A few musings on the NSI game last week…
It was a stronger team than I thought it’d be but I supposed Jol wants to get them match fit rather than have an in depth look in the reserves (he did say after the game that he’ll play more reserve/youth players though, and dropped the name of Frei so he’s one to look out for). It’s nice to see that Zamora has (seemingly) shaken off his injury troubles but still with a two season trend of ending with an injury I’d still be worried about pushing him too far.
As expected neither winger offered much width, especially Davies, so it will be interesting to see whether Jol still plays with the two inverted wingers. I dont think he would have if Dembele was fit. In the second half he switched them round and seemed to be more pleased, naturally that would offer more width but it still didn’t stretch the NSI defence so much in my opinion.As for the full backs it was very noticable just how much Baird didn’t go down to the byline, or even past the ‘D’ of the penalty area, compared to Briggs. This is why I think that Baird is not a Jol type full back (as compared to Briggs who I thought was very good, amazing to see someone so composed and assured on the ball at his age, plus the number of times he got forward and balls into the box was encouraging which is about all you can take out from a game like that).
AJ looked sharp, one of our best performers in the game and got a touch on that Duff ‘goal’ so a brace from him. Our all round play was fairly sluggish and not so in tune with not alot of variance, if any, from last season, it’s to be expected, but despite that we still should have gotten 5 or 6. Dalle Valle came off the bench to make his debut and seemed sprightly but didn’t see much of the ball and probably should have scored with his chance in the 90th minute. The elusive Riise came off the bench too but made almost no impression whatsoever, I can’t remember a thing he did.
All in all, a comfortable game in which we completely dominated and from which we didn’t really learn a thing other than Etuhu might have learned to pass after he pinged a lovely cross field ball to the corner flag from the centre circle, one of my highlights from the game! Also fair play to the NSI fans who were entertaining throughout. Weather was nice, fans in good spirits, Jol getting a good reception and about as easy a game as we’ll ever have. Lovely summers game of football really.
Also, the kit! I really like it, very smart. However there is definately something missing with the black shorts, it’d be a great third kit but just doesn’t seem like a Fulham home strip without them.