It may have been a while ago, but at last Robert Green dressed as our hero again, when we snapped another point against Aston Villa.
0-0 was a real team effort and most of the players and the staff did not let the turbulence around the "West ham-sale-auction" goin on, affect them. Great work from Zola! I did not expect anything today to be honest.
It's a bit strange though looking at the players individually as few had special impressive performances. Luckily our CB's were great as our England No 6!
Besides Parker - I could not see much good from our midfielders. Still the five must have done something right. As we got a very important point from a game we did not expect much at all, at least after we understood that all our senior strikers Cole, Franco and Hines were all out.
Frank Nouble (18!) started his first game for us and it could have been easier task to begin with than as an alone front man against a team like Villa. But it was a really impressive effort. Looks like a lad with a great future ahead!
Luckily enough - as well - the Birmingham-team looked a bit uninspired as well (although they have a hard fight to reach the fourth spot, they played this Thursday and may have been a bit exhausted) and were never able to step up and find any speed. That would have killed us. Maybe that was because of our midfielders!
In the end we shall be happy for the point (it also looked like that was what Zola really strived for), still it was not far from 3 points as we had some good opportunities as well.
Robert Green 8 - This man will go to South Africa this summer. His best game in months with at least three crucial saves (When he came out to block a free Carew in the end was the icing of the cake). But to be honest, he can get rid of the ball a bit quicker than trying to dribble the opponents in his own box.
Julien Faubert 5,5 - Defensivly OK, but his passing was awful and let us down in many "changeovers". Lately he has been solid, but today he came wrong from the first minute. We really need good passing and crosses from his flank.
James Tomkins 8 - Our MOTM. He fought's hard, he blocks, he made no mistakes at all; he did everything today that Collins used to do when he was at his best. But this day - no doubt - our young man was the better than our old/Villa's new red-head.
Matthew Upson 7 - Good and important effort.
Jonathan Spector 6 - I had hoped to see Drapela again after his good game against Arsenal. But Spector looks still in front in the pecking order. And after todays performance you can hardly say it's wrong. Good game, even if he had some problems with the harder challenges from Agbonlahor. But who doesn't?
Mark Noble 5 - Another man who made me very disappointed today with extremly bad passing. And when he plays at RM he looks like the slowest man in the PL. But when Parker was forced off, he took a new position in the middle of the park and improved. Have been out injured and was doubtful, but he was there and fought and will become better....
Valon Behrami 5 - Alright he fights hard, but? Cause here we have guy no 3 unable to get a single pass right. How much do they pay these guys? Improved and was more involved in the second half. Needs to find his feet soon as he will be important in the forthcoming games, where we need some terriers in midfield. So it's very worriyng that...
...Scott Parker 6 - was forced off. I'm very angry at his right thigh. It should behave much better. Parker was his usual self as long as he could play.
Radoslav Kovac 5,5 - O boy, I really thought he was about to see red when he fell Petrov. Positive: Fought and was important in our box (Villa had 16 corners), but is of little use forward. So when substituted, we all of a sudden started to threat the home team!
Jack Collison 5 - "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"?? I do not know, but this was a pale performance. We need Jack more hungry!
Frank Nouble 6,5 - Hey, a very impressing debut. He does not look like 18, and he plays much more mature than so. Took good run's (and he is really fast!) and wanted to show. What have happened if he had scored that goal - so close - after just 5 minutes? New shoes next time?
Diamanti 6 - Gave energy to the team and we improved.
Stanislas 6 - Got a bit nervous when both Parker and Kovac went off but when Stanislas and Diamanti came on, Villa was unable to hold on to their pressure and Stanislas contibuted well with his energy. Again.
Da Costa - Came on in overtime.
A bit too low numbers? I can not say that, but as a team effort, fighting for each other, during this very hard circumstances this was, as a whole, as a unit, more of a 7,5! Good game from Zola!