St.Mary's, 24th August 2013
Referee : Mason
Attendance : 29,596
A Dose of Reality
Firstly, yes it was "same old same old", all the game none of the goals (almost) and it's getting frustrating now and it seems like there is a real problem with this and our strategy.
Secondly, we are getting into a worrying habit (including last season I mean) of playing very predictably and being very easy to counter. If I had not looked at the team sheets or anything else I would've said today would have been a draw, Pooch seems to find it very difficult to string wins together, let's hope he's is As able to learn as he is to teach?
Player ratings :
Boruc : stood no chance with a header otherwise rarely troubled, when he was called upon he pulled off a brilliant block and was out very smartly to deal with, and snuff out, the danger. All in all, I thought he looked very steady and just what you would want from a number one goalkeeper. 7/10
Chambers : was beset from the beginning with random attempts to put him off, by and large handled it all very well but provided next to nothing in the way of offensive input. Considering he was against Johnson for most of the game I think he did okay 6/10.
Fonte : him and the rest of everyone else were completely asleep for the goal but after that he provided most of our balls out from the back and even did a pretty reasonable impression of a sweeper for most of the game. 7/10, thank heavens he can actually score a goal when given the opportunity, well done José.
Fonte trying to remember how to jump. It took him until the 88th minute to remember.
Lovren : I still haven't completely made up my mind about this guy, one minute I think he was an incredibly astute buy and the next minute I wonder whether we didn't pay about £4 million too much… Today he Made some brilliant tackles, he seems to be excellent at timing them, he also looked like a steam train with too few gears on occasion and despite The fact I have seen him running reasonably quickly was not quite there for the full 90 minutes. 6/10, tackling brilliant, more to come I hope.
Shaw : not in it from the start and either playing with a knock or crocked by that wacky tackle that hit him in the first half. Not fair to score him at all on the performance but I will say he didn't really look like he should be out there today.
Wanyama : immense, simply immense… We have got a fecking hell of a player, no ifs buts or maybes, this guy's special. I've made up my mind and I'm not going back on it, he's bloody brilliant. 8/10 man of the match for us. (This is not to say he hasn't got areas to improve, sometimes he does like the "Gerard" which doesn't often come off, a bit like Gerard himself actually, but once that is sorted out this guy is awesome.)
Schneiderlin : don't know if he got injured today (He did! Edit by channonite), wasn't at the races though, definitely not Spiderman we have come to know and love. 5/10, I'm being generous, you know by that how ineffective he must've been…
Ward-Prowse : definitely and absolutely not a winger, playing wide right he was completely wasted and, apart from one lovely little jinking run, pretty much out of the game for a lot of The first half. Provided support and companionship for Chambers, helping him when he was being run at, so there are aspects of his first half performance I liked but generally played out of place I think And it showed. Second half, different player, played in the middle position vacated by Morgan and, apart from the last 10 minutes where he was obviously tired, looked excellent and played lots of little "pass and move" stuff with flair and control. 6.5/10, first half letting down but that was positioning I think, second half excellent.
Lallana : I actually thought he was very good today, yes, I agree maybe he shouldn't be the captain mainly because he doesn't get up in the referee's Grill much and is much more laid back in the way that he undertakes the role. Saying that, as for leading by example, he was very good. He had his usual game, some of it frustrating some of it breathtaking but until he tired badly I don't think in any way He let the side down and it says something that when Ramirez replaced him I don't think he was more effective… Just a bit more direct. 7/10
Rodriguez : scored a very good goal, not sure if it actually was offside because I haven't seen the replays yet but, From my angle he took it wonderfully. If it had been allowed it would have changed the game, it wasn't and he didn't… 6/10, energy with too many missed chances including a sitting header set up by Osvaldo he should have buried. If I was him I think I would be worried about my place…
Lambert : I'm starting to get some peculiar flashbacks to BT and his decline subsequent to playing for England, Rickie had some lovely touches but by and large did not look anything like his self, more importantly, nothing like the self that earned the England call-up in the first place. I know people don't like to criticise heroes etc but I have to say I thought he wasn't very good today and I am incredibly worried about this Newfound tendency to scream and shout at referees (even though the referee was fecking appalling), it's just not him. He also missed several opportunities to lay the ball off to others in this match, he is a playmaker as much as he is a striker and he shouldn't forget that fact. 5/10, not himself, not by a long way.
Osvaldo : OMFG, whatever this guy does in the future WHAT A fecking PLAYER we have bought! People will learn his tricks and he will be more effective in some games that others but overall, and unfit as I think he is, he certainly looked like he was coasting as opposed to putting in a lot of effort, he looked like the dog's bollocks (if the dog's bollocks look like Jack Sparrow obviously) 7/10, just a bit of this game but WOW!
Clyne : energised the left upon his introduction although the very obvious tendency to turn Inside for his right foot instead of going down the outside (which Sunderland were screaming out to be taken advantage of on both sides by the way) was a little disappointing. Nevertheless, good to see him back and a good solid 6/10 but I would like to see Him practice with his left a bit more if he's going to do this on a regular basis.
Ramirez : I like him, I worry he won't be part of this team as it doesn't seem that there is an obvious place for him in the current structure, however, I'm sure pooch and others will have spotted just how effective he can be when he's partnered up with Ozzy. 6/10, not much time to influence things and still a bit rusty but good to see him back.
I think, by and large, I am quite willing to stick my neck out now and say that all our players are pretty special these days. We certainly have more than the starting 11 available to us and although I'm not at all happy with our options on the wing, basically we don't have any, I think we will trouble a lot of teams if not everyone this year.
Saying that, when Ramirez came on he made some really lovely surging runs and then had no out ball, there was nobody wide of him who could do anything with a ball he may produce.
So, to end, disturbingly like last year despite an undoubted improvement in our individual manpower and several aspects of our overall play.
23 Shaw (Clyne - 46' )
04 Schneiderlin (Osvaldo - 46' Booked )
16 Ward-Prowse Booked
20 Lallana (Ramirez - 69' )
01 K Davis
08 S Davis
14 Colback (Vaughan - 54' )
07 Larsson Booked
08 Gardner Booked
23 Giaccherini (Wickham - 82' )
28 Sessegnon (Ji Dong-Won - 46' )
27 Ji Dong-Won
Wanyama - built like a tank