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Tactics and changes

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Just watching United vs Liverpool 08/09 season and this time period was around the peak really for the “top 4” and English dominance in Europe in terms of teams reaching the finals and semi-finals even though United would go on to lose to Barcelona which would begin a Spanish dominance of Europe but also the changing of the game and how it’s played because watching this back at times it’s so laboured and based around individual battles, but the counter attacking brilliance this United side were known for is there.

Of course United v Liverpool has never really been in my lifetime an advert for quality football cos the games are nearly always shit (think this is the one Liverpool won 4-1?) but the change in styles from back then and to now is evident, interestingly not only did this season kick off Spanish dominance but it was also Jürgen Klopp’s first season in charge at Dortmund where he would go on to win the Bundesliga a season or two later.

I actually think we’re due a dominant defensive based team/manager soon as it wasn’t long ago Antonio Conte won the league with Chelsea and Leicester won it with some very stretched and direct football

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Well it's all about what is popular and reacting to that. Eventually the reaction becomes the norm and the cycle continues. Not every cycle is of the same length or importance; for instance the four defence has been constant throughout my life. Even when five or three player defences have been used extensively they've never really been en vogue.

Besides a formation is just a rough shorthand for a what a team may play like, the control of horizonal and verticle space are more indicative of an overall system. If you wanna look at Atletico Madrid you'll find their 4-4-2 is closed horizontally but have open vertical spaces. Then you have stupid semantic arguments about how Atletico Madrid have three central midfielders, one winger, a deep forward and an advanced forward. So it really isn't even a 4-4-2.

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34 minutes ago, Spike said:

Well it's all about what is popular and reacting to that. Eventually the reaction becomes the norm and the cycle continues. Not every cycle is of the same length or importance; for instance the four defence has been constant throughout my life. Even when five or three player defences have been used extensively they've never really been en vogue.

Besides a formation is just a rough shorthand for a what a team may play like, the control of horizonal and verticle space are more indicative of an overall system. If you wanna look at Atletico Madrid you'll find their 4-4-2 is closed horizontally but have open vertical spaces. Then you have stupid semantic arguments about how Atletico Madrid have three central midfielders, one winger, a deep forward and an advanced forward. So it really isn't even a 4-4-2.

First line is hitting the nail on the head, a lot of coaches in the Premier League for example will copy whatever is the dominant formation going. Teams in general will do this. In England the 4-4-2 was popular for a long time and then the 4-3-3 was slowly introduced after Guardiola redefined the midfield 3 with Xavi and Iniesta, originally with Toure who was good but then Busquets who completed what a perfect midfield 3 looks like.

You then look at around 2012-2014 and Germany popularised the 4-2-3-1, all of a sudden clubs across England were utilising this formation. This and the 4-3-3 were still popular, and then Antonio Conte joined the Prem and used a formation that was long used by Italy and Juve previously to base their teams around what was arguably the greatest defensive partnership of the last decade with Bonucci, Chilellini and Barzagli. Conte won the league so decisively because a. Chelsea had a fairly shit hot team in general and b. he revolutionised football in England if even for a couple of seasons, I could be wrong but it definitely looked like Spurs’ 3 man defence/2 man defence with Eric Dier as midfielder/defender depending on who was attacking was inspired by Conte’s Chelsea. @Storts would know.

Going back to Klopp his style was criticised before it achieved success in England and in Europe because his players bodies weren’t able to cope with the physical demands of his playing styles, resulting in injuries during key parts of the season. A fairly prominent physio came out and slated him for it, seems to have paid off now.

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18 hours ago, Danny said:

I actually think we’re due a dominant defensive based team/manager soon as it wasn’t long ago Antonio Conte won the league with Chelsea and Leicester won it with some very stretched and direct football

Think this only works with a highly mobile midfield because being defensive is one thing but having the ability to counter-attack does play a huge role in the dominance of such a team. one of the reasons why Klopp's system works so effectively with VVD, Gomez, Trent and Andy is because of how the defensive side of things turns into fast transition attack in almost seconds. This is what gets most teams when they try to counter the system because you have to push up players to force the press and it leaves convenient pockets affording the wings to get the ball into scoring chances or assist chances.

