Sunday, 23 November 2014


When you’re (consistently) not playing very well then all you can ask for, initially, is improvement. That – along with 3 vital points – is exactly what we got from the lads yesterday. Consistency next...

Predictably tough test

It was a good game yesterday as I expected it to be; as close as the scoreline suggests in many ways and I say that despite long periods of home possession camped in the Swansea half. The Swans are an impressive, hard-working side with dangerous players that can hurt you if you give ‘em an inch…they also rough it up and cheat a little (I’m thinking Kyle Bartley’s “encounters” with Aguero and ‘big man’ Wilfried Bony going to ground far too easily time and time again).

So, despite some scary moments and some fortune towards the end, I give even more credit to Pellegrini’s men for their performance against a team who could well have easily gone away with all 3 points had we not been ‘at it’ yesterday. Swansea will cause every team problems throughout the season…not least our table-topping rivals!

I don’t often do ‘scoring’ after games but considering the well-justified scrutiny of our players in recent weeks and the progress they made yesterday; I thought I’d chuck in my two-penneth worth.

Hart: Surprisingly had very little to do for a team that had quite a few chances and, for those reasons, it’s difficult to pin a score on a keeper. I’ll have to go for a ‘standard’ 6/10

Clichy: So poor of late – with only a notable, MotM performance against Manyoo a few weeks ago – he improved a heck of lot yesterday! Showed confidence and composure in defence, with energy and pace in his supporting attack. And if ONLY that shot had gone in! 7.5/10

Demichelis: Just shaded my MotM. Although there was a moment, perhaps even a period, where Swansea appeared to slice through the middle of our defence in the first half, I don’t recall him putting a foot wrong and certainly can’t be a fault for that little ‘wobble’. He was an assured, calming influence on a defence that’s been shockingly fragile of late. For all the right reasons, I hope Mangala was watching closely from the bench. 8.5/10

Kompany. Surprise inclusion to say the least. However, recent injury taken into account; he was less impressive than his senior partner yesterday and, in general, doesn’t look the composed defender that we’ve come to know and rely so heavily on. Not a terrible game by any stretch…but by his very high standards, just not ‘our Vinny’. 6.5/10

Zabaleta. Similar to ‘our skip’, Pablo hasn’t quite been himself this season so far. However, as the game went on yesterday his improvement, both defensively and in supportive attack, was quite noticeable. In fact, I noted at the time and after the game, if only he could add more accuracy to his shooting - he gets himself into so many good positions in the oppositions box in most games that we could had another ½-dozen goals to our team’s tally. 7/10

Fernandinho. Being suspended for the Bayern game on Tuesday had a big influence, I’m certain, in Fernando being dropped to the bench for this one. And BEING the holding midfielder yesterday – and one who sat very deep marking Gylfi Sigurdsson for large parts of the game – I was a little concerned at first; as he prefers, we are repeatedly told, to play his game a little more advanced up the pitch. However...he nearly got my MotM. Like most of the rest his improvement was measurable - lively & proficient throughout…and what about that perfectly paced back heal to Yaya for the Ivorian’s goal! 8/10

Toure. Probably the least improved of the lot…but some improvement nonetheless. Languid-looking at times but whenever he got the ball there were more than a few glimpses of the old Yaya, which was (is) very encouraging. Got a goal. 7/10

Nasri. Started a little slowly but improved and improved as the game wore on. Some hard work from the Frenchman too. Whenever possible, I’d love to see what he’d be like in a more central position. I just wonder if he might get that chance on Tuesday; with Jovetic perhaps on the left flank considering we'll be 2 midfielders 'down'. Got the crowd MotM. 7.5/10

Navas. I’ve said this too many times for my own liking; for someone with his pace and skill he more often than not doesn’t fulfil his true potential. However, like Yaya there was some improvement from the Spanish flyer yesterday but like Zaba, I wish he too could improve his shooting accuracy. Got an assist. 7/10

Jovetic. I was slightly surprised to see the Montenegrin start yesterday but having SEEN him in the line-up; I did, as I always do, yearn for him to have a good game. Like Navas, he too doesn’t always produce the results his obvious skill should yield…but he was better yesterday. I was very pleased to see him get on the score sheet; a goal that seemed to come of huge relief to the player who turned 25 earlier this month. 7.5/10

Aguero. Didn’t get on the score sheet and was buffeted and battered by the Swansea defence. That more than suggests that he was a real nuisance, which he most certainly was in another determined and lively display form the Argentinean. Probably the only outfield player other than Kompany not to “improve” yesterday (but that’s no criticism!) Still gets a solid 7/10


Lampard. Almost cost us dearly with a little sloppy moment just outside our own area but having got away with it, he then had a solid enough 20-odd minutes. Gave us some needed solidity and calmness as we went 4-5-1. 6/10

Milner. Almost got a goal and was his usual, industrious self for quarter of an hour. We’ll need him fresh for Tuesday. 6/10

Fernando. Like Milner we’ll need him ‘in there’ against the Germans. On too late to mark.

Other notes from yesterday…

  • Crowd seemed a little (understandably?) nervous yesterday. Then again, I was quieter than usual too...
  • I expected Swansea fans to be more boisterous than they were though, especially with their team playing so well and sitting 5th before KO. Went [even more] quiet after we equalised.
  • West Ham lost / slipped down – Yaay!
  • Of course there’s now a 6-point gap between us and yesterday’s opponents – Yaay!
  • Manyoo won and sit just one place (and 5 points) behind us – Boooo. But…
  • …at least they beat Arsenal who now sit 7 points behind us – Yaay!
  • Newcastle are 'on a run' worth keeping an eye on – they’re 6 games unbeaten in the league; have won all of their last 5 including away wins at (struggling) Spurs and WBA and a home game against (struggling) Liverpool and lie 5th on the same points as Manyoo. They do tend to have these ‘spurts’, though, do the Geordies – they never seem to last too long…
Not too bothered about today's fixture outcomes with regards to them affecting us…but c’mon Villa tomorrow night against Southampton!

Thanks as always for taking the time to read

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