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Discussion Starter #1
Saw no match thread, so figured why not? :)

1st half

The game was balanced. We took abt 25 minutes to settle down adn get the passing going. Finnan looked a little rusty, Hamann looking of the pace early on, recovered in the last 20 minutes, althoughstill looking a little desperate sometimes. Biscan was average, nto really seeign enough of the ball to link plays up. This was partly due to Watford playing hard & earnest, closing us down, looking a typically disciplined championship side in a cup tie.

One evident thing - our game looked slow on the bal, always deciding what to do with it only after receiving a pass. Makes it easier for Watford to close us down, and commit unnecessary mistakes. Maybe the last three games was still in the players minds and they were nervous.

2nd half


In typical early season form, we were markedly better in the second half, stepping up a gear and looking more assured and sharp in the passing. Pressed very well compared to the 1st half, although not our best (Arsenal, Chelsea comes to mind), but our performance in the second half was a little better than the 1st leg & 1st half put together IMO.

Moro had more of the ball, even managed to create a few openings for himself. He had more time, and in fact the whole team did. Perhaps this was due to Watford slowly feeling fatigued.

Riise had a rather average game by his standards, and maybe we were trying to slow the game down most of the time didn't really suit his swashbuckling style. Ran into blind alleys many times, although getting wide to stretch the defence often made up for that.

Gerrard's goal was one of his typical goals. Pounced on a loose ball, cut inside and let fly a grounder into the far corner. He was one of the VERY few who played better than the rest for the whole game IMO.

Negatives: Sinama injured himself trying to pass the ball on the run under pressure. He jsut came on for Baros 3 minutes earlier. Looked like he could have either strained his muscle, hurt his hamstring or even hurt his knee somehow. Saw David galley massaging his knee before signalling for the substitution. Will post updates on this. Now we are even losing our reserves to injury. :irritate:
 

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If Rafa gets things right for the final we will beat the Mancs in Cardiff. That will be a much needed boost of confidense for our young kids.
 

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Classic Gerrard goal. With his all-action style, he won possession of the ball, cut inside, and I thought he was going to go for another defender, slot the ball past Jones, who was hapless (partially he was expecting Gerrard to shoot later than earlier). We played alright, but the defence was much of a concern. We were none too convincing there, but up front, Mori looks lively, Baros had a quiet game (not sure his head-down running style is useful sometimes) and overall, we needed Gerrard to make the tie safe and he delivered. Again.

Well done Gerrard.

paw;)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Not really zico, although Man Utd had a lot of the ball, Chelsea looked the more threatening everytime they ventured into Man Utd's half. But to say Chelsea always got past Mancs defense was a little of an overstatement too.

Either team would've deserved the victory judging by the way they played last night. Endeavour was clearly seen on both sides.
 

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Man, that guy Robben is my player of the year already. That's the difference between us and Chelski. They sign Robben, we lose Owen. I'm not saying that's easy to do, but if that trend doesn't stop THIS year I'm afraid it will take generations until a new Shanks pops up from somewhere to get us back in title races again. And those people better sort it out soon why the Academy stopped producing while the Ajax youth factory still doing fine.
 

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Robben is deadly. I'm afraid without an amazing turn of form we could get some real problems from Chelsea. They are playing very solid and they've got depth like a well. I had fancied our chances against Manu, and I was definitely not hoping for this tie.

Besides, we owe Manu one.
 

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zico said:
Man, that guy Robben is my player of the year already. That's the difference between us and Chelski. They sign Robben, we lose Owen. I'm not saying that's easy to do, but if that trend doesn't stop THIS year I'm afraid it will take generations until a new Shanks pops up from somewhere to get us back in title races again.
Already you are dismissing Rafa already. I do not think we should judge Rafa as incapable of bring us the title with less then a season gone.

Yes, we need Rafa to be a Shanks, and I believe Rafa has the credentials to be Shanks.

Did Shanks started off by buying expensive players? He took a few years to build the team up from the base.

