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Football: the winter break

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Second time in two games Southampton should have had a penalty then the opposition go up the other end to score. Zinchenko's foul today much more obvious in real time than Rice's in midweek - he is a real liability at full-back.

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City had some luck in their favor today.  Southampton rotated heavily, Southampton should have had a chance to go ahead with a penalty but it was not given (bizarre decision), then a minute later City went ahead through an OG, and then two minutes after that City get a third deep in first half injury time to basically seal the game. 

City played out the second half in some comfort.  Probably they could have scored more if they needed but from minutes 44-48 everything swung in their favor pretty decisively.

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Bailly had a good game up until his worst attribute took over. Absolutely unnecessary and reckless challenge that got him sent off. We controlled the game well but let in another soft one - we struggled defending set pieces once again. It was quite the departure from this fixture last season where, although we won 1-0, Bournemouth came to Old Trafford and had more goal attempts, more shots on target and we were talking about De Gea's saves. 

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Bailly is an idiot sometimes, that was awful.


Seriously though, other than that: Rashford suddenly looks confident, Lukaku came on and is making positive runs, Herrera's making forward runs again... it's night and fucking day.

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8 hours ago, Mark Antony said:

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. 

I hope not. I can see that this refreshed team will grab Arsenal but Chelsea's well ahead now, unfortunately picked up 3 poins today in a classic Chelseaesque win.

6 hours ago, Mark Antony said:

Peps gonna spend 100m on a Lb and DM in Jan isn’t he?

He can't, he wants Frenkie De Jong as well and he's going to be expensive.

3 hours ago, polishgenius said:

Oh look, Pogba's a bit of a player.

Is that Paul Pogba The Outcast, The Man Who Couldn't, as per Jose the Great Scam Artist, Lord of Deflated Footballs?

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21 hours ago, Mark Antony said:

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

Or Kante magic!

Crystal Palace away can be a tough game for Chelsea and Watford tanked us at Vicarage Road last season, so two back to back away wins against those teams are good results, especially looking at our recent patchy form. 

On the recent performances, I think Kante is really growing into his new role in the team. He is a much better footballer than people give him credit for. In his previous seasons in the Premier League, Ranieri and Conte focused on his ability to win the ball back, but times that he did have the ball and was able to dribble and pass, you could tell there was more to him than being a ball winner.

This season, his work with the ball has gradually got better, his ability to press teams high up the pitch is helping us win the ball back in better positions, and his running off the ball is excellent - which was typified by the run he made to score the winner yesterday. In the positions left and right of Jorginho, out of Kante, Kovacic, Barkley and Loftus-Cheek, Kante has been the best of the four, despite being the one you'd expect to suit the role the least. 

 

On the topic of the Pulisic deal: I am not very familiar with him as a player, so can't make a judgement on whether Chelsea would be getting a good deal out of signing him. But I have seen Callum Hudson-Odoi playing for Chelsea, and I think Chelsea would be daft to let him go to Bayern Munich. 

Has Jadon Sancho taken Pulisic's place in the Borussia Dortmund starting XI? Hudson-Odoi and Sancho were both part of the England Under-17 side that won the World Cup (Hudson-Odoi started the final; Sancho was recalled by Borussia Dortmund ahead of England's round of 16 tie with Japan).

I cannot see the logic in Chelsea paying big money for Pulisic, when they have an even younger player in Hudson-Odoi who is attracting the interest of Bayern Munich. Surely if one of Europe's biggest clubs show an interest in one of your academy players, it shows just how good that academy player is.

I have watched Hudson-Odoi play for Chelsea on the television and live at the stadium, and it is clear to anyone that he is a talented young player and should at least be given a proper run of games in the first team before the club decide to let him go. He only has 18 months left on his contract, which may be pushing Chelsea to sell him. Chelsea know they can't guarantee young players the chance to play - if that is what Hudson-Odoi signing a new deal hinges on.

While Chelsea have used the academy well to develop players and sell them on for profit, the signing of Pulisic and sale of Callum Hudson-Odoi would not be an example of good business, especially if Pulisic costs £60m plus, and Hudson-Odoi's sale only recoups a fraction of that. If the players are a similar level in ability, it makes a lot more sense to promote Hudson-Odoi rather than sign Pulisic. 

 

 

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22 hours ago, Mark Antony said:

Peps gonna spend 100m on a Lb and DM in Jan isn’t he?

Don't think he'd go in for a LB. Mendy is expected to be back in February. Until then Delph would be a better option at LB than Zinchenko - Delph performed well there last season while Zinchenko is very dodgy defensively although he does offer more in attack. I think he will try for a DM though - there is just too big of a drop off between Fernandinho and their current options who could potentially fill in especially when it comes to the defensive side. 

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Are there any proper DMs in Brazil or elswewhere outside Europe, who fit City's needs?

I ean, I really don't see Ajax (or anybody else for that matter) selling key players in January. Ajax in particular have a made point, that unlike in the past, they are now operating on a very solid foundation and don't have to sell anybody, and can pay their players pretty good wages, too. Not on a City level, but it's clearly not the use the academy to generate transfer revenue, when players want a wage rise model from the 1990s, 2000s anymore either.

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6 hours ago, Jordan La Cabra said:

Or Kante magic!

Crystal Palace away can be a tough game for Chelsea and Watford tanked us at Vicarage Road last season, so two back to back away wins against those teams are good results, especially looking at our recent patchy form. 

