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Reluctant Striker

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  1. Buendia made his debut in Villa's annual pre-season friendly with lower division Walsall. 2 sublime through balls set up 2 goals for Ollie Watkins in a 4-0 Villa win. I'd read everywhere he was a winger, but did seem to be playing CAM from very brief highlights I've seen. Perhaps he'll be able to rotate around with Grealish? I'd assume he'd been guaranteed a starting spot, with intent to build around him as a star man of an increasingly decent looking starting 11. Martinez. Mings. McGinn. Douglas Luiz. Grealish. Watkins. Rumours they're after Leon Bailey & may be open to offers for El Ghazi. These new Villa owners really do seem to mean business.
  2. It's a difficult one to call. Hugo Lloris at 34 isn't really old for a goalkeeper. Highly possible his aim would be to still be around with France for 2024 World Cup. Gollini? Sounds like he's Italy's number 4 goalkeeper now. In itself, still seems high expectations for him to oust the current French Number 1. Perhaps he's done well back home in Italy since his Villa days. Even as someone who follows Villa, it is conceivable it was on the club that they didn't seem to get the best out of him. A few players from that sort of time have done noticeably better elsewhere. The club was far from stable back then. He was barely out of the youth sides. I imagine & hope for him that he could look a very different goalkeeper now. Still not sure he'll be Emi Martinez standard though..
  3. I can only think of Plymouth Argyle in England. A lower division side. Sponsored by Ginsters. Can not ever see them being told to change their colours though. Perhaps their sponsor when it's found school kids are bunking off school too often to pig out on cheap pasties. In Italy, it wouldn't surprise me if an influential someone somewhere has grumbled to the right people. I'm imagining Wolves of the last few years playing in green & Italy's version of a Roy Keane type analysis, losing to them, the new kids, wannabe upstarts not playing for the pride of the J badge.. or something similar..
  4. It feels like another sign of how crazy money is these days. It is a lot of money for someone not likely to single handedly improve the side beyond recognition. I'll stand corrected if they finish top 4 & Ben White stars in a mean defence. But it inflates John McGinn & Jack Grealish fantasy back page transfer fees a few more £'s.
  5. He'll be immense in Serie A. The 'long term' replacement of Zlatan.
  6. On the threads general topic.. AC Milan for me. Soft spots for David Platt's old sides.. Bari, Sampdoria & to an extent Juventus. Especially Sampdoria, who also had Des Walker. Fascinated in general by Italian football, dating back to when they were legit the strongest league. So also Lazio, Roma, Fiorentina, Torino, Inter. Can't think of any sides I actively disliked. I would relish the live matches on Channel 4, in Britain. But AC Milan had the 3 Dutchmen. They also had Maldini. Baresi. Papin. My 'modern languages' school book needed a cover. So it was a natural choice to opt for a Shoot or Match poster of Jean Pierre Papin. Kind of sad to see the roles reversed now. My English side have struggled to adapt. Older players & those somehow seen as not quite up to it in the Premier League now appear to be the imports for Serie A.
  7. Sounds a bit of an odd thing to officially ban. I remember many years ago Manchester United seemed on the verge of refusing to wear some of their own black or grey kits, because they felt it was the reason for stray passes & poor performances.
  8. Yeah, for me it's been total cringe hearing boos when the players are doing what I take to be a unity, inclusion, respect type thing. Like Southgate said at some stage, perhaps some are not understanding it. Or I'd tentatively offer myself that an absolute disgrace of an American 'law enforcer' happened, it's been dealt with by the Americans & they think it's time to move on perhaps. And in a way, when anything at all is demonstrated about, someone somewhere is not going to be getting why people feel that way. But to boo the gesture that very clearly feels to me to be about unity, inclusion, respect seems odd. There's even been that TV ad campaign about online hate. As a programme guide to what we're seeing. And it's surely most strongly about school kids who look at these guys as role models, not as an extension of their own rigid ideals. And perhaps some of the older boo boys need to think about that. It surely will shape young lads ideas about how to handle things going in their own lives. Whatever they may be.
