Chelsea 2019-20: Putting the 'sick' in Pulisic

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The team:
- Hired Lampard after he has one year of managerial experience (and, to be fair, led Derby County to the EFL playoff final)
- Bought Kovacic from Real (40M)
- Sold Hazard to Real (90M)
- Lost the confidence of David Luiz, who requested a trade seemingly soon after working with Lampard, and was sold to Arsenal for a bag of balls (okay, 8M)
- Continued to build the loan army. Notables include Alvaro Morata (to Atleti), Danny Drinkwater (Burnley), and Victor Moses (Fenerbahce).

Disastrous start to the EPL season with United whipping them 4-0 in Manchester. Just now lost to Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup in Istanbul, in penalties, on a final PK where Adrian was probably fully off the line at the moment of kick.

Pulisic:
- played the last 32' of the EPL opener at MU, and looked like he was overwhelmed by the speed and precision of the game at this level. Literally knocked around by Pogba, figuratively knocked around by Harry Maguire.
- played the first 74' of the Super Cup vs Liverpool, replaced by academy product Mason Mount (who just signed until 2024). Didn't look quite as bad as Saturday, even against better competition, and delivered an assist. Would have scored himself but for a very tight offside call.

Nowhere to go but up from here. I'm following them this year because (1) Pulisic, and (2) most of the players I found hardest to root for (e.g. John Terry) are now gone, so I'll give it a try. And you can laugh at the Pulisic FC jokes and excessive hype, but the fact is that it's going to put a lot of incremental eyeballs on the EPL and Chelsea this year, even if he's nowhere near the importance or level of the player he's replacing.
 

Bunt Single

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Pulisic:
- played the last 32' of the EPL opener at MU, and looked like he was overwhelmed by the speed and precision of the game at this level. Literally knocked around by Pogba, figuratively knocked around by Harry Maguire.
- played the first 74' of the Super Cup vs Liverpool, replaced by academy product Mason Mount (who just signed until 2024). Didn't look quite as bad as Saturday, even against better competition, and delivered an assist. Would have scored himself but for a very tight offside call.
Your account of Pulisic's performance in the opener is fair, but your description of his play in the Super Cup seems ungenerous. "Didn't look quite as bad"? Really? That assist was a marvelous through ball delivered after he'd drawn several defenders and as he was going to ground. And that non-goal should great skill. In tandem with Pedro, Pulisic looked both controlled and dangerous.
Though I do have to agree he is getting pushed around. Hoping he'll adapt to the pace and physical play. All in all, I'm encouraged.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Lampard took over a Derby squad that had finished 6th and then finished 6th, while wildly over performing xG for and against. The numbers suggest they should have finished 14th. I loved Lamps as a player, and I (unlike most) root for Chelsea, but this was a ludicrous appointment IMO, unless the club’s leadership is quite willing to give Frankie a couple of seasons (which, initial hiring aside, would be prudent given their situation). I love some of their young talent (having watched several of them in the second tier), but as far as I’m concerned the jury is out on Lampard. Big time.

Much better today for sure, but that was a friendly, no matter what our Liverpool friends may claim.

Edit: and I thought Pulisic was quite good today overall, despite being pushed around at times by the larger Liverpool defenders.
 

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Lampard took over a Derby squad that had finished 6th and then finished 6th, while wildly over performing xG for and against. The numbers suggest they should have finished 14th. I loved Lamps as a player, and I (unlike most) root for Chelsea, but this was a ludicrous appointment IMO, unless the club’s leadership is quite willing to give Frankie a couple of seasons (which, initial hiring aside, would be prudent given their situation). I love some of their young talent (having watched several of them in the second tier), but as far as I’m concerned the jury is out on Lampard. Big time.

Much better today for sure, but that was a friendly, no matter what our Liverpool friends may claim.
Yeah, I'd like to think they are using the transfer embargo as an excuse to do some rebuilding and playing the young guys, and Lampard is someone the fan base will be patient with when the inevitable growing pains happen.

