Yay! We’re back! We’re going to win the league, etc…
It’s strange how waiting a mere 90 minutes can change our perception of everything. It’s been all doom, gloom and pessimism since our defeat against Wolves, but after last night’s win we’re now just a couple of points behind Arsenal and have left the mighty Birmingham City even further in our wake.
This was more like it, so what was different? Well for one, City were obliged to attack us more than Wolves did, which gave us plenty of space in which to operate and play our football.
On the basis of this match, City also look far less adept than Wolves when it comes to the art of defending. Lennon was nullified last Saturday when Wolves doubled up on him. Last night, Lennon only had one man to contend with and that was the ageing Sylvinho. With Robinho unable to be bothered to ever track back, Gareth Barry ended up drifting out left to try and help, which only resulted in our midfielders enjoying more space.
On the subject of our central midfield, Palacios looked a lot livelier, winning possession often and misplacing fewer passes than he did against Wolves. For Huddlestone it was a day when none of this passing trick, or long shots would come off, resulting in the bloke who sits in front of me getting so frustrated that he left after about 47 minutes.
Keane was left on the bench in preference for Crouch and you have to say that we looked more dangerous as a result. Quite a few people around me were giving Crouch some stick for surrendering possession too often, but it was his headers that made the first two goals, which isn’t a bad contribution.
For the first, his header was blocked on it’s path towards goal and fell kindly for Kranjcar to poke home and give us the lead going into half-time. The second goal saw a big punt from Gomes get flicked on by Crouch for Defoe to apply the finish. Just call us Bolton.
We didn’t have to play outstandingly well to be 2-0 up so early in the second half. City just didn’t offer anything and Gomes had hardly anything to do until late on. Credit should go to our defenders though, who dealt with what little the visitors attempted, with some ease. Dawson was a rock and Assou-Ekotto played like he should have a scrap with a fan every week.
In the end Kranjcar scored a wonderful solo goal to cap things off and make it 3-0. As, I’ve said, it wasn’t the brilliant performance that the scoreline suggests, but you can only beat what’s out in front of you. As we sang to the City in the dying moments of the game “You’re just a shit team with money” and it certainly did look like they’re still a lot further away than us from being able to break into the top four.
If we’re going to do it, we’ve got to be consistent and that means taking all the points from Blackburn on Saturday. There’s no reason we should do just that if we put in another performance like last night, but if there’s one thing that we’re learning from this Premier League season, it’s that any team can beat any other. It’s actually quite an exciting concept.