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A quick run down of how I thought the boys performed today. Feel free to have a crack at it yourself in the comments box.

Schwarzer – Still very content to have Schwarzer in goal. A class above everything we’d had between the sticks since van der Sar. It would be easy to forget that we had him to thank for keeping us level with a couple of good saves before we scored: one particularly smart smother from Adam Johnson. 7

Pantsil – Seemed a little subdued perhaps after last week’s furore. How he managed to miss that early free header only he will be able to tell you. There’s also a nagging question in my mind as to whether he was the one who let Tuncay wander into a dangerous position for that free header that flashed wide. Good going forward, but it wasn’t one of his best games for us. 6

Konchesky – Solid on the left side. Had some difficulty with Johnson early on and dallied with the ball on the edge of the box (you would have thought he’d have learned his lesson from Hull by now, wouldn’t you?) but recovered to deliver a very competent performance. Impressed by the way he always wanted the ball and provided an outlet down the left. 7

Hangeland – Immense again. Won everything in the air and commanded the defence with great assurance again. It remains imperative that we hang (pardon the pun) onto this guy in January. 8

Hughes – Perhaps the unsung hero of this side. Looks a transformed player from the one who was erratic for much of last season. Quiet and calm but just as impressive as the big man next to him. He and Hangeland seem to have struck up quite an understanding. 8

Murphy – Simply outstanding. There’s very little that you can say that will do this display justice. Flew into the tackles when required, was very disciplined but still found the time to saunter forward and inject some real quality into our attacks. I’m still purring over the pass for Dempsey’s goal and, of course, he took his penalty well. 9

Bullard – It was inevitable that the spotlight would be on Jimmy after yesterday’s rumours. This was your typical all-action performance. The boy was everywhere, coming deep to collect the ball from his back line and popping up in attacking positions to good effect, e.g. his tap in for the first goal. Whoever wants his services come the transfer window will surely have to pay over the odds now. 7

Gera – Felt sorry for him today. Not too sure whether he had an injury that forced him to be withdrawn early, but certainly looked like he was limping. Didn’t really have enough time to get into the game, but he looked a little lost, even on his favoured right side. 5

Davies – I felt he was a lot more effective today. Looked comfortable on the ball, cut inside well and received excellent support from Konchesky. Played a couple of blinding passes and also got into some great positions through late runs into the box. Much better. 7

Dempsey – That boy did brilliantly again. The smile on his face after he tucked away the third was worth the admission price alone – it could have powered several Christmas trees. Played with real determination, brought his box of tricks alongĀ and wasn’t afraid to run at Middlesbrough. Dealt well with the change in formation and slotted nicely back into a more orthodox midfield. 7

Johnson – AJ did what he does best today. He was lively and a nuisance but I reckon he’ll be pretty disappointed with his finishing. Twice clean through on the keeper but failed to make the net bulge. Did force a good save in the first half. 6

SUBS:

Zamora – It is not overstating my case to say that his introduction changed the game today. We might have been meandering to another dour 0-0 draw but Bobby breathed life into us with a dominant performance up front. Kept showing for the ball, ran himself into the ground (he was breathing really heavily by the end) and created a few chances for himself as well as causing chaos for the penalty. Seems to do everything but score. 8

Etuhu – We’ve been waiting to see what Dickson can do for a while. It’s difficult to judge a player in a game that seems to be trundling along to its conclusion, but I was impressed. He’s a big unit and can obviously add a bit of bite to the midfield but he seemed pretty comfortable on the ball too. 6

Andreasen – Nice to see him get a few minutes on the park, too, especially with the rumour mill having linked him with a move to Germany. Hope he doesn’t go because I’m of the opinion that he’s a sorely underrated performer. Instigated a sweeping counter-attack by winning the ball in midfield and delivered a top cross to the far post. Hope to see more of him. 7