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Thread: The Return of the King

  1. #251

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    What a tough league run

    Utd
    City
    Chelsea

    City look a decent young team so I think a draw there
    Our trademark: 0-0

    Quote Originally Posted by GFRay View Post
    And now you're up against Man City. I hope you win, but I think you'll get a 1-1 draw there as you're not in that good form anymore.
    Perhaps not 0-0 then. After all, you're usually right

  2. #252

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    Rovers like a team reborn against City

    On Saturday 4th February we played Man City at the Etihad Stadium and after the 0-4 loss against Man Utd it felt like this was an all or nothing match - but after ninety very tense minutes the game ended undecided!


    We are going though a major dip so Man City smelled blood and they immediately pushed forward in numbers to try and kill us off, but we countered well. However, that only resulted in a yellow card for Di Bari for a trip on Ampadu. And a little later, when our striker received the ball from Suárez and drove it at goal Hughes managed to turn the ball behind.

    Both teams tried to attack now but our opponents found the net first when Onomah sent the ball into the area and Kyei got up to head at goal and scored the opening goal to the delight of the crowd.

    Things did not look good again and at this stage we could easily have fallen apart, but fortunately Di Bari prevented a doom scenario when he bore down on goal just three minutes later and scored with a fierce shot to cancel out Kyei's opener!

    Both teams played more cautiously now, although both Bernat and Marichez were shown a yellow card.

    And so in the second half we brought on Akpoguma for Marichez, but it took only 60 seconds for Van Beek to trip Tolisso and so he was also shown a yellow card and we had to be really careful now.

    And again it was Man City who found the net first when Onomah brought the ball forward and turned and beat Wanyama before skipping past Van Dijk and striking the ball with fury to score with a fine strike!

    Man City were content now. They brought on Kitson for Gray and six minutes later they replaced Kitson again for Alex Chamberlain. Whether they were simply time-wasting or if Kitson was actually injured we shall never know, but it did not help our opponets because with three minutes remaining Mahrez took a free-kick and Di Bari had the beating in the air of Castor as he as got up to head at goal and completed his brace!

    A very good team performance, especially in the light of the fact that we have just been demolished by Man Utd. And although he did not keep a clean sheet László was one of our best players again! However, the yellow cards become a bit of a problem.
    Spoiler!

    Meanwhile Man Utd dropped two points at Selhurst Park where De Gea was sent off so that Man Utd had to play with ten men for almost the entire second half!




    Now before we play Chelsea there will be the FA Cup 4th Round Replay against Millwall.




    Our next opponents

    So we will play Millwall in the FA Cup Fourth Round Replay next. Millwall are still the EFC Championship runners-up so we should certainly not underestimate them.


    But at least it's a home game this time. However, Praet is still injured and what's more, both of our full-backs are banned for this game.




    Also, we want to give Wanyama, Clasie and Mahrez rest because of the upcoming game against Chelsea. And of course, Steele will be our goalkeeper again.

    Last edited by samsami; 12-05-18 at 09:52 AM.

  3. #253

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    A good effort v man City and if it wasn't for Onomoah then you could have had the 3 points

    Bernat with a poor game but he's allowed one as may be best defender all season

    Man U slipping up is great - and De Gea banned for a few games could be key

    Spurs and Chelsea in league not easy but if you can stay in touch I assume your "run in" should look good on paper and you will still have a real chance for the league

    Millwall - don't see it being a problem this time around

  4. #254

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    A good effort v man City and if it wasn't for Onomoah then you could have had the 3 points
    May I add that if it wasn't for László we could have lost the game? Onomah scored a goal and produced an assist but László denied him a couple of times (even if that is not mentioned in the short match report above, but his rating tells you so)

  5. #255

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    Just caught up on the last 4/5 games. Draws all over the place with Morgan your saving grace in some of them.

    Shame about that defeat to Man Utd, a rare bad day at the office indeed for your defenders. At least you avoided a repeat vs. Man City but Bernat didn't cover himself with glory either.

    Time to get back to winning ways against Millwall and get revenge in the next round vs. Man Utd.

  6. #256

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    Well that's frustrating! Shame you didn't take advantage of all those games in hand to move into 1st place. I fear you may not win the title at your first attempt on your return after all.
    Your words before those last 4 or 5 games....

