Sunday, 14 February 2010

Stoke player ratings

Given A few decent saves, although there may be questions about Fuller's goal. Mancini has exonerated him, and I think he's right - it was probably just too far out for it to be his. But there were times when communication between Given and his defenders didn't look perfect. 6

Zabaleta I thought he was very poor today. Stoke had Tuncay Şanlı playing on left midfield and too often he was too quick and too clever for Zabaleta. Liam Lawrence's volley into Wayne Bridge came from one such moment. I'm used to seeing Zabaleta flustered and clumsy in away games but it doesn't usually happen at home. Richards needs to shake off his injury. 4

Touré I know I'm a broken record on this but there was a vacuum of leadership and organisation where a decent captain was meant to be. Stoke's goal is a case in point: the ball sailed over Kolo's head and straight onto Fuller's - a failure of both defending and captaincy in one perfect moment. I'd put Vincent Kompany in as soon as we can. 5

Lescott Did well in front of Fabio Capello. With people's attention elsewhere he seems to have reproduced the calm efficiency of his late autumn performances immediately after returning from his two month knee injury. 6

Bridge He was the main attraction today and he dealt admirably with it: playing excellently. Not only was he our best defender, brave and smart throughout, he was probably our second best attacking player too - getting down the flank quickly and putting some good crosses in. 7

de Jong Not one of his best games. With Stoke hitting long balls to Fuller and Mamady Sidibe there was never really much play for him to break up. There were one or two big tackles, and more bicycle kick clearances than usual, but the game passed him by for the most part. 5

Barry Another inconsistent performance. There are things he always does well - winning headers, moving the ball out wide quickly and accurately, and 'buying' free-kicks in the style of Didi Hamann. But he is still failing to dominate games as he can, not using his experience to swing things our way when necessary. Still needs a rest. 6

SWP His running at Andy Wilkinson and Danny Higginbotham provided the only sparks in our performance. He was our only consistent attacking threat, all the way up until the final whistle. He also scored a goal, which was easy enough but his lob over Sorensen was almost brilliant. 7

Ireland He said before the game that he wanted to be played in his position - and he certainly was. Two holding midfielders, wingers either side and a big centre forward made this the 4-2-3-1 - with Ireland as keystone - that we played last season. At times he was excellent - the pass for SWP's goal was like his very best - and he got into some good positions in the first half. But the quality wasn't always there and he struggled with a knock in the second half. Frustrating for all. 6

Petrov He could have been destructive today but it wasn't happening. Couldn't get into the game, and didn't produce when on the ball. His firing that free-kick from a narrow position wide of the goal was the most predictable event since Robinho declared his wish to stay at Santos beyond the length of his current loan deal. 5

Adebayor Not much of a contribution until the last twenty minutes when he livened up, started drifting wide to run with the ball. It looks like he prefers playing in a 4-4-2, or maybe he just doesn't prefer playing in performances as flat as today's. 6


Vieira A few nice passes over the top late on but I think he looks sluggish in possession - too often he was quickly closed down and lost the ball. The same thing happened against Bolton. Maybe he needs to get fitter. We'll see. 5

RSC Missed a good chance but did ok in his first outing for a while. More of a traditional target man than Adebayor, he won a fair share of headers. Could play on Tuesday. 6

1 comment:

longwayfromhome said...

Another mixed performance all round with taking the lead seeming to be our undoing. I’m sure this is a case of Mancini’s tactics being somewhat lost in translation; perhaps “control the game” being translated as “slow down and move ten yards further back”. I went to the Boxing Day game (a rare outing due to the 600 mile round trip) where the needed control was evident - after the two goal lead was established Stoke bullied and huffed as they do but with no end product. Yesterday that single goal left too many players with an excuse to retreat into themselves. Ireland and Barry again had the chance to establish themselves alongside Bellers and Tevez as players who can lead by example and break this stupor – but again failed to grasp it.