April 14, 2011
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First things first, I better get it over and done with… stay with me, as there are some other comments to follow!
Ronaldo is a long way out, and you would almost be encouraging him to hit it from here (after last night he has had 27 attempts off target in the CL this year – 22 on target).
He does and he strikes it well enough.
It’s not far off the middle of the goal, but Gomes doesn’t move his feet to get behind it.
As a result, instead of catching it, it just deflects off one of his hands, and loops up.
He loses it in the air, and that split-second is costly…
…as it means that he can’t quite get back to scoop it out. A horrible blunder from Gomes.
As pointed out by Zonal Marking, van der Vaart struggled to find space in the classic number 10 position, often dropping deep to receive the ball. However, he was not the only one. Isolated for long periods, Pavlyuchenko also frequently came deep. The image below from the Telegraph Football website illustrates our players’ “average positions” during the match (van der Vaart’s blob is behind Pavlyuchenko’s!).
If were to get anything from this game, it was vital that we played on the shoulder, and really got at the back four. Whilst we played this way for periods of the first half, and Lennon and Bale both caused problems when running in behind, we did not do this enough and, thus, did not get enough shots away – 10 in total (7 off target) was nowhere near enough for a team that needed a minimum of 4 goals.
Bale – 4 minutes.
Bale has lost control of the ball and is already going down, hanging a leg to ensure contact. Not a penalty.
Modric – 6 minutes.
Modric runs on to the ball and, whilst his touch isn’t great, he is in a position to be able to strike the ball, when Alonso takes his foot from the side. This should be a penalty.
Pavlyuchenko – 28 minutes.
Pavlyuchenko clips the ball around Albiol, and has his back leg taken – he goes to ground with a real dramatic fall, which probably doesn’t help, but this should also be a penalty.
Having said that we did not get enough shots on targets, just one of these decisions going our way could have changed the picture of this match. and we may have got a creditable home win. We played well in the first half, pressing Madrid and not showing fear, but too many heads dropped in the second half, particularly after the Madrid goal.
The Champions League campaign has brought so much excitement to the season, and we would all dearly love us to qualify again – it is vital that we try to win all of our remaining home games, starting with Arsenal on Wednesday. Come on you Spurs!