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Semi Final 2: Mastermind` v Welsh Leprecaun Watch

  • View Poll Results: Who do you think would win?
    Mastermind`'s team
    23.53%
    Welsh Leprecaun's team
    76.47%

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    Hello, welcome to the Premier League Draft Game. Basically, sixteen members have spent the last couple of months picking players to make a team (you can see how they did it in this thread), and they are now ready to go head-to-head against each other to win your vote - which do you think is the better team? The voter has both the squad-sheet and the tactics to consider!

    The key rule for this edition of the game is that players are to be judged on the basis of their performances in the Premier League - so what they did in other leagues, in cup competitions or on the international stage is not directly relevant here.

    Additionally, voters are requested to please justify the votes you cast: an explanation of why you voted for the team you did would be much appreciated and would add to the game and the forum as a whole.

    The poll closes in two days.

    Semi Final Game

    Mastermind` vs Welsh Leprecaun

    Mastermind`'s Team and Tactics



    Tactics

    Defensive solidity: The main idiosyncrasy behind this side is a closed-all-hours defence that allows Gerrard, Henry, Overmars, Mata and, to a lesser degree, Modric to flourish. The core of the defensive system is solid enough, full-backs will not encouraged from venturing beyond the halfway line, unless we're in need of extra-width.

    The importance of Lucas: Lucas Leiva is the protagonist of the defensive structure, and he will be stationed in front of the defence. We live in an age where people are embracing stats while, on the flip side, there are also some old-school GELs who are pissed off by stats. Stats are being misused, of course, but they can also dispel some myths. But whether you’re a Tactical Visual Expert or a Mathmo Football Watcher, even the most diehard Man Utd fan would admit Lucas Leiva is pretty ****ing good. My midfield may lack in brawn, but Senor Leiva will take care of everything.

    Bios

    Nigel Martyn: A very good shot stopper, had it not been for the reliability of David Seamen he would have notched up more caps.

    Gary Neville: Incontrovertibly the best premiership right-back during the last 20 years.

    Jaap Stam: His time in the premiership was brief but memorable. Quick across the ground and powerful in the air, he is one of the most complete CBs to grace the league. SAF regrets getting rid of him.

    Mikael Silvestre: Quietly efficient and very consistent for much of his time at Man Utd. Predominantly a left-back but occasionally filled in as a centre-back and was more than capable.

    BAE: Defensively suspect in his earlier years but has come on a lot as a left-back, to the level where you could say he is a little bit under-appreciated. Strong, resilient and has an eye for a pass.

    Lucas Leiva: Didn’t make the best of starts but has adapted beautifully to the English game and is arguably the best midfield enforcer – the stats certainly back it up (in 2010-2011 season, he made 110 tackles – more than any player. Only played 12 times last season but if you look at the stats for a combative midfielder – minutes per tackle won, etc etc – he still came out on top in a lot of categories. For the stats non-believers, it goes beyond mere stats, as Liverpool fans would tell you.

    Luka Modric: The regista of the team. Mr Leiva will intercept the ball and feed it to the little Croat. His quality during his time at Tottenham is almost impossible to prove with stats, but the fact that he is now at Real Madrid tells its own story – because he certainly wasn’t bought for marketable purposes. An absolute pleasure to watch during his time in the premiership.

    Juan Mata: Has only had one full season in the premiership but has shown his quality in a Chelsea team that was quite dysfunctional in the league.

    Marc Overmars: Blink-and-you’ll-miss-him first and just a wonderful winger. Gary Neville rates him as his toughest opponent.

    Steven Gerrard: Just a brilliant player. His best football came in attacking midfield position just behind the striker and that’ll be his position in the team.

    Thierry Henry: In terms of ability and reaching that superhuman consistency, only Ronaldo and him come close imo.


