The 2019-2020 Football Thread

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Westmere
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The Far Horizon
With the summer saturated with fake tournaments, it's hard to gin up any enthusiasm for the Community Shield. Liverpool's front line are short on rest, and while the squad is mostly intact it seems mad to throw them into a high-profile but competitively meaningless match right at the start of what will hopefully be a very competitive season. I've always found the Community Shield to be a fun "curtain-raiser" (to use a phrase Klopp recently encountered)...when my team isn't involved.

I know it sounds like getting the excuses in early, but I'd rather see Klopp rest players here. He'll get a ton of bad press for it, and Liverpool will likely lose (Man City will always have a deeper squad). But they'll likely lose anyway. On the other hand, if, say, Virgil or Firmino or Salah picked up a long-term injury in this match...I don't even want to think about it.

A lot of pundits are opining that Liverpool will not be able to push City as close in the league this time around. I think the odds are perhaps in favor of that outcome, though I am hopeful Klopp can helm another successful Champions League campaign and keep the club in the top two in the league. He's never had much interest in the cups, so I expect to get knocked out of those relatively early again...unless some of the young players / squad players like Brewster step up and make things happen.
Actually, I think Liverpool are the only team in the Premier League that is capable of challenging Manchester City this season, and, having won the Champion's League - the one trophy Pep would kill for - can only enhance their confidence.

However, I agree with you completely re the Community Shield (in my mind, I still think of it as the Charity Shield); it would be silly not to rest players - especially those who have had a long season, and perfectly ridiculous if one of those players picked up a serious injury in what is, after all, while a curtain raiser, still a meaningless match.
 

Lord Blackadder

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Actually, I think Liverpool are the only team in the Premier League that is capable of challenging Manchester City this season, and, having won the Champion's League - the one trophy Pep would kill for - can only enhance their confidence.
Liverpool are obviously City's most likely rival this season. With that being said, City have substantially more resources and are now used to winning the league. The absence of Kompany is intriguing, but given his injury history City are not as dependent on him as Liverpool are on van Dijk.

Liverpool should probably just forget about City and focus on being better than everyone else - Apart, of course, from the two league meetings between the clubs. Arsenal and Chelsea are both in rebuilding mode and operating with clear (if different) limitations. Spurs still have a very good squad but haven't made it any deeper and Poch is beginning to look restless. Man Utd are still in wheeler-dealer mode - Wan-Bissaka was a good signing in terms of the player but he cost an awful lot. Maguire cost a mountain of cash and Lukaku is possibly still going, though it sounds like if he does it will on a complicated swap deal that is likely to fall through. I think the jury is still very much out on OGS. And what of Pogba? Will we see another season of dross interspersed with flashes of brilliance?

Barring a major injury crisis, Klopp will feel confident that Liverpool can compete well with the 'top 6' - especially if teams like Wolves or Everton apply pressure from below as they did last season. [/QUOTE]
 
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Silencio

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Looks like Man Utd have finally landed their man in Maguire from Leicester.
Finally, jeez. It's either £80M to save face for United, or £85M to save face for Leicester. Either way, United's defense looks much, much stronger with a back four of Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Maguire, and Shaw.

Developments further upfield are also progressing. The Lukaku/Dybala swap is looking on as of right now. I like Lukaku, but he doesn't fit how Solskjaer wants to play. Dybala can play on the right or in behind the striker, which is more of what United needs right now. He won't work as hard as Lingard, but is far more talented. I'm hoping this doesn't become a Angel Di Maria 2.0, but Louis Van Gaal isn't the manager anymore.

And the Bruno Fernandes talk hasn't subsided, either. I'd prefer to see a DM that is a clear upgrade on Matic, but maybe McTominay is that guy, and Fernandes will provide more attacking versatility from the midfield.

David De Gea just has to put pen to paper on that new contract, and it's been a pretty good summer.
 
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Lord Blackadder

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Finally, jeez. It's either £80M to save face for United, or £85M to save face for Leicester. Either way, United's defense looks much, much stronger with a back four of Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Maguire, and Shaw.
sigh....and I wanted to like ol' Slabhead. ;)

I don't think there is any question that the squad is very strong, if not world-class. The big test is whether OGS - and the club suits who are supposed to be supporting him - provide the leadership necessary to compete. I think Man City, Liverpool and Spurs are a step above. Arsenal and Chelsea, on the other hand, could end up anywhere and going strictly by the roster are arguably less likely to finish in the top four than Man Utd.

Predictions at this time of the season are generally silly, so this one may be, but it seems that we may end up with a "Top 3," a "Next 3" fighting for that last CL spot, and then Everton.
 
