This was not of our better games, still we fought very well and our defence was very solid! Stoke was unbeaten for seven or eight games, and we won in the dungeon called Britannia Stadium. Not bad. Even if we miss so many players we do show so much energy - much thanks to Zola - and belief that we still can win these games. Which we should not have a year and a half ago.
Green 8 - One very crucial save when he bravely, and like a Cobra, dived to Fuller's feet. Could have been punished when he dropped the ball once, but otherwise verty solid.
Lucas Neill 8 - I do not know what's happened, but during the last four games he has really played like a captain, he has not let anyone past him and he has pushed the pther's forward. OK, he spills a pass or two, but I'm very impressed to see his mentality and the way he cope with his opponents even without any pace at all.
James Tomkins 7 - Solid once more. Had some battles with Fuller but won most of em.
Matthew Upson 7,5 - Better off this time, after a few games without the stability you expect. Today he showed who controll the box.
Herita Illunga 8 - Probably our best player today! Solid as a rock, helped his teammates and kept his flank clear. He is also very smart when he goes forward. I'm sorry to say Di Michele too seldom sees it.
Luis Boa Morte 7 - Gave his all once more even if it was more of up's and down's this time- failed sometimes but showed ability other times. Still I think he - as the terrier he is - was very important for us.
Kovac 6,5 - Probably his best game with us. Replaced Dyer from the start and rightly so. Struggled somtimtes with the PL-bullies that are out there, but was still needed with his play.
Mark Noble 7 - Important, and to know he is still just 21... Is crucial to have when we shall calm down the game, not so effective in counterattack. Missed to many passes, and should choose easier opportunities sometimes. Saved on the goal-line!!
Junior Stanislas 6,5 - Will he be replaced when everyone is fit?? I think the young winger once more showed how mature his play is. One of the best players we have with the ball. Overhit some passes and looked a bit fatigued after an hour or so. Still always a threat and a good defensive display.
Tristan 7 - The free-kick that gave us three points was one of the best in PL this season!
Di Michele 5 - Nope! Not this time either!
Subs: Collison was back! Great. But he, Lopez and Sears played to short for be given any marks this time.
On Monday Carlton Cole starts his full training! Beware Liverpool!