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EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Off Season ()
Date: January 04, 2021 03:04PM

After reading through some comments over the many years, ive noticed we have some great analysers of the game and with the EPL being one of the most beloved leagues in the world, thought it was a good idea to create a discussion around the EPL especially this season given the unpredictable results, no crowds etc.

What are peoples thoughts on this season thus far?
Why have Arsenal trailed so behind after winning the FA cup?
Is Lampard the right man for the job?
Will Big Sam be able to keep West Brom out of the relegation zone?

Let the discussion begin.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Title Race ()
Date: January 05, 2021 09:10AM

Liverpool dropping points again really opens up the title race big time.

It's beyond hard to predict whose gonna come 4th to 17th. The results are so unpredictable.

Man United title hopes sorely rely on Fernandez to keep fit and performing. If he gets an injury, United are out.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Shaqiri ()
Date: January 05, 2021 09:42AM

I can't see how anyone could have predicted Liverpool to keep winning whilst playing midfielders as centre backs.

Also worrying when you see the tactic of crossing the ball to a 4 ft 7 inch striker.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Jurgen ()
Date: January 05, 2021 12:04PM

Liverpools next game is against Man U. If Man U win they will be 3 points clear in first place with a game in hand against Liverpool. Who would have predicted that.

As soon as you think a team like Spurs or Chelsea or Man City are on a run they drop points two or three games in a row to the smaller clubs.

Southampton have come back well from their 9-0 loss last year just like Saints United did after there round 1 loss to WPH last season.

What has happened to Sheffield United? Haven't won an EPL game in their last 20 outings. Somehow they are $2.40 favourites v Newcastle this weekend?

Can PL players be seen as essential workers and get a COVID vaccine ASAP then the season ticket holders. Watching isn't quite the same without the crowd atmosphere. Think COVID will affect more games in January.

Players are behaving better with the VAR eg not protesting penalties after tripping an attacker in the box.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Mark Clattenberg ()
Date: January 05, 2021 12:16PM

In regards to Lampard and Chelsea...

My 2c
I have serious doubts about Chelsea's squad building in the summer and think Lampard's been handed a very tough job thanks to over-zealous recruitment of attacking players, but his tactics are also problematic.

Chelsea commit up to seven players to attacks and are easy pickings in transition. They leave Kante, Zouma and Silva back to deal with counters which is nowhere near enough. Playing as Chelsea do, anyone left back to defend has to be superhuman.

Since everyone goes forward, there's little depth to their attacks, too. The edge of the area becomes crowded and there's no option to go backwards and recycle possession. They have to brute force their attacks a lot of time, usually by throwing crosses into the box until one of them bounces in off Giroud or something. I don't see them rotating or trying to create overloads.

To me, Chelsea's best midfield trio is Kante, Jorginho and Kovavic, because of the balance they bring to the team with and without the ball. But to play those three means leaving out a superstar somewhere. It means leaving a Havertz, or Ziyech, or CHO, or Pulisic, on the bench, and that's not how Chelsea want to play after signing all those players.

It's also clear Lampard has no plan for Werner. Werner benefits from balls to run onto and struggles when given the ball to feet and asked to beat players. He's never going to thrive in a team who bunches all its players up and passes it around before resorting to a cross.

Expecting them to spend 50m to get Declan Rice this month.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: CW ()
Date: January 05, 2021 01:05PM

Jurgen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Liverpools next game is against Man U. If Man U
> win they will be 3 points clear in first place
> with a game in hand against Liverpool. Who would
> have predicted that.
>
> As soon as you think a team like Spurs or Chelsea
> or Man City are on a run they drop points two or
> three games in a row to the smaller clubs.
>
> Southampton have come back well from their 9-0
> loss last year just like Saints United did after
> there round 1 loss to WPH last season.
>
> What has happened to Sheffield United? Haven't won
> an EPL game in their last 20 outings. Somehow they
> are $2.40 favourites v Newcastle this weekend?
>
> Can PL players be seen as essential workers and
> get a COVID vaccine ASAP then the season ticket
> holders. Watching isn't quite the same without the
> crowd atmosphere. Think COVID will affect more
> games in January.
>
> Players are behaving better with the VAR eg not
> protesting penalties after tripping an attacker in
> the box.

