Lambert 20' Rodriguez 42
St.Mary’s - 26th October, 2013
Referee : Andre Marriner
Attendance : 28,631
Right, to start with, this is easily the most dominant I've seen us since the league 1 days, I mean we completely dominated them for 95% of the game, I'm probably being generous allowing them 5% even… As I'm sure you guys who watched it live (on TV or at the ground) will have seen, we were really that good.
Fulham were poor in a number of areas but I think you have to say that by and large they were forced to be that way by our game, they just could not get any kind of leverage to get at us until we got slightly sloppy and a bit tired, and even that didn't last long.
So, onto the player ratings…
Boruc : It's been a long time since I've seen a Saints keeper I was comfortable watching when the ball was being crossed, well now we've got one, he just comes and gets it and plucks it out of the air (I'm pleased to say usually by catching). I'd like to give him greater than this, but I can't because he had very little to do but this is an excellent 7/10, the mad bastard fills me with pride.
Clyne: if Roy Hodgson was watching yesterday he must be blind/stupid/cranially diseased to not pick this guy for the seniors. He was fabulous yesterday, nothing more to say, absolutely fabulous. 9/10 fecking brilliant.
Fonte: watching José yesterday just proves what bullshit transfer rumours are, the partnership he is putting together with Dejan is phenomenal. At the moment I can see absolutely no reason why we would need to buy replacement for him. He really has upped his game magnificently and he was excellent again yesterday. 7.5/10 he needs to be more of a nuisance at corners and free kicks but that's just nitpicking.
Lovren: well, he's just a superstar isn't he… Still needs to work on his aerial game a bit but again, nitpicking, Dejan and José, currently a match made in heaven. 8/10, not because I'm tight, just because Fulham were poor (for whatever reason) and didn't challenge him enough to score higher.
Shaw: Do you know what, he was the worst player we had on the pitch yesterday (well, till Guly came on). I think he's just getting back into it though, and this doesn't mean he was particularly poor or anything, far from it. However my own tendency to laud him has to be tempered with the fact that he is still learning the game and he is going to have peaks and troughs. He set himself such a high bar that giving him 7/10 for the game is like I'm being cruel!
Wanyama: Very good again today, powerful and strong and, as has been pointed out, his passing was much better, but I think that may be because he's reading my reviews and keeping it simple. There was only one Hollywood pass (and actually he nailed it), simple football is always good football, brilliant stuff. 8/10.
Schneiderlin: I'm still not used to seeing him in this role, I look for him and he's gone. I think this is probably because he was so pivotal in our last season, that I am expecting him to be monumental for us this season as well. He is not there yet, however. It's a bit like the review of Shaw, just because I can't say lots of great things about him doesn't mean he wasn't good. 7.5/10, we all know there's more to come, so if this is his midpoint, maybe in a couple of games I'll be scoring him 15/10?
Ward-Prowse: Still looks a bit lost out on the right, but covered nicely for Clyne who spent 80% of the match in their half (Shaw too, but to a slightly lesser degree). He exhibits a really lovely corner, free kick & cross ability, but he needs to both make more runs into the box and pull the trigger more often. For me, he still looks much happier centrally placed than out wide, but I think that side of his game is improving, as I thought he looked largely ineffective in the Sunderland game where he also played out wide and this time he was much better. 7/10, grew into the game and fabulous energy.
Lallana: Captain Fantastic, he was brilliant yesterday and I just wish he could have got a goal because he was phenomenal. This is the guy we have been waiting to see. Whilst getting flashes for the last 5 years, he's really here now and another one Hodgson would be mad not to involve in the England setup. Fabulously involved in nearly everything we do and faster and fitter than I have ever seen him, 9/10, just superb and my man of the match, a goal would have given him a perfect 10.
Rodriguez: Still potential waiting to happen isn't he? He drove me spare for about 30 minutes yesterday and then suddenly came alive. Great running and I love his directness, he just needs to get a bit more efficient in front of goal. The chances he makes with his running and his increasingly perceptive position sense, are being wasted by his slightly dodgy finishing. That being said it was a brave goal to take and he really did deserve the 2nd one to go in as well. 8/10
Lambert: There he is… That's the one… The Rickie we all love and remember, 2 wonderful headers, a shot that hit the post (and I didn't think was going to get anywhere near at the time he actually is it) and some great running off the ball is a great return to form for him and maybe the rest did do him good? Anyway, the only thing I can say that's negative about his performance yesterday, is that it does slightly reinforce the feeling growing in me (as I said to Skooba after the game) that we should play Rickie OR Dani but that playing them both lessons both of their impact… What do you think? 9/10
Guly: I often wonder why he's still there and I often wonder why he gets on the pitch. Personally speaking he would not have been my choice of substitute when we had Gáston and even Tchung on the bench, that would have both done more than he did for his 10 minutes. Saying that, and to be fair, he should have been set up for easy goal Towards the end by Lallana, but wasn't, so he still can obviously get in the right positions, even if he doesn't very often. 5/10, not meant to be a bad score, he just didn't really impact the game at all, either negatively, or positively in the little time he had.
Cork: Got a good greeting from the crowd, but no opportunity to do anything in the time available. Not appropriate to score him on 2 minutes on the pitch.
We were not far off fantastic yesterday. Fulham literally could not touch us, it was fabulous to watch and really reminded me of our time in the lower leagues, where we could go to enjoy the games without stressing about being hammered… I like that kind of certainty in my football :)
Anyway, the only negative thing I would say, is that we still lack width and even with Clyne acting like a winger yesterday, we still sometimes found it difficult to pull them out of shape and tried to go right down their throat a bit too often.
It's nitpicking again though, they were just sensational and I don't need to say anything else.
26th October 2013
16 Ward-Prowse (Cork - 92')
09 Rodriguez (Do Prado - 78')
21 Do Prado
27 Riether (Hughes 45' - Booked)
07 Sidwell - Booked
10 Ruiz (Kacaniklic - 81')
39 Bent (Rodallega - 75')