So this was the essential win, a temporary breath or just the beginning of a new era?
Of the teams we have behind us at the moment all but Pompey have had less games played, on the other hand it's just four points more to reach Sunderland in tenth position....
An even league which we hopefully can take advantage of.
For the second time in a row we showed these necessary big hearts. So even if Parker once more was the big organiser and mean machine in the team, we did also have others who gave us surprising efforts!
After a nervy start we showed at least that we are a better team than Portsmouth, and won for the first time (!) ever at Upton Park against the blue sailors.
I think the main difference from games like the ones against Birmingham is that we've stepped up a gear mentally. All players are working for each other and all of a sudden you can see midfielders and even defenders in the opponent's box. And if we can continue to fight like this we will soon be off the bottom. Newcomers in the team like Franco and Diamanti have surely understood it all!!!
Green 6 - Still a bit nervy, should as we always suggest leave his line a bit more often (and with a more reliable attitude) and I still do not likte those many long kicks. But made a great save when Piquionne (a great player) came through in the second half, may have been crucial. His first cleen sheet since August! Keep'em comin'!
Faubert 7 - Probably his best performance for us since the beginning of the season. Fought hard, showed heart and took great responsibility. Not to say that his opponents were the hardest in the league. Anyway: Good.
Tomkins 7 - Kept first Piquionne quiet and then Kanu. After some nervy games this was up to the youngsters standards. And he have to continue like this on Monday!
Upson 6,5 - It's of course Matthew Upson who can give the defence the stability back. Like this performance which gave us our first clean sheet since 1931. Still this was a bit sloppy at times from our Captain. A few misjudged moments could have cost us. Otherwise solid.
Ilunga 7 - This is the way we used to see him. Fighting hard in defense, good movement goin forward. made some crucial blocks, and few mistakes. Dindane was useless when it was Ilunga against him, so next it's probably Lennon! Show courage!
Jack Collison 6 - Well, even if his miss when he shoud have scored was bad, those things happen. I was pleased with most of his moves goin forward, but less impressive to work for the defense. Sometimes these go together and our young Welsh turns a bit cowardly. Moves for safty instead of challenge - which we all know he can do. Can also play faster! Still: Had at least three good opportunities!
Mark Noble - - Why not change our team name to West Hamstring? I do not know how many players who have had to be taken off this season for injuries to their hamstring?? Noble as early as after 20 minutes today. Had nobig effect on the team in those minutes though.
Scott Parker 8,5 - Once more MotM! His big heart and fighting spirit is not only his, it is a big influence on the whole team! Started actually a bit sloppy, but who remembers that? Soon, he became on of the main men in the PL this round. May we keep him forever!
Radoslav Kovac 7,5 - Ups, this player can run! This man can also influence the team with hard tackles and good moves! Lovely performance in the middle of the park. And our Chech makes his best contribution - by miles - for claret & blue! So far! (Well, he did well against Chelski too) May be important for Parker as well, as he gives Scotty more room to improvise a bit. Most of us have asked why we bought this man back this season, he (and Zola/Clarke) may give us the answer now! People grow differently into a new team. Goalscorer! (His first since he became Cl&bl permanent).
Alessandro Diamanti 8 - I think our entertainer No. one already has answered those who dismissed him and thought he was the wrong answer to save us. Nowadays he has so much more than a lovely left foot (still sooo important) he fights, and he has started to (try to) find his teammates and become a teamplayer. He can change gear and affect the team in a "spiritual" way! Still makes those silly things, but we may need them sometimes as well! Another good goal from the spot!
Guillermo Franco 7 - Tested late before the game and got the nod. I didn't know and even if it was far from his best game for us we were few who recognised he played with a knock. Still worked very hard, and clever as always! He is not fast but has a big toolbox, and somtimes he should be able to use it even more, like looking up to find teammates in even better positions. But I'm happy to see him here, not least because he is a great teamplayer. And he seems to like it here!
Subs: Jimenez 6,5 - (on for Noble 20th) At times very invisible, still involved in both our goals. So happy for him, as our Latin loan has been struggling a lot to find his feet in this league. When Jimenez was given the freekick out on the right I cursed that Diamanti had been taken off, but the Chilean answered right away: Lovely, sublime freekick to Kovac.
Behrami 6 - (on for Diamanti, 71t) - Well, came on when Pompey tried to get something from the game and pushed us hard. I do not know how much Valon affected the game, but it all of a sudden looked more positive for us again.
Nouble - If this guy really run as fast as he looked like, he must be given more than one minute and a half in each game!
So I do not care that we did not look like world beaters against a poor team like Portsmouth. Or that we may not played beautiful like Arsenal at their best. We won, we played with big heart, we kept a clean sheet and more players than Parker and Franco showed that they want to help us through!