The Sheffield question is intriguing.

Putting aside Wilder’s tactical mistakes this season, I’ve also been shocked at the lack of effort and fight shown by many of Sheffields players. The way they stroll around whilst facing yet another defeat is disgraceful. Sheffield were a team that was famous for it’s passion and intensity. Not anymore.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Agree but Disagree ()
Date: January 05, 2021 01:09PM

Mark Clattenberg Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In regards to Lampard and Chelsea...
>
> My 2c
> I have serious doubts about Chelsea's squad
> building in the summer and think Lampard's been
> handed a very tough job thanks to over-zealous
> recruitment of attacking players, but his tactics
> are also problematic.
>
> Chelsea commit up to seven players to attacks and
> are easy pickings in transition. They leave Kante,
> Zouma and Silva back to deal with counters which
> is nowhere near enough. Playing as Chelsea do,
> anyone left back to defend has to be superhuman.
>
> Since everyone goes forward, there's little depth
> to their attacks, too. The edge of the area
> becomes crowded and there's no option to go
> backwards and recycle possession. They have to
> brute force their attacks a lot of time, usually
> by throwing crosses into the box until one of them
> bounces in off Giroud or something. I don't see
> them rotating or trying to create overloads.
>
> To me, Chelsea's best midfield trio is Kante,
> Jorginho and Kovavic, because of the balance they
> bring to the team with and without the ball. But
> to play those three means leaving out a superstar
> somewhere. It means leaving a Havertz, or Ziyech,
> or CHO, or Pulisic, on the bench, and that's not
> how Chelsea want to play after signing all those
> players.
>
> It's also clear Lampard has no plan for Werner.
> Werner benefits from balls to run onto and
> struggles when given the ball to feet and asked to
> beat players. He's never going to thrive in a team
> who bunches all its players up and passes it
> around before resorting to a cross.
>
> Expecting them to spend 50m to get Declan Rice
> this month.

Palé, agree with majority of what you've said here except the midfield three. Mason Mount has to be in that midfield. He has been absolutely and surprisingly incredible in that midfield position. One of the few players that has real energy and majority of his work goes unnoticed.

Thoughts about him and where he stands within the team?

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Gaffer ()
Date: January 05, 2021 01:28PM

Sheffield are like majority of the GHFA promoted sides that come up to Premier League e.g. Saints.
They have a great first aeason and then slip up big time in the second season. That's Sheffield to a tee

Leeds United seem to be the neutral team that everyone enjoys watching. It's almost a guarantee that when you watch them that there will be a stack of goals.

Arsenal and Arteta are very interesting to follow. After winning the Community Shield and FA Cup they have gone backwards. They have now changed formation, tactics and personnel and have won 3 in a row. Anyone's guess where they will come.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: The Rise of Pep ()
Date: January 05, 2021 02:51PM

Great initiative for whoever created this.

As a Manchester City fan myself it's been frustrating watching Pep stagnate with this overloaded side

However he has now had 3 big wins in a row. I feel like he is finally adapting to his players as opposed to forcing them adapting to his style.

He has become more pragmatic and less of an idealist this season. The way he has eased the pressing and happy to sit back at times for portions of the game to avoid conceding cheap counter goals. It doesn't look anywhere as pretty as it did in 2017-18, but he has topped his CL group with full points and is potentially 1 point away from EPL top position.

Is he finally learning?

