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Old 02-17-2017, 09:36 AM   #726
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

Jose was right about us being slack in the first half last night but he didn't help matters by starting Fellain. With him in the team as the AM we essentially had two 6'5 players trying to play off each other, that was never going to work, and trying that 3 man midfield without Carrick was a mistake, Pogba did his part in orchestrating from deep with some excellent movement and passing, but Herrera got caught in no man's land and Fellaini is too slow to get back, so our right side was wide open which put Bailly up against it and he made a couple of errors.

We were much sharper in the 2nd half and that wasn't just mentality, bringing Lingard on gave us a quick and nimble attacker to play off Ibra giving him the 3 moving pieces around him that he likes, and it allowed Herrera to get a bit deeper so he could link with Pogba and more importantly help Valencia and Bailly on the right side, essentially closing that cavern off that we were getting hit in time after time in the first half.

Pogba was class, I have to say I had my doubts about him playing deeper but he's seemingly relishing the responsibility of controlling the tempo, and Martial looks a player reinvigorated, he terrorized their RB. You can see the effect Ibra has on the team's confidence and even if he didn't have a great game he still bagged a hat-trick lol. I also though Blind had his best game in quite some time and shout out to Romero who was very calm in that 15 minute spell in the 1st half when the defense was at 6's and 7's.

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Old 02-17-2017, 09:41 AM   #727
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

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Arsenal need to sort themselves out.
Arsenal and Barcelona both comitted the same sin, they played without fight, Mesut Ozil might be the laziest player I've ever seen.

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Old 02-17-2017, 10:25 AM   #728
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

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Jose was right about us being slack in the first half last night but he didn't help matters by starting Fellain. With him in the team as the AM we essentially had two 6'5 players trying to play off each other, that was never going to work, and trying that 3 man midfield without Carrick was a mistake, Pogba did his part in orchestrating from deep with some excellent movement and passing, but Herrera got caught in no man's land and Fellaini is too slow to get back, so our right side was wide open which put Bailly up against it and he made a couple of errors.

We were much sharper in the 2nd half and that wasn't just mentality, bringing Lingard on gave us a quick and nimble attacker to play off Ibra giving him the 3 moving pieces around him that he likes, and it allowed Herrera to get a bit deeper so he could link with Pogba and more importantly help Valencia and Bailly on the right side, essentially closing that cavern off that we were getting hit in time after time in the first half.

Pogba was class, I have to say I had my doubts about him playing deeper but he's seemingly relishing the responsibility of controlling the tempo, and Martial looks a player reinvigorated, he terrorized their RB. You can see the effect Ibra has on the team's confidence and even if he didn't have a great game he still bagged a hat-trick lol. I also though Blind had his best game in quite some time and shout out to Romero who was very calm in that 15 minute spell in the 1st half when the defense was at 6's and 7's.
Jose's mind games actually working on Martial and Micky Ryan?

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Old 02-17-2017, 10:35 AM   #729
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

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Arsenal and Barcelona both comitted the same sin, they played without fight, Mesut Ozil might be the laziest player I've ever seen.
I gave up on Ozil a long time ago.

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Old 02-17-2017, 11:07 AM   #730
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

I think Özil was arguably the best #10 in the world when he signed for Arsenal. He has delivered plenty for them but been in bad form lately. I think the Özil situation is part of a bigger problem for Arsenal where they sign players who don't really get better. Or rather Wenger not being able to get 100% out of his players.

Looking at their squad, there's just so much wasted potential. Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott, Ox, Gibbs, there's so many players who at one point in their Arsenal career looked like they could be that next big thing (for both club and their national teams) but now it's mostly "good-not-great" players.

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Old 02-17-2017, 11:31 AM   #731
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

I love Ozil, he is one of my favorite players but his approach is really very laidback which doesn't suit Arsenal against bigger oppostions. Being laidback isn't necessarily the worst thing but in today's dynamic football, managers can't afford to have someone like him in their team. He can be a very good big team player tho, where there will be other class players who'll take the pressure of him (or there wouldn't be any pressure on his team to begin with) and let him play his natural play making game.

As far as his fantastic stats are concerned, it is overhyped and overrated. In his 3 yrs at Real Madrid he provided 92 assists in all competitions, more than the combined efforts of both Xavi and Iniesta during the same period. Barca still achieved way more than Real in those 3 yrs. Ozil is always great against the smaller clubs and int'l teams but he inevitably goes missing in the big games. He chokes big time in the crunch games.

