Tiredness? Bulls**t excuse. This was our third match this month!
We looked like footballing’s equivalent of Audley Harrison today – all hype, no punch. We need a finisher, and fast – not a forward, not a striker, but a natural, born finisher. Someone who knows how to put the ball into the back of the net and who can get in positions to do so. My own preferred pick, Robbie Keane, can be ruled out as he’s a Spurs player and no way in hell will Harry and Martin do any more business between our clubs, so that’s him ruled out. Only one other option I can think of in that mould who would be possibly available, within our budget, and could make the desired impact, and it’s a long shot – Jermaine Beckford. Unfortunately, he withdrew his transfer request today.
But back to the game. We bossed possession (but didn’t make the most of it), we had countless shooting opportunities (but no-one to pull the trigger), countless set pieces (but no-one able to provide a telling delivery or get on the end of them). The main positive we can take is that we never really looked like conceding, and we never really gave the Hammers any clear-cut chances. Defensively, we’re fine. We just lack a cutting edge. And we’ve been saying the same thing since Yorke left.
In retrospect, changes should have been made today – there was no reason to keep the same starting line up with the second semi-final coming midweek. Carew should have started, Young should have started, Sidwell should have started, maybe even Delph, Albrighton or Delfouneso. We would still have had enough for a draw at least, we would have rested a few key players, and who knows, one of the other lads may well have stepped up to the plate.
In summary, a clean sheet and a point are the best we can take from this one, not good enough. A wasted opportunity to either make up ground on the teams ahead of us and/or ‘rest’ players (snort) for the big midweek game ahead. As it is, a frustrating day at the office, and one where Blackburn got a shot of confidence. They’ll come to Villa Park thinking they can turn the tie around.
had nothing really to do
deserves the man of the match simply for twatting Savage with his clearance. Let’s face it, the MoM wasn’t going to a forward!
average display, didn’t make the most of his opportunities from set pieces
held our defence together, but made a few mistakes as well
Tireless, up and down the pitch, best player out there today. The real MoM.
Gone from our player of the year to the weak link in our midfield. Hasn’t got the energy to keep up with the rest of our team, and dwells on the ball so long he kills any impetus in our attacks.
Reliable and hardworking as ever, won plenty of set pieces, but was guilty of losing the ball
Worked hard, poor delivery at times, tired towards the end.
Worked hard throughout, was double and triple teamed at times but kept at it and still created chances, but delivery again let him down.
Brought players into the game around him, worked hard, but we need more from our forwards
Worked hard, battled for the ball, held it up well and managed to create a few chances. Playing as a hold up player suits him, and he does pick our players out well, but should have done better with the chances that fell to him.
Had the ball in the back of the next (was a couple of yards offside though) and – unbelievably – managed to finally direct a flick on towards Gabby! For the first time this season! Apart from that, he was anonymous. Might have done better had he been on the field for the 15-odd corner kicks and dozen or so free kicks we’d had before his arrival. Then again, maybe not.