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About Vesper

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  • Favourite Chelsea Player Mateo Kovačić
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  1. The English Football Thread

    arrf, thought it started at at 8 15 Pm let me get the streams
  2. Declan Rice

    Fuck I am at wit's end.
  3. Declan Rice

    fuck it
  4. 3. Marcos Alonso

    disgusting we have not closed out one of the rotters
  5. 3. Marcos Alonso

    Alonso will be Serie A bound I am fairly sure Kepa can go play in the J-League for Sanfrecce Hiroshima サンフレッチェ広島 as his career has blown apart like a nuke bomb
  6. 3. Marcos Alonso

    if we do not use a Sarr loan as bait for my Thomas and Felipe for Kante swap gambit then yes keep Sarr for LB backup and CB rotation and sell BOTH the dregs Alonso and Emerson neither should be near the first team
  7. Declan Rice

    buy him we need a proper DMF and if we want him ultimately at CB then buy Zakaria next summer and slide Rice to CB on a staggered glidepath as Zakaria is integrated then buy a double pivot roamer partner for Zakaria to take Kante's slot, if Kante still has not went back to form the other way to do it is to grab Partey now (Zakaria is too hard a pull atm, but rumours and rumblings say Gladbach will allow him to leave for a fair price next summer) wait till next season for Rice, who at that point, would be 75% a CB buy, although Thomas and Declan could easily play a double pivot as well whether we do buy Partey or not (and for me it is this summer or I start to hesitate, as Partey is 28 at the end of this coming spring, so only 3 or maybe 4 prime years left if we buy him in summer 2021) we still need to buy a roamer type too, to pair with Rice or Zakaria or Partey that list is simple Camavinga, or if he is impossible, then Boubacar Kamara or Bruno Guimarães or Ismaël Bennacer or finally the last of these 5 for me in terms of my preference, Boubakary Soumaré
  8. Declan Rice

    Rice is so not dependent on Lampard to be a great player this is not some Sarri/Jorginho situ
  9. Declan Rice

