Sunk By Our Former Comrade But Its Far From A Disaster

November 4, 2010

So Eduardo scores against us again!

Not as nice a feeling as last time around. Then we were cruising, had the three points in the bag and it was just a weird added bonus that Eduardo scored. Last night his goal meant we lost and failed to secure the win we needed to progress to the knock-out stages with two games in hand.

It was only a minor blip and not a disaster. I said after the game in London that the Ukrainians were a far better side that what they showed when we thrashed them, that it seemed they were willing to lose at the Emirates and go for the win at home, and so it proved. Of course it would have been nice to go through and let the kids out to play in the last two games, but with a stronger team we can go to Braga and win, and we should definitely beat Partizan at home regardless of the players available.

Once again the defensive worries popped up last night. Young Craig Eastmond had a torrid time of it – he never protected the back four and the game passed him by. He’s a game lad and has proven he’s a decent player, but be it lack of match time or just out of his depth, last night was one to forget for him. The much more experienced Eboue and Clichy have just as much blame, if not more, than Eastmond. Willian made a fool of Eboue time and again down the right, and it lead to Eboue giving away the free-kick that they scored from. Then Clichy foolishly played around with the ball instead of hacking it clear and Eduardo scored the second that proved the winner.

We really missed Song and Fabregas, both as a unit and individually. We failed to really get a hold of the ball and Shakhtar really pressured us and closed the spaces last night. We had a few chances to equalize at the end, most of all from Squidgy but he didn’t connect right with the header.

Not a nice feeling to lose but no need to get worked up – I know I won’t be. We have a massive goal difference on the other sides in the group and its still only a matter of winning one of the two games. Look at it this way – if we won tonight we wouldn’t really mind losing the last two games and letting the kids play, instead we just have to give the grown-ups one more run out to finish the job, its hopefully just prolonging the inevitable – we progress.  We are still top – just have to make sure the Ukrainians don’t pip us for first.

Player Ratings

Fabianski (7) – Thought he did well over all. Couldn’t do much for either goal.

Eboue (5) – Oh dear. Got caught out and had to give away a free kick where he got booked and they scored. Not a good night for EE.

Djourou (6) – Did well enough, got in a few timely tackles but too many gaps appeared between him and Squillaci.

Squillaci (6) – Same as Djourou. Should have done better with the free header.

Clichy (5) – Just hoof the blasted thing Gael.

Eastmond (5) – He kept going and is a earnest young man but he needs to start stamping authority on the game.

Wilshere (7) – Good showing again by Jack but again should have done better with his chance. Couple of way ward passes, still feisty in the tackle.

Walcott (7) – Terrified them with his pace for a while and then that avenue was plugged. What a turn of pace for the goal and cool as you like finish.

Rosicky (6) – Did a lot of donkey work and linked as usual but not as effective as we are used to.

Nasri (6) – Involved in all our play and tried to get us moving forward, couple of bad decisions in and around the box though.

Bendtner (5) – Not match fit. Didn’t play much of a part.