    Welsh Leprecaun's Team and Tactics



    Spoiler:
    Show
    Jens Lehmann - 148 league appearances and 61 caps with Germany, Lehmann was a reliable shot stopper that had success throughout his career. He was solid all season during Arsenal's Invincibles season, conceding just 26 times. Named Best Goalkeeper in 05/06 and twice winner of the UEFA Goalkeeper of the year, Lehmann won the Premier League and FA Cup, and came runner-up in the World Cup and the Champions League in his time at Arsenal.
    Gary Kelly - Very reliable right back that played 531 times for Leeds United and 51 times for Ireland. He was named in the Premier League Team of the Season in 93/94 and was able to play at either right-back or as a right winger. He will be more thancapable of covering for Ronaldo on the right.
    Nemanja Vidic - What needs to be said? Extremely solid centre-back that has been widely regarded as the best in the world over the last few years. He has collected a host of honours in his United career, including 3 consecutive Premier League titles (4 titles in total), the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA World Club Cup, three League Cup medals, as well as being included in three consecutive (4 in total) PFA Team of the Year sides from 2007 to 2009. In the 2008–09 season, he helped United to a record-breaking run of 14 consecutive clean sheets and was awarded the Barclays Player of the Season (twice in total). He also collected both the club's Fans' and Players' Player of the Year awards. Captain of the team for obvious reasons.
    Branislov Ivanovic - Another solid defender, he forms a Serbian core at the back with Vidic. With a Premier League title, Champions League medal, 3 FA Cup wins and part of the 09-10 PFA Team of the Season, Ivanovic has proved his worth at the top level. Equally adept at playing centre-back or right back, his versatility and consistency seals his place in the team.
    Dennis Irwin - One of the most important players in the United team that won a host of domestic and European trophies, he has been regarded by Alex Ferguson as pound for pound his greatest ever signing. Over his United career, he won an incredible 7 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cup medals, a League Cup and a Champions League medal, as well as a host of other trophies.
    Alex Song - With his tireless runs in midfield and good reading of oppositions' attacks, he plays a key role in breaking up opponents' attacks, shielding the ball when in possession, and then setting up counterattacks for his teammates. With 143 appearances for Arsenal and 34 caps, he forms a reliable base in midfield with Alonso to give the forwards free licence to attack.
    Xabi Alonso - One of the best deep lying playmakers in the world over the last decade, and with a stuffed trophy cabinet, Alonso is one of the stars of the team. By both protecting the defence and launching new attacks with his incredible long-range passing, he allows those around him to play better. During his Liverpool career he won the Champions League, FA Cup and Euro 2008.
    Ashley Young - With pace, dribbling ability, a superb cross and a surprisingly good eye for goal, Young will be able to play anywhere along the front line, allowing interchange with the other forwards. With 55 goals and 39 assists in 281 league games, he is sure to cause a problem for the opposition defence when running off the target man. Winner of the Watford Young Player of the Season (04/05) PFA Championship Team of the Year (05–06), PFA Premier League Team of the Year twice (07–08, 08–09), PFA Young Player of the Year (08–09) and three-time winner of the Premier League Player of the Month.
    Cristiano Ronaldo - What needs to be said? The man is a footballing machine, and has the talent to do pretty much anything with a ball. During his time at United, he evolved into a consistent goal scorer and won the Ballon d'Or in 2008, during which he scored 31 in 34 league games. He was also named in the last 5 world teams of the year. In addition, he has won the Premier League 3 times, the Champions League and 5 other cups with United. Finally, he swept the Premier League individual awards from 06-08.
    Patrick Vieira - One of, if not the best, box-box midfielder during the Premier League era, Vieira was strong in the tackle, great at distributing the ball and an amazing controller of the game. He was the core of the Invincibles season and won 3 league titles and 5 FA Cups in his time in England. He was also named in 6 consecutive Team of the Seasons and has won both the World Cup and Euros with France.
    Fernando Torres - During his time at Liverpool, Torres became a Kop legend as he consistently showed he was one of the best strikers in the world. Whilst in the Premier League, Torres has won the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 Euros with Spain, the Champions League, and the FA Cup, as well as being named in two World XI’s, coming third in the 2008 Balon D’Or and twice being named in the Premier League Team of the Year. At his peak during his time with Liverpool, he scored 65 goals in 102 Prem games, with his best season coming in 07-08 when he scored 33 in 42 games in all competitions. At his peak he was a world-class striker that was quick, strong, impressive in the air, blessed with expert technique and is cool and collected in front of goal.


    Tactics: With the addition of Vieira, my midfield trio should be able to control this game as they are all strong, well-rounded players that are used to three in the middle. This will provide my front line with plenty of chances and time on the ball for them to work the magic they are known for, especially on the right hand side where Torres and Ronaldo should make short work of BAE and Silvestre. The left may be difficult but Young has the legs to make Neville work and to hopefully keep him quiet all game – allowing for Irwin to overlap when necessary. In defence it may be more difficult with the likes of Henry to deal with, but if anyone’s up for it its Vidic. Ivanovic’s experience will also be key when dealing with MM’s front line, along with a strict role to stay back for Kelly as he closes down the right hand side. All three in the middle will also be called on to defend in order to protect the backline, although the forwards will constantly be up top in order to hit MM hard on the counter. Set pieces should be mine in this too, with the likes of Vidic, Ivanovic and Ronaldo only really matched by Stam in MM’s team.
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    Torres and Ronaldo would DESTROY Silvestre and BAE, and for the reason, the vote goes to WL.

    Expect him to pick up Henry? Kelly isn't the strongest RB in the competition but Henry, Torres and Ronaldo might be the three best attackers of the last 10 years...
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    I think a more interesting battle is how Ivanovic and Vidic can handle Henry and Gerrard. Ivanovic has barely been a CB in the Premier League and he's certainly never excelled there. That said, I think that Welsh Leprecaun's team would dominate the midfield and I don't think Overmars would provide enough support to help BAE against Ronaldo. For that reason, I'm going with Welsh Leprecaun because, while the two teams are equal, I prefer the structure of WL's team.

    The winner of this match would be mad not to take Vidic/Stam.
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    MM is stronger, player for player imo. Only BAE, Mata and Lucas are weaker (Irwin, Ronaldo, Alonso). Even the pairing of centre backs that MM has edges WL's imo. But I just can't see anything but a WL win even so. MM has his tactics wrong imo, he's got Lucas and Modric pretty deep but they'll be occupied by Viera and Song enough to make sure that BAE and Silvestre will be isolated against Ronaldo and Torres.

