Whilst it may seem on the surface like a devastating end to the night (and it was), there were a lot of positives to take away. With 10 men, we defended resiliently for the whole of extra time and ground it out into penalties, where we unfortunately flopped. But look at the players who were off the pitch for us, for one reason or another by the time we got to extra time: Lloris, Naughton, Caulker, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Lennon, Dembele, Sandro, Parker, Bale, Defoe. And yet we still managed to deny the Swiss Champions previous defeaters of Bayern and Manchester United at their own stadium.
Brad Friedel – 6 – Not a bad display from Friedel, but not a great one either. Should have caught the ball for the Basel 2nd goal. And I’m not an expert on penalties; but Basel scored 4 and we scored 1, and our penalties didn’t seem much worse than theirs…
Kyle Walker – 7 – I actually thought that Walker played extremely well last night. He coped with the pacy Salah admirably and forced him to change flanks, and all-in-all he looked pretty secure.
Michael Dawson – 6 – A true game of two halves. In the first 60 minutes, he was flying into tackles that didn’t need to be made, and was generally poor. But in the last 60, he picked up and defended like a true leader, despite barely being able to stand during extra time.
Jan Vertonghen – 6 – Defended well enough until the red card. It could be argued that he didn’t need to make the tackle, but he genuinely believed he could get the ball. Also, I don’t know how he was denying a clear goalscoring opportunity when the Basel player was 30 yards away from goal, so I think yellow might have sufficed.
Kyle Naughton – 5 – Not the best evening, giving away too many fouls and couldn’t really cope with Basel’s overloading down the right flank. Deservedly subbed off for BAE.
Scott Parker – 5 – Another average performance, didn’t really contribute too much defensively or offensively and looked like he was struggling with passing the ball on their sodden pitch.
Mousa Dembele – 5 – Similar to Parker, a poor game from the Belgian and there could have been no boos when he was subbed off on this occasion. At fault for Basel’s first goal.
Clint Dempsey – 7 – He scored two goals and then contributed absolutely nothing else, but on a day when we never looked like scoring, he was key. The first goal in particular was well-taken.
Lewis Holtby – 6 – Ran around a lot, generally got some passes going. Still sprinting round in the 120th minute, a far cry from the old Holtby who had to be (or was) subbed off after 60 minutes in every match.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – 6 – Tried hard but for little reward. Took his penalty well.
Emmanuel Adebayor – 6 – Not his worst performance but not as good as he played against Everton. Led the line well. Not even going to mention the penalty.
Tom Carroll – 6 – Got the ball moving around well and defended admirably considering that isn’t the strongest part of the game.
Tom Huddlestone – 6 – Didn’t have time to influence the game with his passing before he had to move to centre-back, but similar to Carroll, defended admirably when it isn’t his strongpoint.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto – 5 – Anonymous.
So now we have to focus on getting into the Champions League!
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