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Still find it batshit crazy that teams think they can play like Barcelona at their peak despite them being Mansfield Town. Play to your strengths, it’s baffling how many managers look as though they think they’re some sort of disciple of Pep Guardiola by forcing blokes in the Championship and League One, who, lets be honest, are at that level for a reason, to try and play out from the back. 

There’s a handful of coaches that are castigated for being “dinosaurs” for the way in which their teams play and it’s actually a bit unfair, in some instances. 

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45 minutes ago, Smiley Culture said:

There’s a handful of coaches that are castigated for being “dinosaurs” for the way in which their teams play and it’s actually a bit unfair, in some instances. 

Yep, the three teams the xG data geeks hate are Crystal Palace, Newcastle United and Burnley. They are all pretty much bottom three (or definitely bottom five) for everything and yet not one of those clubs has in a position to be worried about not being in the Premier League next season.

There are Crystal Palace fans dismissing Sean Dyche as a future manager because of the brand of football. Which is mental because he looks like the ideal long term replacement for Roy Hodgson.

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I always thought Klopp would come good. He's a sensational coach. I feel like he came in and it was more of the same chaos at Liverpool for a while but bit by bit he's just signed players that fit into this system they have now and it's finally clicked, and they're close to unstoppable. I find them a generally less entertaining team than they used to be but they're an efficient machine.

I still can't see anybody for a long time challenging Liverpool & Manchester City in England and neither can I see either of those two going down the more pragmatic style route.

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1 hour ago, Smiley Culture said:

Still find it batshit crazy that teams think they can play like Barcelona at their peak despite them being Mansfield Town. Play to your strengths, it’s baffling how many managers look as though they think they’re some sort of disciple of Pep Guardiola by forcing blokes in the Championship and League One, who, lets be honest, are at that level for a reason, to try and play out from the back. 

There’s a handful of coaches that are castigated for being “dinosaurs” for the way in which their teams play and it’s actually a bit unfair, in some instances. 

It's hilarious to watch teams in League One and Two giving away goals because of a fucked up short goal kick xD knowing your limitations is vital to getting anywhere. Imagine Leicester trying to immitate Barcelona in 2015/16. We'd probably have gone down.

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40 minutes ago, The Palace Fan said:

Yep, the three teams the xG data geeks hate are Crystal Palace, Newcastle United and Burnley. They are all pretty much bottom three (or definitely bottom five) for everything and yet not one of those clubs has in a position to be worried about not being in the Premier League next season.

There are Crystal Palace fans dismissing Sean Dyche as a future manager because of the brand of football. Which is mental because he looks like the ideal long term replacement for Roy Hodgson.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/51495740

This bloke may be your man if you're willing to do the unthinkable and go foreign xD

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6 minutes ago, Dan said:

It's hilarious to watch teams in League One and Two giving away goals because of a fucked up short goal kick xD knowing your limitations is vital to getting anywhere. Imagine Leicester trying to immitate Barcelona in 2015/16. We'd probably have gone down.

Look at us under AVB in 2012. Roman desperately wanted us to play like Barca. 
 

Tried playing a high line with Terry + Ivanovic and a possession game with a midfield of Ramires/Romeu/Meireles. 
 

Fuck me those first few months of that season were horrid. 

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1 hour ago, Dan said:

It's hilarious to watch teams in League One and Two giving away goals because of a fucked up short goal kick xD knowing your limitations is vital to getting anywhere. Imagine Leicester trying to immitate Barcelona in 2015/16. We'd probably have gone down.

I’ve even seen non-league teams try it. I’m not saying hoof the ball at every opportunity but you’ve got to employ some form of common sense. 

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I wish someone would remind John Stones he's a defender and to play to his strengths.

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I'm unsure what I make to our tactical approach. We've definitely changed no end in the last 4 years but I can't escape this idea that we are just a weaker version of Man City - which is by no means a slight on us as ultimately we're over-achieving but I do wonder if it's just going to make us a slightly predictable side to face.

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8 minutes ago, Dan said:

I'm unsure what I make to our tactical approach. We've definitely changed no end in the last 4 years but I can't escape this idea that we are just a weaker version of Man City - which is by no means a slight on us as ultimately we're over-achieving but I do wonder if it's just going to make us a slightly predictable side to face.

