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Jason

Super Frank Thread

Started by Jason,

4,630 posts in this topic
4 minutes ago, Magic Lamps said:

The only one will be to sign defenders that are smart enough to figure our defence on their own. JT/Carvalho/Cole etc managed to do that a lto under defensively clueless coaches like Grant and Scolari so I dont think it is unheard of. Quite a few great coaches have gotten away with knowing fuck all about defending by just being given the right personnel. Lets hope Lampard gets this chance too to give him timo to improve there.

If the manager is crap at organizing a defence, then is it too much to ask him to get a coach who can do that? Grant, for example, had Steve Clarke to help with that. Scolari had his people too. 

Problem with Lampard and even the coaching staff right now is they are all still inexperienced at the highest level. So it can become a problem if they don't know how to fix an issue or have no experience to fall back on - which is somewhat ironic given Lampard played under some of the managers in history. Plenty, if not all our previous managers have an experienced backroom staff at the very least. 

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If the manager is crap at organizing a defence, then is it too much to ask him to get a coach who can do that? Grant, for example, had Steve Clarke to help with that. Scolari had his people too. 
Problem with Lampard and even the coaching staff right now is they are all still inexperienced at the highest level. So it can become a problem if they don't know how to fix an issue or have no experience to fall back on - which is somewhat ironic given Lampard played under some of the managers in history. Plenty, if not all our previous managers have an experienced backroom staff at the very least. 
Do you have someone in mind that Lampard could get?

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21 minutes ago, killer1257 said:

Do you have someone in mind that Lampard could get?

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Apart from the obvious ones who have become managers, no.

But one would at least expect Lampard to know people within the football coaching network. Plus, he could always check with uncle Harry for names. 

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You see Ole G Solskjaers success is secretly down to the fella who was Alex Ferguson's number 2. That man is a G. When he goes, watch Solskjaers managing career be exposed. He also has a ridiculous squad in comparison to ours, wether they like to admit it or not. Pogba and Fernandes on paper are better than any offensive midfielders we have. That's including Kova. Maguire for all the stick he gets is a decent defender, not World Class but better than the dross we have. Then you look at their 'youth'.... I'm starting to think ours has been massively overrated by the media. For me Odoi if fully fit and functional could still go on to become World Class but Rashford and Greenwood are miles ahead of anyone else... yes Greenwood too. That young lad is making Bambi look soo bad. Frank needs reinforcements yes but he also needs to tweak his backroom staff as some have mentioned. I would love to see Terry come in and work on our defence. I'm not saying he is a miracle worker and would fix it over night, if at all because it isn't just bad players, it's the system and how we transition... we definitely need to buy but surely his experience could help. It would be harsh to compare Frank with OGS at this stage and if you look back at OGS time at United, he has had some bad spells when they looked shocking... a few signings later they look a real solid side now. Hopefully Ziyech, Werner and whoever else comes in will do the same for Frank. All in all, Frank has done a decent job... he has made rookie decisions but he is intelligent enough to learn from these mistakes and grow as a manager. At least we have shown signs of what we can do on form and those signs were very good indeed. It's easy to forget thr good stuff that Frank has done when we play soo badly like today but hopefully we get big signings in defence and GK and see what Frank can do next season. 

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Analysing Chelsea’s centre-back pairings (and a potential move for Declan Rice)

https://theathletic.com/1916817/2020/07/11/upson-tomori-rudiger-zouma-christensen-chelsea-rice-lampard/?source=weeklyemail

upson-tomori-rudiger-zouma-christensen-chelsea-rice-lampard.jpg

Matthew Upson has seen enough of Chelsea’s centre-backs to determine what their chances of winning the Premier League would be should the same quartet be used again next season.

He tells The Athletic: “If they want to compete for the title, it is an area they have to get sorted out.

“There is a lot of talk about who they will sign next. They seem to be heavily weighted in terms of attacking players, but centre-back should be the next port of call for them. I feel strengthening that area of the pitch is going to put Chelsea in the best position to compete with Manchester City and Liverpool next season. That would have the biggest impact on their team getting better.”

You may be questioning the worth of Upson’s opinion. He has no connection to the club, so why read any further? But you would be wrong to dismiss his input so quickly.