    For WL, I'd take Henry. He'd be tailor-made for the team and no defense could stop that trio. He could make it a 4-2-1-3, with Viera doing the all action job and Song/Alonso just sitting deep, and Torres, Henry, Ronaldo would beat every team in this competition.
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    Might be worth noting that one of Assou-Ekotto's most lauded performances was the 2009 League Cup Final where he completely shut down Ronaldo. :holmes: I'm thinking there something of an inequity in midfield in WL's favour, though. Not completely decided yet.
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    (Original post by Stu Laverty)
    I think a more interesting battle is how Ivanovic and Vidic can handle Henry and Gerrard. Ivanovic has barely been a CB in the Premier League and he's certainly never excelled there. That said, I think that Welsh Leprecaun's team would dominate the midfield and I don't think Overmars would provide enough support to help BAE against Ronaldo. For that reason, I'm going with Welsh Leprecaun because, while the two teams are equal, I prefer the structure of WL's team.

    The winner of this match would be mad not to take Vidic/Stam.
    Was thinking about it but I'd have to get rid of Irwin and mess up my backline. It's almost definitely going to be Henry.
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      Kelly would be absolutely raped by MM's frontline. I don't rate particularly care for Song, but Vieira and Alonso were top players and I think give a huge advantage over Lucas/Modric. Ofc, if MM can get the ball to his front four for long enough they'd cause damage. As has been mentioned, Ivanovic is a massive liability as a centre back (Chelsea fan, I can say it ) and Henry would definitely find space. I think Lehmann could also be somewhat of a liability.

      This is a tough decision. I think man for man it's 6-5 to WL, so my vote is there.

      Sorry Mastermind`
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      I'm edging towards Mastermind` on this again. I think that Welsh Leprecaun's team only really seems to have an effective attacking outlet in Ronaldo on the right, which probably isn't going to go down too well against what is a solid back five. The crucial area for me in this contest is the centre of midfield, and I think Mastermind`'s has a better sense of balance and, crucially, merges better with the attack. Welsh Leprecaun's midfield merges better with his defence, and in that sense it's fantastic to have someone like Alonso in the team who can pick out a pass from anywhere on the field, but I don't think long-balls to Torres is going to be too much of a handful for a Silvertre-Stam pairing, as both are pretty fast defenders. I agree with people saying that Welsh Leprecaun will probably have more of the possession, but I don't think is midfield is going to be as effective at using it as Mastermind`'s.

      I'll hold my vote until a bit later in case the discussion gets interesting. :holmes:
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      (Original post by Welsh Leprecaun)
      Was thinking about it but I'd have to get rid of Irwin and mess up my backline. It's almost definitely going to be Henry.
      Totally forgot about the 3 player rule.

      Yeah, I think Henry is the only logical player and he doesn't mess up your system either.
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      Wow this a tough one. Both teams are fairly matched (Vidic, Irwin/Stam, Neville). WL's central midfield's better though MM has a better link between attack and midfield in Gerrard, which I think WL is lacking.

      I think I'm going with MM, he's got that link between attack and defense. The quality of Henry, Gerrard, Mata and Overmars would trouble WL's defense. I think the 4 of them combined will trouble WL's defense more than Torres and Ronaldo who were phenomenal themselves.
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      I'm thinking that Alonso to Torres isn't really going to work fantastically, and that that leaves Ronaldo as the sole source of goal-getting - which makes him more of a target for the defence and thus (slightly) easier to deal with. Where else is the attacking quality going to come from? Young isn't really a goalscorer. Vieira and Song can both bomb forward, but neither are creative players who can thread balls through, while neither Torres nor Young are players who are accustomed to holding up the ball - the creative burden thus also falls on Ronaldo. And none of WL's midfielders are goalscoring midfielders either. I'd say MM`'s attack is more diverse and potent in that respect.
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      Very tough call, both players have immense creativity in the midfield however, I am opting for MM simply because like what Stu said, I believe that his centre midfielders will have better link-up play with his striker. Though I do consider WL to have the better defence and threat on the wings, I don't think that Torres would benefit from such a formation.
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      My God this is a hard decision. I think though, on balance, I'll be voting for Welsh_Leprecaun as his defence combined with Alonso (+ Viera and Song) would be very hard to break down. I'd expect Ronaldo to cause huge problems for BAE and I don't see why Torres wouldn't benefit from this formation; in fact, I think he would thrive under it.
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      Well done to Welsh Leprechaun, I also think he would have won this game.

      Did no research on his team. Had I known his team, I'd have set up a bit differently and exposed Ronaldo's limitations (being a bit rubbish at tracking back as Jonathan Wilson recently argued) and so on, but I think even then he would have just shaded it.
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        Didn't expect it to be so one sided in the voting.
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        (Original post by Jonah Ramone)
        Didn't expect it to be so one sided in the voting.
        It seems to be the case that even when people think a game's going to be very tight, almost everyone agrees which team is going to edge it. :p:
       
       
       
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