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Mark Clattenberg ()
Date: January 05, 2021 06:18PM

Agree but Disagree Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Mark Clattenberg Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > In regards to Lampard and Chelsea...
> >
> > My 2c
> > I have serious doubts about Chelsea's squad
> > building in the summer and think Lampard's been
> > handed a very tough job thanks to over-zealous
> > recruitment of attacking players, but his
> tactics
> > are also problematic.
> >
> > Chelsea commit up to seven players to attacks
> and
> > are easy pickings in transition. They leave
> Kante,
> > Zouma and Silva back to deal with counters
> which
> > is nowhere near enough. Playing as Chelsea do,
> > anyone left back to defend has to be
> superhuman.
> >
> > Since everyone goes forward, there's little
> depth
> > to their attacks, too. The edge of the area
> > becomes crowded and there's no option to go
> > backwards and recycle possession. They have to
> > brute force their attacks a lot of time,
> usually
> > by throwing crosses into the box until one of
> them
> > bounces in off Giroud or something. I don't see
> > them rotating or trying to create overloads.
> >
> > To me, Chelsea's best midfield trio is Kante,
> > Jorginho and Kovavic, because of the balance
> they
> > bring to the team with and without the ball.
> But
> > to play those three means leaving out a
> superstar
> > somewhere. It means leaving a Havertz, or
> Ziyech,
> > or CHO, or Pulisic, on the bench, and that's
> not
> > how Chelsea want to play after signing all
> those
> > players.
> >
> > It's also clear Lampard has no plan for Werner.
> > Werner benefits from balls to run onto and
> > struggles when given the ball to feet and asked
> to
> > beat players. He's never going to thrive in a
> team
> > who bunches all its players up and passes it
> > around before resorting to a cross.
> >
> > Expecting them to spend 50m to get Declan Rice
> > this month.
>
> Palé, agree with majority of what you've said
> here except the midfield three. Mason Mount has to
> be in that midfield. He has been absolutely and
> surprisingly incredible in that midfield position.
> One of the few players that has real energy and
> majority of his work goes unnoticed.
>
> Thoughts about him and where he stands within the
> team?

Look there have been games where that has been the case. He's had good consistent patches but I guess like everyone in the team recently, he's been below par. That's probably because he's looking tired and overworked (he's starting majority more games than anyone else in the team).

Saying that however many, including pundits and Frank speak like he will 100% be starting for Chelsea and England in the next decade.

But to be that he must improve massively in the final 3rd. After he scored 4 goals in his first 8 games for Chelsea I thought he was going to be easily 10-15 goals per season midfielder.

But in the 65 games for Chelsea he scored just 5. That is on average 1 goal per 13 games. And one is DDG howler and one is a free-kick. Also he is a great set piece taker; 6 of his 10 assists are corners and free-kicks. But from open play not so much.

So maybe thinking of him as an attacking midfielder was a mistake? This season if you take corners he would have 1 goal and 0 assists in the PL. This is Kova level numbers or Essien.

Comparison with Oscar in his first two years?

His numbers (same age as Mount when he started at Chelsea):

12/13 season: 12 goals, 12 assists
13/14 season: 11 goals 10 assists

Also Mount played 14 CL games: 0 goals 1 assists.
Oscar in his first 14 CL games for Chelsea had 6 goals and 6 assists

In his 2 seasons at Stanford Bridge, Oscar also delivered numbers against top teams like Juve, Spurs, Arsenal, Liverpool, United...

Can Mount deliver against top opponents? So far he played 19 games against top 6 teams and has 1 goal - DDG howler and 1 assist - Leno howler after FK

So Mount and Kova at the moment look better than Kai Havertz but Chelsea are never going to reach heights with them as number 8 duos because they do not produce enough.

I mentioned Oscar because we know how that ended.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: pretty much ()
Date: January 05, 2021 06:38PM

Gaffer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Leeds United seem to be the neutral team that
> everyone enjoys watching. It's almost a guarantee
> that when you watch them that there will be a
> stack of goals.


bielsa is one crazy coach that's for sure. surprised more teams haven't been able to exploit Leeds man-oriented marking and more as well as their counter when they obviously tire from all the physical output especially around the 60th minute mark.
the teams that Leeds have struggled the most have been against teams that have players that thrive in 1v1 situations i.e. salah, sterling, son, pulisic etc.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: The Peb ()
Date: January 08, 2021 11:24AM

Clats, you make a very good point in regards to Oscar and mount.