    Declan Rice: West Ham's heartbeat https://www.canningtownlen.com/post/the-woffenden-report Declan Rice has enjoyed another outstanding campaign in claret & blue. An ever-present and a consistent performer, this article analyses his impressive campaign and why West Ham must do everything they can to keep him away from Chelsea. Declan Rice knows a thing or two about hype. After all, it has surrounded him at such an early age on his journey to becoming an established Premier League midfielder. He was snapped up by Chelsea at the age of seven years old, such was the level of his talent even then. Fast-forward eight years later and Rice was released by Chelsea, before having trials with Fulham & West Ham. After mulling it over, Rice was the next high-profile youngster to join the ranks at 'the academy of football'. Despite the long list of West Ham academy graduates: Mark Noble, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick & Frank Lampard to name a few, Rice kept his head down. It's as if that day set the standard for the rest of his career, such has been his desire to stand out from others. You know how it goes from there. Rice excelled and eventually made his Hammers debut against Burnley in the last day of the 2016-17 season. Since then, he's never looked back. Hammer of the Year runner-up to Marko Arnautovic and the first teenager to reach 50 appearances for the club since Michael Carrick - it was fair to say Rice was quickly becoming a firm fans favourite. Second time lucky and Rice was deservedly merited the Hammer of the Year accolade for the 2019/20 season. This season was a disastrous and passive write-off, to say the least, but the continual progression of Declan Rice as a West Ham player raises the spirits that little bit more. So, let's take a look at his 2019/20 season by numbers: West Ham ranked: 88 tackles won [1st] 234 successful pressures [1st] 378 defensive third pressures [1st] 377 midfield third pressures [1st] 76 interceptions [1st] 2010 touches [1st] 1316 ball carries [1st] Analysis: Many harboured reservations, but Rice's performances this season quickly won them over. This analysis will highlight the defensive midfielder's importance to West Ham and highlight why many clubs are jostling for his signature this summer: Rice's 2019/20 season heat-map highlights his willingness to get forward and join the attack. Despite being a centre-back by trade, Rice's transition to defensive midfield has been a smooth one. Per statistics, Rice has made 47 progressive runs this season compared to 30 in the 2018/19 season. Not only that, but his ability to cover ground and add stability in front of Ogbonna & Diop was vital. It just goes to say: where would West Ham be without Declan Rice? Rice's 2019/20 heat-map The January addition of Tomáš Souček undoubtedly firmed up West Ham's defensive ineptitude. It goes without saying that we've lacked a physically imposing holding midfielder since Kouyaté left. This allows Rice to venture forward and express his capabilities going forward. Moyes has his new archetypal Fellaini and Rice doesn't have to shoulder all the defensive work, everyone's a winner. Without deviating any longer, let's breakdown Rice's strengths: Passing Before Rice's rise, West Ham subsequently lacked a consistent ball-playing midfielder. Slaven Bilic identified this a priority by targeting Leander Dendoncker and William Carvalho. Rice's directness and decision making on the ball have improved drastically this season. His composure to receive the ball and attempt a long ball or pass in-between the defensive and midfield lines highlight his confidence and ability to create goalscoring opportunities. A passing accuracy of 89.6% shows his quality on the ball As you can see in this sequence: Rice switches the ball to Yarmolenko. Rice switches play to Anderson, who goes on to score. As you can see from the last image, Rice has unlocked passing ability. His variations allow him to get the best out of luxury players like Anderson - who can use his pace here to get in-behind Simon Francis. Off the ball movement Rice has undeniable ability to release players like Antonio and create chances out of nothing. Many players in his position would attempt to pass sideways and opt for the simple option. Declan doesn't seem primed for that though, he likes to retrieve the ball and provide some attacking impetus. This is intertwined with his off the ball movements, a component that gets him into these advanced positions where he can provide an end product. Per statistics, Rice has attempted 620 forward passes this season - 59 more than in his previous campaign. As shown for his goal against Watford: Rice drops in between the midfield and defensive line. Rice takes advantage of two Watford players pressing Noble & drops back into the space before scoring. Composure The 21-year-old stepped up to the mark this season and took responsibility in difficult games. His composure on the ball is arguably his best attribute, something he showcased immediately on his first-team debut. The encouraging takeaway from this is that he will only get better. A few examples of his composure come to mind, but Rice's ability to pick the ball up and drive the team forward is often overlooked. Despite pressure from Kane, Rice feints before dragging the ball back and losing his man Probably the best example from this season was his marauding run against Sheffield United. West Ham lacked creativity and a spark throughout against a resilient Chris Wilder side. Up steps Rice, who uses his directness and ball-carrying ability to drive forward and set-up Snodgrass. Let's not talk about VAR though. Rice wins his attacking duel, but appears to be boxed off by four Sheffield United players. Rice shifts the ball onto his right before finding the run of Snodgrass. Tackling Above all else, Rice's tackling makes him one of the most productive defensive midfielders in the Premier League. The game-reading ability he possesses is arguably the best I've seen in a West Ham shirt. Similarly to Michael Carrick, breaking up the play and doing the unnoticed work that is so underappreciated. Rice has also won the most tackles in the Premier League this season (89) and ranks fourth for tackles attempted (116). Rice covers Zabaleta and tackles Zaha, with the latter known for his supreme dribbling ability. Rice stops the direct threat of Pulisic. Rice has excelled in another breakout year for the 21-year-old. His game intelligence, maturity and developments have been there to see. The difference-maker, the heartbeat of West Ham, the star - Rice has it all. Without a doubt, Rice is already capable of swimming with the big fish. The club are determined to keep hold of their most valuable player and rightly so. The fact that he wasn't even considered in the shortlist for young Premier League player of the Year has left Hammers fans perplexed - a consistent performer who always gives you a 7/10 every week and was one of seven players to play every minute of the season? What more does he need to do? The club's biggest signing this summer would be to keep hold of Dec. If Moyes wants to replicate the RB Leipzig model and structure his team around young players - Rice should be at the focal point. Give him the captain's armband next season and other assurances. It's clear to see that he loves everything about West Ham, but none of us would blame him if he moved onto newer and more successful pastures. At the end of the day, it's inevitable, but if Harry Maguire is worth £80 million great British pounds - this boy is worth double. Rice, Rice, baby.
  10. Super Frank Thread