  7. #257

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    Rovers to FA Cup Fifth Round

    On Wednesday 8th February we struggled to find the net again, but we did finally eliminate Millwall from the FA Cup 4th Round in front of a crowd of just 16,635.


    We rested several players and three of our first team players were unavailable so we started the game with Steele, Akpoguma, O'Neill, Matic, Besic and Serrano but that is hardly an excuse for our disappointing performance.

    We have enough squad depth and we had expected more goals so that we could have rested players like Di Bari and Agüero in the second half, but that just did not happen.

    Agüero was not to blame, though. He scored the opener when Suárez crossed the ball low and hard from the left and our 2nd striker did not miss the opportunity!

    Unfortunately, four minutes after that opening goal Besic picked up an injury and had to go off so we had to bring on Wanyama after all.

    The next scoring chance was for Millwall. Maitland-Niles got up to head at goal but Steele did well to get his fingertips to the ball. On the other side Di Bari struck a free-kick over the wall and it beat the goalkeeper but it hit the post and went behind!

    And the second half had barely started when Di Bari tried a banana shot. McCarthy could not gather the ball cleanly and Agüero drove the ball in low but McCarthy did well to turn the ball away.

    Then, with thirty minutes remaining Di Bari turned nicely on the ball and fed it to Agüero in the area. Agüero sent a shot in low and scored, only it was ruled out because Suárez had strayed into an offside position. Five minutes later Agüero smashed the ball in low but again McCarthy saved well and held the ball.

    We brought on Morgan and Vera for the final fifteen minutes or so and Vera almost scored from a free-kick but McCarthy got his fingertips to the ball ans so we never scored that second goal.

    A decent enough team performance but we could have done with more goals. Suárez was named Man of the Match.
    Spoiler!

    Meanwhile there was an absolute shocker of a result at the J.Davidson Stadium in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, where Chelsea were eliminated from the FA Cup after a dismal performance!


    So that leaves Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal and we will be playing the Premier League leaders in the next round! And after the recent 0-4 defeat in the Premier League we are keen to get our revenge in this FA Cup tie!


    And while these FA Cup replays took place Man Utd defeated Reading (4-2) at Old Trafford. This means that we have a game in hand again, but we already dropped two points in our previous three games in hand...


    We have an extremely demanding fixture schedule and we can hardly afford to drop points against Chelsea or Spurs if we want to stay in the title race.




    Our next opponents

    Antonio Conte normally prefers Chelsea to play an attractive attacking two-striker formation.

    Chelsea have a world class team. Gareth Bale is a world class striker who will be a constant threat to us.


    Marichez is still banned so Akpoguma gets to play again. And because László is less than 100% fit Steele will be our goalkeeper against the Blues.

    Other than that we play with our best possible lineup, but because Besic and Praet are both still injured we have Thompson and Requena starting on the bench.

    Last edited by samsami; 12-05-18 at 09:53 AM.

  8. #258

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    Comfortable and expected progress

    Nice to a win again

    Fans didn’t fancy it though

    Bitch if a draw v Man U but it’s at home I guess and revenge time!

    Chelsea gave a top class team. You’ll do well to get a point I’d say.
    3 points would be incredible given your form and run of fixtures you have had in league against your direct competitors

  9. #259

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Chelsea gave a top class team. You’ll do well to get a point I’d say.
    3 points would be incredible given your form and run of fixtures you have had in league against your direct competitors
    Indeed. And with Chelsea's FA Cup result they'll want to win this match even more, I'd say.

  10. #260

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    Just caught up after being busy busy busy.

    Decent draw against Man City and pretty much deserved looking at the stats.

    You disposed of Millwall as expected, but now a tough draw against Man Utd who recently have battered you.

    The game against Chelsea will be a tough one so I'll go with a 0-0 this time!
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  11. #261

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    Late Morgan goal earns Rovers win over Chelsea

    On Sunday 11th February we played Chelsea, the number four of the Premier League table, at Ewood Park in front of yet another record-breaking crowd.


    And after a series of disappointing results this was one of those rare occasions when we actually beat our London rivals, albeit by the narrowest possible margin!