I don't think anyone in our thread claimed it was anything more than a glorified friendly, we just didn't particularly want to go 0-2 in them.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Yeah, I'd like to think they are using the transfer embargo as an excuse to do some rebuilding and playing the young guys, and Lampard is someone the fan base will be patient with when the inevitable growing pains happen.

I don't think anyone in our thread claimed it was anything more than a glorified friendly, we just didn't particularly want to go 0-2 in them.
Yeah, wasn’t trying to throw shade at anyone here, just more the general predilection of fans to act like something counts when they win and pretend to not care when they lose. I personally don’t think any one off cups between competition winners should count as a trophy.
 

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Though I do have to agree he is getting pushed around. Hoping he'll adapt to the pace and physical play. All in all, I'm encouraged.
This is why he moved to the EPL - to push himself to a higher level (and bank some serious £££ as a young pro athlete an London, too). He got the talent, the work ethic, and an excellent backroom staff for training. He just needs to stay healthy and get minutes.
 

DJnVa

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Pulisic getting pushed around is good for his USMNT development too, because he's going to be the focus of most of the teams we play and in CONCACAF that's going to be hard challenges.

Just stay healthy.
 

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Your account of Pulisic's performance in the opener is fair, but your description of his play in the Super Cup seems ungenerous. "Didn't look quite as bad"? Really? That assist was a marvelous through ball delivered after he'd drawn several defenders and as he was going to ground. And that non-goal should great skill. In tandem with Pedro, Pulisic looked both controlled and dangerous.
Though I do have to agree he is getting pushed around. Hoping he'll adapt to the pace and physical play. All in all, I'm encouraged.
I'll admit to not watching every minute (I was working from home, not merely "working from home"), but my impression was that he was out of position on defense, and gave away more than his share of careless balls. The assist went around or through 4 defenders, one of them the defending player of the year, so that was pretty sweet. He got a 7 from the Guardian, an 8 from Squawka, and this:
Christian Pulisic – 8 – Looked to get at Gomez and Matip with his pace from the off and caused some problems. Got a deserved assist with an inch-perfect pass through defence and unfortunate to see a good goal disallowed for offside, albeit a correct decision.
View: https://twitter.com/Squawka/status/1161738372643209217


Okay, I guess I was overly harsh. If he can get that kind of review against the defending european champions, he's probably not in over his head.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Thinking about it more, both @67YAZ and @DrewDawg have the right of it- rather than bemoan the fact that Pulisic got pushed around, let’s be excited that he is facing this challenge and in fact responded quite well to it today.
 

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Chelsea has looked pretty good so far but this team is going to struggle mightily to score goals over the course of the season. They have some nice young wingers and attacking midfielders in Pulisic, Mount, RLC, and Hudson-Odoi (when he comes back). But all of those guys are pretty green and, more importantly, they really have nobody to actually put the ball in the net reliably. I'm not sold on Tammy Abraham as a top six caliber striker and the only other options are Giroud, who scored two league goals last season and is probably too slow to really fit the style Lampard wants to play, and Batshuayi, who has been on loan everywhere the last couple years for a reason.
 

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Chelsea has looked pretty good so far but this team is going to struggle mightily to score goals over the course of the season. They have some nice young wingers and attacking midfielders in Pulisic, Mount, RLC, and Hudson-Odoi (when he comes back). But all of those guys are pretty green and, more importantly, they really have nobody to actually put the ball in the net reliably. I'm not sold on Tammy Abraham as a top six caliber striker and the only other options are Giroud, who scored two league goals last season and is probably too slow to really fit the style Lampard wants to play, and Batshuayi, who has been on loan everywhere the last couple years for a reason.
???

I didn't see the Utd game. I read and heard that they looked bright in spots. But they got destroyed. How have they looked good? SSS of course.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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And you can laugh at the Pulisic FC jokes and excessive hype, but the fact is that it's going to put a lot of incremental eyeballs on the EPL and Chelsea this year, even if he's nowhere near the importance or level of the player he's replacing.


This can boomerang on NBC though. They've been hyping Pusilic - Men in Blazers have been going nuts - and then he doesn't start on opening day. Reminded me of when the Copa America Centenario telecasts hyped Tim Howard, but he had aged ten years overnight.
 

DJnVa

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???