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Old 02-17-2017, 11:54 AM   #732
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

At Madrid, Ozil did contribute in some big games with assists, but he disappeared in plenty of other big games too and was not a player that could be relied on or one that I expected anything of in such games. Maybe if he kept working with a coach like Mourinho, he could have improved in big games. Wenger is not the manager to improve a player in such games IMO.

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Old 02-17-2017, 11:55 AM   #733
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

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Yeah, his defensive positioning has improved but it's nowhere near the likes of Carrick/Blind's quite yet. I hope Mourinho doesn't try and convert Pogba into a #6, but I suppose it's a role he may need to play for this season until the right option is brought in. I must say I do really like the combination of Herrera and Pogba, that's a title-winning set there, if the correct #6 is added United will have a very dominant midfield.
Pogba and Herrera are an ideal 2 thirds of a midfield, and even as a duo they seem our most compatible. I think a lot depends on what Jose has planned, I think he likes what Mkhi gives us at #10 and it means he can still use 2 wide attackers and a striker, either way a proper holding CM to replace Carrick is vital in the summer.

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Yeah, he seemed to be more clever with his runs, it's one thing that's lacking from his game, he doesn't make enough runs behind the defensive line. I do see marked improvements each time he plays, though, and he's giving Mourinho reasons to select him which is good. A good performance in cup games would be good, I also suspect due to his familiarity with Ligue 1 Mourinho may see him as a good option against St Etienne.
He certainly didn't disappoint last night, it's like a switch has flipped, every aspect of his game has sharpened and you can see Jose is happier with him and he looks much more confident than he did a few weeks ago.

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http://www.skysports.com/football/ne...and-be-patient

A story came out today on Skysports about Mourinho telling Shaw to be patient, which would (hopefully) suggest that they're working with him. In all honest when Shaw has played this season he's been very subdued, he tends to pass back into his CB or midfielder all the time, and almost never makes forward passes or runs. I still think Shaw is part of the plan, but just like Mkhitaryan and Martial I think Mourinho will prep him properly before using him as a consistent option.
Jose is noticeably softer in his words about Shaw, I think he knows this is a longer job than with Mkhi and Martial, and that Shaw will need a lighter touch to get through his bad spell. Several supposed ITK's still think he'll be sold in the summer but I am still hopeful that he can get back on track.

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Yeah, that's an issue, specifically since we've been extremely dependent on him this season. I actually think Mourinho might use Griezmann up top, he played that role at Sociedad and he's actually quite decent in the air and has a decent poacher's instinct, I could see Mourinho using him up front, if he's flanked by Martial and Mata with Mkhitaryan operating behind them that's a really crafty front line, I'd be intrigued to see how it function.
Some fans are definitely hoping for this and it's not impossible that Jose is thinking this way, it's not a role Griezmann has played a lot but there's nothing to say he can't, as you noted he's good in the air despite his size, and with the movement of Mkhi, Mata and Martial he'd not be required to be a static front man.

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They're really irritating, United pretty have pretty much got a full Benfica starting XI over the last 4 seasons or so, like you mentioned. I think the Portuguese clubs are really keen to fleece clubs for promising players and like linking their players with United to up their profiles.
We should just buy Benfica and put and end to it! Yeah, the Porto and Benfica business model is predicated on accumnlating a lot of young talent in the hopes one will really turn to gold and they can make a huge profit, basically spend £25M on 4 players to sell 1 for £40M.

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Yeah, I agree. I'm very curious to see what happens this summer, considering United's form and the fact that were it not for poor finishing we'd be 2-5 points behind Chelsea I really feel like a few additions in the summer will make United favorites among one or two other teams for next season's title. United have lost the same number of games, roughly, as Chelsea, the draws have been the only issue, and they'll be a thing of the past sooner rather than later.
We definitely feel like a team not far off being able to put in a competetive challenge for the PL, a bit more depth in midfield and fullback, an extra piece of firepower and we are in good shape IMO.

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Old 02-17-2017, 12:03 PM   #734
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

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Jose's mind games actually working on Martial and Micky Ryan?
Seems to be, Martial looks like he's had a fire lit under him and Mkhitaryan looks like he's bulked up a bit, I think Jose needed to remove the safety net from this squad, too many of them under LvG were just guarentee'd to start no matter how they perfrormed, Jose set about changing this from the top when he dropped Rooney.

