Thursday, February 26, 2009

Player Ratings for Shaktar Second Leg

Well it was a better performance than I expected out of the side tonight. We came so close on so many occasions, it was heart-breaking to see that goal go in within the last ten minutes. Even though it was not a priority for the club, I never like to see us lose, and everyone on the field was clearly trying to win.

I am not one to say this usually, but the refereeing was awful tonight. The no call on the penalty on Campbell in the second half was atrocious, he could have been seriously injured, and the referee was in good position to be able to make that call, but none was coming. I think Campbell didn't help the cause in the first half when he went down in the box rather easily, though a penalty could have been called on the play where Campbell and Giovanni seemed to fouled as well. But the referee was clearly watching out for Campbell by the second half, and so it was going to take a miracle with Campbell going down for a penalty to be called.

Player Ratings:

Gomes 6.5 You know this was a good game for Gomes, I was happy for him. He made some good stops, controlled his area pretty well, and couldn't be faulted on the goal. Yeah, he should have held on to a few more of the shots and not allowed rebounds, but for Gomes this was a great game, for any other keeper, so-so.

Gunter 5.5 I like Gunter, and think he is going to be a good player for us in the future, but he was not on form tonight. Should have closed down better on the goal, if he had, who knows? Made decent distribution out of the back, but his tackling was off, not his best outing.

Chimbonda 5 I didn't want Pascal coming back to the club, and I know I have railed about it in the past, but this is why. Ineffectual at center back. On a couple of occasions was holding on to the ball way too much deep in our penalty area. When there is a ball within the 6-yard box, don't hold possession while the other team closes down, make a pass out of danger!

Huddlestone 6 Tom was the captain this evening, and played a good game, much better than the first leg. Had an outstanding ball out of the back to Bale in the first half that should have been capitalized on. Made some good tackles and marshaled the back four decently. Not a natural center-half but filled in admirably.

Gilberto 6 I personally can't believe I'm writing this, but Gilberto didn't fall over his own two feet tonight. Got forward decently, and actually played some defense, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Yes he did make some bad areas in the opponents' half, losing possession and putting way too much pace on the cross in the second half shortly after Giovanni's goal. But like Gomes, he did great compared to what I was expecting from him

Giovanni Dos Santos 8 Man of the match for me, took a great goal, his first for the club. In the first ten minutes he was almost invisible, but then actually got involved, looking for the ball, tracking back, and basically looking like the player who came from Barcelona. I thought that this was a last shot for Giovanni to impress Harry, and he certainly did that tonight.

Palacios 6.5 Not the same performance we've seen from him in the last couple of games, but still a solid effort. Made some crunching tackles, but also lost possession a few times, is going to be great for us though.

O'Hara 7 Nice to see Jamie back in the side after being out with injury. Was eager to get back out, you could tell. Took several shots early on, not on target, but trying to get involved. He was the creator in the midfield tonight and did well. I expect to see him play a role in the Cup Final on Sunday.

Bale 6.5 I think at the moment he's better as a midfielder than a defender. His defense needs work, but getting forward is his strong suit, and he showed it tonight. Probably should have scored on that long ball from Huddlestone, but did play well overall.

Campbell 6 Got involved, you can definitely say that. He'll think there should have been at least three penalties called for him, and there was one that should definitely been called. He was active, and had a great assist on Giovanni's goal, but that first time he went down in the box shouldn't have happened, he needs to learn when to go down and when not to, we might have gotten a later call that way. Good effort though.

Obika 7 Runner-up for Man of the Match for me. On his debut he showed me and a lot of other supporters a lot I am sure. Have several great shots that came oh so close to going in. Held the ball up well, he has good size and will make a great complement to Defoe and Keane when he gets more first team action. Just now 18, if we were safe in the table I'd want to see him get a longer run out in the side.


Parrett 6 Got involved, made a decent tackle here and there, and some good passes. Didn't have a chance to get too involved, the pace of the game seemed to be away from him a little bit. Will definitely be a player for us, but still is a little raw.

Bostock 6 Another youngster who I want to see more of, but tonight didn't get too involved. Had a couple of moments, but like Parrett, the pace of the game seemed to be ahead of him when he came on. I think he's going to be great as well, and want to see him for 90 minutes.

I'm disappointed we didn't go through, but overall happy with the effort of the lads. Giovanni finally showed something, and Obika looks to be quite a talent. Parrett and Bostock will also be great players in time, and it was nice to see them all get a run-out. Now let's turn our attention to Sunday and beating the Red Devils!

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