Frustration must have been the most common feeling at the Boleyn on Saturday. My feeling was that our chance to get something out of this game was to figth through the initial Liverpool siege, but after a minute and a half the frustration hit me for the first time in this game.
Their second goal was as frustrating as the first. Wiley made a mistake not to award LBM a free kick outside the Liverpool box. The following attack saw the frustrated LBM tugging Torres shirt, and I guess the penalty was a correct call but the fact that it followed on a mistake from Wiley made LBM and the rest of us fuming with frustration.
My frustration didn't stop there. When Di Michele blundered away the chance of the match it was the pinnacle of my frustration with Di Michele.
Running the risk of being blasphemic I think the frustration I have with Di Michele really is a frustration with Zola. Why on Goods green earth is he playing him? As this will be the topic of my next post (is Zola really the launcher of young talent?) I won’t go into that now.
I feel frustrated for Mark Noble as well. He is massive in this game, winning balls holding the ball when called for and passing the ball impressively throughout the game but didn’t have much help. I, as many others have been worried that he is not taking that last step in his development, but he showed on Saturday that he is well on his way.
Neill was a frustrating and sad mix of his new and old self. His attitude was the new Neill, wanting to be in the mix, trying to play the creative passes he has done so brilliantly lately. Unfortunately the quality of the passes was the old Neill.
Another unfortunate player was LBM, not just for the unlucky series of events leading up to the second goal. There is nothing wrong with his attitude, he works harder than most, but his passing was horrid and he lost possession just too many times. Behrami is desperately missed!
Tristan was as lively as I’ve seen him in Claret and Blue. Even though he faded badly in the second half, as we knew he would. But he looks like a footballer now and again and he sometimes even show some of the talent that made him a Spanish international. He needs more fitness but with Cole and/or Ashton fit I can’t see him being a starter. However, he may be a decent last 20 min sub next season.
Stanislas is obviously still learning but I have no problem with that. He shows an enormous promise and has facets to his game that is not very common. In addition to a great work rate he really shows everybody that he wants to be involved and when he gets the ball he is pretty good one on one. He shows that he has a good eye for the game by running into interesting areas, but he does not always have the presence to find others doing the same. He needs to see when Ilunga goes forward so he can provide the ball Ilunga wants. Stanislas still wastes too many passes but he definitely contributes more to our game than 2 or 3 established players.
Collison got half an hour replacing Stanislas and immediately had an impact on the game. That boy can play! It’s unfortunate that both Stanislas and Collison seem to prefer the left hand side as we need both of them on the pitch and the central spot available for a creative player should be reserved for Noble.
Tomkins didn’t have an easy task. He did well to keep Torres goalless. His inclination to cover the area or trying to intercept a pass instead of marking the player is a bit too risky for my taste, and he was saved by others a few times. Still, he was up against Liverpool and did great!