I didn't see the Utd game. I read and heard that they looked bright in spots. But they got destroyed. How have they looked good? SSS of course.
They all count, but it was 1-0 through the 65th minute and the halftime assessment from Yahoo Sports was: "Despite not getting on the scoresheet, Lampard will be impressed with how his side attacked....." and said that United "have barely tested Kepa since early in the first half".

Chelsea outshot ManU 18-11, with more on target, had a higher pass accuracy, more corners, and more possession.

ManU deserved the win, but it was just an avalanche in the last 25 minutes.
 

GoDa

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Thinking about it more, both @67YAZ and @DrewDawg have the right of it- rather than bemoan the fact that Pulisic got pushed around, let’s be excited that he is facing this challenge and in fact responded quite well to it today.
One of those moments where he was "pushed around" should've been, at least, a foul and possibly a yellow. The Liverpool defender wasn't just shielding the ball physically, he went out of his way to throw a hip check at Pulisic.
 

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???

I didn't see the Utd game. I read and heard that they looked bright in spots. But they got destroyed. How have they looked good? SSS of course.
They arguably should have won the SuperCup yesterday. They got destroyed at Old Trafford, yes, but they also looked the peer of Liverpool for a big chunk of the game. I watched every minute of AET and the longer it went on, the more Chelsea carried it. I wouldn't say Van Dijk et al were under siege, but they were very lucky to escape to penalties.

edit: and to hear DD tell it, maybe the only place they got destroyed at Old Trafford was the scoreboard, and a fairer score would have been far friendlier.
 
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tmracht

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This team is going to be quite a test of the patience with youth. Mount scores early, then has the unmarked header to put the game away and puts it right into the keepers chest. Pulisic has been up and down (not unexpected in a new team, new league, new manager etc.) The health of this team is going to be key, Rudiger would help for sure. CHO and RLC would also help, but coming off major injuries they have to be considered pretty hopeless to be impactful this year.

4-0 L, 2-2 D (L on PK), 1-1 D probably not the way Lamps envisioned his Chelsea voyage beginning. Norwich away isn't a must win but it's gotta be a big match for the manager and the squad. Norwich was pounded by Liverpool opening night, then put the hammer to Newcastle last match 64% possession 8 shots on target 3 goals. Even against Liverpool they managed 42% possession and 5 shots in a lopsided loss.

I wonder if we see Willian start, he was....not great, Pedro looked alright.
 

Seven Costanza

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Rudiger played 90 minutes in the reserves yesterday, CHO has returned to full training this week as well. RLC will be a few more months.

Zappacosta is being flogged off to Roma on loan, which opens things up for Reece James. The thought of Reece James and Emerson overlapping Pulisic and CHO on the wings makes me smile.

They'll be fine this year.
 

tmracht

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Well that was so fun to watch Tammy Abraham and Mount et all show playing the youth can work. Big brace for Tammy, Mount with a top corner rocket off a Pulisic assist. Defense is still....not great. But hopefully Rudiger is close by now.
 

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Oh brother, and then we drop points at home to Sheffield Utd after going up 2-0 and bringing on poor 18 year old undersized midfielder Billy Gilmour in a 1 goal game late who proceeded to shit himself and turn the ball over repeatedly until Azpi got turned, Tomori ball watched and then Zouma roofed it in his own net. Sigh. I am all about trust the youth that just wasn't the youth I was expecting!
 

tmracht

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Tammy with a spectacular 4 goal game (ignore the fact one was in the wrong net). Mount and Tomori scoring is also nice, good to see Mount bounce back. 5-2 against a team struggling is always a good sign. Didn't really rest many people, Pulisic and Barkley didn't play a part but Rudiger did get 45 mins but was subbed at halftime for Zouma and he's been ruled out for today after getting a scan on his groin. Kante, Emerson, Hudson-Odoi and Reece James also ruled out. With Valencia up today and then Liverpool on Sunday and the injuries mounting we could see some additional rotation today.
 

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I think equally important was Lampard switching to a back three in order to match up better against Wolves. I don't think this is a permanent Conte/Arsenal type switch (although I'd certainly endorse it if the end result is the same), but rather shows Lampard is willing to tweak tactics on a game by game basis to maximize resources. Couldn't be more different than Sarri.

