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  1. LJ had his hands tied today due to injuries. However Massengo looks miles off the pace in terms of his awareness to the game. The lad has bags of potential but today showed he still has a lot of developing to do. With Smith injured and Nagy seemingly still not right after his initial injury we look very light in the middle of the pitch. A lot of fans were calling for Morrell or Walsh to be recalled. There’s two sides to the arguement squad fillers/development. When considering our position in the league I feel we should have recalled one of them to cover. If Henriksen gets injured it leaves us with Massengo and Rowe as natural central midfielders.
  2. @Kid in the Riot Are we likely to go after a replacement? And who were the players that we enquired for that you mentioned last week? I feel tomorrow could be one of the most exciting deadline days city have had in a long time (if all goes to plan).
  3. With the prices in today’s market, I wouldn’t mind us trying to get two of Burnley’s players in exchange for Brownhill instead of a fee. £7m (in the summer) wouldn’t get us a lot of quality as transfer fees have become extremely inflated. If we can strike a deal for Wells (permanent) and Vydra or Gibson (loan with option to buy) that would see Brownhill move the other way, then I would be more than happy with that. City have sold players for some superb fees in previous years. However we tend to look to reinvest in development talent instead of players that are immediately ready to play in the top end of the championship. City spend £1-2m on players with the potential to be special but may take 2 years to develop. We didn’t see the best of the likes of Eliasson or Brownhill straight away. But with the position we are in now we need to be able to replace quality with quality. We still haven’t replaced Bobby or Webster since they left. Therefore, taking advantage of a Prem teams interest could work for us if it sees a player coming in the opposite direction. And could potentially lead to both of those players finally being replaced. I would much prefer us to try and strike a deal that would see Burnley get the player that they want (Brownhill) and us see some quality come to us. If that would be any 2 of Wells, Gibson or Vydra then I would feel we have got the better deal.
  4. Let’s take the positives from today. - A vital 3 points which could be the turning point for us. - Another clean sheet. Always a bonus (I think we look better with Baker in the team) - Just goal difference keeping us outside of the play offs. I’ve voiced my opinion on LJ previously. However, the fact that we are showing we can ‘win ugly’ is a good trait to have. How many times over the years have we seen a poor performance and a result to match? If we can grind out these results then I would sacrifice a ‘performance’ if it gets us into the top 6 after 46 games have been played. The football on display is obviously not the most exciting to watch. Yet today and last Saturday managed to get us over the line. The performances may not seem great, but yet we have seen an improvement in our defensive record over the past few games. Without a striker capable of running off the shoulder of the oppositions defence then we need to rely on taking our chances when they fall to the likes of Fam and Weimann. Now if that means we can scrape together some 1-0 wins between now and the end of the season then I am fine with that. I’ll give credit to LJ for today. Up against a Barnsley side who have been in decent form who didn’t sit back. Often these games are more challenging at this stage of the season as they are fighting for their lives to stay up. Not the greatest game but job done in the end. We managed to keep the clean sheet and walk away with the 3 points without really showing much quality in the attacking third. Steady progress today. Nothing to shout about, but keeps us firmly in the mix. And a more humble LJ in front of the media after the game. Let’s just hope we can add a couple of bits of extra quality between now and the end of the window and not slip into another slump for the remaining games. 3 wins in the last 4 in the league. There’s always one team who picks up form in the second half of the season, let’s hope it’s us this year.
  5. If we can get if we can get them up to 8m plus a player (Vydra or Gibson) then it’s no brainer. Josh is a good player and very likeable but we also have players capable of slotting straight in. I also believe that we could buy a player of similar ability for less than we would sell for. John Swift at Reading would be my choice. However for 7m alone I would refuse. Brownhill is likely to be the highest value within our squad at the moment, We should be able to get a better deal than 7m on its own.
  6. How we are 1 point off the play offs is a miracle in itself. Recent form and today’s ‘smash and grab’ performance is to be questioned but yet we somehow are within touching distance of the top 6. Winning ugly is a positive trait however. Being able to take home maximum points without being at our best. The possession stats from today are really laughable. A poor Wigan team battling for their lives at the bottom end of the table, are able to dominate the ball against us. However we came away with the 3 points and sets us up to push on. This may cause some debate but a player like Sam Morsey could be very useful to us. Happy to sweep up in front of the defence and is alert to interceptions. Not gifted with the highest of ability, but knows his role and does it well (whilst also being able to wind up the opposition, from what I have seen of him previously). I’m amazed looking at the table that we are still well and truely in the mix. Yet we are presented with an opportunity to make a strong push in the remaining games of the season. If we can get some quality up top to support Fam (who has really done very well the last few games) can we keep pushing without having a clear ‘identity’ and never really performing well? My question is simply.... Would fans be happy to stick with LJ whilst winning ugly, yet not being exciting to watch in the slightest? Personally I don’t think LJ is the right man(as I have stated on previous topics). But yet this seems to be the craziest season I can remember for a long time. So many teams separated by such few points. Is the impossible really possible?
