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Things I Saw On My Way Home From The Holiday I Didn’t Take...


Nat Phillips : Two more starts for Stuttgart, first in the 2-1 Cup defeat at Leverkusen, then in the apparently comfortable 3-0 home win over Aue that keeps them in third. With the long-term injuries to Badstuber and Kempf, he looks to have a good opportunity to get regular games in a good team.
Marko Grujic : Left on the bench in the midweek cup loss at Schalke, where Hertha blew a two-goal lead in the second half before conceding a third in extra-time, and was not among the four substitutes used by Klinsmann. Started in the League game at home to Mainz, in a switch to a 5-3-2 formation. Barely involved - his most visible contribution was to elbow the opposition keeper in the ribs while challenging for a cross - and was taken off at the break as part of a switch back to 4-4-2. Mainz went on to win 3-1. Not everyone called Jürgen is a football genius.
Rhian Brewster : Another 90 minutes in the 3-2 defeat at home to Derby. Not entirely suited to the ‘lone frontman’ role. Played a role in their second goal by rolling the loose ball away from opposing keeper Ben Hamer into the path of Kyle Naughton for the tap-in. Went close with a chance after a counterattack when the score was still 2-2. Not much you can do with that level of defending and (particularly) goalkeeping, though.
Herbie Kane : Missed the draw with Reading with an ankle injury suffered in training.
Sheyi Ojo : ‘Not involved’ in either the hard-fought league win over Hibs or the Cup victory at Hamilton.
Harry Wilson : Started for Bournemouth in their 2-1 defeat at Sheff Yoo. Missed a good early chance with a stooping header, then had a shot from eight yards out blocked straight to Callum Wilson, who tucked it away with aplomb. Got hacked down towards the end of the first half, in a way that even Fat Jon Moss couldn’t miss. Saw virtually nothing of the ball in the second half, largely because the home team had the bulk of the possession, before being subbed with twenty minutes to go. 
Rhys Williams : Another full game for Kidderminster in their 1-1 draw with Darlington. “Not at fault” for the Darlington goal. 
Dan Atherton : Conceded two goals from corners in midweek as Marine saw off Widnes 5-2. Had ‘a bit less to do, really’ on Saturday as the promotion-chasing Crosby outfit won 7 (seven) to nil at Droylsden. Just three points behind Ramsbottom United, the Northern Premier League North West division is the place to be if you want a close title race.
Loris Karius : Kept his first clean sheet since mid-November as Besiktas beat Gaziantep 3-0. Still seventh; still just five points off the top. Maybe Hairy Hands Keys can watch the Turkish League if he wants a title race.

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Despatch from the “No news is good news” news bureau...

 


Rhian Brewster : Played ninety minutes in the lack-lustre goalless draw with QPR. Struggling to get adequate service in the current lineup. Might have won a penalty right at the end when coming down after a challenge from the opposition goalie. Dropped to the bench (described as “rest, not demotion” by Steve Cooper) for the trip to Hull; brought on for the final thirty minutes in a 4-3-3. With seven minutes left, and the score 3-3, latched onto a loose ball ten yards out and gets a shot on target, which spins under the keeper into the net. Of course, Hull equalised in stoppage time. Booked again for taking his shirt off. Maybe Bobby could have a word.
Sheyi Ojo : Not involved in the shock loss at Kilmarnock in midweek, nor the laboured win over Livingston at Ibrox on Sunday.
Marko Grujic :The start of the post-Klinsmann era saw Grujic on the bench at Paderborn, where Hertha won 2-1, without him making an appearance.
Nat Phillips : Another start, away to Bochum, this time on the right of a back three. Largely untroubled in the 1-0 win, both on the deck and in the air (a couple of particularly commanding clearing headers from corners at the end of the game); sound when passing around the back, and not asked to do much more in possession.
Loris Karius : Besiktas lost 1-0 at Basaksehir, the goal scored by the desiccated remains of Demba Ba. Still seventh, eight points behind Trabzonspor. 
Dan Atherton : A handy weekend off, courtesy of Storm Dennis.

