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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. 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. 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. Tiemoue Bakayoko

    Eh, he's too raw and naive to be a starter, I feel. Lots of physicality, seems to have potential, but not currently good enough. Hopefully he improves.
  11. Nemanja Matic

    Not sure how I feel about this. I could see Matic fitting-in quite well alongside Herrera and Pogba, as the two of them offset his weaknesses very nicely. That being said, Fabinho looks to be the superior, more dynamic and more versatile player, so if they get Matic instead of him we may actually benefit (both from the money we receive, and due to Man Utd's midfield being weaker than it has the potential to be). It's a shame that it's come to this, though, as Matic looked truly world-class in his first year at Chelsea. Whilst he's contributed well at times since then (particularly in the first-half of our most recent season), I can only agree with all those who claim that his overall standard of play has fallen quite considerably: he's now a solid 7/10 player rather than the 9/10 player he was threatining to be. Maybe he can improve his level in the near future (here, or at Man Utd?). I suppose we'll see fairly soon.
  12. Victor Moses

    Complacency appears to have been his biggest issue over the last few months. When he first came into the starting 11 at RWB and was fighting to retain his place, he was so direct and menacing when attacking; now he's often very languid. I don't know if he needs replacing outright when it comes to our starting line-up, but we certainly need to find someone who is able to provide him with some serious competition. At the moment he risks heading the way Ivanovic eventually did under Mourinho once he realised that he was undroppable.
  13. Diego Costa

    Costa must be REALLY (REALLY) popular and influential in the dressing-room, because I really can't see any other reason for why he hasn't been dropped at this point. I mean, I could understand Conte's handling of this issue if Costa had shown him loyalty and an exemplary overall attitude during their time together, but he hasn't; all indications are that he DID actually make some sort of a push for a move in January, and that this came after he had ALREADY done something similar in the summer. They guy clearly isn't committed to this club, and he's an absolutely awful (close to genuinely useless) player when off-form, so drop him and sell him. Play a front 3 of Hazard-Pedro-Willian for the remainder of the season to try to get us over the line, and then get a long-term replacement at CF. If it's possible (and it may well not be), I'd get Alexis Sanchez, and have us roll with a front 3 of Hazard-Sanchez-Pedro/Willian next season. It's really saddening that it's come (back) to this, as I had (like just about everyone) been very impressed with him over the first half of the season. I had hoped that he might finally have settled into life at Chelsea, but it seems not.
  14. Eden Hazard

    That's more than fair fair enough, and it makes perfect sense to me. If we're in the CL next season and are making a serious effort to be genuinely competitive, certain improvements will probably have to be made to the starting 11; Matic, Cahill, and possibly one of either Moses or Alonso are the players who appear most vulnerable at the moment. That being said, we can only reach a certain level of overall squad depth and quality before we risk harming squad unity. I think that Willian, Cahill, and Moses/Alonso would all be fine with 'expanded squad roles' next season (the season after that, I'm not so sure), but Fabregas and Matic are the two that I can see leaving under these circumstances. Pedro could also be a worry if we strengthen the forward line, as he didn't leave the club he loves (Barcelona) to find himself with the same squad role that he already had (despite the form he's been in this season, he's almost certain to be the man to lose-out if someone new and 'shiny' arrives and Hazard+Costa are retained).
  15. Eden Hazard

    You said that you'd 'rip into' Matic and Willian for what they fail to bring to the team, and implied that their lack of quality was such that they are not worthy of sharing a team with Hazard. At least that's how your post reads to me. Even after re-reading it. If you meant differently, then fair enough. But using terms like 'rip into' when describing your own criticism of some of our players seems over the top to me given what they have contributed so far this season. Too many people give the impression that players who play for the team they support MUST be starting 11 quality outright or they can gtfo. I'm tired of encountering this attitude seemingly everywhere nowadays, and so maybe I'm too quick to confront people who are raising more valid points that I have misinterpreted.