  9. I'm struggling to spot any clear & obvious errors in the Team. Luke Shaw wasn't getting rave reviews, because we see him every week, we're conditioned to see him as a failure to Liverpool's Robertson & hear Jose Mourinho/Roy Keane type analysis of Man United defending. But he was good in the knock out games in particular. Marauding at times. He really did seem to raise his game. And that finish for his goal was one any left footed attacking player would have been proud of. Sterling was immense at times. Just a pity he can be that good, keep several good quality players out of the side, but apparently need them to be there for penalties 3, 4 & 5. (rumour has it Pickford was lined up for the 6th..) If Kasper Schmeichel was Italian, he'd have been the goalkeeper. Probably only Maguire's goal & shimmy dribbles that get him ahead of ever present Stones. Thought it seemed a bit odd how much the Three Lions song seemed to have been itching away at Bonucci on some deeply personal subconscious level. But I make no apologise that I'm glad Chiellini isn't there. He seems a twat rather than just a bit of aggro to be honest. And I do know Maguire, Stones, Rice or Phillips rugby tackles Chiesa in the same Saka type situation. But personally I also add the weird thing with Spain's captain to my feeling he seems a bit of an arse of an opponent. The ref's seemed to be thinking what I was.
  10. An England-Wales-Scotland-All Ireland World Cup did sound good. But then you realise it would be 5 'home' nations. And you just know Wembley gets the final. The Ireland's have to pay a few knock out games in England. Scotland get drawn in the Group of Death, Hungary style. The 2nd semi final is the Etihad rather than the Millenium Stadium. And you kind of realise Spain-Portugal probably makes more sense really. An Olympics, a significant amount of a European Championships & a World Cup, within 18 years? When so many want a piece of the action? Seems optimistic, depending what they look at & consider.
  11. On Southgate being non-commital on his future.. I think it must be near 100% that he does carry on to the next World Cup. He just doesn't have the will right now to be talking going that 1 next step. Based on his last 2 tournaments, there will be increased expectations. That will have to be the motivation pep talks he gives out at some point. After Qatar, perhaps only a World Cup win sees him carry on to Euro 2024. If it feels at all after Qatar that England has somehow taken a step or 2 back.. I think he'd want out himself. Because then it's back to when he came in & it's either him or the players that have been wrong. And on striker options other than Kane (27) there is: Rashford (23) ok not being used centrally too much by Man United. He would be by a number of other sides & I'm not sure in these 'big 6' times that it shouldn't phase England to do so either. Dominic Calvert Lewin (24) looks awesome in the air & becoming a potent one touch finisher. He's just doing it in an Everton shirt. Ollie Watkins (25) plays the central striker role for Villa in 4-3-3. Does have a Vs San Marino goal in an England shirt. Tammy Abraham (23) he could be a great striker, IMHO the best Kane backup right now, but frozen out at Chelsea. I think he'd have still been in Switzerland's squad. Perhaps none are title winning strikers, at club level at least, but England should be ok for Number 9's for the next few tournaments.
  12. The Euro's is also letting in increasing numbers of no-hopers. It used to be just 8 sides as recently as 1992. Grealish.. on the evidence, partly because he's white perhaps, in all honesty. But.. in his personal defence.. he is right footed, if you consider that against his highlight left foot moments in this tournament. Both his assists were off his weak foot. World Class players often use their weak foot. Kane wouldn't take a left foot shot chance vs Germany. If you did want extended details, his club credentials, the following are probably all on YouTube: For Villa he has scored goals like Manchester United (a). A Cantona style strike against them. He contributed in Aston Villa's 7-2 demolition of Liverpool. Go back pre-Premier League, he scored a volley from a corner Vs Derby County. During a club record run of wins just to reach play offs. He scored last day of the 2019/20 season Vs West Ham to keep them up in their first season back, on his weaker left. So, he genuinely has been a very eye catching performer in recent seasons, as Villa's main man. A side that do catch the eye & garner a certain portion of attention. (As much as Jamie Carragher may like to laugh it off.) Foden & Sterling may win things with Man City, but I've not seen them being as exciting individually. Saka is very new & played wing back when I had seen him. Sancho, I suspect many like myself have only seen him in an England shirt. I do think there's a mystery we may one day get the full story of on the whole penalties question.
  13. I do think a World Cup every 2 years would make sense. I guess regional confederations would want to work out some way to maintain regional competitions of some format. But the current every 4 year thing dates back to the 1930's. And for us, the Euro's was added to as the alternate cycle from 1960. I would agree a 21st century model, with so much commercial appetite for the sport, a World Cup every 2 years would seem like a good move.
  14. I think I've decided I'd have taken Mount & Trippier off for Grealish & Sancho. Put Sterling behind Kane in the middle. Roll the dice that 6 defensive players & the keeper hold out & have 4 possible options to counter. And if Sterling wasn't in the first 6 penalty takers, which I never thought he would be, then Rashford on for him much, much earlier in Extra Time. Let the guy have a few touches before a pre-planned mega moment.
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