I think Oscar is more comparable to Plubisich though, offers more flare.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Toovey ()
Date: January 09, 2021 04:59AM

I think he out coached ole the other morning and his team gave United a schooling on defending,attacking and how to put the ball in the back of net.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: AFTV ()
Date: January 09, 2021 04:09PM

100% thought Arteta was getting the sack. How on earth you manage to get a team from FA Cup winners to 15th place is embarrassing.

He's turned it around though. Question is how long can it be maintained for before the paper under the cracks, crack open wide...

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Mark Clattenberg ()
Date: January 11, 2021 08:03AM

Two things happened to turn Arsenals form around based on the last 3 league matches. One was the change of formation, returning to the 4-2-3-1. The other was the introduction of Martinelli and Smith Rowe to the starting eleven.

The 3-4-3 Ar4enal were playing had no central options to progress possession. Teams could trap them against either touchline easily. The wide players were bizarrely instructed to hug the touchline while the wing-backs went inside so we had the likes of Cedric and Bellerin attacking the most dangerous spaces on the pitch instead of Pepe and Aubameyang. Made no sense.

The 4-2-3-1 has better coverage across the pitch, with a player naturally in the golden zone, but the personnel was still lacking. Willian playing like a zombie on the wing, Lacazette pretending to be a no. 10, Willock showing a lack of poise on the ball, Nketiah failing to hold up play, Pepe being misued as a winger, etc.

Then you had Tierney and Saka playing on the same flank, which again makes no sense. Both are capable of beating a man 1v1 and delivering consistently quality crosses and cut backs. They needed to be on opposite flanks. So, lo and behold, Saka is moved to the right hand side and has three man of the match displays in a row. Tierney is given the freedom of the left flank and bosses it. That's the width of the team sorted.

Now, the centre. Xhaka, Elneny, Ceballos, Partey, Bellerin, Cedric, Maitland-Niles - all what I call "balance" players (Nikolai and Leigh might disagree with me on this) whose skills suit collecting the ball off the defence and moving it forward into the attack, and then holding their positions to protect against counters and reset the play when needed. None of them are scorers/creators who can commit defenders with a dribble, play the killer ball, make runs in behind to get a chance on goal, etc. Hence, Arsenal cannot play a 4-3-3 shape that requires the two 8s to do that, nor can they can rely on the right full-back to provide consistent attacking threat like Tierney can.

4-2-3-1 makes the most sense. Two midfielders + the right back as balance players, and the left full-back + three AMs + one striker as the five attackers, giving us the 5-5 split that's so popular these days. Smith Rowe becomes important because of his lateral movement, something none of our other mids besides Ozil has. He drifts into half-spaces, supports either flanks to create overloads, looks to play one-twos in crowded areas and attacks the box. He's a very gifted player who is rightfully getting more minutes. Martinelli then fills in as the second player to attack the half-spaces from the left hand side. The attaching shape begins to look much much better:
Holding Gabriel
Bellerin Ceballos Partey
Saka Smith-Rowe Aubameyang Tierney
Lacazette

Nicely balanced, covering the wide, central and half spaces and having enough players back to deal with counters. Basically what Arteta started doing when he took over, until he decided it wasn't defensively stable enough to maintain.

Now it's a matter of acquiring better players. Smith Rowe is young and injury prone. His emergence changes nothing about needing another attacking midfielder. A right back who provides more consistent attacking threat would add another rotation to the team's attack. Holding is defending okay, but his distribution is wayward, so a second CB who can pass would be nice for Arsenal. Saka is remarkably consistent at his age, but I worry about the number of knocks he's getting per game. A second winger would be good (Nelson sadly seems out of favour and probably doesn't have a future at the club; Willian is a zombie as mentioned; Pepe cannot be a winger).

That's my take on things, anyway.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: YNWA ()
Date: January 11, 2021 08:23AM

Watched the FA Cup game the other day and watching us struggle against the lower league teams, it's quite obvious that Liverpool have been too pedestrian in midfield for a good while and often struggled away from home to break teams down. This season aside, how many times have we gone to Goodison and played a tepid 0-0 draw, or failed to break United down at Old Trafford? Those 0-0 draws took it out of our hands in 18/19. This isn't so much the issue this season, where it's hurt us this season is away at the more bog standard teams who we've been beating consistently for 2 or 3 years. We've become too predictable to even break the shit teams down.

