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  1. #321
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Was definitely their best game so far in the tournament, which means they are getting better as the tournament goes on and thus that has to be a good thing.

    A couple of defining bits of defending too that saved them. Bad defending in getting to those situations, but outstanding in still saving the situation.

    There's so many leaders in that team too, not just Houghton. Jill Scott, Ellen White, Lucy Bronze... the team is packed with them.


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  2. #322
    Do I shit in the woods? BEAR's Avatar
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    Honestly. I'm thrilled with Wan Bissaka - exactly the type of player and demographic we should be targetting.

    Chilwell/Tierney next

    CB wise - De Light and Maguire would suit, but are probably too good for us at this stage.

    Throw in Declan Rice, or even Longstaff and we're headed in the right direction

  3. #323
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    Quote Originally Posted by BEAR View Post
    Throw in Declan Rice
    Hey, you back off! Probably our most important player next season.

    Rumours seem to have been running that you fancy Diop from us, for an astronomical wedge of money. Now, Diop was really, really good for us last season but I think for the right fee - suitably high, admittedly, given the crazy market right now - we probably should sell. There's quite a bit of rawness to him that still needs ironing out - at 22, I think that will happen, but given the rumours are suggesting Van Dijk levels of money/value (I think it was rumoured you were offering 65m and Phil Jones, so essentially a 60m value. Supposedly we asked for the cash + Martial which must put the deal up and around 75m-80m?) it would be very difficult not to see the upside of doing the deal.

    I'm hoping we sort out with Maxi Gomez wants to sign for us or not soon. Now that Uruguay are out of the Copa it can hopefully start to move forward.

  4. #324
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Can anyone give me a scouting report on any of Villa's new signings? Guy called Wesley, Brazilian forward from Club Bruges, or Targett who we've obviously got in from Southampton? Or Jota, for that matter.

    I honestly haven't seen much of any of them.



    England vs USA in the Women's world cup today. Feels like a huge game actually, probably the biggest in the women's game since I've been following them (which might mean ever, realistically).

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  5. #325
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    Can anyone give me a scouting report on any of Villa's new signings? Guy called Wesley, Brazilian forward from Club Bruges.
    Can't say much on Wesley, but I've seen the term 'Brazilian Miroslav Klose' used which is exciting.

    Targett was one of the better attacking full backs in the league last season. Be interesting to see how he and Wesley combine if the Klose comparison is accurate, because he might well feed off him crossing the ball onto his bonce.

    I'm really, really looking forward to the game tonight. As long as England can focus for 90 minutes we have enough to make a game of it. The last time England played the US we put Lucy Bronze into the midfield and had Rachel Daly at right back, which could happen again - and makes it interesting, I suppose.

  6. #326
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Brazilian Miroslav Klose? I'll certainly take that, or even somewhere near that.

    Weirdly, first Brazilian ever to play for Villa. We've had Argentinians, Peruvians, Colombians, Ecuadorians, even someone from the island of Curacao, but he's our first Brazilian.



    Game last night was pretty tough. England just didn't really pass the ball well enough in the end. America better physically, as you always expect, but also better technically. I thought VAR got both the calls spot on - I'd have no problem with the offsides having a kind of cricket interpretation where they only overrule the on-field officials if it's outside a 'referee's call' margin of error, but since they don't have that.... I mean, it's right, so you can't complain about how close it is if it's still right. And I thought the second one caught the defender trying to be very sneaky. Houghton's penalty might be the worst I've ever seen in an England shirt though, which is a huge shame given the timing. But it would have been a bit of an unfair reflection of the game had we drawn it, or gone on to win from there. Yanks worthy winners and even if they aren't the most likeable team in the tournament, you've got to respect their ability.

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  7. #327
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    Yeah, I don't think we deserved to win last night. We were very sloppy with the ball, although at one point in time my wife said that we'd had more possession, and made more passes, than the US and I was really surprised.

