Well Brad had virtually nothing to do the entire game so it’s very hard to give a player a rating when they have nothing to do. The only thing I would say is that a few of his long balls were a bit wayward but with AVB playing a relatively short side it’s difficult to aim for someone who is going to win a big header for you.
Kyle had another very solid game throughout and had bags of energy. He looked particularly effective on the overlap as usual. His ball to Gylfi when he rolled his foot over the ball and slid it through, which ended up as Defoe’s 2nd goal, was sublime, regardless of the opposition. Overall, a good performance and sets him up nicely for Sunday.
Again, Younes had very very little to do all game but on 72 minutes he exploded into life and for that part, a right winger and galloped down the right wing to show he’s not lost a yard of pace through his horrid injury plagued campaign last season. Very solid showing.
Just like most of the back four, he’d barely anything to do all night. On one occasion he got caught the wrong side of their big centre forward but managed to get back in time with some help from Kaboul. Against other better teams he might’ve been found out but he put in a good shift all round.
So, the central defenders didn’t have much to do and neither did Kyle but what he should have been showing was his abiltity in the opposition half. He did it quite regularly but not with enough conviction in my opinion and only when he got switched to right back when Fryers came on did he seem more confident.
Lewis had a cracking game. His intesity throughout was something to admire. Too often last season I was talking about him running around like a headless chicken but this was a more assured, confident and mature performance. His closing down was more direct and he chose what balls to chase down and what challenges to go for. His ball to Defoe for his first goal was sublime and he was playing thoose little balls throughtout the night. If Lennon had of been playing and running accross the back line onto those disguised balls through the middle it could’ve been about 6 or 7 nil. Throughout the night he had a couple of sighters in quick succession, but those misses were well worth it, what a screamer, keeper had no chance. Man of the match in my opinion!
There’s been a lot of hype and I feel it got to him tonight. He tried too much with the ball and almost seemed a bit one dimensional at times. I was quite glad to see him substituted because it just wasn’t his night, if he tried to play more on his instincts he might have had more success.
Not one of his better games tonight. In particular and something that needs addressed asap, that was also a problem last year, is corners. He took about 5 tonight and they were all awful. Either not clearing the first defender or straight into the keeper’s arms. Against better teams this becomes a problem because then we are suseptible to counter attacks. His ball across the 6 yard box for Defoe was great and he had a few nice shots, especially the one that shttered the crossbar, but he can do much better. This should have been a night for him to show AVB what he can really do.
An excellent game for the young Englishman. Straight from the off he was inventive, always wanting the ball and trying some very clever passes. His link up play with Holtby was fantastic (it was him who set up Holtby’s screamer) and he had some great passes through the middle to Defoe. He had a few shots but nothing to write home about. He did a little pirouette after about 75 minutes which was full of confidence. The thing that excited me the most was his willingness to always pass forward and get a new move going. Great night for him.
The beast is back! 15 minutes in and he absolutly crunched their midfielder and he rightly got booked. But after that he was so solid and broke up play all night long. I can’t express how good it is to see him complete 90 minutes again. For Defoe’s two goals it was him breaking up the play with fantastic tackles which led to the goals. Great to see him back.
Jermain also had a good game. At times he was getting frustrated by lack of service but he kept plugging away and got his reward. The first was classic Defoe, great ball through and an instinctive finish with his left foot which left the keeper with no chance. The second was also classic Defoe. Great hunger to get in front of the defender and he loves poaching. I can’t see him starting on Sunday but he looked hungry and was even working back so another great sub to have in the derby.
When he came on for Townsend I thought he’d be playing up front with him but he played as a left forward and didn’t set the game on fire. He seemed to lack confidence and although he had a great snap-shot, he didn’t do much. He had a chance after great work from Holtby and Gylfi but it looked like he was wearing lead boots as he was caught flat on his heels.
Came on for Walker which meant he went to left back and Naughton went to right back. He got forward enough but tended to wander a bit. Did reasonably well overall as it’s a difficult tie to come into and get right up for it.
Again, he didn’t have much to do. He looked strong as usual but didn’t do much so hard to give him a rating as he wasn’t on for long.
So we are through to the group stages, happy days. This may well be the two easiest games we will have all season but there were some very encouraging performances. I may have come accross a little critical of some players but against teams like this I think it’s better to be.
Onwards and upwards. Can’t wait for the derby on Sunday!
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