When I saw the starting the lineup against Spurs, I was up in arms. Where was Aurelio (is he injured, I did not even see if he was on bench, feel free to let me know)? Surely against spurs, Rafa (NOT A REQUEST TO GET HIM OUT, I LOVE THE MAN) should know that Insua’s lack of pace would be a weakness enhanced. But all credit to him in trusting the team to work, when they put the yards in Insua always looks alot more comfortable, even able to read the game. I also thought he had help in his decision making, because Reira was showing well, up and down the wing, good skills to keep the move going foward on his own, which did not require Insua getting upfield, but then again maybe Rafa just told him to hold back!
It was good to see Kyri given a go again, he was my man of the match last time out. He does look undecisive sometimes but when it matters he does the job. Ngog being dropped to let Kuyt have a go up front came at the right time. The other day Ngog looked of the pace and played like a sack of spuds, being dropped gave him a kick up the Ass and he showed that when he came on, he looked easily 60% better than Saturday (anyone ever noticed, the middle of Saturday is TURD).
What really perplexed me, was Maxi starting on the bench! I like to think Rafa did that because it was a 6 point game and he wanted to stay with what he knows for now, but I don’t think that is the case, I think it is because he not sure about Maxi and maybe only brought him because it’s the only option he had (if he does not start the next game I really will believe that).
Then the central midfield, the backbone of the team and the backbone of our lack of attacking potencey.Yet again Masc threw himself around like a ragdoll, but surely Rafa needs to tell him to stand up to the opposition and not go diving in, going to ground brings the chance of playing as 10 red shirts alot closer (yes I know Reina weras yellow!). Maybe in training they could work on him closing down and not jumping in, and being a bit more picky about his tackling. Sometimes just being made to pass creates a break! Aquilani, is starting to show alot more touches and a bit of class, he just needs to learn more about his mates and how they operate and will then look alot better. I do enjoy the way he can look boxed in and all of sudden be in enough space to make a comfortable pass. Then there is Lucas, I will say this, he will do great in Masc’s role defending, he seems to be good spoiler of possession, but yet again when we are attacking he just seems to get in the way or when given the ball in attacking positions he just does not know what to with it, even when the obvious is a one two, or a poke through to a runner from deep. If Rafa must play Masc and Lucas, I would say make Lucas hold and let Masc get up there and involved more. He could break up counter attacks before they start and maybe even score by latching onto a poor clearance. Degen down the right in front of Carra looks very confident and gives good penetration, but he is a right back and it showed, SHOOt first time god damn you, Maxi would have buried that!
The game was great, from the start I had good feelings about it, when I saw our Gods in Reds shirts chasing down and winning the high balls punted forward by Spurs. I like to think this was the crowd being vocal and spuring them on, but to be honest it was the men in the Red, doing 100mph which had the crowd going (judging by Carra in the first half and in the huddle, it was him that gave them the kick up the arse!). My worry is that the we do not pass it around. I don’t care if we have to pass it back into our half, keep possession and the other team can’t score. Knock it around, make the opposition run for it, back and fourth, wing to wing, suck them out create the gaps for us to run and pass into. The need to get to the 18 yard box as quick as possible and lack of off the ball movement is our problem, and has always been when we have failed to stretch teams that defend against us, we do better against better teams, because there own movement and willingness to go forward, gives us a bit more time and space to play this slow passing predictable game, that then gives us chances because of mistakes.
All that said we won, but it should have been won alot sooner than the 90th minute, but I still can’t help but feel that we was lucky (now that’s the first time I have said that season, maybe the we turned the corner!). I would also rather see our young players being given the chance to prove themself’s when the senior first picks are out, not players who are going to be sold!
YNWA, Thankyou to the fans for the background soundtrack tonight.