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Diamonds are Forever

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Diamonds are Forever last won the day on July 3 2011

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  1. I can see both sides here. I'm all for Pickford being banned for the tackle as it was horrendous. I think the issue is that the only reason it's being highlighted to anywhere near this extent is because VVD got injured. If he hadn't been injured but suffered the same tackle this would have been forgotten about by Sunday morning. On Twitter on Saturday I saw 3 examples of Pickford doing almost exactly the same tackle on different occasions in previous years, yet I (and I'm sure most people) weren't aware of them - probably because they didn't result in one of the league's best players getting a serious injury. Like I say I agree people making tackles like that should be suspended, but in this specific incident I think if he were to get suspended it would have been because of the hysteria so I can understand people thinking that isn't appropriate.
  2. I think yesterday showed what a few people thought during the summer which is that the continuity in defence will put us in a strong position at the start of the season. I think going forward will take much longer to 'click' as that is where we have more new options. Robert, Stokes, Connell and effectively Thomson and O'Reilly too (given their injuries last year) mean that we have lots of new options that we haven't such much of yet. At the moment he seems to be going with the known quantities of Carrick, Gallagher and Thomson. It will be a tough balance between giving them all a chance to show what they can do, but not chopping and changing so much that they are unable to form any sort of understanding. As we've seen with the backline having a consistent selection really helps - provided they are performing obviously. At least around half the team is settled so we have a bit of time to work on the attacking side, in previous years we've changing players all over the park for the first couple of months of the season and led to very inconsistent results. Big game next week which will give us an idea of whether we'll be able to challenge this year.
  3. I never said he wasn't. I'm pointing out that, despite that, he was on a completely different level to the options we have now in that position.
  4. Caldwell played about 100 games in the English Premiership, won the FA Cup, reached the last 16 of the Champions League twice with Celtic and won the Scottish Football Writers Players of the Year. How does that compare with Declan Gallagher, Scott McKenna, Liam Cooper or Ryan Porteous?
  5. Reading the comments from the last two games, is the penny starting to drop that our 'quality midfield' is in fact a bunch of bang average midfielders who contribute next to nothing? Most of them can float about playing a few nice passes but they do not impact a game and go missing far too often. Our squad is dreadful, we have two quality left backs, poor centre backs and right backs, an average midfield group, and one striker who is very limited. There will always be issues with selection and tactics etc so the manager can't just be excused. But as a group of players it's the worst we've ever had and has been for a few years now. Even wee Berti got us a draw with Germany and a win against Holland (admittedly followed by a horsing!), no chance this group could get results like that.
  6. Given the players he is playing with I'm not sure how much better he can be for us. At Liverpool his best play is in the final third, Scotland spend so little time in the final third (relative to Liverpool) that he's limited to the odd cross from deep when playing for us. For Liverpool he is also surrounded by wonderful players who attract defenders and give him space, like Mane cutting infield and dragging defenders away. At Scotland everyone knows he is our best player and that we have little else so teams can stop him more easily. Lastly, his game is all about assists, you can only assist if there are people there to stick the ball in the net. At Liverpool he has 3 of the best forwards in the world in the box waiting for his crosses, at Scotland on the few occasions we actually attack he has Dykes or Burke, and maybe a supporting midfielder. All players play better with better players around them, but I think some smaller nations have great players who can still perform to near their highest level despite being surrounded by poor players because their game is more about individual brilliance. As long as the team gives them a platform to perform they can go and do their thing, like Bale with Wales. Unfortunately our top level players in recent years have tended to be guys like Robertson and Fletcher who aren't going to take games by the scruff of the neck and drag you to a win. They are guys who require a certain quality of player around them to allow them to be at their best, if they get that they will be brilliant. If they don't then they'll do a decent job, as just as Fletcher did and Robertson does, but they are never going to be anything like they are for their club. I think far too many fans just watch Liverpool and see Robertson tearing it up and then go along to Hampden expecting the same, when through no fault of his own he is never going to be at that level for us.
  7. His Instagram post didn't really paint him in a great light either. He said he was 'not disclosing her name to respect her privacy'. Who on earth asked you to disclose her name anyway? How magnanimous of you Novak to not publicly reveal the name of an innocent woman which would lead the way to huge press attention on her and scrutiny, very thoughtful! Read a few people saying he was unlucky, both in terms of hitting her, and to get disqualified. Neither is the case. The rule itself is clear cut. And if you hit Tennis balls away in frustration there is a not insignificant chance of hitting someone. I think people forget how many officials and ball kids are in close proximity to a Tennis Court - easily 10-15 people, plus in normal times a crowd in the front rows. In a sport where balls can be hit at 100+ mph you can't just allow players to lash out and then claim it's unlucky when it hits one of the numerous people around the court.