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Apple fanboy

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sigh....and I wanted to like ol' Slabhead. ;)

I don't think there is any question that the squad is very strong, if not world-class. The big test is whether OGS - and the club suits who are supposed to be supporting him - provide the leadership necessary to compete. I think Man City, Liverpool and Spurs are a step above. Arsenal and Chelsea, on the other hand, could end up anywhere and going strictly by the roster are arguably less likely to finish in the top four than Man Utd.

Predictions at this time of the season are generally silly, so this one may be, but it seems that we may end up with a "Top 3," a "Next 3" fighting for that last CL spot, and then Everton.
Everton? I think they aren’t guaranteed 7th. Wolves
West Ham
Leicester
Will all be contesting that me thinks.
But yes pure speculation at this point.
 
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Lord Blackadder

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In MLS, a scheduled league match in Denver between the Colorado Rapids and Montreal Impact will go forward despite an outbreak of...the plague (among nearby prairie dog colonies). You can't make it up.

They are cancelling the planned fireworks display though. Whew.

Everton? I think they aren’t guaranteed 7th. Wolves
West Ham
Leicester
Will all be contesting that me thinks.
But yes pure speculation at this point.
I'm just going on historical performance. Wolves and Leicester were certainly pushing Everton last year.
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Westmere
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sigh....and I wanted to like ol' Slabhead. ;)

I don't think there is any question that the squad is very strong, if not world-class. The big test is whether OGS - and the club suits who are supposed to be supporting him - provide the leadership necessary to compete. I think Man City, Liverpool and Spurs are a step above. Arsenal and Chelsea, on the other hand, could end up anywhere and going strictly by the roster are arguably less likely to finish in the top four than Man Utd.

Predictions at this time of the season are generally silly, so this one may be, but it seems that we may end up with a "Top 3," a "Next 3" fighting for that last CL spot, and then Everton.
The thing with Manchester United is that while they have a talented squad, and some very gifted players, they are still not a cohesive team, and haven't developed the sort of collective identity as a team that you find with teams such as City, Liverpool, but also Leicester and Wolves.
 
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throwthedice

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I wonder what the thought process of the powers that be at Manchester United is - this is the same player Mourinho wanted last season and they did not get his wishes and ended up paying more for the player this year.
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Westmere
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I wonder what the thought process of the powers that be at Manchester United is - this is the same player Mourinho wanted last season and they did not get his wishes and ended up paying more for the player this year.
The "thought processes" of the "powers that be" - that is, owners rather than managerial staff - at Manchester United think in terms of short term, immediate gains and gratification (and profit).

Until the "thought processes" of "the powers that be" at Manchester United start to think in terms of crafting a team, a team that is prepared to play as a collective, to develop a team spirit, and together to want to be, and to be more than the sum of their (very considerable) parts, targeting, and throwing money at the purchase (and the wages) of gifted players is going to continue to miss the point.

However, I am not so sure that the current owners are all that interested in taking the time and making available the resources to craft the sort of team that would be capable of making a play for a top four slot.
 
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Lord Blackadder

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It's always frustrating to lose a match, even a meaningless one. Man City have the deepest, most talented squad on the planet. Liverpool are almost as good. Man City will win the league, Liverpool will probably be second.

Liverpool worked their way into the match, and outplayed Man City for long stretches. That was encouraging. Salah had about four chances the settle the affair and couldn't. Man City were saved by the post twice and needed a world-class clearance off the line to survive. Terrible penalty from Wijnaldum. Sigh. City are the better team but I feel robbed in this match.
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Westmere
Jul 29, 2008
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I still cannot believe we signed Pepe for GBP72m...
That doesn't bother me as much as:

1: There appear to have been no purchases - or attempts at purchases - to plug gaps, or deal with shortcomings, or somehow attempt to acknowledge - and begin to address - the issues posed by that embarrassing, porous, erratic and extraordinarily brittle and inadequate defence, and

and,

2: Some of the players who draw very large salaries - but who are a lot less than consistent and motivated on the pitch - need to be sold, off-loaded, or otherwise dispensed with or disposed of.
 
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Lord Blackadder

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That doesn't bother me as much as:

1: There appear to have been no purchases - or attempts at purchases - to plug gaps, or deal with shortcomings, or somehow attempt to acknowledge - and begin to address - the issues posed by that embarrassing, porous, erratic and extraordinarily brittle and inadequate defence, and

and,

2: Some of the players who draw very large salaries - but who less than consistent and motivated on the pitch - need to be sold, off-loaded, or otherwise dispensed with.
The defense needs strengthening, without doubt. There is a Champions League place up for grabs, but Arsenal will almost certainly need to outperform Man Utd to get it. At the moment, Man Utd look (on paper) better sorted in their defense than Arsenal.
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Westmere
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The defense needs strengthening, without doubt. There is a Champions League place up for grabs, but Arsenal will almost certainly need to outperform Man Utd to get it. At the moment, Man Utd look (on paper) better sorted in their defense than Arsenal.
They are better sorted (on paper), agreed, but they have still to craft a team and a collective identity form a group of gifted individuals.

