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About WNDS

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  • Birthday 11/09/1990

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  1. The Conte Thread

    Pretty much agree with all of this (although I don't dislike Conte as a manager anywhere as much as you seem to ), but that last part in particular needs emphasising. My issue with Conte hasn't been that we've found ourselves unable to compete for the highest honours this season (an issue that's probably due to the board's huge cock-up regarding our non-Kante CM position), but rather that he's 'successfully' talked our squad down to the extent that (a few games aside) our players seem to have had the belief sucked out of them; as a result, we've basically failed to make top-four with a squad that is COMFORTABLY up to that standard (top-four/five/six in Europe is another matter entirely, of course). I feel that the same can be said of our manager: Conte himself is up to that standard; he's not exceptional, but he's very good. He's also very stubborn and absolutely convinced that his assessment of the relative merits of our current squad is correct, and this appears to have caused him to adopt inflexible ways of thinking as regards our team (e.g. an insistence on playing 3-at-the-back formations no matter what). He really should have accepted how things were once the summer transfer window closed (perhaps resolving to move elswhere this coming summer) and knuckled-down with the squad he actually has at his disposal, instead of spending far too much of his time moaning at all-and-sundry about how he wanted a different one. Or otherwise he should have left in protest. One or the other, because it's become increasingly evident as this season has progressed that Conte has taken his eye off the ball and wound-up in a no-man's-land, even if he hasn't realised it himself; the results are plain for all to see, however.
  2. This has been my problem with him all season; as I mentioned above, the board carries some of the blame as well, but complaining about the quality of his squad to the media at almost EVERY given opportunity was something he did in his final season at Juventus. Juventus. A club that CAN (it's true) be a little tight at times, but who generally have the knack of sniffing-out good-value deals that enhance the squad. Conte looked rather foolish when he left. Allegri came in, took the players Conte didn't want, added those new aquisitions he wasn't keen on either, and proptly made them a very competitive outfit who reached two CL finals.
  3. Just goes to show. IF we can get a mobile and dynamic partner for Kante, I honestly feel that we're right back to being a genuinely competitive side (even with our other flaws still being present). Well..... if our coach (Conte or whoever) doesn't decide to throw an almost season-long strop when he doesn't suddenly acquire an all-star 11 in the summer, and thereby erode player confidence-levels over the course of the season.
  4. Exactly. It's pure hype-fuelled BS when people claim that we 'need' the best-of-the-best to compete. Look at that Liverpool midfield; look at it! Chelsea fans would be having a real tantrum if we were putting that out against anyone better than Watford, and yet look at what they are capable of producing in the right set-up, with the proper coaching, and with the correct mentality. The board bear some of the blame for what has happened this season, sure, but Conte's endless 'need' to emphasise our squad's apparent inferiority at every opportunity appears to have been the key ingredient to our failure so far this season. Enough. We have Hazard, Kante, and Azpilicueta, all of whom can be supported quite ably by players like Morata, Giroud, Willian, Alonso, Christensen, and Rudiger. Our squad has some (serious) flaws in it, no question, but it is SO much better than Conte has made it seem to be for the majority of this season.
  5. 7. N'Golo Kante

    I can't pretend to know much about Paredes, but if he's a two-way player who combines good technical skill, steady possession-play, and effective dribbling, then I'm all for him. We don't necessarily need a world-beater next to Kante (although that would be ideal, of course), but simply a player who is mobile, fairly energetic, and capable of driving us up the pitch from deep (either with incisive passing or dribbling). Bakayoko was seemingly bought with the idea that he could be that player for us, but he has awful technical ability and is far too raw. Drinkwater is fine as depth, but is all about safety-first and lacks ambition in his play. And then there's Fabregas.
  6. 7. N'Golo Kante

    Yeah, I've heard those. By 'realistically obtainable', I was referring to his current club/situation; he's not going to stay where he is, and Shakhtar are willing to sell (probably to Man City, but who's he replacing? Fernandinho's getting on, but still performs). Obviously, I could have mentioned pairing Kante with Modric/Vidal/Verratti or whoever, but those players are well beyond our reach.
  7. 10. Eden Hazard