    perfect summary from that Thiago article Lampard has every reason to be confident that he can trust Silva going forward, but the broader hellscape of Chelsea’s defending under his management cannot be explained as a series of perfect storms: that’s now one clean sheet in 21 Premier League away matches (December’s 2-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur) since he took charge, and six goals conceded in the first three league matches of this season to follow the startling tally of 54 given up in 2019-20. On top of it all, his latest change of marking system doesn’t seem to have improved the team’s ability to survive opposition corners.
  11. Super Frank Thread

    Terry seems to be having a real impact on Villas defence, they are much tighter lately and JT always did have a pair on him lolol zero chance he would accept some of this assclownish defending
  12. La Liga Thread

    No hiding or sulking from Messi – but Fati is starting to steal spotlight https://theathletic.com/2090501/2020/09/28/lionel-messi-barcelona-villarreal-4-0/ All eyes were on Lionel Messi for his first game for Barcelona after trying and failing to force his way out of the Nou Camp this summer, but although the Argentinian scored one and made another he was relegated to a supporting role as teenager Ansu Fati was the decisive figure in Sunday evening’s 4-0 La Liga stroll past a really poor Villarreal team. Messi had scored the first competitive goal in the reigns of the three previous Barcelona coaches — Luis Enrique, Ernesto Valverde and Quique Setien. Here, it was 17-year-old Fati who continued his rapid emergence as the team’s next superstar in Ronald Koeman’s official debut as boss. The 33-year-old was in the vicinity but not involved as Fati opened the scoring on 15 minutes with a clinically beautiful strike, then totally out of the picture as the kid finished off a lightning counter to make it 2-0, by which stage the stuffing was completely knocked out of Unai Emery’s strangely passive visitors. Messi, who remains club captain, lined up in a roving false nine role, with Fati, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann swapping positions in the line of three behind him. He was still feeling his way into the game — completing just three passes in the first 22 minutes — when Fati made the decisive contribution. There was a sign of their respective sharpness in the first goal (maybe to be expected, given Messi removed himself from the first few weeks of pre-season training, although Fati also had his preparation curtailed by a niggling injury issue). Jordi Alba’s pull-back in the 15th minute might well have been directed towards Messi, as so many of the left-back’s crosses have been over the past decade. But Fati flashed forward to get to the ball first, and his perfectly clean first-time strike wrongfooted everyone, including Sergio Asenjo in the Villarreal goal. Messi was in the picture, giving a little jump himself as the ball hit the net — either from frustration at the pass not coming to him, or celebration of the goal, or maybe a mixture of both. For the second goal, Messi was again not involved at all, having run into space down the right wing as all four Barcelona attackers countered together. Coutinho, however, brought the play to the other side, a correct decision, and played in Fati. Maybe previously the ball would have been drawn towards Messi, almost by magnetism, as his colleagues looked to him to guide all the team’s attacks. It could even have been deliberately drawing defenders away, but Messi staying wide removed himself completely from the danger area, so he was nowhere near the penalty box as the ball hit the net. It was quite strange as we are all so used to Messi being central to everything Barcelona do, more and more each season. Even as his total goals tally has dipped slightly in recent years, his number of assists rose to a career-high 26 in all competitions in 2019-20 — when he was also often involved deep in midfield play, setting up moves in the style of former team-mates Xavi or Andres Iniesta. Koeman has clearly handed playmaking reins to fellow Dutchman Frenkie de Jong, leaving Messi, in theory, with much less importance in the team’s build-up play. The one counter-attack he was