Saturday, November 28, 2009

A thin line between success and failure

There is indeed a thin line between glorious success and abject failure in sport. We were a Liam Lawrence lace and a Christophe Samba eyebrow away from both today. The fact that Blackburn Rovers v Stoke ended 0-0 was not a surprise given that both teams deployed such defensive strategies.

Had we won 1-0 we would have been concentrating on the positives; the way in which the side rose to the challenge of David Dunn's withdrawl through injury with a pulsating attacking performance and a solid defensive display from Ryan Nelson and Samba. Vince Grella sprayed balls around for the last half hour, Brett Emerton troubled Stoke's right back. Steven N'Zonzi shrugged off his markers and had a shot rebound off the post. All of that happened and all of that is true.

Had we lost, and we could have done, then the lack of ambition of El Hadji Diouf, the lack of force from Franco di Santo and the lack of ability of Keith Andrews would have been talking points. The changes should have been made sooner and McCarthy should have been on sooner. All of that is also true.

A draw makes you dwell on both negatives and positives. Yes, we missed Dunny, who was tricky again. But even he couldn't create enough in a dismal first half which failed to ignite even after Paul Robinson was forced to make two great saves.

I hope Benni starts against Chelsea in the midweek cup match. We need that extra dimension, irrespective of the team Chelsea put out - either way you know it's going to be a strong side. And for Liverpool next weekend, can we please start with two strikers and leave peripheral wasters like Diouf and Pedersen where they belong, on the bench.

Emerton got the sponsors man of the match, I thought it would have been Nelsen or even Robinson. But if Grella can grip a game like he did for the last half hour, he could be a key man for us if we want to have a decent season.

Family wise, just two of us did this one. That would have cost us £36. So far we've used £198 worth of season tickets. That's almost half of what they cost with loads more to come.

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