Is there still any positives to cling to.. hurry Uncle Roy.. and show us this Sunday against Blackpool !!
And Pics of an uninspiring 0-0 draw..
Hopes were raised when Torres joined the travelling party to Holland.
At last, you might exclaim.. we have some cutting edge against Utrecht in this Europa League Group clash. Sadly, it is the same old ending where you leave the game feeling simply frustrated at what Roy’s tactics are all about.
Stung by our mid-week loss to Northampton in the League Cup last week, Roy defintely set out a team that was not meant to lose. How else can you explain Poulsen, Lucas & Meireles in the first eleven !!
No doubt Meireles was employed at the right flank.. with Cole, as usual, wasted on the left flank.. yet these are the very players with the natural tendency to drift centre thus leaving the flanks void. Though Meireles had an ever-willing Johnson to gallop up in support, it was not so on the left with Martin Kelly as the make-shift leftback in the absence of both Konchesky & Agger. In fact, Kelly was a bundle of nerves trying to counter his opposing right-winger, big & mean No 24 named Mulenga.
The wet and heavy pitch made playing conditions extremely difficult on both teams but we were the ones making the silly mistakes. Our trio of Poulsen, Lucas & even Meireles had their moments of frailty and we were just fortunate that none of these mistakes were punished.
We have Reina to thank for making some crucial saves & interventions. Despite missing some crosses, at least he was imposing himself in the penalty box. Even when he was caught stranded, there was Meireles to make a goal-line clearance. In fact, just seconds after that escape, Reina dispatched a superb ball for Kuyt to chase and cross to Torres. With the defender slipping, you would bet your last penny for Torres to convert but he was foiled by the keeper’s finger-tips.. and had salt rubbed into the wound when the Portuguese officials denied him a corner kick.
The game was to drift into an aimless knocking around with Cole now the chief culprit in giving away cheap passes. The frustrating part was when Roy chose not to freshen things up, leaving attacking talents like Jovanovic, Babel, Maxi & Ngog idle on the bench.
It was only at the 80th minute that Roy made his first and only change, Maxi in for a clearly ineffective Joe Cole. By then we had 3 players on yellow cards; Lucas, Johnson & Kelly, who were defintely not going to make any rash challenges. But that would also mean no tackles to win the balls and thus we just drifted away till the final whistle.
Roy got what he set out to do.. which was not to lose. But he has lost a few more optimists with the way he leads the team.
Will our malaise ever end ??
Blackpool on Sunday must surely be a game for us to rise to the occasion with Gerrard back in the team.. but can the rest keep up with some weary legs to bring back to Melwood..