Klopp identified this with Thiago his priority signing and knew we needed another forward (Werner the main target and then Jota). I think the double problem this season midfield wise is we've lost the solidity and balance that Fabinho provided in addition to not having Thiago as a play maker while he's been out. As a result the predictability has set in because the signings made to freshen things up have been injured. Early season Jota really did freshen up the attack. It'd be the equivalent of losing Mascherano and Alonso at the same time back in the day, with Alonso injured and Masch having to play at the back. You can see it's affected Henderson's form and you never know which Wijnaldum will turn up.

The thing with the sharp, incisive passing is it wears teams down, they won't defend it for 90 minutes. Like us at our best (and more consistently at Anfield), or City in their title seasons or Barca under Pep. Whereas the 'cross cross cross' or the long looped ball over the top is food and drink to alehouse teams when we haven't got a target man of our own. Okay we'll create a chance or two (Firmino nearly won the WBA and Newcastle games with late headers well saved) but we're not wearing teams down and that feeling of 'a goal is coming', we've become easy to defend against and relying on getting that one chance in more recent games.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Joke ()
Date: January 13, 2021 08:58AM

Anyone watch the United game today? Disgraceful refereeing.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: bloody Jose ()
Date: January 14, 2021 12:42PM

Jose is showing no respect to spurs fans or traditions. He know he can away with it as there no fans.. Some other points:
Expecting to score from every chance is impossible. Players as good as Son and Kane will miss their fair amount.
Those two had the fewest touches of any players other than the goalies. Disgrace.
All that attacking talent on the bench and wasted. Didn’t even use 3 subs surely dele or bale were worth a go.
What was the point of bringing on vinny there was no one to pass to him.
Kane end up playing in midfield once ndombele went off.
Subs too late and there seem to be no change in tactics in 2nd half when they were on top even before they scored. He never barks out instructions on the touch line in the 2nd half. Just sits there with a empty look like his empty tactics.
We can’t pass the ball for love or money.
Exactly what do they work on in training.
We must play the worst football in the PL.
Fulham looked more like a team, better coached and knew what they were doing. They could keep the ball and build up play deep into our half. We could string 5 passes together.
A more attacking manager in this season we could be right in the mix. Could go on but it’s late.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: bad decisions ()
Date: January 14, 2021 12:48PM

Joke Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Anyone watch the United game today? Disgraceful
> refereeing.

Interesting to hear Juice's opinion about this.

Thought that Shaw won the ball cleanly and his follow-through did not harm the player, therefore should have been waved play on. The Burnley defender then should have been given a red card for last man tackle and I don't understand how MacGuire's goal was disallowed. How many times do you see tall strikers outmuscle, out-leap their defenders and it gets waved play on? Not sure why that was disallowed. Ref made a hasty last minute decision there and it was wrong. He probs won't ref a game for a while. I've seen him make too many mistakes this year. Luckily it didnt cost Man U the game.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Ball Boy ()
Date: January 15, 2021 11:38AM

Even Gary Neville thought Luke Shaws tackle could have been a red card. Definitely careless, possibly reckless when you watch in slow motion. Looks like his foot changes direction post challenge to ensure his foot collects the attacker leg above the ankle at some speed.

Spurs obsession with not having the ball and trying to only score on the counter attack is killing me. Agree with bloody Jose Spurs are playing terribly and when they go 1-0 early in the game just want to defend, defend, defend. Zzzzzzz. Kane must be so frustrated and will want out.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Mark Clattenberg ()
Date: January 20, 2021 11:15AM

Watching that snooze fest of the Liverpool vs Man United game gave me a lot to ponder...

Liverpool have been playing overly cautious in the recent matches to protect their makeshift defence which is strange as when you play against teams such as Burnley, WBA, Newcastle, West Ham, Fulham, Sheffield etc. you will need more than 2-3 players in their defensive 3rd to outnumber the 7-8 in that defensive block.