    I think where we really struggled this tournament - and I mean all tournament - is that we became bedded to this 'play it out from the back' philosophy. And that's clearly what Neville wants us to do, but so many opportunities for opponents came from us doing that poorly when just lumping it up the field was a better option in the moment. It's clearly managerial, and the team following their tactics to the letter, so fair enough to them, but we could have really done with that ball going a long way up the pitch or into Row Z at times.

    Not to completely criticise Neville, though - I think he made an interesting tactical choice last night that didn't quite pay off (it's possible Rapinoe's withdrawal meant the plan was doomed from the start) but he eventually adjusted in the second half and got Parris out wide again when Kirby came on, and suddenly we looked much more fluid and in control in the middle and final thirds. It was after that change that we got the disallowed goal and penalty, all from some good interplay behind the striker.

    Ultimately, the USA might not be the most likeable team out there, but they're head and shoulders above most countries when it comes to the national infrastructure behind the women's game. When you consider that over there it's essentially considered as a girls sport and is popular with younger girls, they're always likely to have a headstart. Hopefully the coverage, and success, of our women's team will lead to a groundswell of younger girls playing and in time we can benefit from that at a national level.

  8. #328
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    11.7m is not to be sniffed at. You wonder what the impact of this will be on the game - every time one of these spikes comes along every few years the next time it goes up again, you see more and more talented teenagers coming through.... can only be a good thing, I think.

    Got thinking about Sheepster, today, when I saw that Lampard had the Chelsea job. As our resident Chelsea fan and someone who was never as enamoured with Lampard as even many neutrals, let alone Chelsea fans, I wonder what he'd make of Frank leaping to the job straight from Derby. But, as he hasn't checked in for about a year now, it's hard to imagine that we'll actually find out.

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  9. #329
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Villa have spent a butt-load of money on the defence. No excuse for the coaching team if they're soft at the back next season.

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  10. #330
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Trippier has signed for Spurs. Good on him for taking the plunge and signing for a European team. Should serve him well and improve as a player, even at 28. Traditionally English players struggle when signing for a European club, but hopefully he'll not shy away and he'll push on and cement a starting birth.

    Also can't harm in playing a less strenuous league and thus prolonging his career.


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  11. #331
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    Are we doing the whole LOP fantasy league for me to care about for 3 weeks then plummet down?

  12. #332
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I don't even think I checked mine once after August last season.

    Anyone see the Lampard out hashtag on Twitter?

    Big recovery by Newcastle in their second warmup game.

    And Spurs beating Juventus is the sort of thing that gets a feelgood factor going at a club.

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  13. #333
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    That Kane goal is ridiculous. Every time I watch it, it seems more ridiculous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    Villa have spent a butt-load of money on the defence. No excuse for the coaching team if they're soft at the back next season.
    Prime, out of interest, how do you feel about the money Villa have spent this window? 90m spent, but not on any player with a serious amount of Premier League experience. Targett and Mings have largely been back up players for Premier League teams and have cost a combined 35m, otherwise it seems you're putting a lot of hope into someone like Wesley adapting to the English game fairly quickly, and someone like El Ghazi continuing form from last season.

    There's a little bit of the Fulham's about the transfer work this summer, although possible not quite as disruptive due to the number of players coming in being a bit more limited.

  14. #334
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Ouch, "the Fulhams".

    I don't think it's as bad as all that, but it's obviously not without its risks. The idea is that Targett is someone who can develop, I think, and was spoken of as a very good move. And I think the thing that mitigates the huge fee for Mings is that he did a brilliant job for us last season, and buying in someone who has already settled is less of a risk than getting someone new. And I suppose the one thing you can say is that he was quite an expensive signing for Bournemouth by their standards, and his career was held back more by injury than anything else. So it could end up being decent. We also got Jota, Hause, and El Ghazi on relatively inexpensive deals.

    The gambles are Wesley, Ezri Konsa (England U-21 but at 12m that's a big swing) and 9m for Bjorn Engels. And those are all risky sums for relatively unproven players, for sure.


