Yesterday for me was a flat, negative and generally disappointing performance. We managed to carve out a few opportunities, but it took Bellamy to finally take some responsibility and actually take a shot for us to get in front.
I thought yesterday we saw the best and the worst of Steven Ireland, he was lauded by some as a genius yesterday. His diving head move and the ball across of the box are examples of Ireland energy attacking drive. But yesterday his game was littered with mistakes. His passing quality is very poor at least 1/3rd of his balls went adrift. When he gets forward, he doesn't see the options around him. He benefited from Bellamy being very quick to cover his poor final ball. Robinho too was very poor, he was generally taking shots that were not on, but he does have great vision and was still able to release ireland into the box. SWP is another, his work rate was fine, tracking back was great, but going forward he simply ran into trouble every time. He is no doubt going to be suspended now, so a break might do him good.
The team was flat, the tempo was slow and we really were not that good. Two defensive midfielders at home, is that really necessary, especially against a team struggling to get any results at all. Elano is one of the best passers in the league, if Hughes is to persist with Bellamy on his own, we need elano's ability to cut defences in two with a simply pass. Let's not forget how often he was able to release Petrov. Caicedo came on and added bulk, he is skillful and strong, Bellamy would be a lot more effective playing with him, rather than on his own.
The defending again was shaky at times. Both Richards and Bridge caught out on numerous occasions. Richards is simply lazy, walking back whilst Boro are on a break is unacceptable. It was only Given that kept us in the game. A great goalkeeper can win you games, nothing against Hart but it don't think we would of had a clean sheet yesterday if he was in the nets. Given made several top class saves and it was his saves that got the crowd going, and that alone should signal the lack of quality in the final third, we simply didn't do the business.
I would of liked another attacking player on much earlier yesterday, i don't know why we were so risk averse. I would of removed Richards and put Zabaleta at right back.
We have a better side than Boro, we have great creative players, we simply didn't perform. A very laboured performance, we could of had three, but so could of Boro, that doesn't give a fair example of the game. Not a great performance, but three points that puts good amount of difference between us and the bottom group. City are beginning to look functional, but lack all the creative spark and flair that we had at the start of the season. It's not entertaining and difficult to watch.
A quick point on Jo. He has been labeled a misfit, bad influence all sorts of insults and attacks. He has been given 6 starts and Hughes hasn't let him finish one of them. He's a 21 year old, clearly talented striker. He was never given a fair chance Hughes wouldn't use him even when it was obvious we needed height and target in the box. Moyes takes him, a bit of confidence, he came out as a tall Target man, who take on players, use both feet and scored two goals. I find it difficult to see how Hughes failed to get anything out of him. Everton play 5 in the midfield and 1 up top, which isn't very different to what we do. I'm sure our owners will be looking on and questioned why a 19 million investment is playing well away from the club.