This is a man who started 16 games at the back during Arsenal’s Premier League and FA Cup double triumph in 2001-02 and won 21 England caps, two of which were as a starter at the 2010 World Cup finals and another a goal-scoring 90 minutes in an away win over Germany in 2008. Subsequent moves to Birmingham City, West Ham United, Stoke City and Leicester City meant he played the majority of his career — 290 of 377 league appearances — in the Premier League.

Perhaps more significantly from a Chelsea fans’ point of view, his tenure for club and country meant he got to line up both alongside and against the club’s greatest ever defender, John Terry. In other words, he knows what it takes to play the role. He is also a very intelligent analyst of the game, one of the best out there.

Terry left Stamford Bridge when his contract ran out in summer 2017 and it is no coincidence that they haven’t challenged for, let alone won, the Premier League since.

“It is stating the obvious, but Chelsea haven’t replaced John,” Upson says. “It is not an easy thing to do. He had a sixth sense as a centre-back. He could smell the danger and positioned himself in areas he needed to be. His anticipation was first class. He had the bravery and the physicality to attack the ball. That’s what made him a formidable player. Chelsea don’t have a player like that now. Is it easy to find someone similar? No. Players as good as him are not on a conveyor belt. It’s a challenge.”

Ask the Chelsea fanbase who their favourite centre-back is out of Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori, and you will hear many different answers. Even more so when it comes to opinions on which two make the best pairing.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has tried all the options during the campaign, which is a sign he doesn’t know the answer himself. Just when a chosen duo seems to be doing well, a bad performance comes along and someone else is plugged in and gets a turn.

We have had a good example of that since the season resumed against Aston Villa three weeks ago.

That day and for the next two league fixtures, including the notable 2-1 victory over Manchester City, Rudiger was selected next to Christensen. But following a terrible display in the surprise 3-2 loss at West Ham, Zouma replaced Rudiger. Zouma now appears to be back in favour, having been in the first XI for two straight matches having previously started only one league game since New Year’s Day.

The Athletic has covered Chelsea’s defensive woes in great detail. Just recently, we explained how Lampard’s side have the second-worst record among the top five leagues in Europe at conceding goals from corners.

Chelsea are still waiting to keep consecutive clean sheets in the top division this season and their goals conceded (46) is the joint-worst among the top-nine sides.

Upson has seen the quartet in action in his role as a pundit for radio and television. He has noticed deficiencies with each one and has great sympathy with the predicament former England team-mate Lampard finds himself in.

“Lampard doesn’t look particularly happy with any of the partnerships,” he says. “Rudiger has experience. Out of all of them, he has played at the top level the longest. He has played in huge games more frequently. He has good physicality and you would regard him as the most dominant member of the back four. But he sometimes goes into areas where he can’t recover. Rudiger is good at going tight, like Terry, but he is not great at running back the other way.

“Christensen and Zouma have been in this phase of trying to break into the team for about five seasons now, but haven’t established themselves. There is just a question mark whether they will fulfil that potential or just end up being a squad player. Can they grab the shirt and be on the team sheet every week?

“I’ve noticed with Christensen that he has very indifferent performances. His consistency is a problem. I’ve seen him have really strong games where he doesn’t put a foot wrong and then I see him look on edge, make a mistake and get dominated. The problem is you don’t know which one you’re going to get. I wouldn’t say he looks particularly vulnerable physically, but it’s a mentality thing. I don’t know what game you’re going to get from him and that would make it hard for his partner. It makes it hard for Lampard too, to keep picking him.

“I’m not sure what’s happened to Tomori in 2020. He has barely played (starting just once in the league this calendar year, and not played at all since February). But it’s probably not been an easy back four for a young player to integrate into. That hasn’t gone in his favour. It hasn’t been established.

“As a young player, especially at centre-back, it helps to come into a team that is well established and balanced. And you kind of filter in. At Chelsea, with the goalkeeper issues as well, it has all been a little uncertain, unknown. That makes it tougher.”

So, what does make a good centre-back partnership? During his time at Arsenal, Upson benefitted from having the towering presence of fellow England international Sol Campbell next to him. At West Ham, there was an effective understanding with Anton Ferdinand, brother of Manchester United star Rio.

