Disappointment in Barcelona - 13/12/2002
Looking back at Wednesday’s result, I can’t help but think we could have got something from that game. Ok there were times when Barca had as under the cosh, but we also had our spells in control, and if we’d managed to cut out the silly mistakes, we certainly wouldn’t have conceded the first and the third goals. For me, if we’d managed to stay level for the first twenty minute or so, or better still, go infront, the crowd would have turned on Barca and their confidence might have suffered.
The big talking points were Shola’s massive performance and Keiron Dyer’s mistake at the back post. Taking Shola first, I really think this game will change him. He’s been up against class defenders and he’s showed that he can more than cope. After this performance, he’s no longer a fringe player, he’s a first team player itching to get as much time on the pitch. BUT…will this cause a problem. Shola gave a number of interviews after the game, I noticed the said that he’s happy to work under Shearer and then take over in time. My question is – for how long will he be happy? The way Al is going he’ll be playing for the next three of four seasons, and that’ll take Shola up to the age of 26. Is he really going to play second fiddle until then? He’s not the type of player to play alongside Shearer, I think when we’ve seen such a partnership, it hasn’t worked. Al’s much more comfortable with the pace of Bellamy or LuaLua or even Dyer alongside him. Now for me, Shola’s role will continue to be as support/reserve striker – he’ll only play when one of the strikers is unavailable. If he’s happy with that, then great, let’s just hope he doesn’t become frustrated.
The second talking point was Keiron Dyer’s role at the far post. I remember as kid being given a right good telling off for simply placing my hand on the post. To say that Dyer was doing his job is to tell a lie. I’ve heard people say that the ball came over at pace, well that simply isn’t relevant. Let’s look at the basics…you stand on the line so you can block the ball if it comes towards you. Two questions, one, why did he stand behind the line? And two, why wasn’t he concentrating? Incredible! I wouldn’t care but when another corner was awarded to Barcelona, he took up a similar position! When you look at how much effort goes into scoring a goal, to give one away so cheaply is criminal.
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