Defence alot more solid and protected (finally!). Obiang my man of the match, been calling for him to come in and he did his job brilliantly, absolutely has to start from now on.
Antonio ran his heart out, surprised he was still upright at minute 90, warrior.
Arbeloa looks class, what he lacks in pace, he makes up for in awareness and intelligence, more to come from him I am sure.
We got a point, you have to respect the point when you are stuck in a hole. I’m sure we can push on from this.
Atmosphere was brilliant in the first half, really encouraging. Pre match video and music also improved the mood.
Downing didn’t score.
Tore is so far out of his depth its unbelievable, shockingly bad performance.
Another injury to another fullback, this time Byram.
We had to resort to playing a winger up top on his own despite having strikers on the bench.
Not much movement in the final third, we resorted to long shots or taking on their entire defence single handedly. We cannot rely on Payet to bail us out every game.
We expect better at home against the likes of Middlesbrough.
Glad Obiang has been able to prove why everyone’s been calling for him to be in the starting XI. If there’s one thing to be taken from today is we need three in the centre of midfield. Not with 3 CDMs like what we’ve tried (and failed) in the past, but with an overall balanced 3. Obiang to sit and cover which he did brilliantly today, tracking back and making busting runs to stop the danger. Kouyate to bring that box to box dynamic to the midfield 3, assisting in both defending and getting involved in attacks with late runs into the box. Thirdly Lanzini should be given the role of sitting in the middle and being the more attacking midfielder of the three. When we play the 4-2-3-1 Lanzini restricts Payets freedom in the final third. By bringing him back further into the centre it free’s up the space for Payet to exploit, and Lanzini is that creative spark we need in the centre for those moments of magic.
Agree it was better. Better defensive performance, better attacking performance. If Zaza, Antonio and Lanzini had had their shooting boots (as opposed to ‘reach for the sky’ boots) on we would have won that game. Even Zaza seemed to have a better game, just not in tune with the rest of the team yet. But we don’t close the opposition down soon enough or tight enough and we don’t play the ball forwards quickly enough. Need to make more use of the wings and learn not to keep doing high crosses when we’re not winning any headers!
Something that hasn’t been said yet that really impressed me was Adrian’s distribution. Instead of hesitating and resorting to lumping it up to Antonio (we did that a few times though), he mostly gave it short to Collins and we went from there. Keeping possession is a big thing in modern football and starting from the back rather than risking a 50/50 is such a big improvement. Also, Adrian started a great counter attack with an excellent roll out to Lanzini quite late on (obviously nothing came of the attack).
Overall, I’m pleased with the result. A draw, another piece of magic from Payet and generally an uplifting game. The vibe was positive coming out of the stadium.
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