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You'll agree it's a bit easier to get into the Chelsea XI these days than it was getting into Madrid's XI 2-3 years ago.
Agreed, BUT, I am not so sure that even if he was still at Madrid that he would be 'cemented' as a starter on the team, and for me, that is the point, he had to go.

In other words, I fully expected him to play at Chelsea and eventually start getting the recognition his talent deserves.
Hey Nostradamus, what’s going on? :) Some lumps in the road initially but an automatic starter now although I wish he went to a different league rather then the EPL. But that’s just a personal note for development reasons.

He's definitely going to be happier because he's playing regularly. At Madrid he had to wait for injuries or rotations to get into the XI.
Exactly, see what's going on here? See, see, see.. 🤣

Yes, he didn't play in the CL finals but he did make some excellent contributions in the earlier stages. If you ask me whenever he played they didn't lose anything in terms of quality and cohesion with him in the XI. In their 4-3-3 with guys like Ronaldo and Bale up front and those attacking full backs the type of player Kova is perfectly suits that system. Kova just got sick of waiting around for a starting spot.
Some good points.

BUT - How important could he have been to Madrid if he did not play one second in two Champions League finals? He played well because he is a talented player, but the bottom line is the bottom line. His quality and skill levels are not in question.

As I said above, him playing regularly is not in itself an improvement, Chelsea brought him in because they knew he had the quality to step right in. All those qualities you mention he also had them in Madrid and Inter. Obviously, maturity and experience will make him better, that's natural since he's still only 25.
Playing regularly versus not playing leads to improvement now matter how it is diagnosed.

Similarly:

Working versus not working
Dating versus not dating
Eating versus not eating
Fornication versus not phucking
Reading versus not reading
Socialization versus isolation
Continually getting back up from falling down
Production versus non-production
Happiness versus sadness
Existence versus nonexistence

The first noun is an automatic improvement over the second noun almost automatically.

In my brain I cannot see how playing regularly versus not playing is not an improvement. It's not the end-all or be-all, but it is an improvement. How many times does someone post on the form that they hope one of our players goes to a team where he can get playing time? That number is high for a reason.

There are layers to all this, there is no doubt.

Yes, I said he's not consistent in providing that final pass.
Going to have to disagree, as he is a terrific final passer and distributor of the ball, he always has been.

For example.


1:04

There are many more examples of his distribution skills.

I don't watch full Chelsea games but I do catch all of his highlights.
If that is your sales pitch it is not working my friend and I'm taking my business elsewhere. :)

Of course, these things aren't always a fair measure as he's always reliant on teammates to take advantage of his good work (a problem this season with an average Chelsea outfit).
Great point and applicable.

His teammates let him down tremendously especially against Bayern, and his final passes were amazing, and Mason Mount I am looking at you for not being able to deliver on a few of those brilliant through balls and setups. And he was literally the only driving force in that midfield.

I still don't think he has enough decisive passing.
Going to have to disagree once again, and it is starting to smell a little like self-proclaiming rather than factual or objectiveness as it is abundantly clear that he does have enough of that to go around and I will explain further below.

Comparing him to Modrić in his Spurs days when he wasn't scoring or assisting too much but was involved in almost all of their substantial attacking play.
If you're 'decisive passing' scale is based on Luka Modric, then by all means, of course, he does not have enough 'decisive passing'.

Whether it was getting it to the guy who makes the assist or always getting the ball into the most dangerous areas. And knowing when to play safe and when to take a risk.
Luka is on a different planet compared to most players, and it is not even fair to compare Kova to him simply stated. The man is a genius, a wizard, and such a joy to watch! A talent that does not come around very often.

His lack of finishing polish bothers me the least. In terms of the NT, we're going to be using that 4-2-3-1 or maybe (eventually) a 4-3-3 and his position in those formations is going to be deep.
Correct, he will be playing a deeper midfield role, a role to witch he is more suited.

With the emergence of Vlašić, a genuine central AM who gets goals and plays direct, and Brekalo, Rebić, Pašalić who are those genuine attacking mid/wing options, the role of our CMs is clear cut.
Our midfield depth is definitely not a problem. (Although Pasalic has shown zero, and I mean zero of what he does in league play when he gets called up for our national side - and it is not through lack of opportunity to deliver something resembling something. And until that day comes, which I am hoping it does, that is where he currently lives.)

In previous years we've had to rely on the likes of Modrić and Rakitić to play that AM role, even on occasion Broz and Kova - with varied/limited success.
Vlasic needs to be starting in the AM role going forward I believe, and depending on the opponent there can always be some tinkering done. (A great problem to have!)

