Good win eh? Played very well in the first half and despite Stoke pushing the agenda throughout most of the second 45 we dug in and defended well.
Schwarzer – 8, great game from the big Aussie today. Threw more punches than a round from Lennox Lewis and connected with them more than the Tube network which ensured we conceded very few chances from balls into the box.
Hughes – 7, was concerned when I heard the Senderos injury news because of the obvious physical advantages that Jones/Crouch/Fuller have over Hughes but he dealt with them very, very well. Definately his most assured performance of the season.
Hangeland – 8, yesterday was a day for the defenders to shine and Hangeland certainly played his part in dealing with the aerial bombardment.
Riise – 7, like Hughes I would argue this was his best performance (defensively at least) of the season, and it was his shot which was converted by Pogrebnyak as he played his part in our first half dominance.
Kelly – 7, part of a solid back four unit although could maybe have done better in possession.
Murphy – 6, not a game for talented ball playing midfielders although it was his wonderful pass which created Duff’s chance in the first half, one which he should have converted. Would perhaps have taken him off a bit earlier.
Dembele – 7.5, deployed in a central midfield role in which he performed very well. I don’t think he’ll be a central midfielder long term, at least not in a two, because he will constantly leave his position as we have possession and leave us vulnerable if/when we concede it but all around play was very good and certainly suits a deep position with his ball carrying ability and tremendous defensive capability.
Ruiz – 5, sort of a bystander throughout the game with no significant moments and I would have substituted him much earlier but also pulled out some moments of delicate quality. I would rather he plays upfront with Dembele on the wing which isn’t what has happened throughout this season.
Duff – 6.5, busy, hard working performance and kept our play going well at times although I think his crossing could have been better and he should have finished off a chance in the first half. Good to see him getting a run of games though, I honestly thought his time was up at Fulham but he obviously has other ideas.
Dempsey – 7.5, ahh what a strike! Shame that it came off the crossbar and out rather than straight in but still he continues his golden form infront of goal, even if it was fairly fortuitous. He had two late chances which he definately should have scored at least one from, the first was when he capitalised on hesitant defending but his touch was heaver and Sorenson collected and the second was when he nicked the ball off Sorenson’s toe, rounded him but could not finish from a fairly tight angle. It was definately easier to score than miss however, but luckily it didn’t have any impact on the result. Otherwise offered a threat and was bright.
Pogrebnyak – 8, what a debut! His goal was lovely, a glorious touch to control a ferocious Riise shot before curling it emphatically into the roof of the net. His all round play was also very impressive, winning alot in the air, offering a threat in behind and making impressive goal-scoring runs (the sorts that get you easy 6 yard tap ins but the credit goes to good movement). Not as technical as Bobby on this showing but looks more than capable of filling his boots that’s for sure. I don’t think his injury is that serious and it’s certainly not serious enough to keep him out for two weeks. Let’s hope he makes it 2 in 2 against QPR.
Davies – 6, came on for Pogrebnyak which was no doubt had a huge influence on the game. Not Davies’ fault but we missed the big Russian upfront quite alot. As such didn’t really get involved in the game but put in a shift.
Etuhu – N/A, his appearance was an admission from Jol that we weren’t going to control the game and he preferred Etuhu’s physicality to Murphy’s culture. Played his part.
Baird – N/A, a substitution with a similar justification to Etuhu’s I imagine and also like Etuhu put in a shift in the last few minutes he was on the pitch.