Harry Wilson : A handy weekend off, courtesy of, um, the Premier League. 
Rhys Williams : “Solid defending” in a 1-0 win at Farsley in midweek. Then got another game in gale-force winds away to Gateshead, resulting in another clean sheet in the 0-0 draw.

Herbie Kane : Out “indefinitely” with an ankle ligament injury.
Kamil Grabara : Still out after his concussion.
Isaac Christie-Davies : Still out with a knee injury.
Ben Woodburn : Still out with his broken foot.
Taiwo Awoniyi : Still out of favour at Mainz.

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Things to think about while NOT watching last night’s “highlights”...


Loris Karius : Got the blame for the stoppage time equaliser from Alexander “the Netto Haaland” Sorloth in the 2-2 home draw with Trabzonspor that leaves Besiktas nine points off the league leaders with only eleven games left. We won’t be palming him off on the Istanbul club without Champions League football; maybe we need to find a club with more money than sense closer to home. Leeds, maybe.
Marko Grujic : Started in midfield in the relegation clash at home to Köln. The game did not develop to the best advantage of Hertha, as they went behind 3-0 in the first half, believed to be the first time since the Bundesliga started recording statistics that the club failed to have a shot on target; the main contribution by Grujic was to get himself head-butted in the stomach going for a 50-50 ball; the Köln player responsible had to be carried off. Had a header on target (good save by Horn) three minutes into the second half, and then a wild slice over the bar from 15 yards out not long after. This good spell came to a shuddering halt as Köln added two more goals.
Quite where Hertha go from here is anyone’s guess, as they struggle to come up with a formation that can create chances for Piatek; maybe the five-man midfield isn’t the answer. As far as Grujic goes, if Hertha go down, they won’t be paying €20 million for anyone, least of all him. Perhaps we could sell him to Leeds.
Rhian Brewster : Back in the starting lineup at home to struggling Huddersfield. Went close early with a slightly misjudged header that had to be tipped over the bar. Had another close-range shot blocked immediately before the first Swansea goal. Might have done better when put clean through by Gallagher on the right side of the area, but didn’t get the ball far enough off the floor to beat Lossl. His close control was pivotal in creating the counterattack for the third goal. Subbed off in stoppage time.
Nat Phillips : Another ninety minutes, another clean sheet as Stuttgart beat Regensburg 2-0 to stay second behind apparently imaginary table-topping Bielefeld.  Still probably not ever going to be good enough for our first-team squad, but could easily ‘do a job’ for a newly-promoted team in the top flight next year. Leeds, maybe.
Harry Wilson : Started at Burnley. Created a good early chance for Callum Wilson with an audacious flick, then could have done better with a free header from eight yards out, both well saved by future England scapegoat Nick Pope. As everyone with a pulse should by now be aware, what ought to have been a well-taken close-range equaliser early in the second half was ruled out for an earlier handball at the other end of the pitch. Subbed off with 15 minutes left for the extra facial hair of Dominic Solanke. If Bournemouth go down, their parachute payments might not stretch to the  price needed to secure the permanent signature of the Welshman. Maybe Leeds could be interested.
Sheyi Ojo : Not involved in the dramatic Europa League win over Braga, then an unused sub at St. Johnstone.
Rhys Williams : Started in the 1-0 home defeat by National League North leaders York City. Blameless for the goal, caused by his fellow central defender giving the ball straight to an opponent. Came off with 25 minutes left - “just a dead leg”, according to the club YouTube channel. 
Dan Atherton : Disappointment for Marine, as they lost 2-0 at Trafford. “Not really at fault” for the 30-yard half-volley that opened the scoring with fifteen minutes left, nor for the second five minutes later that came from a counterattack after a Marine set-piece was cleared. Not yet ready for a loan to Leeds, though.

