Stoke City Message Board
Totally agree on Alberto and not just in hindsight.
Also agree with your ambition statement on transfers but, given we spent millions on squad players such as Alberto & Aspas, it's hard to not be critical when they aren't getting game time when players are injured. Also, where are Borini & Allen - about £25m not contributing. What was the point of buying them if not to play them in situations like we had on the weekend?
Also, the one big player we actually showed ambition for and landed (Sakho), seems to now be our 4th choice centre half without having done that much wrong on the field!
Very, very odd decision making.
Finally, whatever BR says about our squad not being strong enough there are two points ...
1) He/the transfer committee have had 3 windows and plenty of cash to improve that situation (it shouldn't be as bad as it is)
2) Our squad should certainly be good enough to see off a poor Hull side.
Completely agree Jason. There is a good article from Jan Molby talking about the transfer business done by the club and suggesting we should compare it to that concluded by Everton.
PC & Sturridge are very bright stars but other than those two, transfers conducted since BR came to the club (may not be totally his fault) leave a lot to be desired.
I see that Adam Morgan is on his way to Yeovil. I like this lad and was disappointed he didn't get more opportunities at first team level. I hope he scores loads of goals and ends up in the top flight at some stage in the future.
Agree with 2 cb's and the battle for the starting berths between those you've talked about. I am unconvinced that we have a replacement for Lucas at the moment (we probably need to sort that soon). I don't think Allen can play that role.
Also, not sure that we can solve our midfield problem against the bigger sides whilst playing two up front. My pref for the big games where we are going to be pressed would be:-
PC SG LS
and the defence as you talked about.
I agree with a lot of that so I don't think our positions are very far away from each other.
The good news is that we seem to be good enough to beat the poorer teams in the division and that can take you a long way (assuming it continues).
The bad news is that, in spite of a good run, all the usual suspects are there or there abouts and we have to develop a way of taking points off them. Also, if we do make top 4, I think we're liable to be pulled apart in Europe next year.
We need to go again in the winter transfer market - over to John Henry & the mysterious transfer committee I guess!
Wow, you're a tough guy to please.
Firstly, it's all opinion on here and yours is as likely to be correct as mine so keep going.
I'm not saying that Gerrard is the best centre mid in world footy or even the prem at the moment. I also think a negative opinion about him is fine - I too think he struggles with pace and can get overrun when paired with Lucas when we are being pressed. But I just think you need to be careful when you categorise someone as good as him as 'rubbish' or 'hopeless'. How many centre mids in the division would you have in front of him? If not all of them, does that mean you can be a rubbish or hopeless footballer and still make millions of pounds in wages in our league? If so, why can't I get a game :-). Gerrard is still a very, very good footballer even if he isn't as good at some stuff as he used to be and even if there are plenty around who are as good/better.
I think Henderson has shown a lot of improvement from last year and so am not prepared to write him off yet. He needs to go up a level again to cut it as a top four midfielder but I would say he has a good chance of doing that - his attitude is certainly right. On Lucas, I think any team looking to push full backs on need a defensive minded midfielder to sit. I rate him but he's not been the same since the injury and time is coming soon when we need to make a decision in that area. We missed a trick on Barry in my opinion who looked like a top bit of business the day Everton signed him. Would have been a great loan whilst we saw how Lucas recovered. I don't see how Allen gets into the team on a regular basis - he's not a defensive minded midfielder and won't get past PC at the top of the triangle.
I do agree that midfield is the area for investment - that and some coaching on defending crosses would improve us as a team (also a back up forward).
I don't have a problem with Rodgers being flexible, I think that will help us as a team in the long run.
I agree with pretty much all of that except the extent of the language (I don't think you could fairly describe Gerrard as 'hopeless') :-).
We have struggled with two things consistently this season - high balls into the box (last season as well) and in midfield when pressed. It's difficult to be too critical of the management team but I don't understand how we have remained so bad with at least the former of those two - surely we now have the personnel and so it can only be down to coaching.
I'm still hoping that Lucas can get back to where he was before his injury but it's taking a long while. SG & Lucas together in centre mid isn't working against teams who press. Surely an area to invest in come the winter. In the meantime, I'd prefer to see a Henderson & Lucas in those types of games with SG playing either at the point of the triangle or wide right of a three behind one up top.
That said it was a fantastic game of footy. For me 3-3 was a fair result - Everton shaded the game and showed why they haven't lost at home in the league this year, but they should have been 2-1 and a man down.
The next three games now take on a huge significance. All winnable although it seldom works out that way. 7 points out of 9 should keep us in contention for the top four going into a tough Christmas period.
Got to agree with both of you - on the face of it, it seems a very odd decision. The reputation of the two involved, the timing, the number of young players getting first team game time - it doesn't add up.
I can only assume that something serious has happened behind the scenes which has led to them going. This is wild speculation, and I have no proof other than a hunch, but I wonder if something seriously untoward has been going on (e.g. bullying, perf enhancing drugs etc). Like I said, just wild speculation and probably very wide of the mark, but nothing seems to add up here.
I agree that the midfield has been a concern in any game where we get pressed. Henderson looks good but still a little technically limited at times, Gerrard is quality but doesn't have the legs he used to and Lucas looks like he is still coming back from his injury.
Personally, I think we should try a 4-2-3-1 formation against teams that are likely to be pressing us in midfield. Lucas & Henderson (what happened to Joe Allen) as the two - I don't think the role suits SG when pressed - and Suarez, PC, Gerrard as the three behind Sturridge. I know that compromises Suarez a bit but he's played as a three for Ajax before and I reckon the formation would give us more protection.
What do you think?
I agree with that Colyn but 3 points are 3 points. Remember when we came 2nd a few years back, we beat all of the big teams but Utd pipped us to the post on the back of picking up maximum points against the so called smaller teams.
We're still a long way off where we were even back then but almost a third of the season has gone, so we have cause to be optimistic if not over-confident..
Quite right Jason. Our best 90 minute display and you're right to point out that, although Fulham were awful, it is possible to screw up against such teams.
Suarez, Johnson, Gerrard, PC and Henderson all outstanding for me.
Just a shame they BR screwed up and picked Skrtel rather than my pick Toure, could have been 7-0 :-)
I agree with most of that except you view that Toure/Sakho cannot play out from the back. I'm not sure they're any worse than Agger and would have them ahead of Skrtel.
For me a flat back four with Toure & one of Agger/Sakho. Harsh on Skrtel who has looked good in recent weeks but I reckon Toure has more about him.
I still read this board often but haven't been moved to post much recently - will try harder in future.
I agree that the better team took the points and that our 3 cb's system got exposed. It makes Fulham a very important game now imo.
Which other forum you on Dave?