involved in when the game was still in the balance he slowed down completely, before being easily dispossessed by ex-Valencia midfielder Dani Parejo. At 2-0 up, there were even more spaces for Barcelona. Messi was now dropping a lot deeper and was involved in starting the move which led to the third goal. Fati again sprinted past right-back Mario Gaspar, who could not help tripping the youngster. Messi looked very serious as he stepped up and his penalty was not brilliantly struck — Asenjo got a hand to the ball but could not keep it out. There was a smile as he punched the air in celebration, and a hug from old mate Sergio Busquets. Koeman also clenched fists in his celebration on the sideline. Even at 3-0 up, Messi was working harder off the ball, and even got back to stop a dangerous-looking Villarreal break with a tackle in his own half. The pace of the game was not high — and just before half-time there was zero pressure on the Argentine as he had all the time in the world to measure a cross towards Busquets, only for Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres to divert the cross into his own net for number four. By half-time Messi’s touches were almost as many as Coutinho and Fati, while it was Griezmann who had drifted completely to the periphery of the game. The Frenchman still appears uncertain in the six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s presence, but there were clear signs Fati is on the same wavelength and they can link together intuitively. The second half began with the pair exchanging passes around the edge of the box, although Messi’s shot was straight at Asenjo. There was more frustration as he tried to take on Gaspar — who Fati had tormented at will — but his touch was not great and the ball ricocheted out for a goal kick. As the game rambled to a conclusion, Messi kept getting chances but could not take them — including one badly-directed header when Alba’s cross picked him out unmarked with the goal gaping. He kept getting on the ball in dangerous areas — taking on opponents and looking to get his shots off. By full-time, the number of his shots had risen to seven, with four on target, but the only one to count was the penalty Fati’s direct running had made. There was no sign of any hiding or sulking, however. He might still be super-angry with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, and may not yet be sure what he thinks of his new coach, but the first game of the season showed his competitive instinct remains. The social media posts about his friend Luis Suarez’s exit were a distraction during the build-up to the game, but during the 90 minutes he looked fully focused on the job at hand. Koeman made the wise political move to leave him on for the full game, even as all his other attackers got a rest with presumably stiffer tests to come at Celta Vigo on Thursday and at home to Sevilla next Sunday. That there were no fans at the Nou Camp for the first official game of the season was definitely a bonus for Bartomeu, as it meant no “white hankie” protest from the substantial number of the club’s members who want him to resign. It also denied the chance for a popular referendum on Messi’s behaviour this summer, when the hurt caused by the 8-2 humiliation against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals was then worsened for many when their hero tried to force his way to join another exiled club legend Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Emery’s Villarreal did not provide a proper test at all for Koeman’s new Barcelona side, and Fati’s decisive intervention during the first quarter of the match ended any drama the night might have held. The symbolism of La Masia’s latest sensation stealing the spotlight on the disgruntled veteran’s return to action was lost on nobody either at the stadium or watching from home. In many ways, it might also suit Messi for the team to be less dependent on him to be central to everything they do. How he deals with that new reality — and the continuing development of a new superstar sidekick in Fati — will be fascinating to watch over the coming weeks and months. Barcelona vs Villarreal – Highlights https://yfl.viditnow.com/player/html/TiaFwiFmaGH4B?popup=yes&autoplay=1
  13. The English Football Thread