IMO if Kova doesn't improve a lick from this day on, in combination with the emerging talent above we're still going to have a top class midfield.
Our midfield talent depth is a great problem to have.

I'm just looking for that little bit extra from him. Would love to see a repeat of his Iceland performance once in a while. :)
I'm looking for confidence and consistency in his play. Not that I disagree, but if he achieves those goals he will come to a place that might allow him to flourish. And with regular playing time he might be able to make that happen.

Our midfield is stacked, quite obviously, but Kova is potentially going to have more work to do once Modric retires, and it would be nice to see him take the bull by the horns so to speak, and it would be nice to see him playing at top level.

Further Below:

I thought you said that his lack of finishing polish does not bother you? This is fine, and I would not say it bothers me per say, but there is room for vast improvement for certainty.

A perfect example of his lack of polish would be that same Iceland game performance you just mentioned. As much as it was so beautiful to watch him slalom through the entire Iceland team, he needs to finish by burying that final act/shot for a goal. That would have been one of the nicest goals in history, and it would certainly not have been too much to ask from any decent player to score in that one on one with the goalie. Players make mistakes, that is fine, but this is not a one-off display for Kova.

This is what has been quite the challenge for him as he totally blows that shot, let's be honest, which is what he is known to do.

In that same game, there is a great example that displays his great passing ability. That would be the lay off pass to Srna on the first goal earlier in that same game, the ball was on a saucer and could not have been handed to Dario any better.

In summary, you feel that Kovacic going to Chelsea and playing regularly is not an improvement, and I beg to differ as his confidence is going up as a result and his play is improving, the proof is in the pudding. He is playing the best nogomet of his life currently, not that his past performances were poor, but he has improved, according to pundits and fans alike.

You also feel that he does not have enough decisive passing in his repertoire which I cannot concur with, and have provided examples and explanations.

Also, you feel that his lack of polish/shooting skills is not bothersome to you.

Bothersome? Nope, I would have to agree on that.

His shooting skills can be amuerterish at critical moments and that does need repair to go to the next level as a player. It would elevate his play exponentially, without any hesitation.

Unequivocal room for improvement in that area for Kova, and it's not like the Iceland example is a one-off, his poor shooting happens quite frequently.

Looking forward to seeing how his career turns out as it looks to be going the right way.

Side note:

As I was writing some of the responses to your comments, I had a flashback to another time and space, and during this sequence, I was unaware of my location in time.

For the life of me, I could not find out where I was. It turns out, I was in a vehicle on my way to deliver a pizza to the Eisenhower's. What the heck? 🤣

Have a good day my friend. :)
 

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Doesn’t he play in the Argentine second division? Hard to gauge his talent when he is playing at a relative low level, but you never know, according to Twitter he was apparently on the Argentina Olympic squad shortlist, seems like a real talent regardless of the level he is at
 

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Bašić with an assist for Bordeaux.

Vrsaljko definitely out of Atletico's XI with Trippier's return.

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Doesn’t he play in the Argentine second division? Hard to gauge his talent when he is playing at a relative low level, but you never know, according to Twitter he was apparently on the Argentina Olympic squad shortlist, seems like a real talent regardless of the level he is at
I don't know.
We would never know about him if it wasn't for his Croatian décents.

While Marko Raguz is performing in europa league and in a club leading that Austrian champ ahead of RB Salzburg.
 

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Doesn’t he play in the Argentine second division? Hard to gauge his talent when he is playing at a relative low level, but you never know, according to Twitter he was apparently on the Argentina Olympic squad shortlist, seems like a real talent regardless of the level he is at
If he was really a good talent you would thing he would choose Argentina.
 

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More and more people are talking about Basic these last weeks.
Recently he has been one of the best midfielders in this league.
 

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Great assist by Basic as well. Think Vrsaljko will start against Liverpool as he's much better defensively then Trippier.
Showed great strength to hold that Nice player off...he was also among their top 2-3 rated players...he's actually been among their best 2-3 the last 5-6 games, against PSG he was their highest rated player.

Going to be interesting to see if he gets on Dalić's prelim squad.

 

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I don't think that he will be in the mix for this euro.
We have too many players in this position.
One guy I know cheering for Paok keeps telling me that Misic is a fantastic player.
But we can't take them all.
 

