COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY
A draw that felt like a loss from a game the Blues should have won, could have lost in a game that resembled a cup tie rather than a league match.
The game started in uninspired fashion until on the ten minute mark when in a Blackpool attack Adam advanced toward the box only for Arteta to upend him some thirty yards out. Howard got the wall wrong and Eardley curled the ball past the end of the wall and we were 1-0 down.
We restarted showing some vigour and within three minutes we were level thanks to Distin turning playmaker and making ground up the left, exchanged passes with the Yak who turned smartly and looped in a cross that Cahill despatched with a trademark header, roars of relief and approval as Cahill punched the corner flag.
The Blues now had the upper hand all the way to the break with Pienaar and Baines combining well and threading neat balls into the area but no one seemed to have the extra desire to put their laces through the ball but instead tried to go all Arsenal and look for the walk in goal. Our best chances came down the right from enthusiastic play by Coleman who was having a better game today but his shooting let him down first by firing straight at the keeper when well placed in the box and then after cutting in well passed about three players his left footed drive lacked accuracy and drifted beyond the far post.
Half-time and a lot of the chat centred on us being unable to capitalise on our neat approach play but we looked the far better side so much was expected for the second period.
The half started and after only three minutes it was the unexpected that happened when a panic riddled dithering defence failed to boot the ball away several times a bout of pinball saw a Blackpool player put his foot through the ball and we were behind again. Self inflicted wounds came to mind.
Then, just like the first half, within minutes we were all square. Coleman won a duel with his marker and set off on a run into the box Bale style and hit a shot with some power that seemed right at the keeper but it went right through him and into the net. Coleman?s first goal and he seemed unsure how to celebrate but the travelling rain-soaked faithful roared their approval.
Now I thought we would push on and our extra quality would see us home but it just didn?t happen. Blackpool played with gung ho spirit and the game became end to end. Blackpool had two good chances to go ahead again with the sub. and Adam both missing the target when well placed to do better. We attacked and Pienaar when put in on goal could only manage a powder puff effort with an unconvincing strike within the box.
Pienaar then slid Saha (on for the Yak) in one-on-one and although he was tugged from behind he should have done much better than miss the target. Pienaar had been signalling to the bench for some time and on three quarter time he was replaced by Bilyaletdinov. The Blues continued to have the better of it and from one Cahill low cross four Blue shirts were statuesque in the six yard box and our main striker Saha on the edge of the eighteen yard box. Joined up footy thwarted by lethargy.
With ten to go the manager took off Heitinga and put on Beckford a move which puzzled me a little as we had been doing most of the attacking and Heitinga having a better game today was marshalling well in front of the back four and holding up Blackpool forays forward. With Heitinga gone Blackpool found the route to our back four easier and the last ten minutes belonged to them.
We defended hastily and gave away corners then I thought we had lost it when sub Harewood strode through and put the ball in the net but thanks to our Ref. Mr Marriner for ruling it out for an infringement that was not apparent to me. Final whistle left the faithful non to happy at dropping two points from a game that should have been well won in the period of the first half when we swamped them but yet again the cutting edge was missing.
Overall I thought it was a cracking game if you were a Blackpool fan or a neutral but for those with a Blue persuasion it was hard to take after seeing us create so many chances and not have the wherewithal to convert them. Although blame can be laid at the door of our main strikers Yakubu and Saha I think both lack sharpness due to injury causing them not to play week in week out. Yak seems to be coming on but is finding it hard to last 90mins and Saha is just plain rusty.
Still with the way results are going so far in the league this season predictions will be hard to justify so it?s onward to the next games and see what we can get starting Wednesday night v Bolton.
Since leaving the game tonight, I can?t shake the feeling that we didn?t get our homework right on this Blackpool team. For all our quality compared with theirs, we still didn?t have the answer to good old spirit and non-stop work rate.
