Saturday, March 7, 2009

Better Late Than Never, Spurs Secure a Point, w/Player Ratings

I went to watch the only Premier League fixture of the weekend, and it looked like a Sunday League match broke out at times. Some of the mistakes on both sides looked like my team on the weekend, but I won't say we were lucky to get a point, there were some extended moments of good play from us, and there was some very good play out of the Black Cats as well, so all in all I think a draw is a fair result, though I'm sure the Sunderland fans will feel hard done by that.

It seems Robbie is starting to get his touch back, and I am glad for it, we have over a week now to rest players and get ready for the trip to Villa Park. This is the type of result that is needed to make us a better side, down a goal late and still fight back to earn a draw.

Player Ratings:

Gomes- 6.5 Couldn't be faulted on the first goal, a clear mixup in the defense and a great first touch by Richardson really left Gomes in no-man's land. Handled his crosses pretty well, and even came out strongly once and won the clearance, so who know's maybe he's becoming the player we thought we were buying, but the jury is still out.

Corluka- 6 Vedran played pretty well, he's getting forward better in combo with Lennon, and was pretty solid in defense today. A bad tackle leading to his caution, but I would have left him on and pulled off Chimbonda late on.

Jonathan Woodgate- 7.5 Handled Jones well all day, I didn't really see him put a foot wrong all day. Even his caution was a smart play I thought, making sure the break was stopped so the defense could recover. Won header after header and never looked too bothered.

Ledley King- 7 A solid effort from Ledley, had a very good chance to take a goal, and I don't think a striker would have been able to do much more. Could have been called for a penalty late on, but I don't think so, he was solid throughout and hopefully will be fit to play against Villa.

Chimbonda- 4 Give me BAE over Chimbonda any day. If you play on the left side, you should use your left foot more than once throughout the match. Took some stick from the Sunderland fans, and I bet it was well-deserved. Went down with the slightest of touches, was slow in the break, an awful performance to me. Early on I wondered if he thought he was still playing for Sunderland, every ball he seemed to be playing found it's way to a Black Cat. I'm not sure what Harry was thinking, but let's hope he doesn't think it again.

Lennon- 6.5 Was probably our most dangerous attacking player today. Had some great runs, and a good shot in the second half, but his delivery was lacking again. If he can only get that straightened out what a player he will be.

Palacios- 5.5 Not Wilson's finest match with us by any means. Didn't look comfortable all day, scattered passes throughout the field and wasn't solid in the tackle at all today. Even with an off day passing I'll take him over Zokora though.

Jenas- 5.5 The problem with JJ most of the time is he doesn't look for that probing pass. Played decently today, but whenever he gets a pass, he looks for the square option, and not that probing through ball that we needed today. Was a deserved substitution, I was wondering if he was starting to run out of gas as well after the last week's schedule.

Modric- 6 Luka looked a little uncomfortable all day. I can't believe I'm saying this, but he had much more of a connection with BAE and could use him to play off of. You could clearly see he and Chimbonda had no connection at all. Had a couple of moments, but after his performances in the past week this has to be considered disappointing.

Darren Bent- 5.5 Redeemed himself late on with the cross for Robbie's goal. But seriously, that first chance he had in the second half should have been buried. Had several chances, but by far the worst one was that one, he had so many options, chip the keeper, slot it home, and instead sent into the cheap seats. I kept wondering when he was going to be substituted.

Keane- 6 Came up big for us late on. Tracked back like he is apt to do, and tried to be involved all day. Didn't have many chances, but took the best one he had. I think he skirted the issue a little bit with some of the times he went down, and I'm one of his biggest fans. But did what he was paid to do and pulled it out for us.

Huddlestone- 6 A better effort from Tom than we'd seen in awhile, other than Boro. Had a great volley pass to Lennon, and a couple of other probing balls. Plays those balls that I would want JJ to. Was solid late on.

Bentley- 5.5 Had a couple of decent free kicks, corners. Didn't have a chance to get too involved, he and Chimbonda didn't link up well either. Tried hard, and made a decent tackle late on to seal it for us.

Pavlyuchenko- 5.5 Didn't have too much time to get involved, and missed a header on our only corner of the day that could have kept that play alive. I think he needs more time to get involved in the game, a cameo doesn't suit his game.

I'll take a point considering I thought we had thrown away another match, but we'll have to play better against Villa and Chelsea in the next two weeks.

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