    As the match stats show, the game was in perfect balance and either team could have won to-day, although for the longest time we were heading for a rather predictable stalemate.

    The first chance was for Chelsea when Bale skipped past the challenge of Van Dijk and jinked past Akpoguma before bending the ball at goal. And Bale was close, with the ball skimming the top of the bar!

    Initially very little happened but after twenty minutes or so Chelsea started to attack a bit more and that resulted in another scoring chance when Luan helped the ball on for Batshuayi who chipped it into the penalty area ahead of Dabney dos Santos. Dos Santos shot on the volley but he put it clean over the bar.

    Just before the break we had two decent scoring opportunities, first when Di Bari shrugged off the attentions of Zouma and sent a shot in low, but Courtois saved well and held the ball, and next when Suárez hit a fierce shot but the ball went flying over the bar.

    So there were no goals in the first half and the game was in balance. And in the second half we started well when Akpoguma powered a header at goal, but the ball went just wide of Courtois' left hand post.

    Now there still were not many scoring chances and after Chelsea had made a double substitution and had brought on Solanke and Lucas we also decided to bring on Morgan for a fatigued Sergio Agüero and O'Neill for Akpoguma. However, it seemed to make little difference, although Van de Beek had a good opportunity when he got free in the area. He drove the ball low towards the goal but his effort went inches wide.

    So just after Chelsea had brought off Bale we also made a final substitution as we brought on Serrano for Suárez and a few minutes later when Musonda barged Clasie in the back we appealed for a penalty but the referee turned down our claims and the game seemed to be heading for stalemate now.

    But then, with seven minutes remaining Clasie hit a superb 25-yard ball left to Bernat who crossed the ball low and hard from the left and his pass found Morgan who turned on the ball, advanced on Courtois and hit a fierce left-footed strike to score his fourth and by far his most important goal of the season!!

    The match was decided now! Christensen came off after picking up a knock but immediately the final whistle was blown. We had defeated Chelsea!

    Our defence was water-tight again. Steele, Bernat, Van Dijk, Clasie and Wanyama all played brilliantly but Gavin Morgan was named Man of the Match!
    Spoiler!

    Man Utd and Man City also won their respective matches so it would seem that Chelsea are dropping out of the title race now, although anything is still possible.


    We collected 4 points from these last three Premier League matches against Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea. Not bad, but not quite enough, really. And we still have a horrendous fixture list!


    But at least we have Mauro Di Bari and if all else fails, we have Gavin Morgan! Both strikers are still only 23 years old and although Morgan does not have the same potential as Di Bari to become a world class player, there is one thing he is exceptionally good at and that is finishing!
    Spoiler!

    So far Morgan has made eight appearances, although he has only played one full game (against Leicester City). The other seven times we brought him on for the last twenty-five minutes or so.

    In those seven games Morgan recorded just four attempts on goal, but all four attempts were on target and what's more, all four shots resulted in a goal, three of them crucial goals at that!


    So Morgan seems well on his way to become invaluable for the club in his role as super-sub.


    Our next opponents

    So for now the focus is on the Champions League again and we will play Sporting Clube de Portugal at Ewood Park next.

    Siniša Mihajlović prefers Sporting to play an attacking formation. Sporting have a world class team. Belgian midfielder Leander Dendocker is a key player in their squad.


    We will have to play Sporting twice this month and we shall need to win this first leg at Ewood Park if we want to stay ahead of Saint-Etienne.


    We will play with our best-possible lineup. Besic and Praet are currently our only unavailable players.

    Last edited by samsami; 12-05-18 at 09:55 AM.

  12. #262

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    WOW - A HUGE 3 points there

    Cannot say you realy deserve it (neither team did) but after a sticky spell then this ais a really welcome result

    Big 6 pointer game which doesn't help Chelsea

    Nice little section on Morgan - He's your Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer!

    Sporting look very good - couple of draw against them in the back to back games will be fine and can then finish off the group

  13. #263

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    A much needed win for you against a direct competitor for those CL spots and fundamental for you to stay in that title race. Stats wise a draw would have the most fair result, but who cares about fair right? Everything is allowed on the road to success!

    Morgan is better at almost anything than Di Bari EXCEPT the most important attribute for a striker: Finishing. Di Bari still first choice though, but nice to have such a quality backup!

