Overall, very poor performance but good result. I think the stats speak for themselves:
Southampton - 28 shots/2 on target/60% possession
Swans - 4 shots/0 on target/40% possession
We clearly missed the quality of Siggy/Llorente in our overall play, and especially in terms of end product. Clement went with his now-trusted diamond with Routledge behind Abraham/Ayew up top, for roughly the opening half-hour.
Southampton attacked relentlessly down the left wing to great success, and then PC switched to his formerly-trusted 451 with Ayew/Routledge out wide. It stopped some of the onslaught, but Southampton missed so many clear chances I can't even remember them all.
(EDIT: PC brought on Bartley, went three at the back to shut up shop, and that was that.)
Overall, though, we got a draw away at Southampton, a good team. Success. That is how PC viewed it, obviously. Maybe we'll have Siggy/Llorente next weekend, and we'll get the win against Man U. Here's hoping. To the players...
West Ham have been the presumed destination for awhile, but I would assume he might be worried about his playing time there, given their signings this summer. This transfer isn't happening for us, realistically, but if it did it would be an excellent signing (on loan).
A creative, dynamic, goal-scoring winger is exactly what we need, and Gabriel checks those boxes and more. Simply put, the kid is quality, albeit a bit arrogant, and could play all across the frontline. His record at Inter might not be the best, but the club was a terrible environment for his first foray outside of Brazil and the league is insanely tactical. He'd fit in much more in the fast-paced intensity of the PL, and he'd get plenty of playing time with us.
This is a no-brainer for me. Please let this happen somehow. The highlights:
- Viera? Yes - Billing? Yes - Wilshere? No - Chadli? No
I've never seen Billing play other than some highlights. £10m seems steep to me for him, but looks a unique talent and plays a position we need cover in. Huddersfield don't want to sell, though, so it's not likely to happen.
Other than that, I agree with pretty much everything in the article. Great job Ben, please come back next summer.
So, in summation that's Stoke, Palace, Boro, and Leeds who want the guy. We should definitely take the hint and offload now, while he's in high demand. This fella from Leeds even does a lot of the groundwork for us, and thinks Stoke is the right choice for Kyle (and probably for us too):
Bartley will be at best a squad player for us, anyway, and we can absolutely find better for less than we'll get for him. I saw £7m floated around earlier this summer, and if that's true he's got to be sold. Seems a nice guy, but like we did with Cork, you have to take the money when it's there.
Hopefully, we can finalize this deal before these clubs look elsewhere. Take the highest offer, even if it's Stoke, and get Kyle's signature ASAP. Then, bring in an experienced, quality CB like Subotić or Badstuber to provide some cover.
Barcelona want £10m, but the PL clubs have supposedly only offered £8m. Everton, Ajax, and Real Sociedad have "enquired" about him, as well. For that price, we should absolutely be looking at this kid, with or without Siggy.
Everything I've said about Patrick Roberts applies to Munir, and he's actually consistently proven himself at the highest level for a few years. Still young (21); great pace and technique; can dribble, shoot, and pass; excellent finisher and footballing brain; good workrate and attitude.
Clement is obviously aware of him, having coached against him with Madrid. If he's not interested, fine, but this kid is quality. He needs time on the pitch, and he'd be in store for plenty if he came to Swansea. He is a goal-scoring winger with a bit of creativity, and that's just what we need in attack. He's also been linked before, too, so ticks all the boxes:
Watched plenty of Celtic last season and I really like this kid, aside from some questionable hairstyle choices. That's excusable with talent, though. Left-footed; good pace and touch; excellent technique and workrate; quality playmaker, dribbler and finisher (11 goals/19 assists). Phenomenal all-around player and exactly what we need on the wing: youth, creativity, and end product.
He also played a full season under Rodgers and looked very comfortable in his system. Would be a great fit for us, and I hope we're in the race behind the scenes. Man City still owe us some money, don't they? And Rodgers could say some nice things about us, maybe? Deal waiting to happen, hopefully Jenkins won't miss this boat.
And of course, an authentic Nirvana scouting report always comes with videos. Some highlights and the Scottish Cup Final against Aberdeen that Roberts starred in recently, AND BRENDAN RODGERS AND SCOTT SINCLAIR!!!:
He has all the best qualities of JJS, but with more talent and minimal drama. Seriously, check out the videos below. Good stuff. Excellent player for us to be linked with, and I really hope we sign him. We still need a quality DM, though. Someone like Vincent Koziello, maybe?
I said this a while ago, but I'd also like to see us try and sign Baker's Vitesse teammate Milot Rashica. He'd probably cost less than £5m (Jenkins specialty), and would give us quality and youth on the wing for a change. The two of them have developed a good relationship on the pitch and I think they could continue that for us. Rashica (4 goals/14 assists) and Baker (15 goals/7 assist) are both extremely creative and productive, and that's what we need right now.
Check out the second video to see them in action together (Baker #34/Rashica #7). Baker's two goals are fantastic, and his link-up play with Rashica for the second is our type of football. Fingers crossed.
Excellent article on what has failed us the past few seasons. As always, the truth is Jenkins' reject bin transfer policy. The January window was a good start in correcting this, but we need more quality within the squad. It's that simple.
We have to start seriously looking for the right players with class and then actually sign them. It's not that difficult if done correctly and it is more cost-effective than blowing wads of money on a lot of cheaper options. Eventually it will catch up to us, and we're lucky it wasn't this season.
Given Clement actually tried something new last week and it worked, what should our formation and gameplan be against Man U? Should we revert back to the 4141/451 bunkerball used for so long, stick with the 442/4312 from the first half against Stoke, or go with a 3-man backline like the second half?
We were very aggressive in defence and attack right from the beginning against Stoke and it produced a goal, much like the game against Spurs. We then mostly sat back and attempted to protect that slim lead in both games. It backfired massively against Spurs, and could've with a little more focus from Arnautovic. While the bunkerball works better against big clubs, it just wasn't effective anymore and the diamond produced some good attacking play. There were several instances against Stoke where it morphed into 433 with Siggy operating at CF and Llorente and Ayew flanking him out wide, and it looked surprisingly good. They mostly stuck to their positions but there was some movement between the three that appeared to have a lot of potential.
Either way, it was an interesting decision from PC that had mostly positive results. While it isn't my cup of tea, it utilizes the skills and strengths of our best attackers, and still keeps us tight and compact through the middle because of Siggy's workrate. He and Ayew are being played in their best positions, and Llorente was surprisingly spry before being taken off.
Leon was superb at the base of the midfield, but Carroll and Fer/Ki have to stay closer to him when attempting to stop counterattacks, and in general. He was isolated far too often due to poor positioning or failure to track back on their part. Stoke had the Crouch and Berahino Comedy Hour trying to score but Man U are in a different stratosphere, even without Zlatan. If they play Martial/Mkhitaryan/Rashford together again, our backline is ffukkedd. Nobody, except maybe Olsson, can come close for pace with those three and they all float around a lot.
It will be interesting to see if PC has the defence sit back the whole match or if they try and play the offside trap some, a very risky proposition. Fede, in particular, will need to cut out the crazy lunges he's known for, Alfie will have to watch his positioning closely, and fingers crossed on Naughton. Forcing them out wide works in our favor because they will lack an aerial presence, but it will continue to add pressure as they attack over and over. Hopefully we can catch them out once or twice and nick an early goal, and they close up shop saving energy for the Europa League. I would like to see us take it to them quite a bit, but I doubt PC will do so.