    When will Manchester City learn? https://theathletic.com/2096934/2020/09/28/when-will-manchester-city-learn/ The worst thing about Manchester City’s collapse is that they have done all this before. When they were knocked out of the Champions League by Lyon not that long ago, Kevin De Bruyne declared it “different year, same stuff”, and it looks like not much has changed since then. That was a pained yet succinct analysis from De Bruyne, the man who was at his most shouty and perturbed as things fell apart once again on Sunday, but perhaps another famous summary gets to the nub of this City performance better than any other. The disdain and disappointment were evident in Barry Davies’ voice when he announced Italy’s exit from the 2002 World Cup with the immortal line, “And the Italians are out because they will. Not. Learn.” When will City, as a team and club, learn? This was the first time a Pep Guardiola team has conceded five goals, but the second time Jamie Vardy has scored a hat-trick against the Catalan’s City. The first was in the opening months of the Pep era, on one of those nights when it was clear that the squad wasn’t anywhere near ready to do what he asked of them. Because this is the latest in a long line of similar defeats in the past year, it is tempting to suggest they don’t look much better equipped now. They are, of course, which only adds to the exasperation. We can look at the quality in the squad and on the touchline and wonder how City are still getting into these scrapes since they put together two of the finest seasons ever seen in English football, and we can look at the club, with its money and its admirable footballing structure, and wonder how they are still a few players short — not just despite the players they have already brought to the club, but despite knowing exactly which positions they wanted to strengthen going into the summer. So, the team. Brendan Rodgers spelt out the blueprint that City’s opponents have been trying for the past four seasons, but one that is becoming increasingly more successful. Rodgers, lest we forget, is very much wedded to proactive, attacking football. “They’re such a great team that they want to go into the pockets between your lines,” the Leicester manager said. “And obviously the higher you press against them… they have an incredible technical ability, sometimes you cannot pressure players like that. The ball is gone and they go and exploit the space that you’ve left. “People will not have seen too many of my teams play like that, but I felt for this game, it was important from a tactical perspective to just take the keeper out of it. Ederson could play at centre-half for some Premier League teams, he’s that good with the ball, so we just decided to get into a three-quarter to half-pitch shape (to sit deep), just deny the space and then when the counter-press comes, do we have then the quality to pass out of that and be away on the break? And thankfully we were able to do that with real quality this afternoon.” Indeed, they did it time and time again. Rodgers probably enjoyed spelling that out in fine detail, and perhaps it is something he could go back to if he were to get a call from City’s decision-makers later this season. But, in short, they sat off City, used their own quality players to work around the pressure and voila: they were in on the defence, as so many others have been before. How many times have City struggled to break a team down and then compound it by losing the ball high up the pitch, let the opposition run right through the middle of them and then have the defenders crumple? That was the recipe for disaster last season, when Norwich City, Liverpool, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Lyon all benefited. In fairness to City, their pressing looked more energetic and targeted on Sunday than many times last season but Leicester, as Rodgers said, played out of it very well. And once they did, the game was up. City knew Rodri would need time to learn to cope with men running at him but they never expected so many men to be running at him so often. The forwards and midfielders need to pull their weight, as they did in the good times, and the blame cannot belong solely to the defence. But that defence. There is not a catch-all answer to the question “how did it get to this?” It hasn’t worked out for John Stones; Benjamin Mendy’s injuries were unfortunate and have robbed him of his best abilities; Oleksandr Zinchenko’s rise to first-teamer was, in hindsight, effectively a bonus and he could yet leave this summer; you can see what they saw in Nicolas Otamendi five years ago (good on the ball, strong, tough) but he has had only one good full season and is now leaving; the jury is still out on Joao Cancelo but he was signed because Danilo, the guy they signed after Dani Alves’ U-turn in 2017, wanted out; Angelino was always a cheap stop-gap but they’ve sent him on loan again before actually filling that gap. It’s dizzying. They’ve done very well with Kyle Walker and Aymeric Laporte, and it’s a good job the Frenchman has been so good because the decision (and it was a decision) not to pay what Southampton wanted for Virgil van Dijk has helped transform Liverpool into what they are today. What are City today? They