Xtratime Community banner

1 - 20 of 145 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
38,252 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Goal; Casillas is elite. Dudek is a solid, experienced back-up option.

Central defense; Pepe is simply awesome, but his latest injury niggle is likely to have influenced our decision to pay Racing an extra 1M€ for them to transfer Garay's registration rights to us for this season. Pepe has to make far more appearences this season compared to the 19/38 he put up last year in the league; quality wise and performance wise he is outstanding. Canna is going to be 35 in September so we'll have to use him sparingly. It took him a whole season to adapt but I thought he was quite good for the most part last year, especially in the key moments. Heinze's best performances for us thus far have come in central defense, but like Pepe, injuries have limited him to half the games. Garay is a welcome addition and I like the fact we reinforced this position domestically as he is familiar with the league. Metzelder was solid in the EUROS but he's the German Woodgate. Garay and Metze are adequate but they could suffer against the elite, so hopefully two from Pepe, Canna and Heinze will be available at all times.

Fullbacks; I'd say that contrary to what is often obscured in his greatness, Sergio Ramos was better in 06/07. I want a significant improvement from him this year, especially offensively he needs to become much more decisive. He also needs to improve his single biggest weakness defensively - covering his man on the blind side, and I'd also like to see him considerably trim down his 20 bookings (17 yellow + 3 red) from last year. Salgado is a liability as his pace has gone which results in sheer recklessnes, so we're lacking a bit here but a solution could be M.Torres as Ramos' back-up. I'd like to see Marcelo confirm his development from last year that saw him take a sizeable leap in quality, especially defensively. Of course, there's room for improvement, certainly offensively with his skillset you feel there's much more to come from him in that regard. M.Torres is reliable defensively but a non-factor offensively, so we're lucky Ramos is dependable in terms of availability.

Central midfield; Diarra and Gago + the two canteneros DLR and Javi Garcia. Solid backbone with plenty of bite. I gave Diarra a lot of stick for his early season performances last year, but like 06/07, he improved tremendously down the stretch. His first touch, passing and general awareness is of a high standard at the moment and I'd like to see him play a full great season, not just for six months. Our best performances last season have been with Gago in the team and that's because of the silent subtle touch he brings to our football. Now with Sneijder out, Gago's organization is the DNA in our build-up...come back from Beijing in one piece, please.

Playmakers; Guti.HAZ, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael Van Der Vaart. Despite Guti leading the league in assists last year I feel he doesn't contribute enough on a weekly basis. I am not expecting much from VdV because he needs to adapt - although having said that, he's got a good set-piece and a vicious shot so a few assists plus some goals can be considered as short-term success and much-welcomed productivity. It's a huge shame that Sneijder's out, I felt he was going to be a gamebreaker for us this year. Still, we should have him available for the business end of the season so it'll be interesting to see if VdV capitalizes on this chance.

Wingers; Our most important area tactically. The simple fact of the matter is that we can not afford to lose Robinho, I think we should offer him parity with what's on the table at Chelsea and get him to sign ASAP. Not many players get a standing ovation from the Arsenal fans but Robinho received it because he's class. Pace, creativity, link-up and goals, he enjoyed his best season last year and is due for a breakout year. Robben is elite but his talent has never been in question, he needs to confirm his fitness. These two are absolutely vital because they're an injection of pace and penetration which are necessary ingredients to offset/ neutralize our slow forwards. Drenthe had a good spell down the stretch last year but fizzled out after a while. He's another one with bags of potential that we can only hope will be a factor this term.

Forwards; Raul looks in terrific shape, as always, and Ruud is Ruud. I just wish Schuster would realize that we're at a significant disadvantage as a result of the opportunity cost of fielding these two - primarily lack of pace and the general slow build-up of our football.

Higuain showed a huge improvement in his finishing last year and needs to rubberstamp his new-found finishing prowess this term. With Raul and RVN both on the wrong side of 30, he may end up with more minutes than he bargained for.

------------------------------------------------------------

All in all, our squad is very good. There's plenty of experience, talent and complimentary players. I expect Garay and VdV to be our only summer signings and when Sneijder comes back that will feel like a new signing also.

Liga - Too talented and too deep to expect anything less than a top two finish. I like our chances of securing the three-peat, Barca have made some impressive reinforcements but we're the Champions so we know what it takes and we're more secure defensively.

CL - As always, it depends on the draw. Barca had to dispose of Celtic and Schalke to reach the semis last year. I hope we'll draw teams that we match up well against when the going gets tough - teams like Liverpool, Inter or Chelsea. I feel Manchester and Arsenal are too mobile, so as long as we avoid those two teams until the Final we can dream of Rome.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,134 Posts
It may sound stupid, but I'm not happy with Ruud van Nistelrooy. I critisized him last season as well, because he seems to be degrading, he's not the superman from 06-07. A key factor will be if Ruud can stay fit and stay in top form and especially if Raul can keep his terrific form from last year.

