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  1. #201
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Nah, Liverpool will choke. Surely...

    I actually love their team, but yeah, their fans will be insufferable.


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  2. #202
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    I am a Man Utd fan and every fibre in my being does not want Liverpool to win. And like Gooner mentioned, there fans will be insufferable acting like they won the league 10 years straight.

    But with that being said, I wouldn't mind it too much if Liverpool wins the league because of the utmost respect I have for Klopp as a manager. I'd rather have Liverpool win than City whose fans think they own Manchester.

    Liverpool is only now starting to feel the pressure of being at the top of the table and their players are not conditioned to withstand that pressure so it wouldn't be surprising if they slip up (like Gerard did!) and don't take the title home.

  3. #203
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    Cardiff signed Sala but it looks like his plane has crashed en route to us. If true it’s really horrendous and my thoughts go out to his family.

  4. #204
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    Good god. Awful season for football and aviation, not known anything like it before.

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  5. #205
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    Yeah, horrifying if true. Like the Srivaddhanaprabha and the Chapecoense crashes, some things are above football.

  6. #206
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    Looks pretty much confirmed. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s hard to go about your everyday business when this is happening. I can only imagine how Nantes players are feeling, as well as his family.

  7. #207
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Have Liverpool peaked too soon? They're 2-2-2 from the last 6 games in all competitions.

    And you can't help but feel Man City are probably over their little blip.


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  8. #208
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    It's been confirmed that the body they have recovered from that plane is Sala. Pretty much as expected but doesn't make the news any better.

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  9. #209
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    The Sala news is horrendous. It’s broken a lot of our fans. But huge love for all of them over their reaction. And the rest of football.

    Meanwhile, Aguero is incredible.

  10. #210
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    Is Aguero (strangely) underrated? He never seems to be really talked about when people throw out lists of the top players, but his consistency and ability is just unrelenting. His only season with less than 20 goals in all competitions was in 12/13, which as I recall was really injury interrupted. He's phenomenal.

  11. #211
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    His style of player has always been a bit underrated compared to the fancy-dans. There's always been a bias in favour of a Maradona, Cruyff, Messi, C. Ronaldo or Pele ahead of the likes of a Eusebio, Shearer, Van Basten, Fat Ronaldo or Gerd Muller.

    I suppose it kinda depends on what you want out of your footballers, but most of these conversations privilege how attractive or entertaining their individual skills are over their sheer effectiveness. And I'm not saying Aguero doesn't have the entertaining side down, but he just is top, top level when it comes to being an effective striker. Deserves to be with anyone in that conversation.

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  12. #212
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Think they mentioned on Match of the Day how he has only been awarded one PFA team of the year (2018) and has never been pfa player of the year. Probably the best player in the premier league to not win that award. He's coincided with RVP, Suarez, Kane and Hazard for the team of the year honours. Seems very much to always be the bridesmaid in those instances.


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  13. #213
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    That's interesting, because RVP and Kane are also players that I could put in that same kind of bracket. The other two are very much the kind of player that tend to get the rub of the green when it comes to those things.

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  14. #214
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    The other great statistic was Aguero vs the so called 'big six' (or five, considering he plays for one). In 64 games he's scored 43 goals against Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs. That is just staggering. Kane is close to Aguero, but has played less games (he's on 21 goals from 41 games I believe)


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  15. #215
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    Also one of only a few people to have hit over 150 Premier League goals...

    260 Alan Shearer
    208 Wayne Rooney
    187 Andrew Cole
    177 Frank Lampard
    175 Thierry Henry
    163 Robbie Fowler
    162 Jermain Defoe
    153 Sergio AgŁero
    150 Michael Owen

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  16. #216
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    Didn't see it but gather it was a big European night for Spurs...

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  17. #217
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Yeah, have to say they put in a great second half performance. Dortmund were marginally on top at the break, but an early second half goal seemed to wake the crowd up. Deserved winners in the end.

    Even more impressive that they're doing this without Alli and Kane.