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I gave up on Ozil a long time ago.
Ozil is one of those players that's nice to watch on his day but would drive you mad if he was in your team for a lot of games.

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At Madrid, Ozil did contribute in big games with assists, but he disappeared in plenty of big games too and was not a player that could be relied on or one that I expected anything of in such games. Maybe if he kept working with a coach like Mourinho, he could have improved in such games. Wenger is not the manager to improve a player in such games IMO.
Someone was saying Wenger is arguably the worst manager for him, the style he wants to play suits him but the fact Wenger has fostered this "4th is fine" mentality at the club is allowing Ozil to rest on his laurels. as he's not naturally driven as a competitor.

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Old 02-17-2017, 12:34 PM   #735
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

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He was one of the worse referees in the league IMO. Couldn't be happier he's gone.
It's difficult to describe how poor the PL referees have been this season, with Clattenburg being one of those I can remember having distinct clangers.

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Arsenal need to sort themselves out.
I don't think it's possible for that anymore, Wenger is a has-been manager who can't motivate his players, and the only players of quality at Arsenal are players that want to be at a club competing for things. Sanchez and Ozil will likely try and engineer moves away if Arsenal don't get top 4 since the atmosphere is getting so toxic, they're in for a meltdown at the end of the season IMO.

Ozil, due to his personality, squanders the kind of talent that could make him a Ballon d'Or contender, he just doesn't give enough of a damn. It's great having Sanchez and Ozil in the same team, both are similarly talented, and one disappears when half decent opponents show up and the other one plays his game.


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Old 02-17-2017, 05:36 PM   #736
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

I've seen Sanchez put in just as many mediocre performances as Özil this season to be honest. I was actually quite surprised to see him so high on the goal-table because it feels like he scores a cheap penalty and that's it most of the time.

But I mean regardless of Sanchez and Özil and how they perform, even if they gave it their 100%, it's not enough to have 2 out of 11 people care. I just don't think anyone fears Wenger. You can have a bad game and get destroyed by 5-1, but you will get a pat on the back after the game, you'll start the next one and it's really not that big of a deal. But if that manager waiting at the sidelines is Mourinho or Klopp, you might get some boots flying towards your head, harsh words and benched for the next game. Fear is not necessarily the only way to rule, but I don't see the players having any respect for Wenger.

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Old 02-17-2017, 05:55 PM   #737
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Sanchez may have had as many bad performances, but the difference to me is he gives it 100% in pretty much every game, while Ozil gives a half-arsed performance frequently. Usually when Sanchez performs badly it's as a result of him having to try and carry the whole team and the opposition just being able to shut down his individual efforts.

Lately the performances of the entire team have been mediocre because you can tell the confidence has just completely drained out of the team, and every player is suffering because of it.

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Old 02-17-2017, 06:07 PM   #738
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Pogba and Herrera are an ideal 2 thirds of a midfield, and even as a duo they seem our most compatible. I think a lot depends on what Jose has planned, I think he likes what Mkhi gives us at #10 and it means he can still use 2 wide attackers and a striker, either way a proper holding CM to replace Carrick is vital in the summer.
Yeah, they complement one another quite well. I'm still not sure whether Jose will opt for 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, at the moment I'd say 4-2-3-1 makes more sense because it means Mkhitaryan and Pogba can both play, while 4-3-3 makes me feel like Mkhitaryan is sacrificed out on the right to accommodate a midfield 3 and from why we've seen recently Mkhitaryan's inclusion really makes our attack more fluid, while having Pogba as a 6 doesn't dilute his contribution completely.

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He certainly didn't disappoint last night, it's like a switch has flipped, every aspect of his game has sharpened and you can see Jose is happier with him and he looks much more confident than he did a few weeks ago.
His last two performances have been impeccable, I hope it's a sign of what's to come for the rest of the season. With him and Rashford to provide energy and pace the left flank has really become threatening, and Valencia offers an outlet on the right.

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Jose is noticeably softer in his words about Shaw, I think he knows this is a longer job than with Mkhi and Martial, and that Shaw will need a lighter touch to get through his bad spell. Several supposed ITK's still think he'll be sold in the summer but I am still hopeful that he can get back on track.
It's not impossible Mourinho thinks Shaw doesn't quite have the resilience or mental aspect to cope, which I could see as a reason for selling him, but I'm going to hope that the truth is that the staff are trying to get him into peak shape mentally and physically to slot back into the team. Protecting players from criticism as far as possible is definitely a hallmark of Mourinho's man management.