I'm not happy with the midfield either, we have many good players, but few great ones. We'll have to see if Guti can keep his form as well, he's one of my favourite players, but what the hell are we going to do if he doesn't deliver. We don't have a single player with the creativity he offers.

I'm very happy with our defense, I just hope that Heinze and Pepe will be the CBs this season with Garay as their first backup. (very unlikely indeed)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,528 Posts
I agree with almost everything you said. I hope Schuster gives Marcelo the vote of confidence. The guy could become something really special, I still remember his performance towards the end of the season, simply outstanding, especially the game against Barcelona.

Plus I took think we lack a "crack". We have many good players, but sometimes during the 60th minute of the game, you know we won't be able to score, theres no one in the team who could raise the performance of the team. Plus our attack. Raul and Ruud? Simply amazing, but its very risky, injuries won't be giving Ruud an easy time and Raul has his lapses. We lack that fast striker (please not Saviola).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,471 Posts
dont worry, by the end of the month we will have CR7 &VdV while robinho, saviola and baptista will be out...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,267 Posts
great post Mo, about the squad im 100% in agreement.

as for the CL, at present with how things are shaping out, i do not think we have a chance. we have a chance yeah, but not in the same way as previous seasons. last year i said i dont expect us to do well in the CL and the team obliged by getting knocked out in the 2nd round.

we might have the 2 leading scorers, but i just dont see this team doing well in cup format games. we can grind out results on a weekly basis, but tell the team to show the same attitude in a random 90 minutes against a european team and we falter. we dont take our chances and we dont have hte individual brilliance to make up for that. i was hoping it'd be robinho this year, but no one needs reminding of what's going to happen to him.

at times we also field a very slow team. the slow team is also our most experienced team, so its a team you expect to be fielded in CL matches. they just dont step into the next gear when needed.

but positively this team will grow. we havent signed anyone and its the same team from last year. same grou of players. we should show a big improvement on the field in terms of cohesion and chemistry.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,068 Posts
great post Mo - I believe la liga will be ours to lose but the Cl we will need Diarra and x-player to play above and beyond along with a good draw
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,390 Posts
nothing but the triple crown will satisfy me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,471 Posts
am starting to beleive that when at the end of the season Calderon said that the transfer budget is only 60m for the season + the players we offload

looking at it we can see that
60m euros to start with
40m euros from selling Robinho (dont tell me they never thought of that)
15m euros from selling Baptista
10m euros from selling Balboa and Soldado
10m euros from selling Saviola and Cassano
that will give us a total of 135m euros

now calderon probably will keep 100m for CR7 and will give 35m to schuster and mija to play with, and its gone already with those deals
11m euros for garay
8m euros for javi garcia and DLR
and now 15m for VDV
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38,252 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
We're selling Baptista as he is the only expendable commodity that holds any meaningful market value. There are several clubs interested in Saviola but unfortunately they're also unwilling or unable to match his annual 2,5M€ salary.

I expect Baptista and Soldado to be sold. Saviola is not going to accept a pay-cut to leave so he'll remain on our books.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,267 Posts
Mo, Soldado was sold a week ago to Getafe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38,252 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
He was? I haven't been that active lately, thanks. Good Luck to him, never really got a run in the team here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38,252 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Diarra - Gago

Sneijder/VdV/Guti

Robben - - - - - - Robinho

RVN/Raul​

-----------------------------------------------

Unless we field this team, in that order, we will not win the CL. Guaranteed.

Schuster is going to be just another puppet unless he has the balls to drop one of RVN or Raul so that we can field players that will speed up our game.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,290 Posts
I'm sorry guys, but if we don't sign any strong and FAST striker, we'll not win the CL...As good as ruud and raul are, they lack the pace or skill to take on a defender...Sombody like Benzema or villa would be great!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,068 Posts
last 3 times we wont the CL we didnt have a fast striker, why now the panic for such a player? If Ruud Remains healthy he will give us the goals we need.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38,252 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Pep announced today that Eto'o is staying at Barcelona. They're going to have a really strong base, but Barcelona always have a great team. It's going to be exciting in La Liga this year, I think with the additions they've made they'll come very close - it may come down to the two clasicos again.

I hope our obsession with the CL doesn't derail our league focus too much, so it was certainly refreshing to see Schuster state that the league is the most important title for next season. I suspect it may go down to the final day but thankfully where I feel we have an edge over Barca is the fact we have Casillas in the key moments and they have Valdes.
 
1 - 20 of 145 Posts
Top