Sunday, 2 January 2011

Blackpool player ratings

Hart A harder examination than he has had in recent weeks, which he might have enjoyed. Two important second half saves: blocking a close shot from Matty Phillips, and tipping a long-range drive from Ian Evatt over. 7

Boateng Competent in defence, but still has that habit of sapping the momentum out of attacks down the right; taking too long over both decisions and executions in the final third. He will get there, and he is improving, but I'm not sure he's currently first choice. 6

Kompany Looked fairly surprised by Blackpool's attacking verve, and there were more spaces than usual in our back line. But he kept his head, and intervened in the right ways at the right times. Distribution didn't look as serene as usual, but then I check his stats and he made 47/53 passes. This is still Vincent Kompany. 7

Lescott Started his third consecutive game - I'm not sure if Kolo Touré is injured, or has been dropped, but Kompany-Lescott might well now be the first choice pairing. Like Kompany, he defended better as the game went on and his distribution was very good: completing 56 from 57 passes. 7

Kolarov Did have an acceptable first half, after getting beaten by Gary Taylor-Fletcher after four minutes, but then had an embarrassing time against Matt Phillips, getting beaten for pace too many times and looking sluggish on the turn. Replaced by Pablo Zabaleta before the hour-mark. 4

de Jong As at Bloomfield Road, he could not impose himself on Charlie Adam quite as much as one might hope. There was one big hit; revenge, I imagine, for Adam's earlier hatcheting of Silva. His passing was not only as prudent as ever (43/45) but noticeably more progressive: his ability to push tempo and start attacks from deep has been a feature of his development this season. He's not Xabi Alonso, or even Gareth Barry, but it is something that's coming into his game. 7

Barry Did his auxiliary midfielder job well. He had to clean up defensively a few times but he succeeded in doing that. Tried to force the ball forward a few times, which is unlike him, and so his passing success dropped to 42/57. 6

Yaya Touré When he bounds down the middle of the pitch, he drums up anticipation from the pitch with every hoof-beat. Nearly made a goal with one of them. That said, he looked tired and his contribution off the ball was negligible. No one expects him to be Darren Fletcher but he could at the least be Gareth Barry and close down his zones rather than letting Blackpool pass through them. 6

A. Johnson Saw enough of the ball, and ran uninhibited at the left back. Might have been struggling for end-product but scored the only goal when his long-range shot was deflected in off Stephen Crainey. It was his second consecutive league start - I don't think we'll see him at the Emirates but I'm sure he'll be back at Leicester City. 7

Tévez Difficult to evaluate. His running, movement and ball retention were all exceptional. He played very well. But he missed a penalty, an open goal, and a few other good chances. His goal record is brilliant, certainly, but this was just an off-day. 6

Silva We've been lucky with injuries this season but this is a real worry. Silva went down with a twisted knee in the second half, and there's no news yet on the length of his absence. When he was on he was very good, drifting off the left hand side. The highlight was a clipped pass to Tévez in the left channel, before running forward, meeting the return pass and hitting it wide. When he went off, though, we were a different team. 7


Zabaleta Had to fill in for Kolarov when Phillips proved too much for him. This was the sort of fighting situation that Zabaleta dreams about and he did fine: winning three important tackles in the left-back area. 7

Milner Came on for Silva, playing wide left, and did his job perfectly: keeping the width even on his unnatural side, winning tackles up and down the flank, putting in one good cross to Tévez that should have been converted. Should start on Wednesday. 7

Vieira Just five minutes at the end. n/a

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