    The main thing that doesn't worry me, though, is that they've put most of that money in to the same position. Fulham's problem seems to be that they bought a new team. A goalkeeper, two full backs, three centre backs, two midfielders, two wingers and two centre forwards all came in. Conversely, five of Villa's eight signings have been defenders, so it's really like we've poured a lot of money into a problem position rather than just randomly spending. Other than that we've picked up our loan right winger, and bought in a fairly cheap back-up, and then tried to find someone to replace Abraham's goals.

    So - there's risks there, and I can't deny it, but I think it's easier to see the rationale than you sometimes seem from promoted sides. It's pretty clear that the spine of the team is going to be the same, especially through the midfield so I'd expect to see some continuity.

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  15. #335
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Thought I'd come up with my thoughts on three things about Arsenal I'm optimistic for the season to come and three things I'm pessimistic about. Feel free to add your own thoughts to your teams or comment on the following.

    Optimistic

    1. Good, young players coming through. We've already seen flashes in pre-season, but for the first time in what appears to be years we have a good 4 or 5 players under the age of 20, 21 who have come through the system and are really beginning to show promise that they could break into the first team. Reiss Nelson, who had a blinding season at Hoffenheim (and would have garnered much more attention had Sancho not been even better in the Bundesliga), Eddie Nketiah who has already bagged quite a few goals in preseason and last season, Emile Rowe Smith who is only 18 (19 this week) but already showing a lot of maturity, Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka... there's plenty of talent there. They may not all make it, but they are all shwoing promise, and I think Emery will give some of them a chance this season.

    2. Exciting transfer targets. This time 2 months ago I would not have expected us to be in for Zaha, Tierney or Everton Soares, as we missed out on Champions League qualification. But these three in particular would definitely strengthen the team, especially Zaha and Tierney. Zaha is a top 4 player easily and I've always kept my eye on Tierney. Everton Soares I don't know too much about, but the signs are promising and he appears to be the closest of the three to be joining. Zaha is a long shot, due to the budget, but we should get Tierney over the line, who would be a fantastic replacement for Monreal.

    3. Second year of Emery should show a more settled side. Overall, I think Emery's first season should be deemed more of a success than a failure. No, not an A+ season, but a solid B as he finished the season arguably in a better place than 12 months previous. By now, he should have gotten to grips with the team, squad, behind the scenes and stamped his authority. The defense is undoubtedly what let him down last year, so I would hope that there is more of a focus. Edu coming in as Director of Football and Freddie Ljungberg as First Team Coach are good choices for those roles. Steve Bould takes a step back (and I have to say I can't see what he brought to the table anyway) and Per Mertesacker begins his second year in his academy role.


    Pessimistic

    1. Best we can hope for is 3rd, worst 7th. Lets not kid ourselves, realistically Man City and Liverpool will fight it out for the top two spots. Anybody thinking Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Man United will break that duopoly for the next season or two is deluded. Can those teams get closer? Yes, but they won't break into those positions. Worst of all, the teams directly behind are arguably catching up. Leicester, Everton and West Ham look in decent shape to make a go at breaking into the top 6 at least. Do I think we can finish 3rd? Not really, 4th is more attainable, but we start the season as 5th or 6th favourites and will need to upset some pundits.

    2. Defense issues remain. All the speak of transfers in, only Tierney represents a defensive addition. William Saliba is certain to sign in the next week or so, but I understand he will be loaned back to St Ettienne for the upcoming season. Koscielny, who has seen better days, is also certain to leave which leaves us very bare at the back. Mustafi simply cannot cut it at this level, Socrates is solid, but we need a new starting CB as a minimum. Rob Holding is back fit, which is a huge plus as I do rate him quite highly. Calum Chambers, on the other hand, similar to Mustafi, is just not on the same level. Currently, our starting back four would consist of Bellerin, Mustafi, Socrates and Monreal (with Kolasinac coming in if it reverts to a back three). That defence will not see us to 4th in the league, guaranteed.