Lampard's going to have some fun figuring out where to fit everyone and get everyone minutes once the squad is all fit. I'm super stoked for the rest of this season.

All their Prem goals thus far this season have been scored by Englishmen 21 years old or younger. The future is bright.
 

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All their Prem goals thus far this season have been scored by Englishmen 21 years old or younger. The future is bright.
Absofreakinglutely. Now I just need my 7 month to get picked up by the academy :p
 

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Took a while, but Hudson-Odoi finally signed a new 5 year contract today. CHO, Loftus-Cheek, Mason Mount, Tomori, Reece James, Billy Gilmour... all young, academy products now tied up for multiple years apiece. Definitely a core to build on.

Chelsea’s academy has dominated England for the better part of the last several seasons. Very excited to see that start to bear fruit now.
 

tmracht

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Yeah their youth teams have tornnnn it up. Glad he's under contract that whole Bayern fiasco was grueling.
 

Seven Costanza

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Sheesh, I forgot to add the current Premier League leading scorer to the list of homegrown talent above. Talent abound!
 

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I don't know if they deserved a point or not, but Michy and Mount both had half or better chances to equalize late. All things considered, TAA on dead balls sunk them, so there's that.
 

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I thought Tomori did an excellent job on Sunday, working in a lot of one-on-one situations against Salah he showed great pace and timing; a lot of more experienced defenders have been torched in that scenario.
 

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I mean, we're obviously biased, but I think they've got a convincing argument that they deserved the three points, not just the one.

I'm pretty convinced this is going to be a 'moral victory' type of season, but if there's any match to feel good about losing to Liverpool, that was it. Two forced substitutions and they still bossed the game for the most part.

Tomori was excellent which was a big positive, and if healthy, Rudiger, Loftus-Cheek, CHO and Reece James all start that game.
 

Seven Costanza

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And N'Golo Kante AGAIN shows why he's the best midfielder in the world. My favorite athlete by a country mile.
 
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Stanley Steamer

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I mean, we're obviously biased, but I think they've got a convincing argument that they deserved the three points, not just the one.

I'm pretty convinced this is going to be a 'moral victory' type of season, but if there's any match to feel good about losing to Liverpool, that was it. Two forced substitutions and they still bossed the game for the most part.

Tomori was excellent which was a big positive, and if healthy, Rudiger, Loftus-Cheek, CHO and Reece James all start that game.
I share the excitement of Chelsea finally playing their young talent. I agree with your "moral victory" assessment, yet as this season unfolds, beyond the top 2, it's looking wide open. There is a scenario where the kids learn to boss it.
 

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Speaking of bossing things, Chelsea just trounced Grimsby Town 7-1 with the final 20+ minutes seeing six teenagers & Christian Pulisic on the pitch.

Still no clean sheet though!
 

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Speaking of bossing things, Chelsea just trounced Grimsby Town 7-1 with the final 20+ minutes seeing six teenagers & Christian Pulisic on the pitch.

Still no clean sheet though!
Yay a clean sheet! Only one shot on target for Brighton too.

Amazed how fast Hudson-Odoi made it back its still September and he got league game time. Considering he hurt his Achilles in late April that's pretty amazing to me and wonderful to see.

NBC had an interview with Pulisic and it sounds like he's pretty frustrated. Hopefully he keeps grinding and earns his spot in the 11 as the year goes on.

Huge match against Lille midweek with Southampton on Sunday. Would expect to see a full first team against Lille and some rotation versus Southampton before the break.
 

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Another win for Chelsea, without Pulisic. I'm happy the team has figured out a winning formula, but sad that Pulisic seems to be firmly on the margins of the squad. I don't believe it's an injury or fitness issue, so it must signify that Frank doesn't feel he belongs in or near the starting XI. If I'm not mistaken, he was getting similarly pushed out towards the end at Dortmund. So, my question is why? Does he lack physicality or toughness? Was he performing his defensive duties adequately? Not enough point production? Or perhaps a training or off-field concern.
It seems like there's a problem. At his age, and given his importance to the national set up, he needs to play regardless. Given his large transfer fee, and Chelsea's ban, I doubt he's going anywhere soon. I guess the only option for him now is to put his nose down, train harder, and win his manager's trust.
 