Yet the 41-year-old believes it is not as simple as that. “All four of the current options have the qualities to make a centre-back,” he continues. “Every defender has a weakness, it’s about pairing off with players who hide that weakness the best, or cope with it the best.

“The trouble is, when you have a back four that isn’t functioning well, you can pick apart every position. Some of the best centre-backs reacted off each other’s games. It is very much an area that works as a unit. I know it sounds like a cliche, but it’s true. Every player has their inadequacies and their vulnerabilities. But good teams set themselves up to be able to counteract that, or have players around to compensate for the others.

“Terry wasn’t the quickest but he had Ricardo Carvalho next to him, who was the best coverer you’ve ever seen. It allowed Terry to be his dominant self, to be physical, to go tight, to step in front to win the ball. He knew if he was beaten, Carvalho was there behind, sweeping up. It’s those type of partnerships and understandings that strengthen everyone’s game individually, and (gives you) the belief to go and do what your best at.

“You can also look at the other factors — like Chelsea’s current keeper and the left-back situation. At left-back, you have Marcos Alonso, who is a remarkable player at times; the amount of important goals he’s scored is remarkable. But defensively, he is not the answer. As a centre-back, I think he would be difficult to play with. He tends to be very high up the pitch and isn’t blessed with the pace you need to get back.

“(Goalkeeper) Kepa Arrizabalaga is not particularly dominant in the area. Look at his stature and the way he is. He is very agile and athletic and has made some good saves. He is still a young keeper, but in terms of patrolling the area, that is something he can improve on. Everyone is looking at him. The fee paid (£71.6 million, a world record at the position) was astronomical, and he isn’t the finished article by any means.”

As far as who Chelsea are targeting to improve themselves at centre-back, The Athletic has gone into detail about their desire to buy Declan Rice from West Ham.

The notion has caused quite a stir among many Chelsea fans. They are bemused why they’d want Rice for such a key role when he has been mostly employed as a defensive midfielder by West Ham and for England, and is only 6ft 1in tall.

Upson, who is not suggesting his former club should cash in by any means, can see Rice thriving if he moved to Chelsea. He was invited by then-West Ham academy manager Terry Westley to act as a mentor to Rice during the 2016-17 season.

Sources have explained to The Athletic how Rice is viewed as a similar character to Terry, who played midfield in West Ham’s youth set-up before he joined Chelsea at the age of 14 and was then converted into a defender.

Upson understands Chelsea’s thinking process. He says: “I know Declan very well, it is why he has done so well and established himself at West Ham so quickly. He has that personality you need. The characteristics we talk about regarding John Terry — his instincts, communication, leadership — that is Declan Rice. He ticks the boxes.

“I worked a lot with Declan when I was with West Ham Under-23s. He is a fantastic communicator, he is very mature for his age, has leadership mentality and personality.

“The issue is: he hasn’t played a lot at centre-back in the Premier League. He has shown how good a defensive midfielder he is, he is one of the best around at the moment and potentially will be the best.

“But I worked with him when he was playing as a centre-back. He is capable of playing in that position. It is difficult to know what impact he’d make at Chelsea because it depends on so many things — who does he play with? Would the team be strong enough when he first goes back to playing at centre-half as a young player still? He is just 21. But he is an absolutely brilliant lad.”

Even if Chelsea succeed in landing Rice — and it won’t be easy to convince West Ham to sell — he obviously won’t be able to help them until next season gets underway.

Before then, there is an awful lot at stake.

News of Manchester City’s appeal against their Champions League ban is expected next week, which will determine whether fifth or fourth place will be enough to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition. As it stands, a top-four finish would be a race to the finish for two out of Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester. Aside from Champions League qualification, United, who have beaten them in all three meetings so far this season, are their opponents in an FA Cup semi-final a week on Sunday.

Of the current quartet, who would Upson pick to start in the middle of Chelsea’s defence? “If everyone is fit and up to speed, I would go with Rudiger and Tomori,” he says. “They can match up quite well. If Rudiger goes in tight, Tomori has the speed to cover.