are a very good side, but the “but” is in danger of becoming too large to ignore. It would be unfair to gloss over the fact that City have started this season with seven or eight injuries to key players, including their two strikers, and that they have not had any kind of pre-season friendlies. They beat Wolves well on Monday night but that doesn’t lessen those factors (and Wolves’ 4-0 defeat on Sunday may provide a bit more context). Yet at the same time, these are recurring issues, and the club knew things needed to improve this season because they went into the summer wanting two new centre-backs, a winger, a striker and a left-back (or Lionel Messi). It is so telling that Eric Garcia, a 19-year-old who wants to leave the club, had to start. They can only blame injuries for that one to a certain point. Laporte was not fit enough after returning from COVID-19 isolation, fair enough, but Stones’ muscle problem should not have affected them because they didn’t plan to have him in the squad this season anyway. Maybe the inability to move him on has helped to explain why they wouldn’t pay Napoli’s asking price for Kalidou Koulibaly, and why Otamendi has had to be included in any deal for an alternative. Had Sevilla wanted Otamendi, then City would’ve signed Jules Kounde, but they didn’t, so the Argentinian is going to the more obliging Benfica, whose financial woes meant they couldn’t say no to a deal for Ruben Dias, a player City have looked at extensively in the past 18 months but was not near the top of their list this summer. Fans should be heartened to know that they are still looking for a left-back, but that does not mean they will necessarily get one, as it is linked to Zinchenko’s future. The Ukrainian has several clubs on his trail and if one of them can agree a fee with City, Guardiola may be able to strengthen an area of the squad that has troubled the club ever since Alves’ late snub, which meant they couldn’t sign a second left-back. That particular butterfly flapped its wings three summers ago and, on Sunday, three different City defenders gave away penalties. All after the midfield were bypassed too easily, City players flailing after surging runners, usually Harvey Barnes. Walker, the least of City’s defensive worries on the day, gave away the first. Garcia, good in the first half, bad in the second and over-relied upon throughout, got caught out for the second. Mendy somehow got the wrong side of James Maddison for Leicester’s third penalty to make it 5-2. But the thing is, even at 3-1 with 30 minutes to go, there was never a sense the home side would turn the game around. City had only just pulled a goal back to make it 4-2 when Mendy gifted Leicester another. This was the first time anybody has put five past them but there have certainly been games like this before, when the whole thing implodes. When Leicester didn’t rely on penalties, they scored a cheeky backheel and a screamer, while City didn’t have much beyond Riyad Mahrez’s early thunderbolt. For all the defence’s issues, they barely created anything up front. It was the kind of night when the cameras zoom in on Guardiola’s furrowed brow, and it might never have been more furrowed. Somehow, he was happier in his post-match press conference than he has been in any other media appearance this season, even after the two wins. But he must be wondering what on earth is going on, and he’ll be the one charged with coming up with the answers to why this most talented group of players can look so ragged so regularly. One of the more interesting elements of the game is that Guardiola made a very un-Guardiola-like substitution. So often reluctant to change the flow of a game, even with his side losing, and so reluctant to throw a youngster into the fray with the game even remotely in the balance, he brought off Fernandinho, the man who was splitting his time between shielding the defence and forming part of it, and throwing on 17-year-old striker Liam Delap. It’s the kind of change most fans would have called out for, certainly in previous games, and City definitely needed a presence in the area given they like to put in so many crosses, so there is an element of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”, but it’s fair to say the substitution backfired horribly. The score was still 1-1 when Delap was introduced in the 51st minute. That can happen to any coach, and this may be heavy defeat talking, but the substitution doesn’t bode well, given Guardiola is the one who has to come up with the answers to all these questions. He could well do that. He’s turned it around once, and with lesser resources. City have enough quality players (including those currently injured) to make us all forget that they could do with a few more signings, but even if not, City have enough money and contacts to do that business in the coming week. It could easily come together very quickly. But as De Bruyne — not entirely blameless himself — spent the second half on Sunday shouting at half his team (Phil Foden about where to position himself in midfield, Rodri about where to stand in the wall and Garcia for his role in Vardy’s impudent second) it really did feel like different year, same stuff. And they will not learn.
  14. The English Football Thread

