Monday, 10 May 2010

TLDORC May awards

It made a nice change having something to play for in May. Having kept in the race all season we had three games - two at home against our rivals - to win fourth place and bring in the next major phase of the ADUG project. It started well with a good 3-1 win over Aston Villa, when an early concession was overhauled by two minutes of Magic Johnson just before half time. This set up the definitive match with Spurs, our biggest game since Gillingham. But the game exposed what all observers had known all season: that Spurs are a better team, more coherent and fluent than we are yet. We had enough of the ball but created nothing, 0-0 would not have been enough and Peter Crouch's header sealed their place in next year's Champions League. A disappointment and a set-back but not a shock as such. And the news that it would not effect Roberto Mancini's continued management was a relief to hear. This rendered our final game at the Boleyn Ground devoid of any meaning, and after a good first half it drifted into a very comfortable 1-1; our last competitive game for fourteen weeks.

Aston Villa (h) 3-1 (thoughts, ratings, reax, more reax)
Tottenham Hotspur (h) 0-1 (thoughts, ratings, reax)
West Ham United (a) 1-1 (thoughts, ratings)

Player of the Month

I can't keep just denying it from him. Vincent Kompany has been one of our best and most consistent players since coming into the team in November, frequently running his teammates close for this award. I've been close to awarding him for months, but he keeps getting muscled out - in a way that never happens on the football pitch. Not this time. Kompany had another excellent month in May. He was his competent, confident, comfortable self; shaming his experienced partner and captain Kolo Touré with his calm head and leadership skills. If he put one foot wrong in May it was losing Peter Crouch for his first half header against the post in our challenge-ender at Eastlands. Maybe he could have been closer to Crouch for the goal. But I think he's been close to flawless this month. Better than Touré or Joleon Lescott have been at any point this year.

Performance of the month

Adam Johnson for his game-changing spell against Villa. Had we gone into half-time 1-0 down we might have lost, and never had the thrill of a sundown shoot-out with Spurs four days later. But for two sparks of audacity: one run at Steven Warnock and induced penalty, one careful wait and pass to Manu Adebayor set up two goals. We went into half time ahead and won the game.

Goal of the month

I love watching Shaun Wright-Phillips run. It's to do with his size, his low centre of gravity, the way he almost leans back and swings through lateral movements off either foot. We haven't seen it enough under Mancini, so it was a thrill to see him do it so well in his cameo against Villa. Craig Bellamy's finish was good too.

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