Often Partisan

Ugly

Here are my reflections on the match against Everton last night; please be aware that I watched the game online and not at the ground.

1) A Great Point

Whilst it wasn’t the best game at all to watch, it was most certainly a case of a point gained last night rather than two dropped. Bearing in mind we haven’t won at Goodison in the league in 54 years, I expected absolutely nothing out of the game so to return with a point is a good effort from the lads. In the context of the league it gets us out of the bottom three – which is an important psychological boost – and the league is tight enough that another couple of good wins and we’ll be able to overtake a couple of teams at least. Some will say that we should have attacked an injury-ravaged Everton team more; to those I would point out our squad is at least as injury-ravaged and many of the squad who are fit are showing signs of fatigue. Yes, we settled for a point earlier into the game than I’d have liked, but you cannot fault the dogged defensive performance.

2) Jordon Mutch

Yesterday was Jordon’s second first team start in the Premiership, and it was a good performance from the nineteen year old midfielder. In the first half he showed some excellent technique with the ball; his cross for Beausejour’s goal was a peach and he can be proud of that assist. He was never going to slot into Barry Ferguson’s role in the team completely, but Mutch did enough to prove he’s worthy of a first team place in his passing and tackling. He did tire noticeably in the second half; I think he really threw himself into everything in the first half and it’s possible McLeish told him to rein himself in a bit in the second to ensure he completed the ninety minutes; particularly after ref Peter Walton had shown him the yellow card (albeit an imaginary one as he’d left them in the changing room). I think Mutch will get another run at the weekend in the Cup; it can only be good for his development and hopefully he’ll kick on to provide us another option for the rest of the season.

3) Jean Beausejour

In my Albion review, I said that Jean Beausejour was slowly growing into his position. I couldn’t believe that the Chilean winger was taking a slagging elsewhere online, and I hope after last night’s performance more will see what our South American brings to the team. He’s not a flying winger, but he’s clearly got some defensive discipline; he works hard for the team and he took his goal beautifully. He tried hard to support Jerome up front in the role that was originally earmarked for David Bentley, and towards the end of the game he was helping at the back time and time again. He’s another player who I think will provide us with options on the run-in; I’m hoping that Jean has finally broken the hispanic curse.

With Bentley getting injured, and Fahey having taken a knock before the game, our injury list is rapidly growing and I think team selection for the Bolton game could be interesting; we could be forced to play two strikers by virtue of the fact we’ve got no midfielders left. In saying that, whilst many have complained about us playing 4-5-1 (I myself was disappointed that we brought on Zigic for Jerome), it cannot be denied it got us that point last night. Last night’s performance may have been poor, and it might have been awful to watch, but it was all about getting points last night, because points mean we stay up. We may have to get used to winning (and drawing) ugly.

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