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Some fans are definitely hoping for this and it's not impossible that Jose is thinking this way, it's not a role Griezmann has played a lot but there's nothing to say he can't, as you noted he's good in the air despite his size, and with the movement of Mkhi, Mata and Martial he'd not be required to be a static front man.
Yeah, it's possible. I do think it's unlikely though since Mourinho's MO in the PL has always been to rely on a typical center forward to lead his line, with the Griezmann types operating behind him. I would be quite intrigued to see a lineup containing Griezmann, Martial, Mkhitaryan, Mata and Pogba, though - that's a lot of attacking movement and talent.

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We should just buy Benfica and put and end to it! Yeah, the Porto and Benfica business model is predicated on accumnlating a lot of young talent in the hopes one will really turn to gold and they can make a huge profit, basically spend £25M on 4 players to sell 1 for £40M.
It's been incredibly noticeable over the last four or five years, they're the kings of over-valuing their players and getting the press to do their marketing for them. If I remember correctly Gaitan was a £60m player at one stage, and he's now very average at Atletico. They're extremely good at fleecing clubs for far over reasonable value for players, I was a huge fan of Mangala's at a stage but considering his disappointing spell at City his £40m price tag is preposterous now.

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We definitely feel like a team not far off being able to put in a competetive challenge for the PL, a bit more depth in midfield and fullback, an extra piece of firepower and we are in good shape IMO.
I feel like we're really close, the three additions you mentioned plus maybe one or two more solid squad options puts us in a commanding position IMO. The mod encouraging factor for me is how United's bad performances lately still seem to yield positive results, and there haven't been any recent games like the Chelsea defeat where United collapsed or were completely outplayed. Mourinho has almost completed the transformation.


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Old 02-17-2017, 06:35 PM   #739
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Sanchez may have had as many bad performances, but the difference to me is he gives it 100% in pretty much every game, while Ozil gives a half-arsed performance frequently. Usually when Sanchez performs badly it's as a result of him having to try and carry the whole team and the opposition just being able to shut down his individual efforts.
This is exactly it. When Ozil has a bad game it's often because he didn't try hard enough. He is one of the most underachieving players given his talent that I can think of. If Sanchez loses his desire eventually and has more bad games now it's almost understandable given all his efforts of the last couple of years which haven't been matched by his teammates.

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Old 02-18-2017, 06:45 AM   #740
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

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Sanchez may have had as many bad performances, but the difference to me is he gives it 100% in pretty much every game, while Ozil gives a half-arsed performance frequently. Usually when Sanchez performs badly it's as a result of him having to try and carry the whole team and the opposition just being able to shut down his individual efforts.

Lately the performances of the entire team have been mediocre because you can tell the confidence has just completely drained out of the team, and every player is suffering because of it.
Just to play devil's advocate for a bit here - by this point, you as a manager should know what Ozil's game is about and that he's not going to be a lung-busting pressing player. So you need to surround him with players who'll pick up the slack and allow him to play his natural game.

Having said that, I'd agree that his overall contributions over the years in big matches leave a lot to be desired. Someone was making the point earlier that Wenger is the worst manager Ozil could have and that if he'd continued under someone like Jose he'd probably have developed his game more.

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Pogba was class, I have to say I had my doubts about him playing deeper but he's seemingly relishing the responsibility of controlling the tempo, and Martial looks a player reinvigorated, he terrorized their RB. You can see the effect Ibra has on the team's confidence and even if he didn't have a great game he still bagged a hat-trick lol. I also though Blind had his best game in quite some time and shout out to Romero who was very calm in that 15 minute spell in the 1st half when the defense was at 6's and 7's.
This is not the first time Romero's been quality this season - I remember him bailing us in the home game against Feyenoord as well with the most improbable of saves with his knee of all things.

I'm rather surprised by Pogba's performances in the pivot role myself, but I've been thinking to myself since the start of the season that given his age, physique and technique, he can be molded into a beast in that role, not necessarily as THE pivot but in the axis of a 4-2-3-1. I think his poor performances at the EUROs in that role also had to do with the fact Deschamps is not really the most tactically savvy coach out there, whereas Jose is one of the best in that regard.

He definitely needs to improve the defensive side of his game if he's going to be a long-term solution in the role, but if there's anyone who can help him out with that, it's Jose.