“The one thing I’d say Tomori has over all the others is mobility and pace. That is always a strong asset to have as a centre-back, and certainly good for players such as Rudiger, who wants to get close to people. To have someone close next to you, reading your game and covering those runs in behind, it’s like a safety net. It’s great knowing if you get done or mistime the challenge or whatever, that Tomori is there. Just like Carvalho was with Terry. That is a great likeness.

“But if Chelsea get their defence straightened out with a signing, it puts them in the mix at the top of the table again. The rest of their team can be that good.”

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10 hours ago, DDA said:

You see Ole G Solskjaers success is secretly down to the fella who was Alex Ferguson's number 2. That man is a G. When he goes, watch Solskjaers managing career be exposed. He also has a ridiculous squad in comparison to ours, wether they like to admit it or not. Pogba and Fernandes on paper are better than any offensive midfielders we have. That's including Kova. Maguire for all the stick he gets is a decent defender, not World Class but better than the dross we have. Then you look at their 'youth'.... I'm starting to think ours has been massively overrated by the media. For me Odoi if fully fit and functional could still go on to become World Class but Rashford and Greenwood are miles ahead of anyone else... yes Greenwood too. That young lad is making Bambi look soo bad. Frank needs reinforcements yes but he also needs to tweak his backroom staff as some have mentioned. I would love to see Terry come in and work on our defence. I'm not saying he is a miracle worker and would fix it over night, if at all because it isn't just bad players, it's the system and how we transition... we definitely need to buy but surely his experience could help. It would be harsh to compare Frank with OGS at this stage and if you look back at OGS time at United, he has had some bad spells when they looked shocking... a few signings later they look a real solid side now. Hopefully Ziyech, Werner and whoever else comes in will do the same for Frank. All in all, Frank has done a decent job... he has made rookie decisions but he is intelligent enough to learn from these mistakes and grow as a manager. At least we have shown signs of what we can do on form and those signs were very good indeed. It's easy to forget thr good stuff that Frank has done when we play soo badly like today but hopefully we get big signings in defence and GK and see what Frank can do next season. 

United had the opposite problem to us earlier in the season in that they looked toothless in attack and were struggling to break teams down. They've gone and addressed that by buying a £60-70m attacking midfielder, whilst also getting Pogba fit. That's over £150m of elite attacking talent they've added to that team that was struggling. Solskjaer had a good chunk of last season to assess the squad and this season has spent over £200m on the squad.

I think we need to see how Chelsea and Lampard are going to address this over the summer. We've looked rubbish defensively since moving to a back 4 last season under Sarri and just look at the personnel. Rudiger, Alonso and Emerson were all signed under Conte for a back 3 system. Christensen had his maiden breakthrough season in the team in a back 3 that I think masked his weaknesses, and Azpilicueta has had a major positional change. That leaves 2 academy players and Zouma who has been out on loan the last couple of seasons (i.e. not deemed good enough). Last season we looked so open then, and those defeats to the likes of Spurs and City highlighted that because you could see it from a mile off. Sarri was able to play in a safer, more defensive manner later in the season and grind out wins in a much duller way because we had an elite talent like Hazard to carry the attacking burden and Loftus Cheek either come into his own or hit a purple patch of goalscoring form. Without those two players to rely on this season I think Lampard has had to open us up to be able to attack and create more and I think that has been justified by how poor we are at expected goals and conversion rates and how many chances and shots we need to score. 

I cannot believe that Lampard will be prepared to go into next season without significant changes to our defence and potentially keeper. We haven't been linked much to players in this area of the pitch (except Chilwell) but I don't mind that. In recent times deals have only been leaked when they are pretty much being finalised (Pulisic, Werner, Ziyech) so the lack of rumours I think ironically may bode well.

On the subject of youth, Greenwood I think will be a superb player in the future. He just seems to have 'it'. However he is no doubt in a great run of form but will almost certainly have stages in his early career where he'll struggle and then question marks will be asked of him like our own yoth have experienced this season. Also if United buy a new right winger (Sancho?) then Greenwood is back to being a sub for the time being which could stunt development.