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  18. #218
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    Kane's a funny player - every time I watch him, I always think 'oh, he's not doing much/being ineffective' and then he'll poke one in from a few yards. Or, even more often, I'll think 'oh, he just pokes them in from a few yards' and he'll do something ridiculous from outside the box, or that run and finish against Southampton a couple of years ago, or that Everton goal he curled in from somewhere over near the corner flag.

    I suppose the mark of a great striker is doing the bread and butter so regularly - finishing from six yards or do - but then ever so often being able to make a goal for yourself from nearly nothing at all.

    I mean, he's no Batistuta, but still. Being a second tier striker behind the GOAT is still pretty notable.
    Last edited by Oliver; 02-19-2019 at 12:25 PM.

  19. #219
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I've thought the same way up until probably last year. Good player, but lucky player. I've revisited that opinion and I have to say now that he his in the upper echelon of strikers. Not, not Ronaldo good or Messi good, but damn good. On a par or even better than the likes of Lewandowski, Aguero, Griezmann... He's stronger than he looks, his finishing is fantastic but I think most of all, it's his positioning and getting into the right areas off the ball.

    His World Cup campaign solidified that thinking. Take away the penalties, but the three goals he scored were down to being in the right place at the right time. The two goals against Tunisia were off 'second balls' and even the Panama freak deflection goal you could argue he was in the right place!

    He does still occasionally fall into the trap of not 'doing' anything for 85 minutes, but I think if you make sure you make your mark in each game, he should be forgiven that.

    Put it this way, I'd have him at Arsenal in a heartbeat.


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  20. #220
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    Only just occurred to me that if City win the league this year, they will be the first team to successfully defend the EPL title since the last great United team under Fergie won three titles on the spin, which was a decade ago now if you can believe it.

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  21. #221
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Apologies for the double post, just thought I'd mention the race for 4th place, which after this weekend should probably be renamed as the race for 3rd and 4th.

    It's set up to be very intriguing.

    Tottenham have a tough run in, with away fixtures to Liverpool and Man City to come and loaded with banana skins such as their last fixture against Everton and an away day at Bournemouth. Some nicer fixtures before then could assist them though with two home games against Brighton and Huddersfield to come.

    Manchester United arguably have it tougher; Arsenal, Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea all have to play them. Away day at Wolves also, but last two games are gimmes (Cardiff and Huddersfield).

    Arsenal have a nicer load, but are more susceptible to slip ups. Just United left from the top 6 (next weekend), but Watford, Leicester and Burnley away days will surely see them drop points. If they don't then it would be hard to see them not finish top 4, which would be a decent result for Emery.

    Finally Chelsea who have a nice March followed by a horrible April, Liverpool and United away, London derby against West Ham and a home game to Burnley. Watford and Leicester in May. They don't really have an easy game left.

    Who have we all got for top 4?

    EDIT: NOT a double post then! Prime beat me to it. Yeah, hardest top-tier league to retain in Europe I'd say.
    Last edited by Gooner; 03-03-2019 at 05:50 PM.


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  22. #222
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    Good analysis. Looking at that lay out I'd say on paper it should be Arsenal and Spurs in some configuration, but I dunno, I've got a funny feeling United might still play spoiler. Don't see Chelsea finishing in the top four at all, so it'll be from the other three.

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  23. #223
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    I could see Chelsea and Arsenal. I actually think Kepagate might unify Chelsea.

  24. #224
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I do too, Tottenham on paper, and currently in the league, the best of those 4. But a Champions League run plus two very difficult games could derail them. Arsenal... well, I wouldn't be surprised to us win next weekend at home to United and then lose to Watford. If we're able to navigate those tricky games, then surely one of the two positions are ours. But United have the momentum, are certainly playing a lot better and will probably be out of Europe by next week. Chelsea... don't ever count them out. But it appears they're on a downward trend at the worst time, despite their wins to Spurs and Fulham this week.


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  25. #225
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    Yes, but who's going to win the Everton Cup?