67YAZ

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Pulisic started regularly in September, then went in to rotation in October & November, and then made one appearance in December. He was stapleto the bench in January & February. I suspect that he fell out of the starting XI in part due to the great performance of others (Alacer & Sancho in particular) and having the transfer go through in January. But when injuries hit in March (Sancho again), Pulisic made 7 starts down the stretch, netting 3 goals and 2 assists. Watching some of those matches, he also was just playing really well and incisively. It was a nice end to his Dortmund career.

The EPL is a step up in speed and physicality. Lots of good players took time to bed in, and Willian is exactly the kind of smart, wily veteran that can be hard to displace. I’m just trying to remember that Pulisic is pushing himself to become a world class player, and he has to throw himself into the toughest competitions to get there. It can be a rocky, winding road to the top of the mountain.

Edit: a few examples...de Bruyne and Salah both washed out at Chelsea before making triumphant returns to the EPL. Fabinho was invisible for his first half season at Liverpool and now he’s the fulcrum of the squad. And if you’re ever in need of inspiration, look at Jamie Vardy’s career
 
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Heh... I'm not sure I'd want to make life decisions modeled on Jamie Vardy's path to stardom. We all know it, but: Washed out of Wednesday's youth system, five years in non-League football, followed by a non-League transfer record of 1M GBP sending him straight to the Championship, POY in his 2nd season there as they won the league, and of course in his second EPL season won all sorts of awards as his team won the whole goddamn thing in the most stunning league season any of us have ever seen, which got him called up to play and eventually start at striker for fuckin' England in the World Cup. I mean, if his life were a movie script being pitched around, it'd be laughed out of the room as so schmaltzy and unrealistic that you couldn't put it in front of an audience. Inspiring, yes (and so is Kane's path), but if you met 21yo Vardy at a Sheffield bar, with him making 30 pounds a week in Tier 8 of the pyramid, you'd probably advise him to pursue a career as a bricklayer.

Among his competition for playtime, Pulisic (21) is older than Mount (20) and Hudson-Odoi (18), but far younger than Willian (31), Barkley (25), and Pedro (32). But he's up against a homegrown talent in Mount, and two world-class veterans in Willian and Pedro - there's no shame in taking a backseat for a little bit to adjust to the league, but if Mount can do it at a year younger, at some point this season he's either got to earn the trust to be part of the AM/Winger rotation or find a non-world-class team that he can actually get experience at.
 

Kliq

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Yeah, a problem for Pulisic is that when he was purchased by Chelsea, they had no idea really that Lampard was going to be the next manager, and he was going to bring in his own favored young attacking midfielder in Mason Mount, who he was naturally going to pick over Pulisic and has played pretty well so far. To earn playing time over the veterans, he has to be better than Mount right now and that is going to be tough given Mount's natural favor with Lampard.
 

Seven Costanza

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The Pulisic purchase was in the works long before last January's window. It's marketing for the club- trying to increase US fan share.

He's behind a couple of wingers who the manager currently rates higher for a number of reasons- doesn't mean he's bad, he sucks, he's a malcontent- just that he plays in a position of great depth and there can only be 11 players on the field at a time.

He'll get his minutes due to the inevitable injuries and loss of form. I feel bad for him given the spotlight on him is larger than most- there's a ton of players in similar positions, most not with his level of publicity. He'll come good.
 

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To add a bit more context, Pedro and Willian have run pretty hot and cold for the last few seasons. Willian in particular has been in great form the last few weeks- I'll be surprised if he sustains it all season (although it is a contract year for him).

Callum Hudson- Odoi also just signed a new deal within the last couple of weeks. That had been a big, big issue surrounding the club for the better part of the last year. NOT playing CHO coming off injury and signing a fat new contract would have led to issues with him personally & the non American fanbase.

I just think unfortunately, at present, Pulisic is the odd man out. I have a hard time envisioning that lasting forever though.
 

