A number of positives, a number of negatives
The game this afternoon was pretty mental. Trying to update the blog, with all the things going on in the game was a hectic task, such was the general madness of the 90 minutes. There were a number of positives and negatives in the game, and here are a few from the match, and the general preseason. Looking at the bigger picture, a draw against a good Werder Bremen side shouldn’t be sniffed at, and will hopefully give the side a boost going into the serious stuff next week.
Darren Bent didn’t do much in the grand scheme of things, but he did what he does best, and that’s scoring goals. I think he had three good chances, and scored with two of them. Hugely encouraging from our point of view and while I’d like to see us supply him more (more of that later), if we get him the ball in dangerous situations, he has the talent to score plenty.
Ron Vlaar continues to impress. Yes we conceded three goals, but for someone who has just joined us, he’s already looking like he’ll play a big part this season. He gets his body in the way of plenty of shots, and is unsurprisingly a beast in the air. Also has a decent turn of pace which comes in handy.
There were periods of the match where we kept the ball really well today. Granted Bremen had the majority of the game, but we kept the ball nicely to ease pressure and still look like we want to play out from the back, though this got us in trouble a few times.
Finally we look a threat from set-pieces! It’s been a long time coming, but two more goals came from set-plays today, with a number of others scored from this method in our previous games. Definitely a plus going forward, and I think we’ll get a few this campaign. Certainly been way too long.
Full backs. They had a tough time today against two top top wingers for Bremen, but neither Lichaj, Stevens or Delph did themselves many favours. I rate Lichaj, and think Stevens looks a good prospect but I think it’s clear we need an additional signing. Lowton was out injured today and he may well feature next week. I’d have no problem starting Lichaj against West Ham, but today was tough and I think we look weak in the area.
Concentration was lacking a bit today. The first goal came after we actually defended the initial corner well, but when it was played back in the Bremen forward had plenty of time to guide his header past a helpless Shay. The second was one of those that was played in to the back post and everyone missed. Was really sloppy, and I don’t think Given was to blame here really, because it looked for all the world the striker would get a touch. Just poor defending all around.
I still don’t think we’re creating enough, despite the three goals we scored. Two of those came from set-pieces, and one from a horrendous Bremen mistake. Even in the previous matches against a lower standard of team, we haven’t created too many clear cut chances and hopefully we can address this going forward.
I’m sure there are a few others, and I could probably look at more players but I’ve already written a mini-essay! Feel free to offer any of your own.