Rodgers is everything our owners wanted Puel to be I reckon. 

Possession-based football but utilising flair players when the time is right, and more incisive in attack despite being patient. The amount we pass the ball between defenders is still quite high (higher with Puel) but it's all purely precise because the off-the-wall movement is there from midfielders. It's about knowing when to pass the ball forward to likes of Maddison and Tielemans once the space is there. And plus once we get going we're actually very quick in the opposition half. 

 

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22 minutes ago, Stan said:

Rodgers is everything our owners wanted Puel to be I reckon. 

Possession-based football but utilising flair players when the time is right, and more incisive in attack despite being patient. The amount we pass the ball between defenders is still quite high (higher with Puel) but it's all purely precise because the off-the-wall movement is there from midfielders. It's about knowing when to pass the ball forward to likes of Maddison and Tielemans once the space is there. And plus once we get going we're actually very quick in the opposition half. 

I still think there's definite room for improvement in our side too. That elusive game changing winger is the one.

Just to state I am very happy with the state of us at the minute and think things are going in the right direction - though we are sadly likely to be a big loser in this season as voiding it will undo basically everything from this year, where I think we'd actually timed a good season very well before all this.

I do think we need to be thinking about how to replace Vardy. I don't think he's dusted yet by any means but there'll come a point where he slows down. We were saying this quite a while ago though so you do wonder if this is another Di Natale like situation. Great if it is. I've warmed a lot to Iheanacho but I don't think he's really the long-term solution because he's quite a different style of player. I do like the Osimhen link.

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1 minute ago, Dan said:

I still think there's definite room for improvement in our side too. That elusive game changing winger is the one.

Just to state I am very happy with the state of us at the minute and think things are going in the right direction - though we are sadly likely to be a big loser in this season as voiding it will undo basically everything from this year, where I think we'd actually timed a good season very well before all this.

I do think we need to be thinking about how to replace Vardy. I don't think he's dusted yet by any means but there'll come a point where he slows down. We were saying this quite a while ago though so you do wonder if this is another Di Natale like situation. Great if it is. I've warmed a lot to Iheanacho but I don't think he's really the long-term solution because he's quite a different style of player. I do like the Osimhen link.

Ah definitely. 

Did you see the stats on FT earlier about Gray xD. Given he's probably our only out-and-out winger (along with Albrighton but 2 totally different players), these are his stats in comparison to other attacking players:

Maddison - 2019/20 - 28 apps, 6 goals 3 assists
Perez - 2019/20 - 25 apps, 7 goals 4 assists
Gray - 2015/2020 - 125 apps, 9 goals 7 assists 

That to me says that Gray is pretty much worthless to our side :what:.

We've been pining for a proper winger for ages to be honest.

Given our scouting and transfer record, I have no doubt we've been looking for Vardy replacements for a while. Osimhen would be quality. Don't think Morelos is the answer as we've been linked with him recently. 

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5 hours ago, Dan said:

I always thought Klopp would come good. He's a sensational coach. I feel like he came in and it was more of the same chaos at Liverpool for a while but bit by bit he's just signed players that fit into this system they have now and it's finally clicked, and they're close to unstoppable. I find them a generally less entertaining team than they used to be but they're an efficient machine.

I still can't see anybody for a long time challenging Liverpool & Manchester City in England and neither can I see either of those two going down the more pragmatic style route.

With Rodgers' last full season with us and that beginning of the season before he was sacked, we looked absolutely rudderless. It's accurate that once Klopp signed players that fit his system, we ended up looking much better (which makes sense, not all of the players we had were meant for Klopp's football). But on the pitch we were lacking any sort of purpose or cohesive style of our football before he came in (much like our time under Hodgson, which maybe means those managers just lost their dressing rooms). Klopp came in and immediately we saw a change in our performances, we saw a sense of purpose we were playing with - even if we didn't see much of a change in results.

At the end of the day, they're both managers that are committed to their philosophies on how to play football. I think at the end of the day, Rodgers' making signings that didn't fit in with his philosophy - coupled with a stubbornness to change tactics from what worked well with Suarez and Sturridge, even when we were mostly without Sturridge and had sold Suarez. Which honestly, is a bit baffling because in his one good season with us... I felt he demonstrated a lot of tactical flexibility. But after that, it was pure stubbornness from him. And maybe now that Klopp's built his side the way he likes to play, he's less likely to be flexible with his tactics like he was in the early days.