Rashford has been playing now for over 4 years in the United first team and there have been a number of goal droughts and poor form that he has suffered in this time. In my opinion he is only now in the last 6 months starting to add a consistency to his game that will take him up a level. That is where some patience I think needs to be afforded to some of the academy players for us. It's a massive learning curve in the Premier League and even more so in a side which should be up there challenging for the top 4 and beyond. I've seen enough from them all that they can be good, solid squad players here for years to come and definitely in Mount, James and Tomori I feel they all have a lot of potential to reach much higher levels than they are currently at. It's hard to remain patient during a testing time when there is a lot at stake this late in the season but I do believe the club as a whole will be better served next season for this experience.

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Makes me miss Sarri's post match pressers when he threw those twats under the bus and rightfully so. 

A period of consistency is apparently too much to ask for our players. 

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1 hour ago, Tomo said:

Terry is currently overseeing the worst defense in the league.

Funny you mention Rashford because he required years of patience to get to this point.

Tbf I think Rashford showed plenty under van Gaal and even Mourinho playing from a wider position that our guys haven’t in terms of affecting games. In the same way Sterling did for Liverpool. Okay his final ball is maybe more consistent/better and his finishing is better now but hes more experienced. In my eyes, his general play was always good at United and he wasn't exactly inconsistent bar his finishing and final pass but with young attacking players those things are to be expected regardless of their talent. The other aspects of his game were always there and clear to see, his pace, his willingness to take players on, to always be positive, they were there when he started playing and are still there now. Now he has obviously been shifted back into a more central position where he was originally started under Van Gaal to greater effect. 

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Personally, I just think they aren't good enough. 
Cautious possession protected them last season. 
Plus the midfield of Kante and kovacic either side of jorginho protected the cbs when we didn't have possession

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That being said, we need to continue with the same back line until the rest of the season. Maybe rest Dave for Alonso against Norwich.

Play a back 5 against Wolves 

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Now you lot are ofc turning on Lamps again. He made mistakes but he doesn‘t strike me as someone being stubborn or toxic when we lose. Arteta, Mourinho, Solskjaer haven‘t really Hit the ground running either. Give him a chance - Frank has a concept and has made very promising signings so far. Klopp wouldn‘t have fixed the defence without VVD either.

To the haters: Who do you want to bring in for him? Conte as an experienced manager who is toxic af and chased away our best striker since Drogba? F**k off! Or another decoraed youngster like AVB? Destroying our current concept? 

Get a grip ffs.

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3 minutes ago, ZaynChelsea said:

Now you lot are ofc turning on Lamps again. He made mistakes but he doesn‘t strike me as someone being stubborn or toxic when we lose. Arteta, Mourinho, Solskjaer haven‘t really Hit the ground running either. Give him a chance - Frank has a concept and has made very promising signings so far. Klopp wouldn‘t have fixed the defence without VVD either.

To the haters: Who do you want to bring in for him? Conte as an experienced manager who is toxic af and chased away our best striker since Drogba? F**k off! Or another decoraed youngster like AVB? Destroying our current concept? 

Get a grip ffs.

I agree. We have to allow Lamps some leeway here. He lost our by far best player. Our best players like Azpi, Willian (yes sadly) are all a year older or often coming from a bad injury like Rüdiger, RLC. still he managed to integrate a couple of (more or less talented) youngsters, had a fucking transfer ban, got extensions of CHO, Tomori, Mount, pitched Werner and Ziyech to come here and on top of that managed to get us almost as many points as we had last season. He has his mistakes which are particularly annoying but I think he has at least fulfilled expectations (mine was 6th place) given his mammoth task. Nothing but respect for how he handled it characterwise with serenity and professionalism. He is not the finished article as a manager and neither we are as team.

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3 hours ago, Jason said:

 

Azpi Zouma Rudiger Alonso played just two games? 

Liverpool and Everton back to back wins before the break. And two clean sheets.

Wonder why Lampard did not continue with them...

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53 minutes ago, NikkiCFC said:

Azpi Zouma Rudiger Alonso played just two games? 

Liverpool and Everton back to back wins before the break. And two clean sheets.

Wonder why Lampard did not continue with them...

He seems to have an instinctive thing for changing the team. Particularly to get Reece in at RB and moving Azpi over, which has happened a lot. Or changing the MF to get Kante in. 

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