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10 hours ago, AngryofTuebrook said:

Is Nat Phillips ready to fill the 4th-choice CB slot in the summer?

Only if next season is played exclusively on consoles (where he’s significantly quicker than he is in real life), or if we stop playing the current defensive high line.

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I should have posted this earlier, but the Italian ref in the Under-19s game sent me off while I was trying to watch the re-run of the Rangers game...


Dan Atherton : Another largely successful outing as Marine triumphed 3-1 over Droylesden; “some good stops in the first half when it was still 0-0 - terrible weather though “. 
Rhian Brewster : Ninety minutes in the cruel 1-0 defeat at Fulham. Got booked (again) for what the Swansea City website reckoned to be “a strikers challenge”. Didn’t see as much of the ball as normal. Played Conor Gallagher clean through on goal in stoppage time, but the lack of punishment for the clear foul on Gallagher in the D was merely the last of several curious decisions to go against the Welsh side that night. Another full game at Blackburn; scored their first in the 2-2 draw with a fine right-footed strike from just outside the area. Got booked (again) for shushing the home fans.
Sheyi Ojo : Came off the bench in the heroic European win at Braga with twelve minutes left. Fulfilled his role as a target for clearances from the massed ranks defending the Glaswegian goal; stood up well to the agricultural challenges of the desperate home team players, and had a good shot on target in stoppage time pushed away for a corner. Came off the bench in the first half for the injured Arfield in the cup defeat at Hearts, initially playing up front, which is not his best role. Was moved to the wing at half time, without seeing much more of the ball, or producing much when he did see it.
Nat Phillips : Suffered a rare loss as Stuttgart went down 2-0 at Furth. This leaves them still in possession of the second automatic promotion place, three points clear of Hamburg, with ten games left.
Marko Grujic : Dropped to the bench for the game at Fortuna, where he stayed the whole game, as plucky small club Hertha came from three down at halftime to force a 3-3 draw.
Harry Wilson : Dropped to the bench for the visit of Chelsea to Bournemouth; did not make an appearance as plucky small club Chelsea forced a 2-2 draw with a late equaliser.

Loris Karius : Successful evening for Besiktas, winning 2-1 at Alanyaspor, taking them back up to fifth. In other news, apparently Turkish clubs are haggling bastards. A shocking revelation, I’m sure you’ll agree.

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Swansea have come as close as I have ever seen a League club officially come to actively accusing a referee of cheating them after their game at Fulham . They have told the championship head of refs to fuck off and demanded a meeting with King Mike himself. The ref involved has been stood down since the game.

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Kamil Grabara : Began his comeback from his head injury in Huddersfield Town reserves 4-0 win over Blackpool; performance described by Danny Cowley as ‘not called on to do much, but flawless’. Not involved against Leeds.
Sheyi Ojo : Not involved in Rangers shock/hilarious (delete as applicable) loss to Hamilton, or their uninspired win at Ross County. Maybe SG is saving him for the Leverkusen game.
Marko Grujic : Unused sub for plucky small club Hertha as they once again came from behind to force a 2-2 draw at home to Bremen.
Anderson Arroyo : The Colombian defender was named as a substitute by Mlada Boleslav for their trip to Banik Ostrava I AM NOT MAKING ANY OF THIS UP, not used.
Rhian Brewster : Played the full game as Swansea held Championship leaders West Brom. Had a couple of decent chances in the first half, most notably a cross/shot that hit a teammate in front of goal. Instigated the move that led to their best chance of the second half by chasing for an over-hit clearance, and then keeping the ball in play by hitting it against the corner flag. Managed to avoid being booked just this once.
Harry Wilson : Not available to Bournemouth against us, obviously;  ended up apologising on Twitter for being shown on TV wearing a coat bearing the logo of the club that actually pays his wages, because every team has PROPER GIMPS in their fan base, apparently.
Loris Karius : Besiktas won again, 2-1 over Ankaragucu, and Karius did nothing wrong until he was beaten by the penalty kick in stoppage time.
Rhys Williams : Played the full game as Kidderminster Harriers came from behind to win 2-1 at Southport; set up the equaliser with a wind-assisted long throw that was headed in from the six-yard line. 
Nat Phillips : Full game in the (perhaps understandably) nervy top-of-the-table clash with Bielefeld, which ended 1-1. Started in the middle of a back 3; looked to make passes through the centre of midfield rather than sweeping cross-field ones; did not look to bring the ball forward himself. One good block to help thwart a counterattack at the end of the first half. After Stuttgart took the lead in the second half, they defended significantly deeper, and Phillips moved to the right of the back three; this change seemed to disrupt them and resulted in the late equaliser - Phillips not directly to blame. Stuttgart stay six points behind their visitors, a point ahead of Hamburg in the automatic promotion place with nine games left.
Dan Atherton : Man-of-the-match for Marine in their 1-0 over Tadcaster, making several saves to preserve the lead for the promotion-chasers from Crosby, most crucially this one in the 90th minute:


