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Thread: The Return of the King

  1. #101

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    Strong Rovers side humiliate the Magpies

    On Saturday 5th November we played Newcastle United in front of a lively and enthusiastic crowd of 33,432 but in very gusty weather. Nevertheless, with Di Bari playing at the top of his form we outplayed the runners up of the Premier League, who almost seemed uninspired.


    There were only 33,432 fans but as Di Bari said, after the match: "At times the roar made you think you have wings on your feet!"

    Bernat and Di Bari played what must have been their best game of the season and between them they took care of both goals. In the first half Bernat floated the ball into the area from the left and Di Bari climbed above Sels to score the opener and in the second half Bernat took a corner and Di Bari jumped above Mbemba and doubled our lead with another fine header!

    By the way, we had started the second half with O'Neill for Van Dijk, who had been shown a yellow card, and O'Neill played very well again in his second appearance of the season.

    But it was Di Bari who was on fire with six attempts on goals and all six of them on target! Sells was hardly to blame as he denied Di Bari four times, but it wasn't enough.

    And on the other side Ferenc László prevented Sakhi and Fabinho from scoring to keep yet another clean sheet.

    After Di Bari's second goal we brought on Akpoguma and Cataldi, who both played well and we had no trouble winning the game and keeping our twelfth clean sheet in the fourteen games since Mr.Allegri has left!
    Spoiler!

    A fantastic win. We humiliated the Magpies and Bernat was clearly delighted to play as full-back again. The 30-year-old was like a young dog today! Serrano did okay as attacking midfielder but obviously it was Di Bari who was named Man of the Match.
    Spoiler!

    And so we now suddenly find ourselves in third position as both Swansea and Newcastle are finally beginning to drop points.


    After the match it was formally announced the Mikkel Duelund has decided to leave Blackburn Rovers. Four years ago the talented but unpredictable striker joined Rovers on a free transfer so at least we made some profit.


    Obviously Duelund will be missed sorely by some who very much admire his skills, while others continue to blame him for not always having had the right attitude.

    Be that as it may, we wish Duelund all the best in his further career.
    Spoiler!

    Meanwhile we have a tight schedule and first of all we shall have to play our final Champions League group match against Benfica at Ewood Park.




    Our next fixture

    In Istanbul the match ended in a goalless draw and we know know that Besiktas have a very strong team. They have not changed their tactic but for this game Yüksel and Ünal will be their striker duo.


    Because we have already qualified for the next phase we can rest at least some of our players. However, we are obviously keen to win the group. At least we have so many quality players that it can hardly been seen as a risk to have Steele, Clasie, Serrano and Agüero all be playing against Benfica.

    Last edited by samsami; 12-05-18 at 08:31 AM.

  2. #102

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    Dominating win against Newcastle, well done!

    Besiktas shouldn't be a problem, but since you're already qualifiied, I'll go with the shock draw: 1-1.
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  3. #103

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    Super strong performance v Newcastle who I was dissapointed with but testament to your boys!

    Deuland - meh - whatever - I never took to him - good money for old rope as they say!

    Easy stretch of games coming up where more wins should be picked up - but the Swansea game could be a big one - toughest on paper and a team who have turned the tables on you in the past!

    P.S - love the quote from Di Bari

  4. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Super strong performance v Newcastle who I was dissapointed with but testament to your boys!

    Deuland - meh - whatever - I never took to him - good money for old rope as they say!

    Easy stretch of games coming up where more wins should be picked up - but the Swansea game could be a big one - toughest on paper and a team who have turned the tables on you in the past!

    P.S - love the quote from Di Bari
    Yes, Di Bari is so happy now, especially because we won the Europa League last season. That was when he stopped feeling homesick and he doesn't mind the English weather anymore!

    Honestly, Di Bari is the main reason why I returned to Rovers!

  5. #105

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    Rovers vs Besiktas ends in stalemate again

    On Wednesday 9th November we played Besiktas in our final group match in front of a crowd of 37,537 and just like the away game in Istanbul, today's match also ended in stalemate.

    However, unlike the Istanbul game, this time we should have won the match, considering the number of scoring chances we created.


    It seemed that Besiktas had come to defend as we attacked freely and created a succession of opportunities to take the lead, but our finishing lacked accuracy. None of the shots on goal by Agüero, Serrano, Mahrez, Matic and Marichez were on target.

    On the other hand, we played well enough to not give Besiktas any chance and of course, we are the ones who benefit from the 0-0 draw as we achieved out goal of winning the group.

    Besiktas did not produce a single shot on goal! But then again, none of our six shots on goal were on target... Virgil van Dijk, our captain, was named Man of the Match.
    Spoiler!

    Now not only did we qualify for the next phase but we won the group and we did it without conceding a single goal!




    Rovers drawn in Group A

    The draw of the next UEFA Champions League group stages took place in Monaco this evening, and we were fortunate to receive a relatively 'easy' group - if there are any easy groups at this stage.

    But, admittedly, on paper our Champions League group A is not the hardest group we could have ended up in. And any group is better than group D which is without doubt the Group of Death!

