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*Official* English Football Season 2013-14

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Can't really criticise Arsenal for any of that. Remarkably similar game to last night.

More or less the same result but it was a big improvement on last year. Really impressive to see them start playing at an insane pace. It was something Liverpool in particular did really well in Europe back in the day, European teams really struggle with it, as we saw in the home game with Napoli. It kind of makes Citeh's performance last night look less impressive because Barca were more vulnerable but Citeh didn't manage to make it into an English-style game early on.
 

Marcuss

Hall of Fame Member
Can't really criticise Arsenal for any of that. Remarkably similar game to last night.

More or less the same result but it was a big improvement on last year. Really impressive to see them start playing at an insane pace. It was something Liverpool in particular did really well in Europe back in the day, European teams really struggle with it, as we saw in the home game with Napoli. It kind of makes Citeh's performance last night look less impressive because Barca were more vulnerable but Citeh didn't manage to make it into an English-style game early on.
Not a criticism per se but City started with two left backs whereas I think Arsene actually surprised with his selection this evening - opting for AOC ahead of Rosicky
 

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Not a criticism per se but City started with two left backs whereas I think Arsene actually surprised with his selection this evening - opting for AOC ahead of Rosicky
Jesus Navas is a similar enough player to AOC, though. Picking Cazorla is probably the equivalent, because Pellegrini could have gone for Nasri out there. Maybe he didn't trust Nasri to track back but I think he fancied Kolarov's crossing too.

Cazorla definitely left too much space for Lahm/Robben early in the first half but it was probably worth it. Arsenal really should have scored at least once in the first fifteen minutes and that would have opened up so many more options.
 

Marcuss

Hall of Fame Member
Well yeah but for Arsenal the conservative option is on the right seeing as Cazorla starts regardless and Sagna loves to get forward, unless you think he'd have contemplated starting Gibbs and Monreal, lols. My point was just that City took the (hugely) conservative option and we didn't. Barcelona basically play with wingers at full backs, Navas pinned Alba back until he came off and iirc, literally the next attack was a ball over the top to him, with Alves they basically conceded. Kolarov isn't awful attacking but it was a negative choice.
 

dontcloseyoureyes

BARNES OUT
Kolarov is a better winger than left back. In fact, he's so bad at defending that I'd probably consider him a winger before a defender. Clichy starts ahead of him ffs.
 

roseboy64

Cricket Web Content Updater
So do several other sides, who Thaigo would also have improved.
Was only between United, Barca and Bayern for him though from memory. Had a chance but we didn't go after him aggressively enough. Was noted that Ferguson wanted him and with his contract situation at the end of the season it'd have been said to Moyes and Woodward. Once Pep was in for him though all that went out the window.

Not sure why it was only United and Bayern in the race for him mind.
 

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It's normally his job to position himself to set up a counter, so in 95% of situations you'd rather he wasn't doing defensive work.

That's the thing with Ozil though, same as with Kagawa. He doesn't score many goals, doesn't do any defensive work, and needs fast, direct players around him to be especially creative. You can build an absolutely brutal counter-attacking team around him- Germany 2010, Madrid 2013- but he is quite limited. The backlash against him isn't entirely fair but I do think his reputation beforehand didn't quite reflect his limitations.
 

Furball

Evil Scotsman
It irritates me when people lambast Özil for doing nothing in games. So often he'll pop up in a really good position with plenty of space, but no passing options bar a simple, safe square ball because absolutely nothing is happening in front of him. Get Ramsay and Walcott back in the side and he'd be a POTY candidate because everything good would be going through him.

I'm not writing him off. Some of Wenger's best imports have been notoriously slow starters at Arsenal (Pires was absolute crap in his first season before strolling to POTY in 2001/02), keeping key players fit (Ramsay, Walcott) and making the right signings should see Özil flourish at Arsenal.

When you consider how good Arsenal have been defensively, there's no reason why Wenger shouldn't be able to build a lethal counter attacking side - particularly when that was the Invincibles' major strength. The amount of times that side would have the ball in the opposition net within seconds of Lehmann having the ball in his hands was ridiculous.
 

Tom Halsey

International Coach
Tbh taking it as an isolated decision, I think it's probably the correct decision from the club's point of view albeit overall I'm not defending the club or Rooney at all.

General footballing opinion at times differs greatly from general CW opinion and I think this is one of those times - the general footballing world, including players, will view this as a 'sign of intent' or whatever it is. In pure playing terms I'd agree with presumably everyone here that Rooney is worth nowhere near £300k a week. However, looking at it from a slightly more long term point of view, how the football world view us in light of our almost certain failure to qualify for the CL is important and I do think us having Rooney locked down will be a help in the eyes of any potential players we might be looking to sign in the next couple of years. We will need every potential draw we can get given CL football will not be one of those draws.

We need to get back in the CL as soon as possible because whilst we're only out of it for a year or two our reputation across Europe won't take the hit it would do, IMO, if we're out of it for say, five or more years. Look at Ajax, they're not even out of the CL and they're viewed as little more than a club that used to be great, and once you are viewed as that there is little way back these days short of being bought by owners with silly amounts of money. It is crucial we make a quick return to CL football and having Rooney I think helps rather than hinders that. This is before we come to financial considerations associated with losing CL football having been in it for so many years, and it's fairly safe to assume the financial ramifications will be significant.

Where the club deserves criticism is in allowing things to get to the point where Rooney can hold us to ransom like this precisely because he knows he is so important to the long term future of the club.
 

grecian

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
Hmm, I'm probably as big a fan as anyone on CW of Rooney, but think it's too much for him. I'm really not sure it's a message of intent to the rest of Europe either, he's not that kind of name.

Think they could have let him go if he demanded that much and brought in a World-Class player who would make people look up and notice. I think it's not just CW this decision is being ridiculed.

Mind you that means nothing much.
 

Tom Halsey

International Coach
Hmm, I'm probably as big a fan as anyone on CW of Rooney, but think it's too much for him. I'm really not sure it's a message of intent to the rest of Europe either, he's not that kind of name.

Think they could have let him go if he demanded that much and brought in a World-Class player who would make people look up and notice. I think it's not just CW this decision is being ridiculed.
Doubt that tbh. What world class player is going to want to go to us? Not than many will want to now as it is, but I suspect that even less would want to go to us sans-Rooney. The sign of intent is less to do with Rooney than it is to do with the fact that we are willing to spend £300k a week on a player.

Besides if no world class players want to go to us either way, we are better off with Rooney than without. The only way that letting Rooney go can be best is if we can still sign more than one world class player once he's gone, which I really can't see happening. I can't see why any established player would want to forego CL football for us at the moment.
 

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