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CHELSEA 3-03-20 FAC 3 (A)

After a sobering defeat at Watford I have seen calls for a first team eleven to be picked for this game.  I don't think that will happen and Klopp has hinted that the team will be of similar strength to that which played at Shrewsbury in the last round (not the replay).  I think Klopp is right because the FA Cup is our third priority.  Saturday reminded us that there is still a job to be done in the PL while next week we have a huge task to overturn the result in Madrid.  Playing the first team against Chelsea and risking injury to key players makes no sense.

I suspect the team will be something like this:

Adrian

Williams/Hoever Matip Lovren Milner

Lallana Chirivella Jones

Mane Minamino Origi

Williams is ahead of Hoever in the pecking order currently but he took a knock last week so if he is deemed unfit I would expect Hoever to start.  We are a bit short of forward choices with Shaqiri still injured, so I have included Mane as he had a break recently through injury and has not yet got back to top form.  If Klopp does not want to risk him, he could play Jones in attack and bring in another midfielder.  Keita needs game time but he is still injured so it would be Ox or Fabinho.

I would see Chelsea as favourites for this one given the team we are likely to put out, but after our performances against Everton and in the Shrewsbury replay, maybe we are destined to go far this season in the FA Cup.

 

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  • It was disappointing to go out of the FA Cup at Chelsea but I think there has been an over reaction from the media and some fans. This was always going to be a difficult game and with 7 changes from Saturday there was always a chance the team would lack cohesion. I thought overall the performance was better than Watford, especially in the first half but there were some underlying problems that need sorting quickly. The main one is the lack of protection the midfield is giving the back four. It was much too easy for both Chelsea and Watford to carve a way through. Fabinho is taking a lot of stick, and he is certainly finding it difficult to reproduce his early season form, but he is not the only culprit. The defending as a unit has been poor and that needs work on the training ground. Yes we need to be scoring more goals but that is made more difficult when the opposition has a lead and can sit back trying to catch us on the break.
    On the positive side, I thought our two youngsters did well, and Minamino, until he faded in the second half, gave glimpses of what a useful player he will be once he has settled in. For me Williams winning a 50: 50 tackle with Zouma with both players going in hard was the highlight of the match. Trent had better not have too many Watfords or his place will be under threat.
    • I must say i saw some signs in Minamino that he is starting to adapt to the PL. Really hope he gets more game time, we may have a gem there. Each time we see him he plays better, imo anyway.
    • I don't think it's a crisis yet, there's things that can be done to turn it around, but the problem is we haven't got much time to do it if we want to remain in the Champions League. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what exactly is wrong, why it's wrong and what to do about it so there's bound to be a lot of noise at the moment in the media and amongst fans. I think the reason why there hasn't been a quick turnaround in results is that it's probably down to a number of small factors that have come together at the same time; some to do with individuals, some to do with the team, some to do with oppositions. I still think the answers are within our own hands, it's just a case of nailing it within the time we have.
      • Not quite a crisis just yet but if Bournemouth beat us and then Atletico knock us out then i would say that we're in a bit of a crisis. I curse the winter break and Hendo getting injured, both of which, imo, have caused this mini slump that we're in. One or the other we may have handled but not both at the same time. To state the obvious, we badly need a big performance and result against bournemouth to set us up for what will be a very nervous night at Anfield against Madrid.
        • If we hadn't shown some improvement against Chelsea I would've been much more worried but there were some bright moments in that game which made me feel we're at least on the right track. The one niggling thing that worries me at the moment is how we've seen teams turn our attacks against us in the last four games. Take Watford, for example, out of possession they went to a 6-3-1 because they knew if they packed their box and won the ball when we attacked they had a rapid counterattack that could beat our high defensive line. A feature of some games this year has been teams packing their box to neutralise our attack and then counter against our high line, if they can get their timing right. It is only natural, especially with all the analysists they have in football now, that towards the end of seasons teams will develop effective stratergies to counter how we play, the key is evolving your own strategies to keep one step ahead. So, while I thoroughly agree there have been issues with the winter break and personnel I'm wondering whether teams adapting to our tactics has also started to play a role.
          • I think you are right about teams finding a way to play against us (defend deep then counter attack) but its not a recent thing. Its been happening all season but until recently we have been finding ways to overcome those tactics, though often this has resulted in close games. Indeed, if opponents had taken some of the chances they created we could have lost a lot more points earlier. It is now a matter of the players rediscovering their self belief. Lets hope that begins on Saturday against Bournemouth.
            • Yes, thinking back teams have been dropping deep and countering for a while now, but I guess because our players have generally been in form we've kept on top of it. Once that form dropped off we became somewhat exposed.
  • Despite the goal in the first half I didn't think we played that badly, we were certainly better than against Watford. The tempo was better, the pressing was better and we managed some shots at close range that were well-saved. There were a number of things I didn't understand about the second half:
    1. Why have established players, such as Mane and Robertson just to name two, suddenly started making unforced errors?
    2. How come we've started collapsing after conceding goals, we did against Watford and we could easily have conceded two more against Chelsea
    3. Why are we finding it so hard to create chances, we had one shot on target against Watford and we didn't have a shot on target after the 31st minute against Chelsea?
    I can't quite decide whether other teams have finally sussed us out or there is something not quite right with how we're playing at the moment. I wonder whether a change in formation might have a positive effect, it would make the players more conscious of where and how they're playing and it might give oppositions who think they have worked us out something to think about. Just a thought.
  • Their first goal was down to our bad mistake and I don't blame Adrian for this when he struggled to keep it out. We had our chances and we didn't put them away. We don't deserve to go through the next round. It was a bad week in London. Should I be worried about our form dip as of late? We're missing Henderson and it's a big ask that I hope he's match fit for the second leg of the Champions League because we're missing him and he holds the team together. Let's move on and focus on the game this weekend against Bournemouth.
  • I'm happy to see a strong team start, hopefully we won't need the likes of Salah and Firmino and Ox as we need them fresh for Bournemouth.
This reply was deleted.

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