But quite frankly, I think Rodgers has learned a lot from his time with us. (and Celtic). With his time at Leicester, I've seen him set up where he doesn't try to act like he's managing Barca at his prime - that performance against us at Anfield (the 2-1) this season wouldn't ever be something he would ever attempt while he was with us. I think he's a good manager, I just don't trust him at all to make the right signings at times (because of what happened with us).

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6 hours ago, Stan said:

Ah definitely. 

Did you see the stats on FT earlier about Gray xD. Given he's probably our only out-and-out winger (along with Albrighton but 2 totally different players), these are his stats in comparison to other attacking players:

Maddison - 2019/20 - 28 apps, 6 goals 3 assists
Perez - 2019/20 - 25 apps, 7 goals 4 assists
Gray - 2015/2020 - 125 apps, 9 goals 7 assists 

That to me says that Gray is pretty much worthless to our side :what:.

We've been pining for a proper winger for ages to be honest.

Given our scouting and transfer record, I have no doubt we've been looking for Vardy replacements for a while. Osimhen would be quality. Don't think Morelos is the answer as we've been linked with him recently. 

Gray is abysmal. I don't think he's any better than when we signed him, which has become quite cliche to say, but in four and a half years what exactly has he gotten better at? I can't name a thing. I'd argue he's gone backwards. It's like he's tried to reinvent himself as a player and has totally lost any of what he was good at before. Four different managers can't get a tune out of him. Cash in. Not good enough.

I'd be interested to see Barnes' totals. He can't be far off Gray's output in a fraction of the time.

Tell you an interesting stat about Perez - if you took out every single goal he'd scored for us we'd be on the same number of points xD I'm not a massive fan of his either if I'm honest. Prefer him to Gray but I definitely think we could've done better for the money we paid.

I've jokingly said I'd take Morelos for his antics but to be honest I'd like to see a lot more of him to justify it. He's never done it in a decent league and plenty who watch it say that he's not actually all that. Osimhen at least is younger and by all accounts, just better.

 

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6 hours ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

With Rodgers' last full season with us and that beginning of the season before he was sacked, we looked absolutely rudderless. It's accurate that once Klopp signed players that fit his system, we ended up looking much better (which makes sense, not all of the players we had were meant for Klopp's football). But on the pitch we were lacking any sort of purpose or cohesive style of our football before he came in (much like our time under Hodgson, which maybe means those managers just lost their dressing rooms). Klopp came in and immediately we saw a change in our performances, we saw a sense of purpose we were playing with - even if we didn't see much of a change in results.

At the end of the day, they're both managers that are committed to their philosophies on how to play football. I think at the end of the day, Rodgers' making signings that didn't fit in with his philosophy - coupled with a stubbornness to change tactics from what worked well with Suarez and Sturridge, even when we were mostly without Sturridge and had sold Suarez. Which honestly, is a bit baffling because in his one good season with us... I felt he demonstrated a lot of tactical flexibility. But after that, it was pure stubbornness from him. And maybe now that Klopp's built his side the way he likes to play, he's less likely to be flexible with his tactics like he was in the early days.

But quite frankly, I think Rodgers has learned a lot from his time with us. (and Celtic). With his time at Leicester, I've seen him set up where he doesn't try to act like he's managing Barca at his prime - that performance against us at Anfield (the 2-1) this season wouldn't ever be something he would ever attempt while he was with us. I think he's a good manager, I just don't trust him at all to make the right signings at times (because of what happened with us).

I just cannot believe that it was all Rodgers. I'm not just trying to absolve him of the blame because he's now our manager and I'm biased but I cannot fathom how he could possibly have thought Lambert & Balotelli were the way you replace Suarez. He's spoken quite openly here about not wanting to use a target man, whether that's because he feels stung by the Lambert situation, or whether it's just not his philosophy, who knows, but it seems so at odds with what he wants as a manager.

I just can't help but feel Rodgers got a bit let down. Suarez is admittedly irreplaceable I think even for you at that time, but the replacements were so obviously not up to it that I'm not surprised it had a knock on. I just can't believe they were his choices.

