A bit lucky there. Portsmouth did win their game against Hull with two goals in the dying minustes - 88th and 89th. And Wigan scored their winner against Burnley in the 90th. So after todays loss against the new PL leaders at the Emirates we still have it our own hands. We are talkng about the dirty fight we will be involved in to the bitter end.
After two goals down against a 10 man Arsenal you can say that we did OK, but far from enough. When Diamanti missed his first penalty in a West Ham shirt (just before the break) we may have lost our chance in the game. Still I suggested for myself: This may be good for us as the home team won't come out to the second half like hungry tigers. We will...
Well, from then we seemed to take control of the game, but to be truthful Arsenal did what they wanted to pretty easily. They did what they needed. Not less not more. We were - apart from Cole's shot at the post late on - never able to threat.
Since Zola has taken over the team we've most of the time been able to play quite well in these games, but never been able to threaten the top four. Any of them. A couple of years ago we actually had som wins, on the other hand some truly lousy efforts. Nowadays we seem to know that we may be able to take a point but never disturb the hard opponent's enough to win three. As even Hull and Burnley do.
I do really hope that this was the last loss this season!!! With some luck and hard work it may even be so!
Green 6 - Some really good saves. Not to blame for the goals: But why has he stopped to save those penalties that he used to?
Spector 7 - After some early moments where he sold himself awkwardly easy he grew and ended as one of the very best players we had for the night. If he made a mistake he used his speed to regain the ball. As several times against Arshavin and Fabregas! He helped the others out and even ran for some attacks! Credit to the critisised American.
James Tomkins 7 - Another decent game with aggressiveness and no-nonsese. (Far better then against Bolton... of course)
Matthew Upson 5 - Not as his best as he lost out on the first goal and handled the ball clearly which gave the home team their penalty. Not a Captain on the field (as I usually point out).
Daprela 5,5 - This young guy has the right attitude, and had a fighting face during all game. Good contribution, but not a decisive effort. Well, FB's seldom have. But he will be important for us from now on, even if I'm longing to see Ilunga back to his best.
Diamanti 7 - Well he missed the penalty (I guess Almunia knew which corner Diamanti always shoots in) and he missed some other shots, but when he really had a golden opportunity he sadly chosed to pass instead. But: even if he made the wrong decisons from time to time he was one of few players that looked inspired and tried to change the game.
Behrami 5 - Ran, but was not able to influence the team today.
Kovac 6 - Ran, and had an import task to stop Fabregas and (in the first half) Song. Did pretty well, but he could not do anything going forward. I do not complain, I mean it was Song and Fabregas for God's sake...
Stanislas 6 - Happy to see him on the field from the start as he has speed, energy and (some) width, but if he shall play on the left he must sometimes go to the left and not every time move into the field. Worked hard and had a beautiful cross (from the right!)
Franco 4,5 - Well, he gave us the chance to get into the game. But apart from the attack from Vermalen - which gave him a red card and us a penalty - Francoe was never friend with the ball and did not do enough to be left on the field. So subbed, and rightly so. But maybe too late.
Mido 4,5 - A very silent game, so he is here to prove something? Well, you can see that he has a lot of football in his body, but his capacity has seldom bloosomed or really given us anything. So far. Was close to score on Stanislas beautiful cross though.
Cole 5,5 - a late sub and he does make difference as soon as he shows, but apart from that wonderful shot to the post, he seemed far away from top form and lost the ball much easier than he usually does.
Noble - Nice to see him back even if he was not given any time to shine. "As if..."
McCarthy - Hardly involved but in some few moments he showed what speed can do, and the strong, fast pass to Cole makes me dream of a beginning of a beautiful friendship... I hope to see the South African start on Tuesday. And Cole!
Wolves next. Our most important game of the season!!! (again...)