On the recent performances, I think Kante is really growing into his new role in the team. He is a much better footballer than people give him credit for. In his previous seasons in the Premier League, Ranieri and Conte focused on his ability to win the ball back, but times that he did have the ball and was able to dribble and pass, you could tell there was more to him than being a ball winner.

This season, his work with the ball has gradually got better, his ability to press teams high up the pitch is helping us win the ball back in better positions, and his running off the ball is excellent - which was typified by the run he made to score the winner yesterday. In the positions left and right of Jorginho, out of Kante, Kovacic, Barkley and Loftus-Cheek, Kante has been the best of the four, despite being the one you'd expect to suit the role the least. . 

Kante was brilliant yesterday for sure. Still think (as everyone else does) that Chelsea need more firepower up front. Hazard could prob get you fourth on his own but he can be pretty streaky production wise. If he drops off, the fight for fourth could turn interesting. 

The January window for Chelsea is big.  Don’t see that rumored Higuain/Morata swap happening and waiting for the summer to sign Pulisic isn’t going to help matters. Not sure he would make much of a difference in January anyway though he’d probably put up better numbers than Willian or Pedro on the right. 

Agreed completely about Cho btw. Selling him to Bayern would be fucking dumb and he would probably turn into another Salah/KDB/etc. 

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8 minutes ago, Mark Antony said:

Agreed completely about Cho btw. Selling him to Bayern would be fucking dumb and he would probably turn into another Salah/KDB/etc. 

Sure, but he's not going to turn into a KDB if they just sit on him. They need to shit or get off the pot.

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52 minutes ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

Are there any proper DMs in Brazil or elswewhere outside Europe, who fit City's needs?

I ean, I really don't see Ajax (or anybody else for that matter) selling key players in January. Ajax in particular have a made point, that unlike in the past, they are now operating on a very solid foundation and don't have to sell anybody, and can pay their players pretty good wages, too. Not on a City level, but it's clearly not the use the academy to generate transfer revenue, when players want a wage rise model from the 1990s, 2000s anymore either.

It's hard to see City actually bringing in someone of the requisite quality in January. The problem is that Fernandinho will be 34 soon so they can't just bring in someone decent enough to rotate with him; they need someone who can replace him. De Jong looks unlikely with PSG seemingly favourites and Barca pushing hard for him as well. Allan would be a good option - he's very similar to Fernandinho i.e. a CM who also happens to be strong defensively as well as mobile enough to operate in City's midfield. I've seen some rumours linking them to Ndombele as well - he might be the most realistic January target.

Edited by Consigliere

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I think Chelsea should be playing Hudson-Odoi in first team games this season.  The EL, PL, CC and FAC give plenty of opportunities, and it’s not like Willian or Pedro are too valuable to rotate occasionally.  Plus if Hazard is playing as a false 9 more often, then the left wing is available too.

Pulisic is a tough decision for Chelsea or anyone else.  His production has dropped and he’s being kept out of the team on merit by Jadon Sancho.  Has Pulisic peaked already (seems unlikely), got fatigued or is just a known quantity now for defenders? Everyone knows his marketing value so his fee might exceed his immediate playing impact, although a change of scenery might be a boost for him too. 

He seems to prefer playing on the right, which is a position already well filled for Liverpool and City.  I doubt Spurs would spend on another forward right now.  But Chelsea and United both could use new talent in the right forward/wing position, but United’s transfer process is a mess and probably needs a new DoF first.  So Chelsea are front runners by default.

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Nearly every other top 6 manager would have used CHO more this season, especially with Europa League providing a great opportunity for rotation and intregrating youth players into first team football. Sarri, though, prefers to choose from a small pool of players and seems to be reluctant to rotate heavily even in the Europa League. It took until the fifth group stage game for CHO to start, and by kick off of that game, we’d been guaranteed top spot as group winners.

CHO and Ampadu featured a lot during preseason, but have since barely played. If Cahill is to leave the club in January, that may give Ampadu a chance to assume the role of fourth choice centre back, provided we don’t sign a replacement for Cahill. 

We do need to freshen up the wings, as both Pedro and Willian are over 30 now and Hazard is likely to leave in the summer. Pedro signed a new deal to keep him at the club until the end of next season, and we may have missed the chance to sell Willian on for a decent price, so they both could still be at the club next season. Moses is very much out of favour with Sarri, so I’d expect him to move on. Assuming Hazard leaves, I think we do need to sign another winger like Pulisic, but we also need to keep CHO and let him compete with Pedro, Willian and whoever we sign to replace Hazard.

As for the striker situation, I wouldn’t be keen on the Morata / Higuian swap, as I’d rather we were able to sign a striker for the long term. Trying to find that striker is the difficult job for whoever looks after our transfer business, as we still haven’t replaced Michael Emelano.

Edited by Jordan La Cabra

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Chelsea could do a lot worse than picking up callum wilson, would probavly cost a fair bit but seems to be the sort of striker they need and hes starting to find his form on a more regular basis and has scored against teams like city. He is young enough to keep improving and lead the line for quite a while.

Doucoure is another one that is getting talked about as being ready to step up to a bigger club, heard something on tv about psg looking at him. Would actually like to see him at Liverpool in place of Wijnaldum, I think we probably need backup for Mane more than anything because we lack the speed on the left if he were to get injured.

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I haven't really seen him play, so it's hard to judge if this is a good signing. However, it is good that we were actively looking to bring a winger in, considering Hazard's contract situation. Hopefully Pulisic can play on one wing and Hudson-Odoi can play on the other.

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On the pitch that is a poor move, but the deal is probably worth the best part of that to Nike alone, so they may have chipped in to help with the fee.

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