Great result and we won the battle of the pretentious kit maker logos. I don't know if 3-0 goes down as Fulhamish, or if it's our usual end of the year deal where we grab a few road wins after making the task look impossible for most of the season. Regardless, that was a pleasure to watch.
For me, contrary to Don's view, MotM was Dempsey. If you ask the professionals, the majority will tell you the hardest thing to do is put the ball in the back of the net. So when you do it twice, you get the nod in my book. Clint has struggled at times playing up top as the lone striker, but he made the most of it on this day. It was good to see him knock home that free kick as well. Don was right there, that was long overdue.
Close second (or rather 1b) was obviously Duff. He terrorized, tormented and tortured Alonso, and as I type this, I'd bet Marco A is in the throes of a nightmare about our Irishman. Watching Duff take him to school over and over was an absolute joy to watch. His early crosses were pretty much stinkers, but once he got dialed in, he wreaked havoc on Bolton and probably should have had a brace of his own if not for some fine keeping by Bogdan.
The other really notable performances for me were Riise, Hughes and Kelly. Riise had the sensational stop on Ngog, made some brilliant runs forward (outrunning Kacaniklic on several occassions) and of course assisted on Diarra's goal. Hughes was in the right place repeatedly to guide Bolton's attack harmlessly away. And to sum up Kelly's day, all you had to see was what transpired in the 91st minute. Petrov got to the byline yet again, fired off a cross yet again, only to see it blocked out for a corner by Kelly...yet again. He threw his hands up and walked to the corner flag shaking his head. Kelly stymied him over and over and is really playing some fantastic football right now.
Having read Don's piece I have to disagree on a few points. First, I didn't think Dembele and Diarra looked all that good at in midfield, at least offensively. Defensively, they were very good. But we played around them for a good chunk of the match and when we did go through them early, Diarra misfired on a number of passes. Dembele made a few runs but most of them ended with him pulling up and passing back to the defense. They were more involved late and played quite well offensively then, with Diarra scoring our 3rd goal. But I didn't think either had a standout performance overall. I certainly don't think it wouldn't have been better if Murphy had been out there, at least offensively.
The other point was Ruiz looking physically strong. He's still getting knocked to the ground religiously and he has to have the worst peripheral sense of anyone I've seen in the Prem. I lost count how many times someone ran up from behind him and took the ball. Most players seem to sense when someone is closing down on them from the side or behind but Ruiz doesn't show that at all. He does make some really
nice passes though. I know there's a majority opinion that he'll come good on the goal front next year, but having watched him all year, I don't think it's going to happen. I'm convinced he's like a good point guard, he's a facilitator who might score a handful of goals, but his value will be in his assists. We just need to make sure we have someone on hand who can put them away. From what I've read, he did break a metatarsal in his foot and will be out for the year. I hate that for him, b/c I was really hoping he'd prove me wrong on the goal thing here at the end. But if it was going to happen, at least the timing of it couldn't be any better. We're safe and it should lead to some more youngsters getting some pitch time.
Or at least that's what I would hope. Jol's subs surprised me today. First, when Ruiz came off, it seemed like a good time to give Trotta a run out and let Clint play off of him. Instead we got the logical defensive choice in Etuhu. Then when Duff came off for Frei, Sleepy moved Kacaniklic to the right and put Frei on the left.
Surprised Don omitted that since I know how much of a burr in his saddle Frei on the left is.
Despite my being critical, I do very much appreciate the write up Don. Just haven't had a chance to disagree with you much lately. You must be feeling better.
Nonetheless, it was a fun match to watch and we got a great result. Now let's go do the same to the scum.