    Wolves and Watford currently level on points there, Wolves with a +2 goal difference advantage courtesy of Liverpool thrashing the latter last week. Wolves have a tough run in, though, facing Arsenal and Man United at home, Chelsea and, on the last day, Liverpool away. Watford's is arguably just as uncomfortable, Man City, Man United, and Chelsea away, with Arsenal visiting. They also both have to play each other in the final nine games, making 5 out of those 9 tough challenges on paper. The good news on both parts is that 3 of their remaining 4 games are clubs from the bottom 5 - Wolves have Burnley, Southampton, and Fulham, while Watford have Southampton, Fulham, and Huddersfield. It could well be that the deciding factor comes down to the outstanding match - Brighton for Wolves, and West Ham for Watford.

    Speaking of the Claret and Blue Londoners, they're currently four points back in 9th, but could be argued to have a kinder run in - three of the top six away in Man United, Chelsea, and Spurs, but otherwise home games against Huddersfield, Everton, Leicester, and Southampton, away at Cardiff and Watford on the last day. Three fellow mid-table teams there, but home advantage in two of them could help and you'd possibly fancy them to overcome some, if not all, of that four point deficit.

    Two points further back, and possibly the last of the contenders, sit Everton. A big gap to overcome to the club in pole position for a trophy they had previously made their own, but with Arsenal and Man United visiting them before they have Spurs away on the final day, and this coupled up with some nice looking away days at Fulham, Palace, and Newcastle, suggests they could be in with a shout. Hardest for them outside of the top six matches will be West Ham away, based on the table, but the blue side of Liverpool has recently been something of a bogey team for the Hammers.

    Leicester sit a further two points back, and you'd have to think that even the Rodgers Bounce won't see them overcome a eight point gap to take the trophy.

  26. #226
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    After this weekend's results (fantastic weekend for Arsenal by the way!) I went ahead and predicted the last 8 fixtures of the top 6 to see where things may land. I tried to be as fair as possible, and not just have Arsenal win every game...

    Man City ended up top with a three point gap to second placed Liverpool. I did have City winning all their remaining fixtures, with Liverpool only dropping points once (draw against Spurs). I doubt this will happen this way, but on paper, I just see City shading it.

    The battle for 3rd and 4th is fascinating though. Spurs edged ahead by two points in third place. But I had Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all on 75 points. It very well could come down to goal difference, so I had Arsenal in fourth (they're ahead as of right now, so fair to say it could stay the same).

    In any case, it should be a belter of a run-in.


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  27. #227
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    Surprised not to see anything about Grealish in here, even though it did happen outside the top flight. The clown admitted the assault in court and has been jailed for fourteen weeks.

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  28. #228
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    I was outraged by the incident, albeit it happened to one of the least likable players I know. There’s no place for it anyway and I have huge respect for the way Grealish handled it.

    I’ve seen Grealish play twice. Once against Stevenage, once against Cardiff. Both times he was utterly painful and brilliant in equal measure and wound the fans up greatly.

  29. #229
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    Must admit I didn't expect Liverpool to still be top of the league at this late stage.

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  30. #230
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    Me either - there's an argument that it's luck of the fixture list as City have that game in hand, but I don't think many would have expected them to make up the gap to City so fully this season after last year.

    City arguably have a tougher run in, with Spurs at home and Man United away as two tricky fixtures, while Liverpool will look at what they have coming up and, beyond Chelsea, must fancy every game as being theirs to lose.

    That said, I fancy City to win every game they've got in the league between now and the end of the season, even with those two harder matches. Might very well see a final league table where the top two teams have got 98 and 97 points.

  31. #231
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Liverpool have looked a little shaky, albeit they have won all their recent games. Man City, bar last Tuesday in the Champions League have been playing within themselves I think.

    I can see both reaching 90 plus, but there's twists in the tale still I feel.

    Meanwhile, just as interesting, is the race for top 4. All four teams have been in and out of the top four within the last couple fo weeks. Fascinating subplot to the title race.

    If Arsenal can get to grips with their away form, they're surely nailed on. Tottenham will kick on surely with their new stadium.