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Yeah, a problem for Pulisic is that when he was purchased by Chelsea, they had no idea really that Lampard was going to be the next manager, and he was going to bring in his own favored young attacking midfielder in Mason Mount, who he was naturally going to pick over Pulisic and has played pretty well so far. To earn playing time over the veterans, he has to be better than Mount right now and that is going to be tough given Mount's natural favor with Lampard.
I agree that it seems like Mount, more than Willian and Pedro, is the guy that's ahead of CP on the depth chart, and because they are similarly young and mercurial, is stealing Pulisic' thunder right now. But you all can't be wrong, so it's probably just going to take time.
 

tmracht

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Glad to see Tammy continuing to score for fun! This is so wonderful to watch. The control on the pass was really nice especially with a defender on his hip and the goalie rushing out. Yoshida nearly cleared it off the line too. Mount again rips one home and could have had another. Still can't believe they let Valery just snake through to get the cross into Ings that wasn't ideal. Kante goals are always a treat even deflected. And then PULISIC with the clever pass to get Batshuayi in alone who scores late in the game to set up the old Dortmund celly.
 

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Wonderful indeed!

What I love so much about this team is the depth. Bar the (arguably) two world class/galaticos in the team (Messrs. Arrizabalaga & Kante) you've just got a collection of AAAA talent all the way down. Other than keeper and Kante, I really don't think there's any drop from starter to backup- hell, I think you'll see that switch constantly all season.

I think you may be able to point to the rotation as the reason the back line hasn't been too solid all year- but who are you keeping out? There's no clear cut starters and backups there (or anywhere really). An awesome, awesome problem to have.

In recent seasons there's been a clear starting XI and a marked dropoff to the second string. I don't think that exists anymore for Chelsea. As a Football Manager aficionado, the permutations with this group are endless- and I'm doubly glad Lampard isn't wedded to a specific system.

KTBFFH
 

tmracht

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Just great to see Tammy Abraham becoming CM01/02 Maxim Tsigalko :D Kepa and Kante are definitely head and shoulder above their replacements, but you're right i'm trying to remember when we had 2 for every position maybe the early Mourinho years? This team is stacked with PL quality players and so many are young. Transfer ban really couldn't have come at a better time.
 

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Man, you nailed it. No better time than the present.

Barkley or Loftus-Cheek? Kovacic or Mason Mount? Pedro or Willian or CHO or Pulisic? Emerson or Alonso? Azpi or Reece James? Christensen or Rudiger or Tomori or Zouma?

Any of those guys is better than the others depending what day of the week it is- I've seen all of these players outplay the other at times. There's no clear answer week to week, other than recent form in training and matches. I know I've said it in almost every post I've made in this thread, but I'm so jacked for this team.
 

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Man, you nailed it. No better time than the present.

Barkley or Loftus-Cheek? Kovacic or Mason Mount? Pedro or Willian or CHO or Pulisic? Emerson or Alonso? Azpi or Reece James? Christensen or Rudiger or Tomori or Zouma?

Any of those guys is better than the others depending what day of the week it is- I've seen all of these players outplay the other at times. There's no clear answer week to week, other than recent form in training and matches. I know I've said it in almost every post I've made in this thread, but I'm so jacked for this team.
I’m a huge Ruben Loftus-Cheek fan after his loan at Palace. He was so strong and so good week in and week out. Great to watch.
 

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Apr 11, 2007
2,843
I've always thought he would be great as a target/hold up man- a Diego Costa 2.0. He'd built like an absolute brick shithouse but he's still got great touch. Can't wait til he's healthy and firing on all cylinders.
 

tmracht

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Aug 19, 2009
847
Still hated watching him get hurt at Gillette was absolutely heart breaking.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
2,353
I've always thought he would be great as a target/hold up man- a Diego Costa 2.0. He'd built like an absolute brick shithouse but he's still got great touch. Can't wait til he's healthy and firing on all cylinders.
He reminds of Yaya Toure when he gets running with the ball - the strength & technique - RLC is like a freight train. He, Kante, and Kovacic would make a very tough midfield trio.