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Old 02-18-2017, 09:36 AM   #741
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This is exactly it. When Ozil has a bad game it's often because he didn't try hard enough. He is one of the most underachieving players given his talent that I can think of. If Sanchez loses his desire eventually and has more bad games now it's almost understandable given all his efforts of the last couple of years which haven't been matched by his teammates.
You have a point but I still find it interesting that Özil is so often singled out when he's not that much worse than many other #10s in the other top teams. I don't see that "win or die" or leadership spirit in Eriksen or Coutinho, heck I'd even say Mata has many games where he goes missing. These are all great players though, so not hating.

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Old 02-18-2017, 09:46 AM   #742
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Well done Lincoln City....

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Old 02-18-2017, 10:19 AM   #743
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Well done Lincoln City....
Hope they get a real big side in the quarters, they deserve it after their efforts.

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Old 02-18-2017, 11:11 AM   #744
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Hope they get a real big side in the quarters, they deserve it after their efforts.
Isn't it better to get a weaker team and go through to another round for more money?

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Old 02-18-2017, 05:29 PM   #745
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This is exactly it. When Ozil has a bad game it's often because he didn't try hard enough. He is one of the most underachieving players given his talent that I can think of. If Sanchez loses his desire eventually and has more bad games now it's almost understandable given all his efforts of the last couple of years which haven't been matched by his teammates.
Yeah, it's pretty much a lack of effort. If he loses the ball you never see him put his head down and try and recover it, he just let's Bellerin or Coquelin run themselves into the ground doing it for him. Sanchez tracks back, covers his full back, presses high up the pitch - he's got more to his game.

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Just to play devil's advocate for a bit here - by this point, you as a manager should know what Ozil's game is about and that he's not going to be a lung-busting pressing player. So you need to surround him with players who'll pick up the slack and allow him to play his natural game.

Having said that, I'd agree that his overall contributions over the years in big matches leave a lot to be desired. Someone was making the point earlier that Wenger is the worst manager Ozil could have and that if he'd continued under someone like Jose he'd probably have developed his game more.
Sure, I'd agree with that 100%, I think Wenger (and the board) okay'd the Ozil signing because it kept the fans quiet. People thought Arsenal's problem was not having enough quality players, and that may be part of the story but another part is that Wenger's teams have no fight or resilience when it comes to the mental part of the game. And in the PL right now, with such small margins among teams everyone in the starting XI needs to be giving 100% in each game, there can't be any players coasting through games.

Luxury players might have place at Bayern, or PSG, or Madrid/Barca, but there's no space for that kind of player in the PL where 6 teams are all chasing a league and four CL spots.

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You have a point but I still find it interesting that Özil is so often singled out when he's not that much worse than many other #10s in the other top teams. I don't see that "win or die" or leadership spirit in Eriksen or Coutinho, heck I'd even say Mata has many games where he goes missing. These are all great players though, so not hating.
Coutinho, Mata, David Silva, Mkhitaryan and Eriksen all do more defensive work than Ozil does. It's not about being a leader in their cases, it's about the basics like tracking a runner from midfield or just covering space so a team doesn't pass through you completely. Ozil switches off when Arsenal's not in possession, and couldn't care enough to track back or assist his team out of possession.

He's got inflated stats that have gotten his team zero results, and a few goals worthy of a highlights reel, but unfortunately no matter how many Slovakian goat herders he chips in a CL game it's not going to stop the fact that Arsenal will have zero silverware at the end of the season.

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Old 02-19-2017, 03:47 AM   #746
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

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Isn't it better to get a weaker team and go through to another round for more money?
Maybe but they have to think as a non-league side eventually the run will possibly end and its better at a Man City than a Millwall. The fact they have got to the quarters for the first time in 100 years or whatever by a non-league team means a big pay day anyway for them and a plumb tie would be perfect for them.

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Old 02-19-2017, 11:33 AM   #747
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

Stupid mistakes and letting Blackburn play far to much. And now united are on the back foot. 1-0.


Fingers need to be pulled out and fast

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Old 02-19-2017, 11:42 AM   #748
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

Thank Christ lol

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Old 02-19-2017, 11:43 AM   #749
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

The young man's speed leading the line. Beautiful.

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Old 02-19-2017, 11:44 AM   #750
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Default Re: The Ongoing Serie A, La Liga, All English Football, Champions League Thread - - -

Mkhitaryan is CAM-ing like a boss.

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