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Agreed, BUT, I am not so sure that even if he was still at Madrid that he would be 'cemented' as a starter on the team, and for me, that is the point, he had to go.
He could very well be an automatic starter for them now but losing 18-24 months in the process was too much of a risk. At his age and with his talent sitting on the bench (and waiting) didn't make sense.

We both agree on this point. :D

Hey Nostradamus, what’s going on? :) Some lumps in the road initially but an automatic starter now although I wish he went to a different league rather then the EPL. But that’s just a personal note for development reasons.
What do you mean what's going on? :D I never said he wasn't a good player. The choice of league/club was overall a good one IMO. EPL is a top two league, Chelsea always in the CL and he knew he'd play. I think the tempo of the league and its physicality is good for his development.

Exactly, see what's going on here? See, see, see..

Some good points.

BUT - How important could he have been to Madrid if he did not play one second in two Champions League finals? He played well because he is a talented player, but the bottom line is the bottom line. His quality and skill levels are not in question.
You have to look at who his competition is for a starting spot. Hard to argue against Kroos and Modrić being ahead of him, also Isco when used deeper was (a couple of years ago) on the verge of elite level. At Chelsea his main competition was Ross Barkley.

Playing regularly versus not playing leads to improvement now matter how it is diagnosed.

Similarly:

Working versus not working
Dating versus not dating
Eating versus not eating
Fornication versus not phucking
Reading versus not reading
Socialization versus isolation
Continually getting back up from falling down
Production versus non-production
Happiness versus sadness
Existence versus nonexistence

The first noun is an automatic improvement over the second noun almost automatically.

In my brain I cannot see how playing regularly versus not playing is not an improvement. It's not the end-all or be-all, but it is an improvement. How many times does someone post on the form that they hope one of our players goes to a team where he can get playing time? That number is high for a reason.

There are layers to all this, there is no doubt.
Whenever one gets into these protracted debates initial points tend to get lost. I was merely commenting on your argument, that seemed to me, to be that simply regularly playing was an improvement. My point was that while it's definitely an improvement on his situation it's not necessarily an indication of his improvement as a player. Of course, a player at his age will improve naturally, I think it would've happened had he stayed at Madrid, only difference being the level of improvement will obvious depend on playing time.

So, to sort of get back to the original point, I'm interested in his improvement in areas where he was deficient before he got to Chelsea. We agree his finishing is still poor and you think his final product in terms of passing is better. Fair enough, I haven't seen a vast improvement there but, like I said, I don't watch full games. I still think watching his highlights would be enough to notice those things.

Going to have to disagree, as he is a terrific final passer and distributor of the ball, he always has been.

For example.


1:04

There are many more examples of his distribution skills.

If that is your sales pitch it is not working my friend and I'm taking my business elsewhere. :)
Remember, I did say "consistently". I know he's capable of playing those kinds of passes...;)

Great point and applicable.

His teammates let him down tremendously especially against Bayern, and his final passes were amazing, and Mason Mount I am looking at you for not being able to deliver on a few of those brilliant through balls and setups. And he was literally the only driving force in that midfield.
I did notice that Mount seemed to squander a lot of Kova's good work in that Bayern game. :)

If you're 'decisive passing' scale is based on Luka Modric, then by all means, of course, he does not have enough 'decisive passing'.

Luka is on a different planet compared to most players, and it is not even fair to compare Kova to him simply stated. The man is a genius, a wizard, and such a joy to watch! A talent that does not come around very often.
I know it's unfair to compare him to Luka but it's a good comparison because Luka suffered similar criticism earlier in his career. And we always defended him because we knew his game was a lot more than goals and assists. Kova is just as talented as Luka in some areas, actually I think in some aspects he's even more talented, he just doesn't have that level of presence. And that's the point. We obviously want him to fulfil his potential so we discuss areas where he can improve.

Correct, he will be playing a deeper midfield role, a role to witch he is more suited.

Our midfield depth is definitely not a problem. (Although Pasalic has shown zero, and I mean zero of what he does in league play when he gets called up for our national side - and it is not through lack of opportunity to deliver something resembling something. And until that day comes, which I am hoping it does, that is where he currently lives.)
Not sure Pašalić has ever been given a proper chance. I don't think sub appearances are enough, most players need a sustained period in the XI before you can see them enough to say either way. Obviously, not knocking Dalić, our midfield is stacked and Pašalić needs to be patient (and still he might never get a proper chance).

Vlasic needs to be starting in the AM role going forward I believe, and depending on the opponent there can always be some tinkering done. (A great problem to have!)

Our midfield talent depth is a great problem to have.
Agree.