    Sporting seem decent, but not enough to upset you and you're at home as well so I'm going with: 2-0.
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  14. #264

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    Di Bari is the better one than Morgan - check again Ray

  15. #265

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Di Bari is the better one than Morgan - check again Ray
    You're right, of course. Morgan is average, except for the fact that he has a huge eye for goal
    Spoiler!
    Last edited by samsami; 12-05-18 at 09:55 AM.

  16. #266

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    Got the colours mixed up (It was early in the morning, still sleeping probably )
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  17. #267

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    Nice bit of analysis on Morgan, he's fast becoming a fan fave!

  18. #268

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    Rovers defeat Sporting at Ewood Park

    On Wednesday 15th February we played Sporting CP and not only did we win the match but for the ninth consecutive time we managed to keep a clean sheet in our European game!!


    Our scouts had informed us that Dendoncker was the one to watch, but when our Belgian friend scored it was an own goal! Clasie put a low cross into the near post and Suárez hit a fierce shot but the ball hit Dendocker who put it past his own keeper.

    We needed that friendly gesture as we had not been able to penetrate the Sporting defence yet. They seemed to have come to keep us to a 0-0 draw and so far they had been successful. But after that own goal we seized control of the midfield and Di Bari had a couple of good scoring chances. He came especially close when he smashed the ball towards the top corner, but it clipped the bar and went over.

    We started with the same formation after the break and four minutes into the second half it was Suárez who went by the challenge of Umtiti and hit in low from a distance and scored with a fine strike to decide the match! Patricio never saw it!

    Of course that second goal more or less decided the game. We brought on Matic and Serrano for Clasie and Mahrez who will both be much needed against Man Utd and with ten minutes remaining we brought on Morgan, who actually had a decent scoring chance after Matic squared the ball, but for a change Morgan put it wide

    A remarkably comfortable win. Suárez played very well and he was named Man of the Match.
    Spoiler!

    Elsewhere Chelsea won their first game in Group B in Istanbul against Besiktas while in the Group of Death Juventus lost again, this time at home to Paris Saint-Germain. Surely, The Old Lady's fate has been sealed now.








    It is hard to know how we will cope with our demanding schedule, but after these two superb wins against Chelsea (1-0) and against Sporting (2-0) we have our hopes up high again!




    Our next opponents

    So it's Man Utd in the FA Cup next!

    José Mourinho prefers Man Utd to play an attacking formation and they clearly showed us they mean it when they beat us 4-0 recently in the Premier League, also at Ewood Park. The Premier League leaders will be full of confidence.


    We will start with our normal lineup. Jason Steele will be our goalkeeper for this Cup match.

    And of course we are very keen on revenge our recent humiliation by the Premier League leaders!

    Last edited by samsami; 12-05-18 at 09:56 AM.

  19. #269

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    Well I was right again about a result

    Man Utd looks world class in midfield and attack, but their defence is a bit unknown to me. I think you'll get it tough and predict a 1-1 draw.
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  20. #270

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    Very good result in CL - keeper had a bad day but for sure you deserved to win

    That should be qualification sorted from the group

    Man U will be a REALLY tough game - good luck!

  21. #271

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    Europe is a breeze!

  22. #272

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    FA Cup clash with Man Utd ends in stalemate

    On Saturday 18th February we played Man Utd in the FA Cup 5th Round in front of a crowd of 27,948 and this time we were not humiliated by the Premier League leaders. On the contrary, we played well and we were even the better team.

    However, because we failed to find the net against Man Utd's very solid defence a replay will be necessary.


    Contrary to what we expected, Man Utd made an extremely cagey start to the match and De Gea may be injured but they have Moutha-Sebtaoui who played brilliantly!

    Agüero was the first one to try his luck but Moutha-Sebtaoui saved and deflected the ball clear. Next Di Bari drove the ball in low but Moutha-Sebtaoui pushed it away superbly and he did the same when Bernat got his head to the ball and seemed about to score.

    On the other side, Pogba showed Clasie a clean set of heels and blasted the ball towards the top corner, but it went over the bar. And just before the break Rashford actually scored but Martial had strayed into an offside position so it was ruled out.