    Chelsea have been drawn into the somewhat tougher group B. Not an easy group, but they should have a realistic chance to qualify.








    So this means that six very demanding games have been added to our already very tight fixture list. And we will have to resume our European campaign with an away match.

    But first of all the focus has to shift back to the Premier League again.




    Our next fixture

    On paper Norwich City have a reasonable team and Gary Rowett prefers them to play an attacking formation. Nevertheless, Norwich are currently at the very bottom of the table and have not won a single Premier League game yet!

    According to our scouts Caleb Stanko and Sandro Santos will attempt to control the game from midfield.


    As for us, we will play with Di Bari as striker and Suárez as playmaker. Serrano will get another chance as winger so Dennis Praet will start out on the bench.

    Last edited by samsami; 12-05-18 at 08:32 AM.

  6. #106

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    What a disappointing draw against Besiktas. They were very poor, but you also failed to hit the target. Luckily this game didn't matter so no problems there!

    Very good 2nd group draw and I see you reaching the quarterfinals with ease.

    Norwich seem poor so I'm going with a comfortable 2-0 win for you.
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  7. #107
    wow might as well give you a bye to the next round with that CL group

  8. #108

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    Result was fine. You did what you needed to before this game

    Easy CL group next in paper which will help your charge for the league

    Norwich look awful and big win expected

    Your defence is amazing domestically and in Europe

    4 goals conceded in 17 games

  9. #109

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    Good going against Newcastle, especially with 10 men!

    Not too fussed about Duelund going. Looking forwards to seeing who you'll replace him with, if at all.

    Great way to complete Phase 1 in the CL, 0 defeats, 0 goals conceded!

  10. #110

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    Not too fussed about Duelund going. Looking forwards to seeing who you'll replace him with, if at all.
    Duelund will not be replaced this season if Christian Vera finally shows his skills. If truth be told he has never been given enough game time to do so, because Di Bari is never injured and hardly ever banned.
    Spoiler!
    Last edited by samsami; 12-05-18 at 08:33 AM.

  11. #111

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    Crazy ridiculous att's

    Been not really performed over the years when given a chance

    Surprised he is not frustrated at lack of game time - how long left on contract

    He does looks awesome though

  12. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Crazy ridiculous att's

    Been not really performed over the years when given a chance

    Surprised he is not frustrated at lack of game time - how long left on contract

    He does looks awesome though
    The point is that Mr.Allegri had him play as striker and Di Bari as right winger. That was not correct. But he will get more game time now because Duelund is leaving.

  13. #113

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    Vera looks like he is ready for a chance and an extended run

  14. #114

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    Vera looks like he is ready for a chance and an extended run
    Yes, that's what he's never had. But what about his limited skills in technique and agility (and work rate and determination)?

  15. #115

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    Maybe coach him to improve them then?!

  16. #116

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    Di Bari brace gives Rovers win over Norwich

    On Monday 14th November we played Norwich City at Carrow Road and although the scoreline doesn't reflect it, we outplayed our opponents who reside at the very bottom of the Premier League table.


    We scored the early goal when Suárez curled the ball into the near post and the head of Di Bari met the ball and our striker found the net with a fine header.

    We should at the very least have doubled our lead in the first half and when we didn't it was eventually Reeves who tried a low, left-footed drive and scored the equaliser just before half time!

    So we had to start from scratch in the second half, with Clasie for Wanyama. And there were plenty of scoring chances, especially for Mahrez and for Di Bari, but they were both unlucky and it must be added that O'Brien is an excellent goalkeeper!

    As the clocked ticked down at Carrow Road we were getting a bit edgy so we brought on Praet for Serrano to try and shake things up. But then O'Brien made his only mistake of the day. He took a goal kick but the ball ended up in no man's land and it was Di Bari who picked up the loose ball, advanced on the goalkeeper and found the net with a powerful strike!!

    Of course Di Bari just had to be named Man of the Match. Still, we don't often get so many scoring opportunities in one game and we should have scored at least two more goals.
    Spoiler!

    At least we are back in the title race! In a way it's almost a pity that we have so many other games to concentrate on, especially in December. That doesn't make it easy.

    We shall just have to take one game at a time...


    The next day it was announced that Danilo Cataldi has signed a contract with Inter Milan.

    Mr.Allegri had brought Cataldi to Ewood Park, but he has never really broken through into the first team. And because we already have Mahrez, Suárez, Praet and Serrano the Italian midfielder did not get much game time and so he has decided to return to Italy.


    Now it's a good thing Cataldi is not leaving until January because Dennis Praet has picked up an injury and will be out for three weeks with strained knee ligaments!

    Our next two games will be a European game and an EFL Cup game. In fact, we will only play two Premier League games in the next four weeks or so!




    Our next fixture

    Philippe Montanier prefers AS Saint-Etienne Loire to play an attacking formation.

    Saint-Etienne have a strong team. They are currently in fourth position on the French League 1 table. According to our scouts Mathieu Castilla is a solid defender who inspires confidence in the rest of the Saint-Etienne squad.