    3. The fans may start to turn. All things considered, the fans were accepting of the fact last season that a) Change is necessary and b) It will take time. As such, most of the fan base got behind Emery, whether it was going well or not (Man U fans could learn something from that...). They'll continue to do so this season, but now the objective is non-negotiable. Should May come round and we're in the Europa League positions, the fans will get restless and Emery may not see out next summer.


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  16. #336
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Have to have a think about doing this ^ for Villa at some point.

    Just stopped by to say IFAB have clarified the rules on handball for this season, specifically about what kind of 'unintentional' handballs would qualify as a free kick, and which ones wouldn't. It basically seems to be do you gain a goalscoring opportunity from an unintentional handball. Other than that, it's all very much the same, are you making yourself so big that it can't really be called unintentional, etc.

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  17. #337
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Just a quick word on those points I raised, turned out we had a very very good transfer market this season. Seeing the majority of pundits now pegging us for 4th ahead of Chelsea and Man United.

    Season starts today! Well last night... but the main course is today!


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  18. #338
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Apologies for the double post, but thought I'd give my thoughts on the Arsenal game (I live in Newcastle, so I was there!)

    Scrappy game overall, Arsenal edging it based on the play. It was an interesting lineup with Nelson and Willock starting, along with Chambers alongside Sokratis.

    Willock impressed a little, Nelson less so, but plenty of time for them to get further opportunities. Chambers was (surprisingly for me) very composed, much more so then when he last put on an Arsenal shirt. I still think once Holding comes back from injury it will relegate Chambers down the pecking order though.

    Ceballos, Pepe and Martinelli came on late on; not much time to see what they're like, but Ceballos fit in nicely in the midfield.

    As for Newcastle, they played... alright. I think there will be 3 worse teams come the end of the season, but maybe not 5. Steve Bruce got a decent reception, though there were a few groans throughout as Newcastle looked slow in building up play.

    There was a significant protest outside in the city directed at Mike Ashley, however I'd say the ground was still 90%, 95% full. However season ticket sales are down by 10000 by some accounts, so it would be interesting to see how numbers remain throughout the season. Perhaps with it being the first day and against a decent team in Arsenal, the fans decided to come to the stadium.


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  19. #339
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    Do I get to laugh at Frank Lampard's Chelsea even after the Saturday West Ham result?

  20. #340
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I'm not sure to be honest!

    Villa don't get to laugh at anyone though. Being taught a few harsh lessons about the Premier League so far.

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  21. #341
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    A little worrying, but I still feel you'll be OK. You've shown in the first game that you're no pushovers and in the second that you're up for the fight.


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  22. #342
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    I love Eric Cantona.

    Interesting to see Mings get an England call up for the upcoming games. Also kind of mad to consider that Jesse Lingard is one of the more senior members of the squad in terms of both age and caps. Still feel like he's about 22, not 26.

  23. #343
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Ugh... a case of what if? yesterday. Arsenal dominated for large portions, with Spurs always looking threatening on the counter. But Xhaka... I just can't compute anymore what he brings to the side. Whenever he's mentioned, it's due to a mistake. I'd give Guendouzi and Torreira the position and offload Xhaka ASAP.

    All in all... probably a fair result.


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  24. #344
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    Yeah. Emery's unloading the useless, inconsistent and just a bit out of their league players well but Xhaka has the bloody armband. The only thing he has is long range passing ability and Guendouzi and Ceballos both showed they have it as well yesterday. It really is headscratching. As you say, Guendouzi and Torreira sitting with a Dani or a Ozil in front of them makes a lot of sense. They both have that spirit we've been craving and that bit more quality along with it as opposed to the Frimpongs of this world. I think I'd actually put the armband on Matteo. He just seems to get it and you can feel that passion coming out.

