14/02/2009

Herita to the rescue!

I like our left side fullback. No less after today.
Today Herita came to the rescue of not only our FA cup hopes, but of DiMichele and Tristan.

This was about to be a game remembered for the lost chances and the gutless display of most of our players, especially our strikers, but now hopefully we can forget this quickly.

I thought this would be a game that would fit DiMichele - I was wrong in more than one way.
DiMichele had a horrible game, not just because of his wasted chances, but also because of the many turnovers he created. It was a kind of game I didn't anticipate. I was certain that we would dominate the midfield, letting DiMichele work in the last third of the pitch as he did so successfully in the Hull game. But our midfield didn't manage to control the game today.

An alternative heading to this post would be "Behrami - more important than I thought". The work rate of our Valon was missed today, may he be fit soon. Behrami is very good in keeping the pressure on the opposition when they are in possession giving them less time to pick out the best passes. Today, without his pestering the opposition, we let the Boro midfield look decent.

Also, before this game we have more or less fielded the same team for 10 games, making it possible for the players to learn to find each other and anticipating what the others are about to do. Today we had 2 very important changes from the start. Poor Ilunga was left with LBM in front of him (and LBM wasn't very useful defending or attacking, unfortunately). But also, Collison was moved to the less familiar right side. This probably made him feel just a bit less comfortable disturbing the chemistry of the midfield, but also changed the way the defenders could build the attack.

If one watched just the second half, one could have be led to believe that it was Cole that was terribly missed and that his limping off was the reason for a bleak performance, but I must say that for some reason he didn't look too bright either and he was also was guilty of loosing possession too easily. Having said that, I deeply hope that this was more a precaution than something that will keep him sidelined for long - we do depend on him being fit and working.

In the last 20 minutes of the game Boro were guilty of the same sin as we were 10 games ago - loosing the nerve when trying to hang on to a lead. Given their current league position and recent results it's not very strange that they have no confidence.
Fortunately this was all we needed. Parker finally found some good passes and Savio, coming in for Noble, showed some promise and that he has no problem with his self confidence. This is the best we've seen so far from this 19 year old and it was promising.

Tristan had 60 minutes to show his skills, and I think maybe, just maybe, there is something left in him after all, at least I was pleasantly surprised over some of his moves.
Considering the dozens of games that it took Cole to find his feet, it's only fair to give Diego the benefit of the doubt.

To have the left fullback score from right by the right hand goal post shows that we were really pushing for that goal, I am very very happy for him - and us!
I think we will go to Riverside and secure a place among the last 8!
Not a word on the other defenders... oh well Prince H needs something to do.

2 comments:

Prince H said...

Will not be able to see the game today either. Sorry. So no ratings fromme. But happy to read your artivle, and that you might fins aomething interesting in Dirego Tristan. Specially if Cole will be out next week too.

Hope Zola will rest Di Michele now and play Savio.
Sears seems to be just a shadow... what have happened. When he started, did we all see something that actually weren't there? Or has Zola treated him wrong?

Hakan said...

I think you will beat Boro in the replay, so maybe we can look forward to seeing Arsenal, Chelsea, United and West Ham in the semi-finals!?