Morning, friends, countrymen, foreign acquaintances and dubious ruffians oh-so-keen to post curiously worded and vitriolic comments – Spurs fans… *rolls eyes*.
Before kick off yesterday, I would have happily accepted a point. Anfield is always a tricky ground from which to escape with 3 points. Yet, I was quietly confident we could do exactly that. Unusually for me, I was right.
The first half was a fairly damning example of our frailties in defence. Liverpool don’t posses a team of world-class attackers, and when Gerrard isn’t there, their front-line consists of decidedly average chancers and a (admittedly good) goofy, cheating, racist. Time and time again, those players cut through our defence with relative ease. Thanks to a combination of profligacy and Szczsney’s athletic brilliance, we were still in the game at the break when we really shouldn’t have been.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the primary reason for said defensive faux-pas and the regularity of which they occur. Individually, our back four are excellent players. Collectively, they’ve a propensity for positional negligence and the occasional calamitous blunder – Yes, Mr Koscielny, I’m referring to you. What in the name of Neptune’s barnacle-encrusted trident were you doing?
In my humblest of opinions, defence is a team job, and there are numerous examples of our midfielders leaving gaping holes, resulting in the defence losing the positional upper hand. Alex Song has offered a massive amount going forward, but we need a sitter in the mould of Gilberto; a player to cover the back line and mop up with minimal fuss. I’m not having a pop at Song, not at all. The defensive midfielder position is important, and we need the incumbent to do that job, and that job alone. For all the fruit Song’s forays up front bare, he’s leaving a gap Arteta isn’t always there to cover.
Criticisms aside, we did exactly as the title of this post suggests; we won without playing particularly well. Yet again, we’ve a magnificent Dutchman to thank for that. His header from Sagna’s wonderful cross and finish from Song’s flighted defence-splitter were both exquisite. Two chances, two goals. The guy is quite simply phenomenal. After the game, our deliciously prolific captain had this to say;
“I’m very proud to score here because it’s a massive ground, but even more proud of the win, because we did not deserve it. Liverpool played better than us, so we have to be pleased.”
You’ve got to admire his honesty. If that wasn’t an impressive enough character trait, he’s also a modest and humble guy. After thanking his teammates’ contributions to his goals, he offered his man-of-the-match award to Wojciech Szczsney, saying;
“I have to thank Szczesny, he was unbelievable.”
All in all, with Chelsea losing again, yesterday was a splendid day – one that saw 4th place and the possibility of catching Spurs come that little bit closer within reach. The performance was far from vintage, but it was battling and well-fought, with no small measure of effort.
There was a few bits of bad news. About Diaby managed to play 25 minutes before suffering another injury, and Yossi Benayoun picked up a hamstring strain. Worst of all was Mikel Arteta’s nasty collision with Jordan Henderson. The Spaniard left the field in a precautionary neck-brace and was supplied with oxygen. He was admitted to hospital to be monitored and no news of his condition has filtered out from the club. Hopefully, it’s nothing more than a mild concussion.
I wish him all the best and hope he’s back as soon as possible.
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