’s just turned 23.

I wasn'T aware Sterling was sitll eligible, thought he was too old now. Anyway, Sane has provided quite a few assists (esp for Sterling's tap ins).

42 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

I don’t get this whole ‘do they really need Alexis?’, ‘where would he fit in?’ Etc. Every team needs to build and improve. No squad is ever good enough. No squad can’t be improved. 

Yes, but is Sanchez an actual upgrade? That's what I doubt. We are not taling about Neymar or Kane or somebody like that here. And to me it would be pointless to block the starting eleven with a 30 y.o. when your starting options are of similar or better quality and just 22 (Sane) or 23 (Sterling) and 20 years of age (Gabriel Jesus).Yes, the squad can improve, but their attack is not the part that desperately needs strengthening. The centrebacks are another story esp. with Kompany playing no more than 20 games a season. That's a more logical starting point for me.

 

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13 minutes ago, Notone said:

I wasn'T aware Sterling was sitll eligible, thought he was too old now.

Eligibility just goes on and on in the Premier League. James Milner won it in his eighth full top-flight season. He's 32 now and has still played fewer league games since winning the award than he had before.

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City just need to reinforce in a few areas: A CB (or two should Mangala be offloaded and Kompany cannot be relied upon due to constant injury), a long term replacement for Fernandinho and a natural LB as backup for Mendy.

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For me, the thing about Sanchez and City is the squad balance issue. They've already got so many forwards and creative players they can't give them all much playing time (what did they even buy Bernardo Silva for?) and they'd be introducing a known ego into the mix. Not sure they need that hassle.

We could use him, for certain, but I'd still much rather get someone younger. For preference Mahrez, who as discussed before should be an absolute no-brainer if there's any chance of making that happen, but there are other players who are a bit less proven so bigger gambles but who I think would be worth taking the chance on long term.

I mean, if Arsenal were to complete their own much-discussed moves for Mahrez and Fekir to replace Ozil and Sanchez, I'm not sure they'd be worse off in the long run.

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Joining Man City now makes sense for Alexis. Guaranteed PL title and CL football next season. Otherwise I think waiting until summer to sign for whoever he wants would be his best move. Not even sure United are a shoo in for top four. Would be funny for him to go and be Europa bound again next year. 

Edited by Mark Antony

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