Maybe, you may want Rafa to be the new Wenger, but Wenger took over Arsenal during a time, when (Barring Man U) the league was at its weakest. Now the EPL is a great deal stronger from 1998.

Yes now we are very very far behind the top 3, it will take more then Shanks to produce league success in ONE season, we need a Bill Gates.


Generally, yes, the difference between us and Chelsea is not just the player quality we have. However it does not end here, its the money problem.

Houllier had left Rafa with little money (compared to Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd) to spend.

We lost Owen for the same amount we signed Garcia - 6 million.

Chelsea signed Robben for 13 million, plus they added Cavalheo, Cech, Drogba, Ferrara for God knows how much.

If Rafa goes out and get say, Duff, Robben or Hienze, where will he get the money to spend on Alonso? Rafa needs to pioritize his purchases and it is right that he gets Alonso first. And with his displays and influence shown so far, he will look like a steal at 10 million for the coming seasons.

If Alonso has not been injured, will Robben just be your player of the year by a mile? Chelsea got Robbens, we got Alonso. I don't see the difference. The difference is Robbens did not got his leg taken apart by Gerrard and the difference is Chelsea bought Robbins and a lot of other world class players. We just don't have the money for immediate success.

More than 100 million pounds spent by Gerard Houllier and we are still 5 first eleven players short of Chelsea and Arsenal level and that is without even counting the subs whose level is also substandard and we must rely upon when our regular need some time out. And Houllier left the club with a 23 million dollars thrown with he and his staff's 10 million financial compensation and 13 million spent on Cisse. (Not that Cisse is a bad player but he is someone we do not need at the moment, Baros is a similar type of player to Cisse and Houllier obviously never rate him)

Drogba got injured, no problem Guddy to step in. Calvelho got injured, no problem Gallas to step in. For Man U and Arsenal, the subs are clearly not as good as Chelsea but still much stronger then ours nonetheless.

And no, the Ajax factory isn't doing too well nowadays.
 

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MINDSCAPE said:
Already you are dismissing Rafa already. I do not think we should judge Rafa as incapable of bring us the title with less then a season gone.

Yes, we need Rafa to be a Shanks, and I believe Rafa has the credentials to be Shanks.

Did Shanks started off by buying expensive players? He took a few years to build the team up from the base.

Maybe, you may want Rafa to be the new Wenger, but Wenger took over Arsenal during a time, when (Barring Man U) the league was at its weakest. Now the EPL is a great deal stronger from 1998.

Yes now we are very very far behind the top 3, it will take more then Shanks to produce league success in ONE season, we need a Bill Gates.


Generally, yes, the difference between us and Chelsea is not just the player quality we have. However it does not end here, its the money problem.

Houllier had left Rafa with little money (compared to Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd) to spend.

We lost Owen for the same amount we signed Garcia - 6 million.

Chelsea signed Robben for 13 million, plus they added Cavalheo, Cech, Drogba, Ferrara for God knows how much.

If Rafa goes out and get say, Duff, Robben or Hienze, where will he get the money to spend on Alonso? Rafa needs to pioritize his purchases and it is right that he gets Alonso first. And with his displays and influence shown so far, he will look like a steal at 10 million for the coming seasons.

If Alonso has not been injured, will Robben just be your player of the year by a mile? Chelsea got Robbens, we got Alonso. I don't see the difference. The difference is Robbens did not got his leg taken apart by Gerrard and the difference is Chelsea bought Robbins and a lot of other world class players. We just don't have the money for immediate success.

More than 100 million pounds spent by Gerard Houllier and we are still 5 first eleven players short of Chelsea and Arsenal level and that is without even counting the subs whose level is also substandard and we must rely upon when our regular need some time out. And Houllier left the club with a 23 million dollars thrown with he and his staff's 10 million financial compensation and 13 million spent on Cisse. (Not that Cisse is a bad player but he is someone we do not need at the moment, Baros is a similar type of player to Cisse and Houllier obviously never rate him)

Drogba got injured, no problem Guddy to step in. Calvelho got injured, no problem Gallas to step in. For Man U and Arsenal, the subs are clearly not as good as Chelsea but still much stronger then ours nonetheless.