  7. I don’t believe we will see the best of either Fam or Weimann in a front 2. Space is compact and if Fam is holding the ball up he has few options around him. Switch to 4-3-3, or 4-2-3-1, then you find the width will allow the midfield to push up higher to act as a support unit. Gives us the option to keep the ball moving into different attacking areas and allowing more movement off the ball.
  8. I’ve just had a look at the current championship table. It caught my eye that the current top 6 (plus Millwall in 7th), all play formations suited to one striker. Delving deeper into this from 1st place to ourselves in 11th, only two teams play with 2 regular strikers. Leeds - Bamford West Brom - Robson-Kanu Brentford - Watkins Forest - Grabban Fulham - Mitrovic Swansea - Baston Millwall - Bradshaw Sheff Wed - play 2 up top (rotation) Hull - Eaves Preston - Stockley (*often rotated) City - Fam and Weimann Is this showing that our formation is out of date with the current trend of formations within the league. There’s no questioning that counter-attacking football has become a key part of today’s game, leading to teams maximising their strengths with the use of wingers and attacking midfielders. Yet our shape and general set up looks to be rather flat. Formations such as 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 are the chosen set-up for the teams in the top end of the division. So why do we flick between 3-5-2 and 4-4-2? The main discussion on the forum today has been about Kasey Palmer. Now we could certainly argue that he has been mismanaged. Kasey would flourish in a 4-2-3-1. This would also allow Eliasson to play on a regular basis too. Come the end of this transfer window we will hope to have signed a striker capable of running off the last defender. Would this not be perfectly suited to a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3? LJ made a valid point after the Luton game about the players attacking Eliassons crosses. He wants one across the near post and someone always attacking the back. A 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 allows the second winger to attack the box at the far post whilst the striker attacks the near. This seems to be a strength of Marley Watkins (credit to him in recent weeks, looks to have stepped up). Marley is physical, and hardworking. The goal against Luton highlights my point about attacking the cross. When we have possession (particularly at home matches) we often look to reach a ‘sticking point’ in the final 3rd of the pitch. The movement seems to slow down and options are limited. Often our only option is to play the ball wide to Eliasson and hope for some of his magic to work. Looking at other teams in the division (West Brom, Leeds, Brentford, Fulham), they seem to have consistent fluidity in their style of football in a formation that fits. Looking through our squad we have players with great ability who I believe are being restricted in the current formations. Massengo, Nagy, Brownhill are all capable of moving the ball quickly as they are capable of driving forward with the ball. It currently seems that they are either being told to make numerous passes (before subsequently squandering possession), or they have no options in front of them. Players such as Palmer, Eliasson, Watkins, Paterson are the direct link to goal. Get them in the positions to make an impact. Allow them to show their ability in the freedom given to the likes of Benrahma, pereira, Diaganna and Hernandez. The look of the current standings tells a story. The teams with similar systems are at the top. Yes granted only a few points separate a number of sides, but all of the current top 6 seem to have a system that recognises their strengths and allows them to showcase their attacking talent. Our current set-up looks to invite teams on to attack us. I’ve mentioned numerous times that we often look to minimise other teams strengths instead of implementing our own. Changing the system and formation is the best way to utilise our talents within the squad. I’ve highlighted in the last few days that I feel in order to gain promotion to the promised land our future would lie in the hands of another manager. However that will never stop me from supporting this club, If LJ is the man in charge then he will get my backing each and every 90 minutes we play. As fans all we want is for the club to be successful moving forward. That said, the formation and system needs to be addressed for us to become a threat in this league. With the squad we have let’s allow them to play fast paced football that will have teams worrying about us. - Let’s let Eliasson use his pace and quick feet to deliver the crosses. - Let’s let a creative midfielder (hopefully Palmer) worry about playing the killer defense splitting pass. And not have to worry about being stuck in the middle of the pitch with no option in front of him. -Let’s give the second winger in the system the freedom to attack the box. - Let’s find that striker who will give defenders a headache for 90 minutes by constantly being an option in attack. - And finally let’s let the midfield do their job of supplying the ball forward to make those attacks possible, instead of playing 50 passes side-to-side.
