After the game I shared your likely appreciation of both the result and the performance. Though I didn’t share my Twittersphere’s suggestion that the performance was vastly better than recent weeks, all hail Saint Marco.
We played well. Very well for portions of it. But so we did against Crystal Palace, West Ham, West Brom (first half anyway), Everton and Man City. Even away at Man Utd in the Rumbelows Cup, I thought we played well.
We should have had more points than we gained in the post-Middlesbrough run, and maybe Saint Marco has heralded a new era of taking opportunities.
But the statistics don’t particularly show that we were any better. Just 3 shots on target – only one more on target than we managed at that miserable Middlesbrough match. And possession of 39%.
The difference was clear to me. Abel Hernandez.
He wasn’t prolific last time in the Premiserable League but I always blamed that partly with how rarely Bruce played him, and also the time it took for him to settle in.
Hernandez is a proper striker. We should be expecting 10-15 goals from him in the Premiserable League, especially if we are to stay up. I particularly think he has fantastic positioning and awareness of space.
Hernandez’s two goals was the clear difference yesterday. As obvious as that sounds, but would it have been 3-1 with Mbokani and Diamande up front?
Also notable was the added confidence that Jakupovic gave the defence. I thought Marshall was a good signing but it was inherently unfair for Jakupovic to have been dropped as quickly as he was. It is interesting that Silva has chosen him as his number 1, a fact approved of by the crowd prior to the game.
Marshall is a good goalkeeper, but I just feel more confident with the Jak in goal – and I suspect the defenders do too. Yes he has a clanger in him, but all you need to do is look at Everton’s equaliser against us. His distribution was key for one of the goals yesterday (I forget which), his shot-shopping is truly excellent.
And what happened to Mason yesterday? I was genuinely excited when we signed a player of what I thought was high-quality. If Silva can get the best from someone that has seemed a little work-shy and feckless, and turn him from a £13m flop into a true Premier League player, this would show that Silva is the real deal.
You can also get 250-1 for us to finish in the top half with Sky Bet. I’m being serious. Burnley sit there right now, just 10 points ahead of us. Maybe we should concentrate on staying up first.
Interesting run ahead. But we’ll beat Chelsea, won’t we?
Oooh just realised I made it through a whole post without mentioning the bastards. No, not the officials – they were spot yesterday. You know…forget about it.