  25. #345
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    You'd put the armband on Dominic Matteo? I know you've got defensive problems and he could probably get in the back four but making him captain at 45 seems a bit much.

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  26. #346
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    Anything is a step up lol

  27. #347
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Haha. I don;t know if I'd put the armband on him, would much prefer he focus on his role in the side. But the lack of a senior figure at the club has created this issue, whereby we do not have a clear captain. I hate giving the armband to a forward or someone who would spend most of the time on the bench...

    Now here's a thought... What if we gave it to Luiz? New to the club, yes, but experienced and does have leadership qualities (kind of anyway). Plus, maybe the armband is the jolt of responsibility he needs to help his game and cut out the errors?


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  28. #348
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I think that's the kind of idea that can only go two ways. It either works beautifully or backfires spectacularly. Safe to say, as with almost every moment of Luiz's career, there'd be no middle ground. You'd either have nailed-on Brazilian international, or Sideshow Bob.

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  29. #349
    If I were you, I'd give it to Hector Bellerin when he becomes fit (imo)

  30. #350
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I think Bellerin... all he has going for him is longevity. Been at the club since 2013 as an 18 year old, but he's never shown any leadership qualities really.


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  31. #351
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    With his fashion sense, he shouldn't be captain of anything!

    Seriously I agree, I am not one for putting the armband on a forward. CB or CM for me always. I'd want to see Luiz settle before going that route tbh. Guendouzi is vocal, maturing at an insane rate too. Not sure who else really. Papa maybe, or Torreira. Both bring that kinda lead by example vibe. I dunno.

  32. #352
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    Arsenal giving the armband to Bellerin is a bit like West Ham giving the armband to Cresswell - it doesn't seem there are any captaincy qualities in his play, but he's been there for a long time.

  33. #353
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Sokratis is a shout tbf.


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  34. #354
    Neymar to AEW to form a heel tag team with MJF hahaha

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    The Neymar thing is really fascinating, for me. PSG have done such a public job of trying to sell him that you'd have thought they had everything set up to ship him out. Now he's stayed and they have to reintegrate him to their squad - but he seems to come across as such a moody bugger that it's got to be bad for morale just to have him around.

    They've also loaned Icardi who...well, for me, I think he's a better striker than Neymar. Causes more trouble, though. I hope his wife gets a role on French TV.

    If they can get Neymar back on side, a front three of Neymar, Icardi, and Mbappe is mouthwatering. But more likely Icardi is a stop gap for the injury to Cavani, Neymar doesn't play ball, and Mbappe is currently out injured. There front three is ex-Stoke Chuopo-Moting, Man United flop Angel Di Maria, and Icardi for the next month at least.

  36. #356
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Anyone else see that Kosovo have turned the Czech Republic over in the Euro qualifying?

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  37. #357
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    Anyone else see that Kosovo have turned the Czech Republic over in the Euro qualifying?
    No, but that's incredible. And they're unbeaten in this qualification campaign as well, I see, from just checking - 2 wins and 2 draws, second in England's group.

    I can't quite wrap my head around this qualification period ending in November - I think with the Nation's League stuff running they started late, because it's only going to have been something like 8 months since it started when it's over. Normally feel like these things drag on and on.

  38. #358
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Our teams head-to-head tonight Oli. Feeling confident?

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    Not especially, if I'm being honest - I think you'll at least score one against us, given our defensive frailties, and I'm not sure whether or not we'll get one in at the other end or not. Probably depends on Anderson being up for it and Lanzini not being too knackered from international travel - we've at least had a lengthy recovery period, which helps us out.

    If I was a betting man I'd have this as a score draw on my pools card. What about you?

  40. #360
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I was leaning towards a score draw or you winning a tight one, to be honest. I think we've got a lot to be optimistic about in terms of the season as a whole if we can get it together, but I'm not sure we quite look like we're at that point just yet. Still think we're in a learning phase.

    I'd take a draw, if you offered it to me right now.

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