The last couple of games haven't shown that most teams this season have been able to nullify the fullback threat of Pool, which was previously their most potent creative outlet. They need to start finding a way to break the lines more often. I can see glimpses of it when Thiago is on the ball, but either Pool's hold up play or the next decision once the ball is pinged into them seems to be off at the moment.

The role of Firmino is starting to become also quite predictable. He's basically in a role like Harry Kane to drag one of the centre backs out of position so that Mane and/or Salah can run through the gap that the CB leaves and score one on one with the GK.

Bruno Fernandes had probably his worst game of the season and probably the worst game since he's joined United. United were struggling for possession and he would try these ridiculous over the top lobbed through passes that didn't go anywhere. At times it was strange: Was Pogba and Fernandes passing too early because Rashford was making his runs too early or was Rashford running too early because balls were being played too early.

It's now the 4th big game against a Top 4 opposition that United have play ultra defensive. There's no courage to go out and win against these big teams and effectively if Fernandez gets injured, potentially Top 4 may come out of their grasp. If he's playing all season round, rested at proper times and continues performing at the levels he's been playing, United could challenge City all the way to the end of the season.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Grant Night ()
Date: January 21, 2021 07:30AM

what decision would the park football ref give?

[www.youtube.com]

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Lampard Sack-watch ()
Date: January 21, 2021 12:42PM

Mark if you think Liverpool and Yanited are in for some trouble then as a Chelsea supporter, I'm worried as with the way we're playing.

Leicester were playing pedestrian football in the second half yesterday even though we had to chase the game and Leicester could play pedestrian because as Lampard said in his press conference, we were walking most of the game. We hardly closed them down, didn't chase down balls, no closing space etc.

Its a real worrying display. How can a club spend so much in the transfer market and spend well and yet play so competent. We aren't even going to make to the Top 6 at this rate (Arsenal could overtake us and that's embarrassing given they were stuck in 15th place for 3 straight games in a row).

Lampard either needs to change the style of play, change the system of players he's starting on the pitch or leave the club and let someone else take over. Most likely, the latter will happen given our managerial sacking record.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: TG ()
Date: January 21, 2021 01:27PM

Hasn’t that always been the rule as soon as the defender makes contact with the ball then your on side.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: sick of it ()
Date: January 22, 2021 09:07AM

bloody Jose Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Jose is showing no respect to spurs fans or
> traditions. He know he can away with it as there
> no fans.. Some other points:
> Expecting to score from every chance is
> impossible. Players as good as Son and Kane will
> miss their fair amount.
> Those two had the fewest touches of any players
> other than the goalies. Disgrace.
> All that attacking talent on the bench and wasted.
> Didn’t even use 3 subs surely dele or bale were
> worth a go.
> What was the point of bringing on vinny there was
> no one to pass to him.
> Kane end up playing in midfield once ndombele went
> off.
> Subs too late and there seem to be no change in
> tactics in 2nd half when they were on top even
> before they scored. He never barks out
> instructions on the touch line in the 2nd half.
> Just sits there with a empty look like his empty
> tactics.
> We can’t pass the ball for love or money.
> Exactly what do they work on in training.
> We must play the worst football in the PL.
> Fulham looked more like a team, better coached and
> knew what they were doing. They could keep the
> ball and build up play deep into our half. We
> could string 5 passes together.
> A more attacking manager in this season we could
> be right in the mix. Could go on but it’s late.


i don't understand everyones obsession with 'keeping possession' and 'building up the attack slowly'
jose has won multiple champions leagues with his tactics
and Leicester won the pl playing on the counter attack

every coach in Australia is being taught this 4-3-3/4-5-1 pass back and keep possession style football and this is why aussie footballers don't know how to attack.

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Re: EPL Discussion Thread
Posted by: Grant Night ()
Date: January 22, 2021 08:51PM

TG Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hasn’t that always been the rule as soon as the
> defender makes contact with the ball then your on
> side.


nope - next phase of play,


I ll try this trick in season 2021. just make sure the defender touches the ball first.

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