I would like to start off by saying that this has been a long while coming.
Owing to the fact that I have been away for both personal reasons as well as prolonged illness, I was unable to start writing again any earlier than this.
When Toonsy first asked me whether I was keen on writing for his new blog, I was nothing short of psyched. It was a brilliant offer as I was brought on to .org by him. I also noticed that I was getting some unnecessary stick on there for some of my articles. Anyway it’s all in the past now, so without further ado, idle banter, and after an exceptionally long break, here goes:
The entire game left much to be desired and even more to ponder on. A completely abysmal performance by the team in general, and we were dominated from the 12th minute right up to the closing stages and could have potentially ended the game 4 goals down. I was personally keeping my fingers crossed for one of Alan Pardew’s supposedly game changing half time team talks. The man did of course fail to deliver in fine fashion.
And while I’m ranting, why make two changes with 5 minutes to spare when we performed poorly all throughout? Those changes should have been made earlier for the new lads to have had a chance of changing anything at all. After a game that was a story of a poor performance by the lads, the analysis in my opinion, stands as follows.
Tim Krul – For me, the lad has been nothing short of outstanding all season long. A couple of nervy moments on and off, but we’ve seen some fine clangers over the years from even the most seasoned veterans. Last night, he once again put on a fine display in general with excellent positioning, shot stopping, and decision making, and justified his being in the number one position.
Danny Simpson – Normally, I tend to be a bit of sceptic when it comes to Simpson. His positioning has been suspect. It was once again the case last night, with Traore having all the time in the world to put in a perfectly placed cross to Wright Phillips who, fortunately for us, is a tad vertically impaired and couldn’t make the most of it. Keeping that one mistake aside, however, he was rock solid throughout the game, and I was particularly pleased with the manner in which he took the ball forward.
Steven Taylor – Our best defender on the night by far. A goal-line save, several crucial tackles, 100% dedication to the cause, and many timely interferences. There’s not much more you could ask from a defender. Except for one of the most unnecessary bookings I have seen.
Fabricio Collocini – Seemed like a school girl of prom night to be honest. Seemed completely shaken and jittery. And made quite a few missed as well as mistimed tackles. His recovery after moving forward seemed particularly poor too.
Ryan Taylor – After a great start to the season, I think we are going to see the return of the boo boys for Taylor. Perpetually found wanting by a section of the fans, he managed to start the season proving his doubters wrong. I for one, have always been a fan of his, but tonight left me wanting to tear my hair out. He was constantly beaten on the left. Which had happened in the earlier game as well, though not as often. Countless mistimed tackles, a large number of fouls, and losing the ball far too easily weren’t helping his case either.
Cheik Tiote – Another one who completely failed to impress me on the night. Countless mispasses, and endless stupid tackles. And of course, yet another needless booking. Which could cost us dearly in the future.
Yohan Cabaye – I’m honestly tempted to just leave this section blank. Have never seen a more pedestrian performance. He didn’t go missing for sections of the game, he missed the game entirely! One good corner, is the only significant contribution I recall although I guess it doesn’t help matters when the ball is orbited over midfield from defence to attack.
Gabriel Obertan – With the kind of pace he has to burn, I honestly foresee good things to come from him. A huge amount of application, and I think with a greater work rate from the people around him, he could have, and will, do even better.
Jonas Gutierrez – Like Obertan, I was impressed with the level of dedication. A lot of productive runs, a few decent passes, and seems to have picked up Nolan’s knack for being in the right place at the right time. Still hasn’t learnt to cross, but here’s hoping that that will improve just like the rest of his game has.
Shola Ameobi – Another game that provided no real display of the kind of form he produced two seasons ago, and in a way highlighted the need for more firepower.
Leon Best – I was rather impressed by Best to be honest. I thought that he had great movement both on and off the ball, and a few tricks in his repertoire, but was lacking the service required for him to do more.
Demba Ba – I’m completely in the dark as to what his role is. He has failed to win me over so far, and just looks like another Ameobi to me, except a bit faster. Once again, a reminder to the powers that be at our great club, that we need to buy.
Sylvain Marveaux & Sammy Ameobi I honestly can’t comment on, as they were given far too little time to do anything about anything.
At the end of the day, I feel that this was a game that at the onset was ours to lose. Yes, we came away with a point, and yes, we retained our unbeaten start to the season. But this was a team that we should have taken 3 points from. Not because we were better. Not by a long shot. In fact, we were lucky to have taken that point. But these are the kind of teams that will be challenging us for places at the business end of the season. And these are games that will play a huge factor in deciding where we stand. All that being said, roll on Saturday. We’ll be better prepared.
Howay the lads!
P.S: Anyone think that Shaun Derry looks like a younger Alan Pardew?