    They also have a good striker in David Faupala. In fact, Real Madrid are said to be interested in Faupala who has already scored 15 goals in 21 appearances this season.


    We will of course play with our best possible lineup. That is to say, with Praet being injured Serrano will start as left winger again. But other than that, everyone is currently fit and available.

    We have not conceded a single goal in Europe yet so that gives us hope. In the group stage we don't even need to score an away goal so there's no reason to take any risks as long as we can keep a clean sheet.

    Last edited by samsami; 12-05-18 at 08:34 AM.

  17. #117

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    Wow, you got close to get proper 'Champmanned' against Norwich with their 1 shot-1goal!

    But luckily you got Di Bari!

    St. Etienne don't look that good, but they're in the 2nd group so they must have something. I just can't see it so I predict a 2-0 win for you!
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  18. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by samsami View Post
    Yes, that's what he's never had. But what about his limited skills in technique and agility (and work rate and determination)?
    I can imagine his work rate and determination is low as his manager never gives him a chance and give the striker position to an arrogant dissatisfied diva with a bad attitude. Now it's too late for Vera. Time to buy a decent world class striker and give di Bari some real competition.

  19. #119

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    Allegri had made some excellent choices. He noticed Blackburns weak point; the defence. Bernat and Marichez are the keyplayers of the team. With only 5 goals against, Blackburn got the strongest defence in the competition. Unfortunately the team also has a new weak point; the attack. Di Bari scores some goals, but is a solo player. There is no connection between the attack and the midfield, poorly only 15 goals has been scored, while the main competitors are far over 20 goals. Another good reason to get a new striker in the team, who can also create chances for the midfielders.

  20. #120

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    I did wonder if you'd play Cataldi before you said that Vera was the replacement for Duelund. Guess not

  21. #121

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    Quote Originally Posted by CMCZ View Post
    Allegri had made some excellent choices. He noticed Blackburns weak point; the defence. Bernat and Marichez are the keyplayers of the team. With only 5 goals against, Blackburn got the strongest defence in the competition. Unfortunately the team also has a new weak point; the attack. Di Bari scores some goals, but is a solo player. There is no connection between the attack and the midfield, poorly only 15 goals has been scored, while the main competitors are far over 20 goals. Another good reason to get a new striker in the team, who can also create chances for the midfielders.
    Allegri's contribution: Bernat and Marichez.
    Allegri's mistake: His creative idea of having Di Bari play as right midfielder/winger and Vera as striker, which resulted in a toothless forward line.

    Spoiler!

    We now have a perfect defence and score just enough goals. The only thing that can be improved perhaps is having a two-striker or even three-striker formation. Perhaps Di Bari and Vera can even play as striker duo. But that could lead to us conceding more goals.

    It's an option for next season, though.
    Last edited by samsami; 12-05-18 at 08:35 AM.

  22. #122

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    Easy win as expected and next few games also favourable bar Swansea

    World Club Cup could cause issues though!

  23. #123

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    Another European stalemate for Rovers

    On Friday 18th November we played Saint-Etienne at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard and after ninety somewhat boring minutes the match ended in a more or less predictable stalemate.


    We expected a lot of our opponents but they must have had a bad day at the office. At least their forward line failed to impress and based on this match it's hard to understand why Real Madrid would be sending scouts to watch Faupala play.

    As for us, we played reasonably well but very cautiously and we took no risks. And Saint-Etienne have a solid defence so the goalless draw was the inevitable outcome of a rather unexciting match.

    Saint-Etienne do have a good squad, though. And Castilla is as good as our scouts told us he is, but Faupala was invisible today.
    Spoiler!

    Also tonight, Sporting Lisbon beat Celtic (2-3) at Celtic Park so it seems clear already that Sporting will be our toughest opponents in this group. To score three goals in a European away match is no mean feat!


    So now we shall have to travel back to the UK to play Charlton in the EFL Fourth Round. Quite a different sort of game! Charlton are currently in 19th position on the EFL Championship table.

    And as we will be playing our EFL Cup game, in the Premier League Man City will play Man Utd at the Emirates!




    Our next fixture

    Gavin Strachan prefers Charlton Athletic to play an attacking 4-4-2 formation with quick wingers.

    Our scouts believe that Charlton's poor league position fails to disguise the strength of squad available to them.


    Now because of our tight schedule we will rest László, Bernat, Van Beek, Matic, Wanyama, Suárez and Di Bari to give most of our subs game time against Charlton.

    So Steele will play again. But most importantly, Cristian Vera will get a rare opportunity to play as striker with Agüero playing behind him.

    Last edited by samsami; 12-05-18 at 08:36 AM.

  24. #124

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    Unlucky draw against St. Etienne, you should definitely have won that one.

    Charlton should not pose a threat to you so I'll go with a 3-0 win for you.
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  25. #125

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    Away draw in Europe is always OK

    Another clean sheet!

    Not sure why you expected more from them - they are hardly world beaters?

    Should be Cup progress next match for sure!

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