  9. Have been some rumblings from Liverpool fans that they would like him to succeed Klopp. As I stated in my previous post, he is believed to be the tactician amongst Klopp’s staff. Also has a key input into the training sessions there. However given the length of Klopp’s new deal, would Ljinders be open to venturing into management now? Another member of Klopp’s back room staff (Buvac) decided similar not too long ago. This would be a highly impressive move from City should a vacancy become available.
  10. IF this is true, it seems to highlight the issue that LJ has in managing the ‘flair’ players. These players who have the ability to change a game with one moment of magic are often the brunt of LJ’s team rotation. Tomlin, Freeman and now Palmer. If we lose Palmer I doubt he would be replaced. If we manage to bring in a striker who makes the runs, then who is going to supply the pass?
  11. I’m glad you mentioned “under confident of his teams abilities” this perfectly sums up his mindset on both the team as a whole and individuals. He often comes out with remarks (about our attacking players in particular) stating their weaknesses as a reason for them not playing. Can you imagine playing under a manager highlighting your flaws? I thought yesterday’s comments on the Eliasson sub was him saying that Eliasson has no defensive awareness. Yet the other day (May have been Luton) Eliasson won the most tackles in the entire match. Again his comments about Kasey “not being able to go back to Chelsea and ask to be recalled” was bizare. There’s a trend of him throwing players under the bus recently. His mindset on the starting 11 tends to be to reduce the oppositions strengths. In reality we should be focusing on ourselves and putting on a show with the talent we have in this squad. Make the opposition worry about us. Take Kasey, Eliasson and Massengo as key examples, True talent and ability. Yet Kasey has been cast out of the match day squad which is madness, Eliasson plays when it suits LJ and Massengo was playing well before being pushed out to the bench each week. If we lose this talent we will hear LJ state “i’m gutted to see them go”.
  12. Believe a premier league assistant would be a good option. Some of these guys have experience of working with the top managers. Ljinders - Top assistant. Been given high praise at Liverpool and Klopp has previously stated that Ljinders is “the brain” at the club. John Terry - would be a bold choice but could be an attraction for a lot of players. Look at the quality Derby brought in on loan last season. Achieved promotion last season as part of the backtopm staff at villa. Steve Holland - not suggesting this one would be believable but he has a fantastic reputation in the game. Works alongside Southgate and surely would look to progress to management at some point in his career. The Liverpool youth team manager who managed the side against Villa in the League Cup is highly respected as well. Believe he was asked by UEFA to carry out a high level coaching badge if I am correct. I want to say his name isn’t Neil Critchley but may be mistaken.
  13. Then i’m glad this is the case. Would love to see some of the quotes over the years. The “Europe in 5 years” one is the stand out for me. The point I was trying to make is that we all know he talks utter rubbish. Seems he believes he can talk himself out of trouble. The other day he was asked again about the bad run of form he has had in each of the last few seasons and he jokingly replied “guess that’s the Johnson curse”. I would much rather he come out and say that it’s not been good enough and needs addressing. Completely agree with the David Brent comparison.