    I shake my head every time they get promoted they start every EPL season after promotion as a turd already sliding down the bowl, waiting the flush
  15. Super Frank Thread

    Exclusive: Lampard fury as Alonso tries to watch second half on bus, not with team https://theathletic.com/2099233/2020/09/28/alonso-marcos-lampard-bus/ Chelsea coach Frank Lampard handed Marcos Alonso a furious dressing down in front of his team-mates after the left-back tried to watch the second half of their game at West Brom on the team coach rather than with the rest of the substitutes. Multiple sources have told The Athletic that Lampard confronted Alonso following the 3-3 draw on Saturday evening having discovered he went to the bus on his own without permission after being taken off at half-time. Alonso was one of two players changed at the interval. Mateo Kovacic also paid the price for a disastrous 45 minutes from the visitors, who trailed Slaven Bilic’s side 3-0. But while the Croatia midfielder took his place in the stands with the rest of Chelsea’s contingent to watch proceedings in the second half as normal, it is understood Alonso went to the team coach after taking a shower. Observers at the game did spot the 29-year-old within 10-15 minutes of the restart back inside the confines of the ground, but were surprised to see him in a different area to where the away group are expected to be, especially with strict COVID-19 protocols in place. Insiders have described Lampard as being “the angriest they’ve ever seen him” as he lambasted Alonso for his actions in front of stunned team-mates. It is believed the Chelsea boss made a point of saying how while the side had shown great togetherness, determination and character to fight back from three goals down to earn a point, the Spain international had shown he wasn’t bothered about the team and that he made the situation all about him. One source explains: “The players were saying they have never seen the manager like this. It kicked off after the game and he was going mad at Alonso. Some were talking about how they’d be surprised if he plays for Chelsea ever again.” It was no surprise Lampard chose to replace Alonso with Cesar Azpilicueta at the break after he was guilty of errors for two of West Brom’s goals. His tame header straight to Matheus Pereira led to Callum Robinson being set up for the opening strike in the fourth minute. He also left Kyle Bartley unmarked following a flick on at a corner and the West Brom defender found the net with ease at the back post to make it 3-0 to the home side. Thiago Silva slipped up for the second goal to allow Robinson through, but Lampard did seem to single out Alonso for criticism during an interview with Sky Sports after the final whistle. Asked if they were the kind of goals he’s trying to eradicate at the moment, he replied: “Yes. They were clear mistakes. The first one Marcos heads it into the middle of the pitch for them for a transition. Thiago’s one is a mistake. He’s been around long enough to know that and we will certainly give him that one in his first game. And then Marcos loses his man for the third goal from the corner, a clear mistake. You can do as many meetings as you want, if you are going to make those mistakes you give yourself a mountain to climb.” Pressed on why he made those two substitutions in particular, with Callum Hudson-Odoi coming on for Kovacic, he added: “To give a bit of urgency to the team, a speed of pass, to move it. Azpi brings personality straight into the team, even at left-back.” Alonso’s role as first choice left-back under Lampard was already over after Chelsea signed Ben Chilwell from Leicester City for £50 million last month. The England international has yet to play a Premier League game for his new club because he has been working his way back to match fitness after a heel injury. That has allowed Alonso to start the first three Premier League games with Italy left-back Emerson Palmieri named in the first XI for the Carabao Cup game against Barnsley last week. However, Chilwell came on for the last 24 minutes of that match, setting up an assist for Olivier Giroud near the end of the club’s 6-0 victory. He has been named in the squad to face Tottenham on Tuesday night in the fourth round and will be expected to be in the team on a regular basis from now on, injury permitting. Alonso will have two years left on his contract at the end of this season, but his actions have put his future at Stamford Bridge in serious doubt. Inter Milan and Juventus have been linked with him in recent months, while Emerson has attracted interest from both Serie A clubs too, plus London rivals West Ham. Lampard is keen to reduce the size of the squad before the window shuts having spent over £200 million on Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Edouard Mendy and Chilwell, plus Silva and Malang Sarr as free agents. Chelsea signed Alonso from Fiorentina for around £23 million in 2016 and has won the Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League since then. Should he depart before the window shuts on October 5, the most likely option will be on an initial season-long loan.