Our performance away to you I think was largely misinterpreted and people acted like we were unlucky. We were unlucky to concede that penalty and I don't think it was one, but if we had drawn it would've been robbery too, we displayed so little attacking intent that day. Truth be told I've got no idea what he was trying to achieve and to set up in the same way at home, leaving your most creative player in TAA practically unchallenged all game was baffling. Definitely think he overthinks the big games a bit but there is no doubt we are a better side for his appointment, and any criticism really shows how far he's taken us in quite a short space of time. I think as well we've definitely vindicated sacking Puel when many weren't convinced at the time.

Couldn't possibly say about our recruitment. He's brought his old head of recruitment from Celtic down which terrifies me as he's universally slated by fans of every club he's been at. I just hope he's in to oversee the process we have in place rather than overhauling it, because our recruitment has yielded some super signings in the last few years, practically the main reason we're anywhere near these discussions at all.

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8 minutes ago, Dan said:

I just cannot believe that it was all Rodgers. I'm not just trying to absolve him of the blame because he's now our manager and I'm biased but I cannot fathom how he could possibly have thought Lambert & Balotelli were the way you replace Suarez. He's spoken quite openly here about not wanting to use a target man, whether that's because he feels stung by the Lambert situation, or whether it's just not his philosophy, who knows, but it seems so at odds with what he wants as a manager.

Reports are he was the one that pushed for Balotelli over anyone else. But I think other than buying the wrong players for the system, which happens at any club... his biggest failing was really being able to change up his style of play once the things that made his system work with us weren't there anymore.

I just can't help but feel Rodgers got a bit let down. Suarez is admittedly irreplaceable I think even for you at that time, but the replacements were so obviously not up to it that I'm not surprised it had a knock on. I just can't believe they were his choices.

At the end of the day, Rodgers was the person with the most power in the transfer committee. He was the one with the final say and equal input with our (now current) DoF - who was just our head scout at the time. And that's the guy that pushed most for us getting Sturridge and Coutinho, two of our better transfers in that era.

But again, sometimes managers buy a player that's a bit different to what they were expecting... but they work with it and change tactics around. What worked with Gerrard as a deep lying playmaker was the incredible amount of movement ahead of him coming in Suarez and Sturridge. Take away Suarez entirely and Sturridge being constantly injured, and replace that with either Balotelli/Lambert/Benteke and we've got all the movement ahead of Gerrard gone and all of a sudden our midfield doesn't create chances anymore.

But we just didn't play to our strengths after that happened. Meanwhile immediately after he leaves and Klopp comes in we start seeing better performances from players that some thought would flop - Milner, Lallana, Firmino… even fucking Lovren all made big leaps when it looked like they definitely would not fit in with our system.

Our performance away to you I think was largely misinterpreted and people acted like we were unlucky. We were unlucky to concede that penalty and I don't think it was one, but if we had drawn it would've been robbery too, we displayed so little attacking intent that day. Truth be told I've got no idea what he was trying to achieve and to set up in the same way at home, leaving your most creative player in TAA practically unchallenged all game was baffling. Definitely think he overthinks the big games a bit but there is no doubt we are a better side for his appointment, and any criticism really shows how far he's taken us in quite a short space of time. I think as well we've definitely vindicated sacking Puel when many weren't convinced at the time.

I'm not that baffled by it. Getting a point away to this Liverpool is a pretty decent result and what tactic has worked best in frustrating Klopp's Liverpool? Sterile football with a low block. And the first time around it very nearly worked... even if it wasn't really playing to your strengths really.

For our match at your place, I can't really defend the approach. Especially the decision to leave Trent wide open all day. It's a bit of a risky move going that conservatively against us, because on some days giving us that much of the ball and that many chances just means we'll score a lot... and other days it means we'll be frustrated. Look at Atletico Madrid, you play that way with good enough players against good sides and you can get the results. 

Couldn't possibly say about our recruitment. He's brought his old head of recruitment from Celtic down which terrifies me as he's universally slated by fans of every club he's been at. I just hope he's in to oversee the process we have in place rather than overhauling it, because our recruitment has yielded some super signings in the last few years, practically the main reason we're anywhere near these discussions at all.