    Hazard DOES perform in the 'big' games when we play in domestic competitions; it's only really in Europe that he seems to struggle for us. He was our best player in the CL during the 2014/15 season (including against PSG), and he played very well against Atletico earlier this season as well. Other than that though, Willian has generally outperformed him in Europe (during our run to the semis in 2013/14 (including games against PSG and Atletico); over the entirety of the awful 2015/16 season (most notably in the crunch game against Dynamo Kiev and against PSG), and of course over the two legs against Barcelona this season)). If we could just work out a system that gets both players firing simultaneously more often than not, we'd have the potential (with one or two additional tweaks) to deploy one of the most devastating attacks in club football, but alas.....
  8. 7. N'Golo Kante

    Pair him up with someone like Fred (Shakhtar, realistically obtainable), and we'd possibly have one of the best midfields in club football (only just behind the usual suspects). Our inability to acquire a suitable partner for Kante has been our major downfall this season. Even with our current issues surrounding the striker position (and Conte's sometimes questionable attitude), I feel that we could have done something great this season if we just had this missing piece.
  9. 4. Cesc Fàbregas

    I think his time as an important player for us is coming to a close. The compromises that have to be made to accommodate him are simply no longer worth the hastle: if Kante isn't available, we find ourselves setting-up like we did against Man City, and even if Kante IS available, the team has to scrabble desperately to cover for him. If he was creating chance after chance for us, then things would be different, but its become this vicious circle in which Fabregas' opportunities to direct attacking play are limited due to the cautious set-ups that we tend to employ to compensate for his presence in the middle of the pitch, meaning that we effectively remove the reason for him to be included in the team..... all so that we can include him in the team; it makes no sense at this point. I'd be more than happy for him to remain here as a squad player, however (returning to a role similar to that which he occupied last season); I'm just not so sure that he'll be of the same mindset.
  10. Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea

    At least we actually had a proper time of it in Europe this season. We've played Atletico, Roma, and Barcelona, whilst also having Qarabag in there as a throwback to the days when European competition was a chance to venture into (and against) the unknown. Compare this run to the others we've had when we've exited at this stage in previous seasons.
  11. Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea

    Decent display over the two legs; we were better than the aggregate scoreline would suggest at any rate (and better than quite a few of the other teams that were knocked-out alongside us). But this Barcelona side are just so clinical. Given that both Real Madrid AND Juventus have gone to the Camp Nou this season and lost in similar fashion, I don't think that there's any shame in going out this way. It's pretty obvious that our problems lie primarily with Fabregas' complete lack of mobility (Bakayoko's sheer rawness compounds this issue in a big way), and the lack of a pacy, world-class wing-back. If we can sort these issues out, then I'll be pretty optimistic going into next season. It's also worth considering an upgrade at centre-forward if Morata doesn't start to show signs of becoming the player we thought we'd signed. As for Courtois....., I just don't know..... He's a better keeper than he's been showing himself to be at times this season, but I don't think that he wants to be here and I'm not sure he ever wanted to be.
  12. Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea

    Nah, this Barcelona team are very good, just different to what they were before. They are great at grinding out results, and have defeated both Madrid sides + Juventus (3-0 no less) this season.
  13. Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea

    Yeah, I'm not pleased to see Dembele in the Barca line-up; he's exactly the sort of player that tends to shred our defence (think Wilfried Zaha for instance). It's going to be really tough, and I'm not convinced that we can do this, but I want to see us give it the best we've got and avoid going out with a whimper (at the least).
  14. Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea

    I'd like to see us try to blitz Barca in the first 15-20 minutes (or otherwise until they score against us), before then playing more conservatively for the remainer of the first-half and using half-time to regroup and reassess. Why not? I doubt that they would be expecting such an approach from us, and we might just catch them cold; it's not even as if conceding one goal would necessarily be a knock-out blow for us. The priority should be to try to negate Barcelona's away-goal advantage as soon as possible, and then take things from there. If our attacking play is leaving us too exposed, simply shift approach and play more cautiously; it's much easier to make this switch than doing it the other way round.
  15. Chelsea 4-0 Hull

    Nah, I'm not letting this one go. Man Utd (Fa Cup), Tottenham (Fa Cup) and Man City (League) last season? PSG in both 2013/14 and 2015/16? Almost all the big teams we faced in the second half of Mourinho's first season back at the club, particularly Man City away (he was mostly average-to-poor against the smaller teams that season, though)? He's put in big/decisive displays for Brazil against some of the better South American NTs over the last few years as well.