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Iskaral Pust

Football: the winter break

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It was Gini and Robertson who got the rest instead.  I think the subs could have come earlier regardless. 

It looked like Arsenal should have had a penalty late on.  Not that it would have made much difference but I don’t want to hear about Liverpool nicking a win from dodgy refereeing.

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Arsenal's defence was badly exposed. It was somewhat expected but maybe not to the extent that Liverpool did. Torreira having a stinker didn't help Arsenal's defence. 

City under immense pressure now. They absolutely have to beat Southampton and Liverpool in 5 days time otherwise the title race will be just about over. Can't see Liverpool dropping that many points until the end of the season and Spurs are Spurs - they don't have the mettle for a sustained chase. I expect City will go all out in January for someone to rotate with Fernandinho. Lack of depth there is the only glaring weakness in their squad. 

Edited by Consigliere

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35 minutes ago, Consigliere said:

Lack of depth there is the only glaring weakness in their squad. 

City lack depth? Its the deepest squad in premier league history. 

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1 minute ago, BigFatCoward said:

City lack depth? Its the deepest squad in premier league history. 

Lack of depth in that ONE position. There's no adequate backup for Fernandinho. 

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1 minute ago, BigFatCoward said:

City lack depth? Its the deepest squad in premier league history. 

Agreed.  Delph, Zinchenko, Gundogan and even Bernardo Silva are all capable of playing CMF alongside KDB and David Silva:  They may not do exactly what Fernandinho does, but there are plenty of options.  City’s FBs are in poor form lately and now they don’t have Fernandinho to cover.  They could have shifted formation slightly to cope, but they still keep Sane and Sterling pushed very forward and wide, leaving space behind to attack.  Respect to City for sticking to their style, which nearly always works, but perhaps they should have adapted slightly to the many high quality players they currently have available. 

Besides, Fernandinho is expected back for the Liverpool game and won’t be needed against Southampton. 

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Fatigue today for Spurs?  They’ve been on great form and got a fantastic goal from Kane today, plus they had Sanchez back at CB.  I’m surprised they conceded the initiative like that. 

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I didn't watch the game, but I assume it was a case of them panicking a bit once they conceded the first, and pushing forward a little to much to get back in front, and so on.

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1 hour ago, Consigliere said:

Arsenal's defence was badly exposed. It was somewhat expected but maybe not to the extent that Liverpool did. Torreira having a stinker didn't help Arsenal's defence. 

Arsenal defense has been badly exposed all season. This is nothing new though Torreira being that poor was. Still, it doesn't really matter when Arsenal's back 5 is a hodge podge of inconsistent shit and their midfield is incapable of dominating a game.

Edited by Mexal

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40 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

Agreed.  Delph, Zinchenko, Gundogan and even Bernardo Silva are all capable of playing CMF alongside KDB and David Silva:  They may not do exactly what Fernandinho does, but there are plenty of options.

There is a noticeable step down though which you largely don't see in most positions for City.

Beyond just missing Fernandihno though I've seen a few articles suggesting City's pressing is starting to run out of steam a little bit as the season's gone on and that means their defensive midfielder, whoever it is, and defence is having to do more work, and they haven't held up that well. It's interesting that the physical strain of having to maintain such a high pace has been seen as one of the big problems with Klopp's Liverpool teams but our new found defensive solidity has allowed Liverpool to dial it back a bit but City might be feeling the pace a little.

Edited by ljkeane

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Reports saying that Gundogan and KdB are not in the travelling squad to Southampton. Apparently KdB has picked up a knock and is a doubt for the Liverpool game as well. 

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1 hour ago, Iskaral Pust said:

Fatigue today for Spurs?  They’ve been on great form and got a fantastic goal from Kane today, plus they had Sanchez back at CB.  I’m surprised they conceded the initiative like that. 


Both them and Everton have gotten a bit shafted by having played the game on the 23rd but being asked to play today rather than tomorrow, so it's not a shock they've both looked a bit knackered and lost.