https://twitter.com/MarineAFC/status/1236621812605292544?s=20

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Great night as well for two on loan young guns. Harvey Eliott scored again in Blackburn win, and Harry Wilson had one goal and two assists in Cardiff 3-2 victory.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Arnaud said:

Great night as well for two on loan young guns. Harvey Eliott scored again in Blackburn win, and Harry Wilson had one goal and two assists in Cardiff 3-2 victory.

 

 

Elliot is on fire. Blackburn fans will hate to see him go. 

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Taiwo Awoniyi has been having a good run of games for Union Berlin recently too. Grabbed himself a couple of goal in the process.

 

Seen some brief highlights of Union versus Bayern the other day - He caused them a few issues. Looks a strong lad with a bit of pace, but very raw.

 

Karius still on the bench for Union...

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41 minutes ago, Arnaud said:

Elliott can be recalled ?

Not sure on that. I would leave the lad at Blackburn for the full season if it were my decision.

 

He's playing regular 90 minutes of football, which he won't get here barring the injury crisis of all injury crises.

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    • Newcastle have identified Nat Phillips as a transfer target according to reports.   The central defender had a season to remember with his status rising quickly from a player firmly on the periphery, to a key member of the starting lineup.   As other defenders fell around him Phillips stood tall and naturally grew in confidence, becoming a cult figure within the fan base due to his whole hearted commitment to the cause and his love of a powerful clearing header.   But as the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip return to full fitness along with the addition of Ibrahima Konate  the question has been raised regarding what exactly happens to Phillips.   In a ideal world, Jurgen Klopp would love to keep the 24 year-old as a reliable back-up option in much the same way that Dejan Lovren was.     On the other side of the coin, Phillips has now proven himself at this level and as someone who is close to entering the prime of his career will want to play consistently.   The Mail reports that Steve Bruce is ready to put in a £10 million bid for Phillips but he is likely to find competition from Burnley.   With the way that both of those clubs play their Football, Phillips would be the ideal signing and likely to go another level.   In keeping with the honest way he goes about his Football, the former Bolton Wanderers youth player, recently spoke about his future possibilities.   “We haven’t had a conversation about it up until now. I think the situation is, initially they didn’t anticipate me having the season and putting in the performances that I did do.   “Maybe where they might have thought I was just going to do a job and then they would be able to sell me and I would move on, now they’re having second thoughts. I’m not sure.   “I still need to have the conversations with them and just see if there is a role for me there and what role they would want me to play.   “It would depend on if they saw a role for me at Liverpool and then what role that would be. I would have to decide what is best for myself off the back of that.”   Phillips has left such an impression that it would be a shame to see him depart.   But if he chooses that option, he will do so with the blessing of everyone associated with the club and in the knowledge that he played a pivotal role in Liverpool securing Champions League football for next season.          
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