And no, the Ajax factory isn't doing too well nowadays.

I'm absolutely in love with Alonso, and getting him for 10mil was a steal, but he isn't in the same class as Robben, sorry. Robben I think will compete for World player of the year in 2005, something that you couldn't have said for Alonso if he'd been healthy.
 

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MINDSCAPE said:
Already you are dismissing Rafa already. I do not think we should judge Rafa as incapable of bring us the title with less then a season gone.
Mindscape, just out of respect for you as to a nice bloke I've had pleasure to discuss futbol for several years, I'll only say that it was a weird conclusion that you came to after reading my post. In fact it was so stupid I can't believe you wrote this yourself. I'm speechless and I don't know where to begin. If you would care to explain I would be glad to answer.


regards,
...
 

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Skipper Gerrard said:
I'm absolutely in love with Alonso, and getting him for 10mil was a steal, but he isn't in the same class as Robben, sorry. Robben I think will compete for World player of the year in 2005, something that you couldn't have said for Alonso if he'd been healthy.
What should a perfect wide player be? Comfortable on both flanks, good at dribbling, able to provide passes and crosses and with a lethal shot. Robben is all this and much, much more. World class without a doubt.

Alonso is our best signing of the year. And it could've been even better signing even more useful players without selling our world class.
 

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zico said:
Mindscape, just out of respect for you as to a nice bloke I've had pleasure to discuss futbol for several years, I'll only say that it was a weird conclusion that you came to after reading my post. In fact it was so stupid I can't believe you wrote this yourself. I'm speechless and I don't know where to begin. If you would care to explain I would be glad to answer.


regards,
...
Hi, Zico. I am sorry if I've misunderstood you or if I have explained myself poorly. You are an intellegent person and I respect your opinions.

but in short all I was saying was about all the disadvantages are Benitez had in terms of a vastly reduced transfer kitty (in comparison with other clubs) and he has the ability to be a Shanks, but it will not happen this season, if it were to happen at all.
 

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I am sure Benitez knows how a winger operates (which is to attack more then defend, unlike Ged), after all in Valencia, he had Vicente and Rufate and they all performed brilliantly.

Given 10-15 million, I am sure he will able to get a truly world class one, however he has to spent his money on other areas as well. Whatever the faults of Nunez or Garcia, if the money were not spent on Alonso, and spent on a winger, he will most prob make an impact as great as Robben.

Maybe if investment were to come in, Rafa can use the money to get worldclass winger, GK, Central Defender and left back.

It will prob cost us 50 million which I doubt we will have in out current state.
 

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Thanks, Mindscape. Let me add that respect is mutual, and I'm not doubting anything that you've just said. My point, to put in short as well, was that we keep losing our world class players (and Rafa btw has nothing to do with it). We had Fowler, Macca, Owen... and now Gerrard is the only one we have left. In order to succeed we need to add more great players to the squad instead of losing them. It's not easy to lure great players to the club that's not challenging for top titles, but when the likes of Robben are available for a mere 13 millions it's a crime IMO not to get them. And I'm not blaming Rafa for this. His head was busy with tons of other things in pre-season. But whoever's job that was I wish they spend a lil more time on this one. Had they tried everything but Robben said "screw u, I'm off to chelski" that would've been dif story. This summer the price for Robben will at least tripple.

But again, the main point is not to lay a blame somewhere, but what i'm saying is if we do not hold on to StevieG and if we are not to add more players of Alonso's quality or even better, then our only hope would be our own youth players whcih are not on a horizon yet. And it would require a manager of Shankly stature and pedigree to start it all over again from the bottom. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. Raf's done a good job off-loading some redundant players, now I wanna see decent reinforcement in the summer.

We need to start spending our money wisely if we do not have enough to waste on experiments. Less gamble, more proven or even un-proven but quality nevertheless, if possible.

In essence, i'm nnot critisizing Rafa or any of the previous managers in this thread, but simply saying what IMO needs to be done.
 
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