  14. With the forum seemingly split on whether LJ should be sacked or given until the end of the season, I thought it would be a good opportunity for people to highlight which areas they feel LJ does well and areas of concern. My personal opinion is to look for another option to take this club forward. The last few seasons have shown progression but I feel we have now reached a sticking point. There is no doubt that LJ has done well to establish us as a top half championship club, but we now need a manager capable of making that final push. Listed below are my own opinions on LJ’s strengths and areas of concern. PROS: - Development of younger players has been a plus over recent seasons. Club developed players have gone on to do well in the first team and have brought in incredible funds for the club. - Away form is strong. I strangely feel more confident about away games than I do for our home matches. - Individuals performing well. The stand out over the past few seasons has been that we seem to have an individual performing above the levels of the rest of the team. (Bit of a crossover here as a negative within a positive). That individual does tend to be sold on each season. Kodjia, Bobby, Webby, and this season Eliasson (pray for a contract extension). The concern from this is that we tend to have an individual on form whilst others are struggling. There is an imbalance. CONS: - Arrogance, I think any city fan can read between the lines and see that LJ has an arrogant personality. If recent rumours are to be believed he has fallen out with Kasey and COD (hopefully leads to COD leaving). The tendency to slate his players for individual mistakes instead of taking responsibility himself. The players can’t be full of confidence if one mistake is going to lead to LJ blaming them after the match. - Team selection. This is my main concern. The lack of familarity. The constant changing of formation and playing personnel. Changing the starting line up from one week to the next to minimise the threat of the opponent instead of enforcing our own threats to them. - The gift of the gab. Talks a good game. I’m sure a football neutral would think he sounds incredibly intelligent but as a city fan you quickly realise that he is talking complete rubbish to deflect any blame. “Most box entries” what a load of rubbish, we hit long balls and long throws into the box yesterday with no threat towards the Brentford Keeper. And yes granted we had 10 men but this is a regular occurrence at home matches. We rely so heavily on Eliassons crosses that everything else going into the box from other players seems inaffevtive. - Creative players seem to be scapegoats. Eliasson and Palmer are our two most creative players at the club. Yet Kasey is removed from the match day squad and Eliasson is in and out of the team. Surely we can all agree that the team should be built around these players. Do we think the likes of West Brom won’t play Perreira because they are acing the likes of Millwall? Would Leeds drop Hernandez because they think that Cardiff May be too physical? No instead they implement their own strengths and take control of the game. my question would be why are the key attacking threats being pulled in and out of the starting 11 yet a struggling defence seem to have their starting sports cemented? - Tactical knowledge, Yesterday is going to be a big factor in this one. The Eliasson sub is going to divide opinion. Personally, I would have sacrificed Weimann. There is no doubt that Moore needed to be brought on, but we were 2-0 down when the sub was made, at that point we had nothing to lose. Leave Fam up top to hold the ball up and look to utilise Eliasson and Watkins pace on a counter attack. Instead we went to an ultra defensive set up and went on to concede twice more anyway. - Home Form is a shambles. I don’t enjoy going to watch home matches at the moment. Millwall, Blackburn, Brentford have all made us look awful at home this year. We seem to set up for home matches as though we are going to look for a counter attack instead of controlling the game. We have no striker playing off the last man, Kasey has been blamed when the truth is he has no options in front of him. I would like us to set up for one game at home in a 4-2-3-1 with a front line of Eliasson - Palmer- Pato with Weimann up top or better yet bring in a striker willing to make runs off the last man. I am a fan of Weimann and that is by no means a dig at him, he works his socks off for the team, I just would like to see an out and out striker up top who can maximise Kasey’s potential.
  15. The “Identity” that LJ so often mentions is telly starting to irritate me. I struggle to work out what our identity is. With constant formation changes our style of play seems to be highly inconsistent. - In the Sheffield Wednesday game. Bar the one chance early on (Easier for COD to score than miss), we looked so defensive and couldn’t string a pass together. This often happens at home matches as well which is where we should be controlling the game. But often we look like we are the team looking for a quick counter attack to steal the points. - Each game I have no clue as to what our system or ‘Identity’ is. Some weeks we play with a number 10 and other times we don't even have one on the bench. In my opinion if we are playing with a 10 (Kasey), then you need to mould the side around them. You look at Leeds (Hernandez) and West Brom (Periera) their build up play is suited to these players and often they play the key final ball. We seem to lack that and it’s likely due to tinkering with the side and formation each week which removes any hope of consistency and familiarity to the system. - Often it seems as though LJ worries to much about minimising the other teams strengths as opposed to implementing our own. We go into some games (Millwall, West Brom) and we look so worried about the strengths that we possess that we don’t ever look to get going ourselves. - D.N.A - I understand that this is to stop us signing players with bad attitudes or off field issues, however it also seems to me that we end up signing an awful lot of YES men. We lack a nasty element to our game, we seem too nice and roll over too easily. The Sheff Weds loss came down to gamesmanship on their part and they eventually won over the referee. We rarely win pens ourselves and that’s because we aren’t streetwise enough to play those games. It’s not great to watch but it is effective especially in close fought games. My main concern is that LJ has transferred his own style of play from his playing career into this side: * Too many simple passes in a tight area of the pitch which eventually leads to a mistake. * No key forward passes to split the opposition defence. Kasey seems to be the only one who attempts this. * Midfield seem content to sit in as opposed to drive forward. * The lack of a runner up front is leading to midfield passing themselves into trouble and squandering possession.
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