    By then Mahrez had already picked up an injury and we had brought on Serrano to replace him. Now because Praet is still injured, we only have two wingers left, so we do have a problem there.

    In the second half we brought on Matic for Wanyama, who had been show a yellow card, and Matic had a great scoring opportunity when he hit the ball high and hard towards goal but again Moutha-Sebtaoui saved and held the ball well.

    We made one final substitution as we brought on Morgan for Agüero, but this time our super-sub could not save us. What's more we almost lost when Sterling tried a volley and scored, but it was ruled out by the linesman's flag.

    We did create chances, though. Suárez shot the ball from long range, but it went just over the bar. Di Bari tried a pot-shot on goal but it went wide, and when Serrano attempted to hit the ball in low Moutha-Sebtaoui could only parry it, so that Di Bari could pick up the loose ball and drive it in low, but once again Moutha-Sebtaoui saved.

    And so the match ended in a 0-0 draw and a replay will be scheduled to be played at Old Trafford. Just what we needed...

    A good game, though. We played well against a very defensive team this time. Unfortunately for us Moutha-Sebtaoui made everyone forget about De Gea.
    Spoiler!

    And while our game ended in a draw Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool and Spurs all qualified for the Quarter Finals.


    Mahrez will be out for three weeks or so. And because Dennis Praet is also still injured we now only have Suárez and Serrano available as wingers...




    Our next opponents

    Next we'll play Sporting Clube de Portugal again, this time at the Estádio José Alvalade.

    It would be very nice if Dendoncker obliged us again with an own goal, but that might be asking a trifle too much.


    Our main problem is that both Dennis Praet and Riyad Mahrez are injured so we only have two wingers available: Denis Suárez and Alfonso Serrano.

    Steele will be our goalkeeper again and Akpoguma will replace Marichez, who is not 100% fit.

    Last edited by samsami; 12-05-18 at 09:57 AM.

  23. #273

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    Damn that's unfortunate. You should have won there, but now you have to play a replay. Tough luck to see Mahrez drop out for 3 weeks as well.

    You can beat Sporting again, but since you're playing away I'll go with a 2-2 draw.
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  24. #274

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    Quote Originally Posted by GFRay View Post
    Damn that's unfortunate. You should have won there, but now you have to play a replay. Tough luck to see Mahrez drop out for 3 weeks as well.

    You can beat Sporting again, but since you're playing away I'll go with a 2-2 draw.
    The worst part is that we have to play an extra game with two wingers injured. And of course the replay will be at Old Trafford. We are doing well in Europe but struggling a bit in the Premier League and in the Cup matches.

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    Stalemate in Lisbon

    On Tuesday 21st February we played the return match against Sporting CP at the Estádio José de Alvadade in Lisbon, and in true Rovers-style the match ended in a goalless draw.


    Sporting attempted to push forward in numbers from the word go and they played well but they struggled to penetrate our defensive midfield. In fact, we attempted four shots on goal, Sporting only two, even though they were clearly the better team.

    But of course we were content with a draw, so we mostly leaned on our defence.

    Deep into the second half we did bring on Morgan for Agüero again, though; after all, you never know! Only it made no difference, partly because Dendoncker was playing so incredibly well today; and so the game ended in what is still a very acceptable 0-0 draw.

    Although Sporting were the better team we created more scoring chances than our opponents so the draw seems a fair result.
    Spoiler!

    After a total of ten European games we still have not conceded a single goal in our Champions League group matches!

    Meanwhile, Chelsea defeated Besiktas for the second time so they can still qualify from Group B and the Group of Death (Group D) remains very interesting as well!










    Our next opponents

    There is no rest for us. We have to play Spurs in the Premier League at White Hart Lane next.

    Laurent Blanc normally prefers Tottenham to play an attractive attacking formation with Lewandowski, Aubameyang and/or Kane as their strikers.

    Despite their deceptively poor Premier League position Tottenham have a fantastic team. Midfielder Hakim Ziyech is a key player in the Spurs squad.

    Interestingly, Ryan Nyambe is also part of their squad only he will star out on the bench.


    As for us, we will play with Serrano for the injured Riyad Mahrez. We have no other options as long as Dennis Praet is also still injured.

    Last edited by samsami; 12-05-18 at 09:59 AM.

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