See you Wednesday
UP THE BLUES
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1 Posted 06/11/2010 at 21:26:58
If footballers who pertain to be strickers get all the chances to score but dont, then are they in fact shite strickers?? Something psychologically has to change.
Is it the manager or is it the strikers?! We need to know. So far, all of the games this season have seen us make most teams look like idiots but we cannot put the ball into the net. WHY is this? WHO'S fault is this?? When are we going to sort it out???
Davey, get your shit together, sort out some dosh and if you can't then tell us; and if you can, and come January get a decent striker. Either that or just tell us we are never going to win anything within your tenure.
2 Posted 06/11/2010 at 23:02:05
I'm totally out of patience with Bily. He has no good position because he simply isn't capable of doing the defensive duties needed to be a midfield player in the Premier League.
Did Heitenga want to come off? If not, he was a really stupid substitution because they came back into the game once he came off (and the lazy Russian arrived).
I'm not sure about Beckford. But while he "develops", we need a striker. With a goalscorer, I think we can really push on. Obviously, we're nothing near perfect anywhere but, with our limited resources, that is the real glaring problem at the moment.
3 Posted 06/11/2010 at 23:07:35
4 Posted 06/11/2010 at 23:12:45
5 Posted 07/11/2010 at 00:49:13
I will say it's frustrating we keep outplaying teams and not finishing them off.
6 Posted 07/11/2010 at 05:13:58
1) Arteta still flatters to deceive, seems a yard off the pace mentally and did any of his free-kicks and corners clear the first man?
2) 10/10 to who ever reported that down south we are, in some circles known as 'Arsenal Lite'... same flavour but lacks the bite of a full-strength brew.
7 Posted 07/11/2010 at 08:08:11
A big two points dropped as, plucky tho Blackpool are, they are going to be seriously rolled over by most other teams who can move the ball quicker than us and hit a decent shot. Why do our players seem to need the extra touch, delay the only pass available?And why the fuck does Jagielka think he can ping 50-60 yarders onto Pienaar's head?
Unfortunately yesterday too many others also took the wrong option. A pity because we did so many things well at other times. But that's why we finish in a respectable position rather than in serious contention.
8 Posted 07/11/2010 at 11:23:38
9 Posted 07/11/2010 at 11:26:24
As ever a good report on our teams latest game.
We can only get away with dropping a certain number of points each season.
We need Fellani and Rodders back to push on this season.
10 Posted 07/11/2010 at 13:13:21
"Yakubu worked his socks off blah blah pinpoint-cross blah blah waffle drone"... HE'S A FIVE-GOAL-A -SEASON MAN and he is playing as our SOLE STRIKER. AARGH IT MAKES ME SO ANGRY...
11 Posted 07/11/2010 at 13:27:33
That being said we should have put the game to bed, and I'm beginning to wonder if Saha gave his wage increase to his twin brother, to run around in a blue shirt while he soaks up the sun on a beach somewhere
12 Posted 07/11/2010 at 14:28:09
One thing I noticed was the lack of having a pop from anyone except Coleman (who did score). When we pressed them, they got players behind the ball and when they broke they did rush up the pitch, bit like schoolkids really. Simple way of playing against them, MOVE THE FUCKIN BALL QUICKER. That apart, I thought we played well .
13 Posted 07/11/2010 at 20:02:32
14 Posted 07/11/2010 at 20:28:43
15 Posted 08/11/2010 at 04:20:42
Not sure what extra communication is required on this point.
16 Posted 08/11/2010 at 13:09:58
His finish against Stoke was quality and his assist for Cahill was not bad either. He needs a run in the first team, which is something that he hasn't had since doing his achilles but is what he is getting now. I hope Moyes (and especially fans) stay patient with him and gives him another 5 or 10 games and create something for him. Especially seeing as we don't have any better options.
Saha would be a great player if he didn't have the injuries, but then we wouldn't have afforded him in the first place....
Beckford quite clearly isn't up to the Premier League; whether he ever will be I'm not sure, but it doesn't look promising.
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