  8. I've noticed this before with him but he's a nightmare when you are trying to chase the game. He constantly takes too many touches and allows the opposition to get back in shape, and when he is fouled (because of taking too many touches) he rolls around for ages, again allowing the opposition to re-organise. That's all perfect when you are 1-0 up with 10 minutes to go, he's ideal for that situation and can completely kill a game by keeping the ball, winning fouls and then rolling around for 2 mins. But when you're losing you need to keep the ball moving and keep the game going to allow momentum to build. The way he plays makes that difficult.
  9. What was unlucky about it? If anything the Liverpool tie was the opposite, in the first leg Salah missed a couple of sitters and it was purely Messi's genius that got them that win, they didn't play very well. In the 2nd leg they collapsed, as they do away against top sides. I don't remember any luck to the Roma tie either, they were deservedly beaten in Rome due to collapsing defensively. At home they have enough of the ball, and have Messi on the ball enough, to mean they are still a formidable side. And they'll still have enough to beat the majority of poorer sides regardless. But when they are away to top sides and aren't dominating possession their defence gets exposed. They seem to defend as individuals and are very vulnerable to physicality up front. Against the best sides they no longer have the players to just dominate every game, but it seems like they still want to try and play that way. You'd think the Juve, Roma, Liverpool and now Bayern results in the last 4 years will see a change of approach with the new manager.
  10. McManaman making a total fool of himself again. Raging that a perfectly good goal is allowed to stand.
  11. They've been in decline for a few years now at this level. Their eliminations in recent years have come at the hands of a 4-0 defeat at Anfield, 3-0 defeat in Rome and a 3-0 defeat to Juventus. At the top level away from the Nou Camp they are pathetic. No leadership and an insistence on playing a style of football that they no longer have the players to play. Defensively they were never great, but the worse they are going forward, and the less effective their passing, the more exposed the defence has become, the likes of Pique and Semedo tonight were abysmal. Since 2015 when they last won it they've lost Iniesta, Xavi, Alves, Neymar, Mascherano. Mascherano is the only one they have replaced with anything like the same standard of player. And the ones they still have - Pique, Messi, Busquets, Suarez, Alba and Rakitic are all 32/33 and well past their best, although Messi is still fantastic. Really interested to see how they go from here. Whatever they do it's not going to be a quick or easy fix.
  12. Don't know about the specific story mentioned at the start of the thread, but in terms of the wider question I think it would be very harmful to the female game. It would entrench the view that men's football is superior, or 'real' football, and would give the impression that the women's game is kind of lack an add on for those not good enough to play with men. I think we should be aiming to get to a situation like in tennis where there is no constant comparison between the male and female game. I know men's tennis is still slightly more popular at the moment but they are both well respected, well paid sports with plenty coverage and respected in their own right. I think women's football is growing in that direction.
  13. It's a similar signing to when they signed Robertson from Hull. Liverpool have the 'problem' in a few positions where they have such an established player in a position that top quality players aren't going to come to sit on the bench, or current players aren't going to accept being displaced and sitting games out. There is more flexibility in midfield where they already rotate a bit, but I'm interested in how they recruit across the back line and up front. They seem to be going for younger guys with potential as back-up and gradually phase them in. The risk with that is that they don't develop as hoped and then need chucked in due to an injury and can't cope.
  14. This bit is perhaps slightly misleading, simply because most of them left. I don't think there was ever a realistic plan to re-sign most of the same squad 2 months later. The good ones would move on and the bad ones we wouldn't want to re-sign. So in reality there was only ever 1 or 2 in that middle category of ones you'd want to keep that no-one else wanted. Paul Lovering is the only one that sticks in mind although I'm sure there were others. The turnover of squad every year was huge, the vast majority of the squad wouldn't return, for whatever reason. You are right that for about 3 or 4 years we gave out one year contracts that expired in May and signed no-one until late July. The 'joke' was that we couldn't sign anyone until after Wimbledon had finished, although even that was early. We did it once it became clear that being a full-time club was unsustainable. We used this technique for a few years to save 2 months wages, before realising that we still couldn't afford it and just ended up with the dregs every season and got relegated. It just delayed the inevitable. Plus the players couldn't care less because they were leaving anyway, once the better players had something lined up towards the end of the season they'd not bother their arse, understandably. This goes some way to explaining our truly horrendous record in the play-offs. This year is probably the one year it makes sense. There is a larger saving to make due to the longer break and there are far more quality players available than most seasons. Plus with the potential uncertainty over when games can get played it might make sense to wait as long as possible before working up a wage bill. But for any full-time club who uses the strategy on an annual basis I'd say it's a matter of time before relegation and/or part-time football.
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