Written by kirsikka
– We were desperate for a win to turn the form around and so no complaints there, even if it was a bit of a scrappy one.
– The change we saw between the halves in Danjuma speaks of a well-spotted issue that was dealt with in a way a player responded to so that’s a positive from the coaching staff. At the same time, the Wilshere sub seemed an odd one even if Billing did get the winner.
– Begovic has hit a bit of a sticky patch. There was still a great save out there but we can’t afford to gift goals every game so hopefully, he’s got it out of his system now.
– We can’t build a team around Wilshere as he’s only here until the end of the season but when he shows his quality he’s so far above this level we really should be looking to maximise it in every way for the next 18 league games.
– There’s always a palpable sense of excitement when things change at a club. A kind of electricity in the air creating a special atmosphere so it was a shame the fans couldn’t be there today to help generate it. Football with no fans is like that 80s doctor’s panacea of flat Lucozade. You consume it cos you believe it will help and whilst you can get the taste it just isn’t right.
Man of the match against Birmingham?
—– Player Ratings —–
Begovic – 5
Did make a great save but gifting goals is too costly to allow him a pass on it again.
A Smith – 5
Actually, a pretty average performance worthy of a six but I knocked one off because of a moment in the 72nd minute.
We all know Smith goes down easily and theatrically and buys cheap free-kicks in most games. Like it or loathe it that’s part of the modern game. However, running into the area and flinging yourself to the ground when there wasn’t anything even close to contact then making an appeal for a penalty is a whole different thing and pretty disgraceful. If he’s heading in that direction I’d rather we play Stacey.
Carter-Vickers – 6
It wasn’t all great as the lack of communication with his partner for the second was very poor but it also wasn’t terrible and had moments when he looked strong and assured.
S Cook – 6
One genuinely brilliant clearance off the line but also has the millstone of that second goal against him. Week after week I call him out as needing to act as the leader for the defence and here’s another example when he should have made sure the man was covered.
Kelly – 5
Ignore by Danjuma in the first half so didn’t look as good going forward in this match allied to some sloppy defending and poor passing. However, I’d still rather we stick with him for longer rather than going back to the chop and change which hasn’t been a success for us.
L Cook – 6
One brilliant bursting dribble and a few decent passes but didn’t really impose himself on the game.
Lerma – 6
Better than many of his performances of late.
Wilshere (off on 67) – 8 and MotM
An assist, a goal, some great passing and vision and, most pleasingly, some bite to his game as well when performing defensive work. Did drift out of the game at times but there was enough there in the moments he was involved to be pretty excited. Please don’t let the sub have been due to an injury!
Brooks (off on 85) – 5
It wasn’t his worst recent performance but he was clearly the weak link in the attacking efforts. Shouldn’t be starting the next game.
Long – 6
Worked hard with not much coming his way. Looked rusty but a little unlucky with the header and another shot that hit the joint of post and crossbar.
Danjuma (off on 90) – 7
First half Dan was frustrating. Second half Dan was fantastic.
— Subs —
Billing (on from 67) – 7
Scored the winner and almost set Brooks up for another.
Stacey (on from 85) and Rico (on from 90)
Too short a time.
Overall Grade: C+
Of late I’ve been desperately searching for positives in many games and so have perhaps erred on the generous side with some marks. This time out they’re harsher when you consider we got the win but let’s not forget it was a scrambled one that could have gone either way against a team fighting against relegation.
It was mostly a sea of mediocrity out there surrounding one sparkling diamond. I noticed Wilshere had a bandage on one hand so please don’t let him be hiding the first signs of greyscale as it must be about the only thing left for him to suffer from. If we can keep him fit then, based on today, he could be the fulcrum upon which our season pivots.
Johnny Comelately wrote…
Thanks, pretty fair report and scores. I don’t know whether it is because Brooks and Kelly are both ex- Championship and resent being back there but they’ve both been crepe for some time now. And it’s amazing that having spent 30m? on left-sided defenders we’ve ended up with Steve Cook there. – Join the conversation, click here.