Huge Sigh of relief when the second the goal went in yesterday, cheered like i hadn't cheered for some time. Brilliant win that alleviates the pressure we put on ourselves after the let down at West Ham.
It's been a frustrating season, Yesterday win frustrates me even more. I felt we had a pretty strong squad at the start on the season. Certainly worthy of a top 8 side. With huge investment, we now have a top squad that should really be above the likes of Everton and Villa. It's more frustrating because we know how well we can play and the squad has pretty good depth. But when turn out in our next away fixture it's as though we are a completely different side.
The 1st half yesterday was absolutely brilliant. The team needed a change and refreshment, too long we have relied on Robinho to try and get us going, it's a massive burden. The same can be said for Bellamy, we seemed to persist with lobbing the ball forward for him to run on too, it's fine now and again but not as our main tactic. Elano sat behind Caicedo which gave the two engine room players in SWP and Ireland the ability to drift around the pivot of elano and the Big man upfront. This worked with great success. It elevates allot of pressure on Ireland as he is free to roam and he has the pleasure of receiving inch perfect passes from the Brazilian. Swp was on fire in the 1st half, he gave Luke Young a torrid time and was only let down my some poor finishing and lack of luck. Elano finished the penalty with pin point accuracy and gave us a well deserved if not disappointing 1-0 lead at half time.
(quick issue on Caicedo. I was pissed off some imbeciles booing him when he went off. He had a decent 1st half. The team didn't perform in the second half and he was much more isolated competing for high balls with the giant Zat Knight. He too is young and i don't want him to get the same treatment as Jo who turned in another decent performance yesterday for Everton. If he was from he academy people would be much more lenient. Evans came on yesterday and gave a brilliant lay off too Elano. He certainly puts himself about, which is great, but he lacks any composure on the ball with some quite erratic shooting. He is still young, So is Caicedo!)
It was obvious what was going to happen in the second half. Villa would step up a gear and we would cruise and look like a different side. The loss of De jong created an unbalance in the midfield. Gelson came on performed in his erratic and unhelpful manner. He is like an excited puppy, he has to be anywhere and everywhere, but doesn't stick around long enough to do anything right. Hughes needs to stick him with De Jong and train him to settle down, because he isn't a bad footballer! We came under some decent pressure from villa, but were didn't have that much trouble to deal with. Dunne was in full form and Nedum was outstanding, he is living up to ability and staying injury free. He had no problem dealing with Agbonlahors? pace. Ched came on and put himself about and generally got involved. Another appearance form Bojinov was very pleasing, he had a hand in the goal, although credit goes to Ireland and SWP who finished with supreme confidence.
The defence was great. Bridge seems to have settle in the past two games and isn't making the same errors. Zabaleta was outstanding and to me put's Richards right out of the team. The partnership of Nedum and Dunne is developing into a good one. Pace and power is proving a treat. Dunne in the past has struggled with the likes of Heskey, but had no problems yesterday. The defensive Mids enables the three attacking midfielders to play their own game, thats why i have been crying out for Elano, who now has the cover to play the game at his pace. I hope soon enough Bojinov will be able to start becaushe he gives us skill power and experience upfront. It's like a new signing.
It's was a good win for the Fans as it gave us some confidence and the Atmosphere wasn't bad at all for less than full capacity game. It should give a boost to the players, playing with out the gifted and the gobby, we looked a more organised side.