    Manchester United have dipped in form at the worst moment, I suspect they may just miss out.

    As for Chelsea, god knows. They could sink or swim. Whatever the case, Sarri will surely see the exit at the end of the season?


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  32. #232
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    So... all four EPL teams in the quarter finals. Only one from any other nation at this stage. Does this mean that on the European stage, the Premier League is back as a legit powerhouse, as they were in the previous decade?

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  33. #233
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    They've certainly returned to form, but I'd say the big three in Spain + Juventus + Bayern + PSG will have something to say about it come next year.

    With Porto and Ajax in the quarters, it's fair to say that the big teams in Europe this year have not performed particularly well. Real Madrid and Bayern especially. Atletico got a little unlucky, PSG got very unlucky.

    But English football is definitely on the rise. Just don't expect we will have another 4 teams in the quarters next year. Two yes, three at a push.


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  34. #234
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    It's tricky to know because while, as you say Gooner, the big European sides have slipped up this season, equally the only result that I think is a surprise is Man United reaching the quarter finals over PSG. Liverpool I would fancy to at least have an evens chance of getting past Bayern, Spurs vs Dortmund was a pretty even toss up too.

    Think when you get to that last 16 round, though, it's all pretty close normally. Could be a repeat next season, could be no English teams in the quarters. You have to wonder how much of this is down to it being the Premier League, richest league in the world and so on, though - are the teams basically seen as 'buying' success on the continent?

    Actually, on that point - how comfortable are we with the emerging narrative (I've heard it a few times recently) that Liverpool are essentially 'plucky underdogs' against the 'financial behemoth' of City? Seems to be becoming a slightly louder story to shout about now, but I feel it's kind of nonsense - Liverpool spent more on a goalkeeper last summer than some teams in the Premier League spent on their entire transfer business.

  35. #235
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Yeah the whole 'Liverpool are underdogs' compared to City is ludicrous. They've both spent ridiculous amounts, but more importantly they've spent it well. Whereas Man United for example have just wasted money.

    I have to give Spurs credit though. The fact they have gone a whole year without signing a single player and yet remain fairly sure of a top 3 place is astounding. Says a lot to how good their squad is, or at least their first XI.


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  36. #236
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    And Son. Son is a ridiculously good player, and yet seems to get more of a reserve role.

    The thing that's really impressed me with Spurs, and Pocchetino, is that somehow they've turned Sissoko into a near unplayable central midfielder.

  37. #237
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Absolutely, Son has been class all year round. Would deserve a mention when it came to the end of year awards.

    As for Sissoko, bar a few months with Newcastle where he was damn good, he's largely been irrelevant. But no more, he's a bully in midfield and is asking the question who else fills that role next to him, with Dier and Winks injured and Wanyama just coming back.


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  38. #238
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    PFA Team of the Year has been chosen:

    Ederson

    Alexander-Arnold
    Van Dijk
    Laporte
    Robertson

    B Silva
    Fernandinho
    Pogba

    Sterling
    Aguero
    Mane

    One of these is not like the other....

    I'd like to see an alternative Team of the Year without Liverpool or Man City players, purely for recognition. It's not a surprise that they dominate the team selection, but there's been plenty of players down the league that deserve at least a mention.


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  39. #239
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    A statistics based team of the season as a point of comparison, compliments of whoscored....


    Fabianski

    Pereira
    Digne
    Van Dijk
    Schar

    Hazard
    Pogba
    Sane

    Sterling
    Aguero
    Salah

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  40. #240
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    Not sure about Pereira (I assume the Leicester defender, not the Man United fella?) or Schar, but Digne has been good for Everton. I don't Sane has played enough for me, Sterling and B Silva have started ahead of him mostly this season.

    Going back to the main PFA team, surely Pogba falls out in place of Hazard. Without Hazard, Chelsea would be mid-table!

    I feel a Spurs player deserves a place too, perhaps Eriksen or Son. Yes, they're 20-odd points behind the leaders, but I have to say they have been very good on the eye this year.


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