Placeholder Photo

Malmo v Juventus (champions league)



We welcome back all the south american contingent to the squad – other than Arthur – and no doubt also to the first XI, as we head to Sweden to open our CL campaign against Malmo.

The season has been appalling thus far. 1 point from 3 games. Glaring individual errors from our Pole between the sticks. Perhaps only some fair form for 45 minutes in the first outing, since then a muddle and hotchpotch experimentation with half the first XI unavailable for selection after their national team endeavour.

 “We have to win to lay the right foundations and to face the group in the best possible way.

“In football you can never predict what will happen, we must try to make the right things happen. At this moment in the League, it has not gone well, despite the fact that the team has behaved well. -Allegri

I agree with Max. Though have little confidence that we will win and given the circumstances, I would be content with a half decent performance and a point. Even though our opponents are the weakest side in our group, we can only in any way judge and predict on recent form, which is appalling. Unfortunately, all I can hope for is that we do not lose.


“Szczesny is a top-level goalkeeper, and he will absolutely play tomorrow.” – Max

Continuing his ongoing vendetta against poor Mattia Perin, Max confirmed that Tek remains our number one. I have to wonder, with horror, how many games he must throw away singlehandedly for Perin to get a look-in. And whilst I understand the need to support players, there is also the need to focus on the collective, upon winning games, with the whole point of having alternative options for each position is to make use of them when others are injured or in poor form and also to operate a meritocracy within the squad. No one player should be guaranteed their place, no matter how badly they play, for this drains morale from the back-ups. Competition for places is imperative for any side, whatever their aspirations. Nobody should be undroppable…Unless, they have proven amazing for a long time of late, which fits none of our players other than Chiesa and probably Juan.

We can expect to find Dybala, Danilo, Juan, Bentancur and Sandro all returned to the starting XI>>>

Many online platforms give a 442 in the defensive phase and 433 in the offensive phase, but I have had enough of that kind of talk. I do not know of many teams who put players out of position in any phase, so why should we be doing that? Yes, Rabiot played in a 3-5-2 against Switzerland, which France ended up losing and Adrien fared okay, but it was an experiment, not the norm, for he would usually play as a CML in a 4-3-3.

What caused so much angst with Pirlo was his hybrid systems. Just put players in their natural roles, pick a system which includes the best players, and stick with it for a while. In saying that we do have an issue on the left flank. Not just with a long jaded Sandro, but with no natural LWF in the squad, let alone no natural LM – though I suspect Pellegrini could be okay there in a 4-4-2. Not amazing, but better than a CM.

The only player able to perform in a LWF role in a front 3 is Chiesa. Not his best position, he may even be more potent as a CF (where he played often for FIOR) yet his strongest area is as a RWF. With him absent, I don’t think Kulu is great on that flank, mainly because he is very left footed. With Ronaldo leaving, and Coriera also off on loan to buddy up with Buffon, we have not one natural LWF in the squad, which is as remarkable as it is a damn bother!

I hope more than expect us to be more solid all over the field, yet the fear remains that even against the likes of Malmo, we are going to struggle to create when there is no bedded in system, and our selection changes hugely each game.

The Swedes scraped through the qualification process by edging out Bulgarian powerhouse (hohoho!) Ludogrets by a single goal. They have since lost and drawn, so are hardly in great form. Which means very little, as despite looking on paper like a far stronger side which should win this at a canter, Juve are in complete disarray. Nothing is certain, anything is possible.

Match report to follow…