A tough game. A tough game that we won. A tough game that we deserved to win.
West Brom weren’t very nice. We knew that they were likely to be organised and physical enough but they really cranked up the not very niceness. There was the spitting that rightly drew a red, but more over there were a lot of pretty hairy challenges being dished out. On balance, Clatternburg had a good game.
The loss of Defoe is nothing shy of a blessing. There, I said it. Adebayor returns and with any luck we’ll get a big fat slice of what he was serving up last year. You might recall all those goals, there were 17 of them and I think 11 assists in the league alone. I know some of you can see into the future and will fervently assure the rest of us that this cannot and will not happen, but hey. Let’s wait and see, shall we? You don’t mind if we wait and see, do you, do you?
Hugo The keeper Slur Alex should have bought. Have I said that already? Well it’s still true. He appears to be pretty bloody marvellous. I’m struggling to think of anything he got wrong and for good reason. The bonus here is that his willingness to get off his line has, I am convinced, already saved us at least 2 0r 3 goals this season. You build a team from the back. He’s a damn solid place to lay a foundation.
Bonzo ‘Mr Walker, I notice that you and Mr Naughton both share the same first name, Kyle.’
‘We are not related, sir.’
Sir Les Was it just me or did he lose out on every header and have a bit of a nonevent generally? Without being unkind, I would have thought this would have been quite up his street yet he appeared to not quite be with it. We were lucky that Lukaku was subbed because every time he broke it looked like trouble. You know why? Because it was trouble.
Jan the manClearly happier with Gallas next to him and who could blame him?
Benny Another symphony of stinkers. A&E 2.0 ain’t the half of it. Early on he hit a pass up the left wing it was so poor he grinned with embarrassment. Sadly this was merely an amuse bouche before the main course of mediocrity. Get Naughton back in there and get this guy out on the training pitches and get him focused.
Scotty Parker The usual Victoria Cross before breakfast class of performance. Some don’t understand the pressure he’s under and so fail to appreciate exactly what he achieves every single game, without fail. Mind you, there are some who still didn’t grasp how important Modric was because he didn’t score lots of goals.
Moussa This was a good enough game, but not one of his best. He seemed a little slow, a little off the pace. Don’t get me wrong, it was a decent enough shift, I just thought he might have hurt someone like a West Brom a little more than he did.
Azza BludNaff game. Didn’t do much and seemed to keep out of the way. Maybe I missed the subtlety of it all. Maybe his off the ball contribution was textbook. He’s a player, when at his best, sparks exciting plays. He draws defenders, fizzes and pops. This was a pedestrian outing.
DempseyDon’t worry my old son. Ade is on his way back from Africa and soon the whipping boy mantle will be lifted and handed to another poor bar steward who doesn’t deserve it either. Demsey hate is tad tedious. He’s not the world’s greatest. I don’t believe anyone ever claimed he was. On his partnership with Defoe …can anyone in the congregation name me someone who has had a memorable footballing partnership with Defoe?
BaleAn incredible goal and a performance that actually saw him making a defensive effort on more than one occasion. The earlier free kick drew wolf whistles, but it wasn’t far away at all. Quality performance that adds weight to the argument he ought to be allowed to roam.
HoltbyThe bees knees. The cat’s pyjamas. The caterpillars spats. The… he looks like what you might imagine Van Der Vaart looked like when he was about the same age and still had hamstrings that worked. His delight in the Bale celebration was brilliant. More please.
We can finish third this season. I’m calling it.