The thing is he's still young and he's still learning. I think he came to Liverpool a bit too early in his career, in all honesty. He still had learning to do, but I think he's demonstrated he's learned from his time with us. 

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I think Heynckes, Klopp, and to a degree Conte have damaged the idea of teams having one clear playing philosophy. To be competitive on all fronts, you now need to be able to create chances during periods of sustained possession,  as well as be resilient without the ball for long periods if you have to. That means having a team with outstanding technical, tactical, and physical attributes, which is also willing to fight like hell and run for as long as it needs to.

Guardiola is the only real purist coach who is still enjoying major success, although his record in Europe has been poor precisely because his team can't cope with periods when the opposition is on top of them.

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7 hours ago, Dan said:

Gray is abysmal. I don't think he's any better than when we signed him, which has become quite cliche to say, but in four and a half years what exactly has he gotten better at? I can't name a thing. I'd argue he's gone backwards. It's like he's tried to reinvent himself as a player and has totally lost any of what he was good at before. Four different managers can't get a tune out of him. Cash in. Not good enough.

I'd be interested to see Barnes' totals. He can't be far off Gray's output in a fraction of the time.

Tell you an interesting stat about Perez - if you took out every single goal he'd scored for us we'd be on the same number of points xD I'm not a massive fan of his either if I'm honest. Prefer him to Gray but I definitely think we could've done better for the money we paid.

I've jokingly said I'd take Morelos for his antics but to be honest I'd like to see a lot more of him to justify it. He's never done it in a decent league and plenty who watch it say that he's not actually all that. Osimhen at least is younger and by all accounts, just better.

 

Maddison - 2019/20 - 28 apps, 6 goals, 3 assists
Perez - 2019/20 - 25 apps, 7 goals, 4 assists
Gray - 2015/2020 - 125 apps, 9 goals, 7 assists

Barnes - 2019/20 - 27 apps, 6 goals, 6 assists
(Barnes - whole PL career - 46 apps, 7 goals, 8 assists)

xD 

So not even one full season and he's nearly matching the figures of someone who's been playing in this side for over 4-5 years...

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3 hours ago, Stan said:

Maddison - 2019/20 - 28 apps, 6 goals, 3 assists
Perez - 2019/20 - 25 apps, 7 goals, 4 assists
Gray - 2015/2020 - 125 apps, 9 goals, 7 assists

Barnes - 2019/20 - 27 apps, 6 goals, 6 assists
(Barnes - whole PL career - 46 apps, 7 goals, 8 assists)

xD 

So not even one full season and he's nearly matching the figures of someone who's been playing in this side for over 4-5 years...

I'd be a bit more sympathetic with Gray for purely just not being quite good enough but I do think he's got a dodgy attitude and there were rumours of this before we even signed him - think it was Rowett in charge of Birmingham at the time and he'd said with Gray he's all good when it's going his way but when it isn't he's a pain in the arse, a sulker, and it does seem that way.

I used to quite like Gray and thought he was a decent young talent but I was never convinced he was good enough to come in for Mahrez. The thought in hindsight is scary.

Barnes has struggled at times but I felt he was finally getting to real grips with it all before all this situation so it's come at a bad time for him in-particular. I actually think he's a dark horse to go to the Euros.

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1 hour ago, Dan said:

I'd be a bit more sympathetic with Gray for purely just not being quite good enough but I do think he's got a dodgy attitude and there were rumours of this before we even signed him - think it was Rowett in charge of Birmingham at the time and he'd said with Gray he's all good when it's going his way but when it isn't he's a pain in the arse, a sulker, and it does seem that way.

I used to quite like Gray and thought he was a decent young talent but I was never convinced he was good enough to come in for Mahrez. The thought in hindsight is scary.

Barnes has struggled at times but I felt he was finally getting to real grips with it all before all this situation so it's come at a bad time for him in-particular. I actually think he's a dark horse to go to the Euros.

Barnes' improvement from last season to this reminds me of Ndidi's first season to the next. Staggering how quickly they have upped their games.

Think you said earlier Gray has stagnated or even gone backwards.

Gray was in that 'player has potential' stage but has surpassed that in age only. He's not progressed and if he's not doing it now, I can't see when he will. At least not with us. 

100% he scores when he next plays against us though xD

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