Saturday, April 4, 2009

Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory W/Player Ratings

Well that is a depressing way to start a weekend. I'd been worried all week that with the international break our run of form was going to crumble in some way, and I'm very sorry that I was right. What follows are my stream of thoughts through the match, with my mood going from okay to elated, to depressed to despondent.

The first ten minutes were nerve wracking for me, it seemed like we weren't ready to play football as of yet, but Blackburn were doing no better.

Then things start to settle down, we're making some passes and looking better. Then the dubious penalty. As a former referee myself, I would say that was debatable but I wasn't going to complain. I think what set the fans off on the referee more was the placement of the ball on the penalty, which is assanine I think. 1-0. I'm a happy man, and generally enjoy the rest of the first half.

Throughout the rest of the first half I'm thinking, "We need a second goal, we need a second goal." Didn't happen, but as the first half ended I was happy enough. Blackburn looked awful and I thought we might be okay, but the little voice in my head kept saying, "We need a second goal." I start counting down the minutes, and hoping our form holds. We showed some creativity, and Keane was basically running things with the way he was dropping back. We keep getting close, and I'm thinking it's only a matter of time before a second goal comes.

Then Blackburn bring Tungay on. Just before he was brought on, Palacios was bulldozed by Moenka. As it happened live, I thought Wilson had been punched, because he dropped like a sack of potatoes, on replays it was a shoulder, but a deliberate one. He should have been sent off and not substituted, but that's how things go I thought.

The second half ticks along, and Wilson picks up a yellow. No big deal right? Perhaps Harry might even bring in Zokora for Wilson to protect him. Before Harry could even think about doing that, Palacios is off, for tripping himself basically. He stumbled and caught Dunn, I don't believe in anyway that it was a second yellow, but I think the referee was looking for something to give to Blackburn, as a way of making up for the penalty call perhaps.

Okay, 10 men with 10 minutes to go, we can kill this off, though I'll have no nails left. I start pacing around my living room, waiting for Zokora to come on, probably with Harry sacrificing Bent, we don't need anymore offense, give Jenas some help in the middle.

Goal. Damn. Okay, Blackburn took it well and we were caught out. I'll still take a point, it's better than none, but we'll regret giving this one away later on. Zokora on, for Lennon? Well I guess that's why I'm not managing the club, it would have been Bent for me.

Push forward a bit, try to find a winner, don't let things get loose in the back boys I keep thinking. Secure the point above all else. Great shot by Warnock and a better save by Gomes. Goal. Double Damn. Set piece problems and late goals conceded, this sounds familiar doesn't it?

Okay, so it's not like we're in the relegation fight again, but with the way the side had been playing I was hoping for more. West Ham next, with West Brom, Newcastle, Manchester City, Everton, Manchester United and Liverpool to go. We're safe at 41 points, and I know we're going to get it. I see several more winnable games, and we can get some points away as well. Still, we need to get our form back. We had started to look like the team we were all waiting on, hopefully this will light a fire under the lads again.

Player Ratings:

Gomes-7 Can't really fault Gomes on either goal. Poor set piece and a clearance from the set piece and a lack of man-marking led to the goals. He's really settled down, he's not really bothering my blood pressure anymore.

Corluka- 6 Good shift from Charley, got forward pretty well. Could have had a penalty called, but did alright. Let down with the marking late on, but otherwise okay, he's our right back and that should be that.

Woodgate- 6 Woody didn't look as confident today as he has in prior weeks, but played alright. Let us down a little with the marking there at the end, which is a shame because this back 4 were starting to look really good.

King- 6.5 Did well throughout much of the game. Came close to getting his second goal of the season. Again, loses a little because of the late defensive let-down.

BAE- 5.5 BAE has played much better and is a good left back, but was off a bit today. Had some shoddy clearances, and probably should have done more to close down Warnock late on.

Lennon- 6 Not the blinding form we've seen from Aaron in recent weeks. Made a few runs and his crosses are better, but not up to par yet. Disappeared at times, instead of taking the game by the scruff of the neck like in recent weeks.

Palacios- 7 I agree with Harry that Wilson was probably our best player, he and Keane, before being sent off. I've already expressed my thoughts on this. 10 men is always difficult, but the glue really did come undone when he was sent off.

Jenas- 7 I'll take a beating for this, but JJ played well also. Had some great passes, the cross in the second half should have had Bent latch on to it and kill Blackburn off. His tackling is better, and his passing has been picking up, he's remembering that he is a player.

Modric- 6.5 Luka got involved and played well, but left a little to be desired. He wasn't as magical as he was against Chelsea, but then again he can't be that every game can he? Probably should have had a shot in that nice combo with Keane, held it a little too long.

Keane- 7 Robbie was the one dictating play throughout the day. Took the penalty well and kept dropping back and collecting the ball. Passed well, had good vision, if only he could have gotten a second.

Bent- 6 I wasn't sure if he'd be fit, but he was. Had a good shot, and made some decent passes, but invisible a lot of the time. Disappoint when we don't get more out of a second striker.

Zokora- N/A Only on for a few minutes, didn't really get too involved. I won't rate him because he probably should have had some man marking responsibilities on that second goal, and I didn't see him anywhere.

A frustrating day, wasn't it? But at least we don't have to wait two weeks to get the taste out of our mouths against West Ham. COYS!

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