Not seeing Parker on the teamsheet gave med creeps. With Utaka and Boateng out there to do business we really need Scott. But just as Parker usually (or at least leately) has played his best game not having Noble besides him, it seems that Mark also makes most of his game... without Parker. Stupid in a way... But Noble had his best game this season against Portsmouth.
Kovac did also impress me tonight. He showed, in his defensive role that he has found his feet and that he can play a clever game, picking up every loose ball that exists and covered the ground very well. Still not able to (as Joppe says in his former post) give us those crucial passes forward. Behrami showed that his marvelous energy is back and looked like a marine soldier stoppin for nu'tin, but he also missed some good opportunities when he was less friendly with the ball. So while I was very pleased in a way to see our central midfield working so well and hard, there is (as Joppe says and I thought of during the whole game) something missing attac-wise. And when Parker is back we have this unbalanced midfield again. Who to sacrifice? And who to build our offensive play on?
Portsmouth at home is no easy nut to crack. In the end 1-1 was pretty fair, as we never seem to be able to close a game. As we always seem to loose steam with fifteen minutes left.
Amir Begovic was once again the man of the match in Portsmouth, saving at least three "unstoppable" tries from the guests. (If we stay up, Ports go down and Green really would leave I would not hesitate to call this guy). Kevin Prince Boateng in midfield did also have one of his more impressive games.
We may have been a bit lucky with our goal even if we certainly deserved it. Upson/Kaboul fighting in the box and the latter put it in his own net. OR was it the chest of Upson?
But the home team was even luckier with their. Referee Marriner (again) stod just a few feet from Boateng and Tomkins when the german hit Tomkins with an ugly elbow in his face. But he let the play go on and all of a sudden Webber could score as Tomkins was missing in the defense, laying on the ground with a concussion. Awful, even if the home team finally (after 90 min) deserved it.
At least we did not drop more points than the others in the bottom of the table last night.
Green 6 - A very good save when Mokoena took advantage of a bad clearence from Behrami and shot hard, close to the post. Otherwise he did not have to do much. The goal slipped through his legs.
Faubert 6 - Looked once more a bit nervous in defence, but worked well goin forward and had some good crosses and a decent goal attempt.
Tomkins 7,5 - Our new Upson? Once again our best man in defence. Took big responsibility. Was down (a obvious foul from Boateng) when the home team finally scored and had to be substituted.
Upson 6,5 - "Scored" which was nice but I do not expect our captain and anchor to do some of the easy mistakes he did. May have been a bit nervous when his old friends from Birmingham (G&S) was there to watch their new team.
Spector 6 - Decent.
Diamanti 4,5 - No at last you get tired of someone who shoot - and pretty awful two - every time he sniff the ball. I mean, I want our team to shoot much more than they do and he has that quality to scare defences. But he also make them laugh...
Works hard, still I do wonder: Will he ever be the teamplayer that we need? We build an attack from behind, his comarades comes running and he destroys it with a too big ego. Back to a conference with Zola?
Noble 7,5 - As said before; the best game of the season for our "senior youngster". Moved well, built up most of our play, helped the defence at least hundred times with good breaks.
Kovac 7,5 - Liked what a saw. Very much involved and ran like Parker usually do. Found some space for his own play and at the same covered a lot of space. Like the rest of the team he was awfully tired last 15. Still: His best game for us?
Behrami 7 - Noone takes so much beating in a game a Behrami, noone runs like him, and noone shows so much no-nonsence attitude. And I liked what I saw today. Even if there still is a bit too much carelessness in his play sometimes.
Collison 6 - Had a wonderfull attac (with a nice flick from Nouble) where he beat two-three defenders and went very close from scoring in the same breath. Begovic made a surreal save.
Still must attac more, too often he plays the safe game. I want him to challenge more! Not so good in defence today.
Nouble 7 - His second start. Another impressing game, another game when he failed to score free with Begovic two times (good saves though), another game when he was left alone too often (the midfield has to help him much more), another game when he showed that this young guy will be a great player rather sooner than later. Remember he is just 18!
Cole - O boy, did he look like a race horse before the race. He really wanted to play. And impress. He looked lively but only had 17 minutes. During a period West Ham mainly had to defend. Subbed with Nouble, but I had prefered Diamanti as I want to see Nouble and Cole together.
DaCosta - OK. New haircut.
Stanislas - Came on very late.
Blackburn next. With McCarthy in our team??