Our midfield is stacked, quite obviously, but Kova is potentially going to have more work to do once Modric retires, and it would be nice to see him take the bull by the horns so to speak, and it would be nice to see him playing at top level.
I think he will. He and Broz in those deep roles will be an excellent combo.

Further Below:

I thought you said that his lack of finishing polish does not bother you? This is fine, and I would not say it bothers me per say, but there is room for vast improvement for certainty.
I said it bothers me least. I always look at things from the NT persepective and I think in future we won't have a problem getting goals from midfield. What I'd like from Kova is someone who will be that guy to control the middle and dictate. That's what we'll need once Modrić and Rakitić are gone.

A perfect example of his lack of polish would be that same Iceland game performance you just mentioned. As much as it was so beautiful to watch him slalom through the entire Iceland team, he needs to finish by burying that final act/shot for a goal. That would have been one of the nicest goals in history, and it would certainly not have been too much to ask from any decent player to score in that one on one with the goalie. Players make mistakes, that is fine, but this is not a one-off display for Kova.

This is what has been quite the challenge for him as he totally blows that shot, let's be honest, which is what he is known to do.

In that same game, there is a great example that displays his great passing ability. That would be the lay off pass to Srna on the first goal earlier in that same game, the ball was on a saucer and could not have been handed to Dario any better.
I mentioned that game because it was the first and probably only time we saw him cut loose for the NT. He took the opposition on, didn't always look to settle for the safer option etc. Yeah, he fluffed that chance but he did set up Srna and generally when he got on the ball he was dangerous.

In the next campaign he also had that really good game in Milan against Italy. He came on for an injured Modrić and we didn't skip a beat. He also played deeper in that one, his more natural role.

In summary, you feel that Kovacic going to Chelsea and playing regularly is not an improvement, and I beg to differ as his confidence is going up as a result and his play is improving, the proof is in the pudding. He is playing the best nogomet of his life currently, not that his past performances were poor, but he has improved, according to pundits and fans alike.

You also feel that he does not have enough decisive passing in his repertoire which I cannot concur with, and have provided examples and explanations.

Also, you feel that his lack of polish/shooting skills is not bothersome to you.

Bothersome? Nope, I would have to agree on that.

His shooting skills can be amuerterish at critical moments and that does need repair to go to the next level as a player. It would elevate his play exponentially, without any hesitation.

Unequivocal room for improvement in that area for Kova, and it's not like the Iceland example is a one-off, his poor shooting happens quite frequently.

Looking forward to seeing how his career turns out as it looks to be going the right way.
I think I explained what my thoughts are earlier in the post. In summary:

-Going to Chelsea and playing regularly is not a sign of improvement in itself.

-I think he doesn't produce those decisive passes consistently enough. But I'll take on board your view that he's improved in that area.

-I feel least bothered by his poor finishing.

Be careful about buying into what English pundits say. For most of them, despite his Madrid, Inter and Croatia careers, Kova would've been an unknown quantity. They know little about players outside of England aside from big-time names from the CL.

Side note:

As I was writing some of the responses to your comments, I had a flashback to another time and space, and during this sequence, I was unaware of my location in time.

For the life of me, I could not find out where I was. It turns out, I was in a vehicle on my way to deliver a pizza to the Eisenhower's. What the heck?

Have a good day my friend. :)
Getting into a debate with me has its consequences. Be careful and enjoy the rest of your day/night. :D



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I found out 2-3 days ago that Illicic is Croatian born in Serbian Republic from Bosnia.

A pity our managers didn't believe in him. His left foot is fantastic.
 

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He was approached by the HNS even as a youth player. If I remember correctly he was at Maribor and at the same time his Slovenian-born teammate Dejan Školnik made the switch to Croatia. We got the wrong one. :D

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Great assist by Basic as well. Think Vrsaljko will start against Liverpool as he's much better defensively then Trippier.
He's played a lot recently and needed a rest in order to protect his knee. Vrsaljko is much better in terms of defending overlong crosses in the air and Liverpool will obviously seek these as Alexander-Arnold is their best crosser of the ball. Trippier is significantly better in terms of creating opportunities in open play though.
 

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He's played a lot recently and needed a rest in order to protect his knee. Vrsaljko is much better in terms of defending overlong crosses in the air and Liverpool will obviously seek these as Alexander-Arnold is their best crosser of the ball. Trippier is significantly better in terms of creating opportunities in open play though.
Trippier is better in open play but he's always been a defensive liability.
 
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