Candidly, I don't see Manchester United claiming a position in the top four this coming season - and they were well off the pace this past season whereas Arsenal (who had qualification to play for and in their own hands) blew it over a disastrous sequence of three excruciating self-imploding matches.

Candidly, however, I am disappointed to see no serious attempt to address defensive deficiencies. I know that it is very much a "work in progress", and Emery needs at least another year, but I would have liked to have seen some of the more glaring defensive deficiencies acknowledged and some attempt made to begin to address them.
 

ivanwi11iams

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Currently, the whole World knows we have a defence issue. However, if Arsenal themselves are simply not doing anything about it, behind the scenes, well, we simply have no hope.

With the efforts from Mustafi over the last season, I feel he needs to move on. Alas, if no new personnel comes in, we might be stuck with him for 2019/2020.

In other news, we are currently leading Barcelona...
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Westmere
Jul 29, 2008
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The Far Horizon
Currently, the whole World knows we have a defence issue. However, if Arsenal themselves are simply not doing anything about it, behind the scenes, well, we simply have no hope.

With the efforts from Mustafi over the last season, I feel he needs to move on. Alas, if no new personnel comes in, we might be stuck with him for 2019/2020.

In other news, we are currently leading Barcelona...
The "whole world" may know that we do indeed have a defence issue, - and have had, since the late Wenger years - but, if the club is not prepared to acknowledge this, and take steps to begin to address it, then, we run the risk of imploding defensively (yet again) as the season draws to a close - a matter even more excruciating, given that (last season) qualification was in our hands, and well within our means.
 

Lord Blackadder

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Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea...each have obvious unknowns or limitations to deal with this season, it's hard to predict which of the three are most likely to grab a Champions League spot. Of the three, Arsenal have the most experienced manager, Man Utd the most expensive squad, and Chelsea seem the least effected by turmoil.
 

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macrumors Westmere
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Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea...each have obvious unknowns or limitations to deal with this season, it's hard to predict which of the three are most likely to grab a Champions League spot. Of the three, Arsenal have the most experienced manager, Man Utd the most expensive squad, and Chelsea seem the least effected by turmoil.
Chelsea - notoriously - have long remained unaffected by turmoil, and their sangfroid in the face of such turmoil, along with the drama of constantly changing managers, and an absent owner, is both commendable and legendary.

However, this season, they will lack the talents of Eden Hazard, their one world class player, and the transfer ban may also have an effect on their ability to strengthen their squad.
 

Apple fanboy

macrumors Nehalem
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I can’t make up my mind about Chelsea this year. Losing Hazard and not being able to replace him is not going to be good.
But if Frank can fire up talented youth who haven’t been getting a chance, who knows?
Of course for the other top teams, there is still business to be done between now and Thursday. Hard to know who’ll have whom on their books at this stage.

Messi to West Ham maybe? :p
 

ivanwi11iams

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This seems like a done deal, starting in January 2020.
Then again, he has to start somewhere - LOL

Wayne Rooney to Derby county as player manager? That’s tonight’s rumour.
[doublepost=1565090430][/doublepost]Well, we're about to lose our Captain, Laurent Koscielny. I am not happy about the way this all happened.
However, if things were promised to him, and now Arsenal are going back on their word, I get Koscielny's revolt. To me, it does seem like we often have weird things happen with our Captains. From drinking, to playing the best football of your life, to then move to Manu

Now, the question becomes who's to lead us on the pitch? Please do not say Xhaka. I have serious reservations about that...
 
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cambookpro

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WEDNESDAY WIN!!
What are your thoughts on Lucas Joao now we've just signed him? Looked a handful on Saturday and scored a pretty decent goal, Reading have needed a decent physical forward ever since Kermorgant retired.

I'm slightly concerned with our transfer business considering we were under a soft embargo in August due to being near FFP limits, yet now are splashing a reported £5m on Joao, and possibly €10m on Puscas from Inter Milan. I hope it's not to the long-term detriment of the club.

The money flying around the Championship is truly mind-boggling. I can't believe Bristol City sold Webster for £20m+ and Brentford got the same for Maupay.
 
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