It's the international break and I'm sure everyone is bored. International action just isn't enough to satisfy that craving for black-yellow action. So I figure this is the perfect time to do my monthly analysis on how the new players have done so far.
Read our August report here.
To be honest, Ousmane's ranking has gone down for me. There's only so far you can get with innate skills before you need to balance them with good decision-making. We saw it against RedBull, against Real, against Bayer - teams that defend well and defend heavily can shut him down and neutralize his 'danger factor'.
He's young, he's raw, he's rough. He needs a lot of polish before he can truly shine. But all this experience does help, right?
Unfortunately, Marc got injured and couldn't play for most of the month. But his absence really did make his presence felt. While Ginter is a great rotation CB, we definitely need Marc in the back line. He's skilled, he's reliable, he makes me feel safe. Get better soon Marc! We need you back!
Basti hasn't had a good month. TT tried him out in the Castro - Rode - Weigl formation twice (RedBull and Bayer), and it ended up failing miserably both times. I'm not sure what goes wrong - all three are great players, and Rode does give it his all every time - but it ends up looking like a right mess. Maybe this formation doesn't allow the players to be creative? Maybe it's three similar players who just clash horribly?
TT hasn't played Rode in other positions or out of this formation, so I can't say if Rode is at fault or this formation in general. But right now we have a much better option in CM, and Rode really needs to find his niche if he wants to stay.
Emre has impressed a bit more than Ousmane this month. Maybe it's due to him coming on as a late sub, maybe his 'danger factor' is different to Ousmane's, but other teams seem to have a worse time shutting him down than Ousmane.
However, we haven't seen him start yet so we really can't say if this assessment will hold up if/when he does.
Well, if there's a star of the month it's my boy Rapha.
I don't know what possessed TT into getting him to play in the CM (the eight, if you will) but that has got to be one of TT's best decisions ever! Rapha has truly embraced his destiny as a younger (better?) İlkay Gündoğan replacement.
Just a small bit of criticism: Guerreiro has found his niche - he should stick to it. He was ineffective in the AM against Real, but moving him back to the eight fixed this. He was disoriented in the defense against Bayer.
Mario is still MIA. I'm waiting impatiently for when he'll truly be back and be amazing.
I don't know what to make of Andre. He's spent most of this month injured, but the few games he's played in he's come in like a wrecking ball (please forgive the pop culture reference). Especially in the Real match - he was the hero we needed but didn't deserve (again, sorry).
That's it for now! See you guys in a month!