SO, 8 o’clock saturday morning I’m rushing about up in Leeds packing the last of my stuff for my move back down to London for the holidays, arrive in Brentford at 1ish, furiously unload the car before arriving at Old Suffolk Punch to meet Dan and Tor for a quick drink (turned out to be a chat, the queue at the bar was too long), all in anticipation of a good game of football with the party atmosphere that usually comes from the back of the H6 stand. Alot of effort and money for a @#%$ing meek, soulless 3-0 home loss eh? Like I said, whoever gets into their rhythm first will win and when Swansea went one up after half an hour it wasn’t undeserved. Cue a shambolic second half of utter humiliation.
Schwarzer – 5, maybe could have done better for Allen’s goal but not sure, haven’t seen any of them on replay yet. Other than that though his distribution was generally poor (compare it with Vorm, what a player, and that’s before the saves) including one rediculous clearance which was closed down, after which he did well to recover and block Sinclair when he had a sight of goal.
Kelly – 4, couldn’t deal with Sinclair at all. Whether he was running at him, or he came off the line, Sinclair had all the running on Kelly’s side, and of course don’t forget how Kelly totally left Sinclair alone to set up their first. No presence in the opposing half either. Reckon I’d prefer Hughes there now.
Senderos – 4, dreadful area for Swanseas third although he (and Hangeland) had the problem all game of Swansea closing down so far up the pitch but also no player offering any options. There was an occassion in the second half where Senderos held onto the ball for about 10 seconds because no Fulham player would offer him any option, having to beat two pressures while he was on the ball with dribbling. Horrible to see. Did have to pull off some important interventions though when Swansea moved forward.
Hangeland – 5, didn’t shine any more than Senderos; the only reason he has an extra point is because he didn’t directly lead to a goal. Should’ve been tighter to Graham when he came off the front.
Riise – 5, I thought Riise was ok on Saturday, Routledge wasn’t particuarly troublesome and Dempsey’s defensive work was appauling, giving their right back a full reign over that side. And at least he offered some enthusiasm for going forward.
Diarra – 5, I liked how Diarra looked over the past few games. He’d recycle the ball efficiently and quickly, with the intelligence to anticipate what would happen further on the move. And it was all accomplished with short 10-15 yard passes. On Saturday he tried way too much to try the elaborate long ball (aside from that he played shorter passes and moved the ball around well on the whole, but tried too hard at times) and he should have stayed closer to the back four inand out of possession too. Also lost his shape completely for Swansea’s second; Diarra had pushed way up but the back 4 didn’t follow suit and there was a huge gap between the midfield and the defence, so as soon as Sigurdson won the ball he was running directly at the defence.
Dembele – 5, he tried hard but nothing really came off for him. Too much congestion when he ran with the ball so more often than not he lost it and his passing in their half of the field wasn’t sharp at all.
Dempsey – 4, absolutely anonymous, I hadn’t seen such an empty performance from Dempsey in a long time. No spark in their half and didn’t compete physically but also didn’t track Rangel at all, so Rangel was entirely free to break from deep and often get up very far in our half.
Ruiz – 6, in a sub par team performance there was of course one name at which everyone hurled the usual HE DUN TRACK BAK cliches. But actually I thought Ruiz was perhaps the only player to come out with a bit of credit. He did track back (Taylor didn’t get any dangerous moments as far as I can remember) and he was the only one with a bit of spark and creativity in the Swansea third too. Wouldn’t have taken him off really.
Johnson – 5, I really want to see what Ruiz is like in the position Johnson is playing now. Despite a nice burst of form from the frontman in the last few games was as ineffective as most others were too and never really managed any impact.
Pogrebnyak – 5, well I didn’t think he’d see much of the ball and he didn’t. One of those strikers that really needs to be fed (not that there’s anything wrong with it but he plays as well as the team). It’s fair to say he was starved on Saturday.
Duff – 6, didn’t actually create a huge amount but he at least demonstrated a bit of purpose and took on his fullback. As I say though, I’d rather he came on for AJ.
Frei – 5, after the excitement with which Frei burst onto our radar his last few displays have probably (and rightly, it was rediculous to suggest Frei couldn’t possibly not start) tempered our opinion of him. Quite struggled to get into the game and was out muscled alarmingly easy a couple of times. His talent still remains though and hopefully he will continue getting a few minutes before now and the end of the season.
Murphy – 5, I probably would have put him on for Diarra earlier but in hindsight it wouldn’t have changed much. I can only imagine he was left on the bench because of the huge cut he picked up against Villa.