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5 hours ago, polishgenius said:


Both them and Everton have gotten a bit shafted by having played the game on the 23rd but being asked to play today rather than tomorrow, so it's not a shock they've both looked a bit knackered and lost.

Agreed.  They didn’t have the toughest opponents but the gap between games was a challenge.  Although they knew that in advance and could have rotated.  

I remember Liverpool playing City one recent season only 48 hours after their prior game.  It ruined the game. 

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3 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

They didn’t have the toughest opponents


To be fair, Wolves have a fantastic record against the top six- you're the only ones to beat them so far. Beaten Chelsea and Spurs and drawn the other three.
But yeah, they probably could have rotated more and also possibly reigned in rather than going HAM and racking up the goals in the last two games - but that can go both ways, taking your foot off the pedal deliberately can lead to difficulty getting back up to speed again.

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12 minutes ago, polishgenius said:


To be fair, Wolves have a fantastic record against the top six- you're the only ones to beat them so far. Beaten Chelsea and Spurs and drawn the other three.
But yeah, they probably could have rotated more and also possibly reigned in rather than going HAM and racking up the goals in the last two games - but that can go both ways, taking your foot off the pedal deliberately can lead to difficulty getting back up to speed again.

It’s definitely tough to judge the right balance.  It was widely expected that Klopp would rotate more against Newcastle.  We won’t know until Thursday whether he was right to keep the front three in every game. 

Spurs, Chelsea and City also have the Carabao Cup semi-finals over two legs in January, although City have the easiest opponent by some distance.  That’s seven games for them in January compared to five for everyone else.  And the stakes are too high now for Spurs or Chelsea to rotate much.  This is why December-January has crushed promising seasons for Liverpool under Klopp.  Going deep in the Carabao Cup is a poisoned chalice.

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Thoughts on the Liverpool game today:

Arsenal set up to press high through Iwobi and Ramsey, which worked well for the first 15 minutes and got them a lead.  But that selection meant they omitted Lacazette and Guendozi, which isolated Auba (13 touches all game, 6 of which were kick-offs) and reduced the MF screen for the defense.  It was a trade-off that worked for a while but Liverpool eventually adjusted.  Ainsley-Miles played well and Iwobi is much improved from last year (I apologize for doubting his potential).  Otherwise not a lot of positives and it must be a kick in the nuts of the club morale to lose by a big margin.  CB selection was poor: they kept Kos on the bench after playing the last two, while using Lichtsteiner as a RCB and playing Mustafi.  If playing three CBs, then it seems like Kos should have started ahead of either of those.  I think they would have been better with a back four and Guendozi in MF in a 4-5-1, with Lacazette instead of Ramsey.

Liverpool had several sloppy moments as Arsenal pressed, which happened against Wolves too.  Time to tighten that up before the City game.  Space behind our FBs is our biggest vulnerability still, but we generally have a good balance: we gain more from their attack than we lose from their forward position; it’s a trade off.  Shaqiri did really well and especially combined well with Salah — I’d like to see how that develops.  We were more efficient taking our chances today, and we were very good at increasing the tempo and pressure to force goals, and then backing off when we had them.  Gini was really solid in MF; there’s a reason he has the most minutes of the MF this season.  And after zero penalties at Anfield for 14 months, we suddenly get three within a week; I guess they’re like buses.

Considering Sokratis, Mustafi, Lichtsteiner, Leno and Kolasinac were all recent additions, and Kos is getting old and more frequently injured, I don’t know if Arsenal expect this defense to improve with more coaching and minor additions, or they expected those to be stopgap transfers ahead of major additions.  At the moment, it doesn’t look great considering they’ve already made six recent additions.  

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Chelsea are a fucking bore to watch. Have to hope for Hazard magic or they have nothing. 

Dont think you can count United out of that fourth spot tbh. 

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Reports of the demise of City’s pressing game may have been premature; they’re all over Southampton.

ETA: Wahey, I may have spoken too soon. Good pressing from Saints.

Edited by ljkeane

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