Back to the scene of the crime(s) for another thrilling Premier League installment at Corp HQ.
Nothing says “best league in the world” like Stoke at home on a Monday night. That said it wasn’t raining and it was quite a full house. Two things the away support are probably not used to.
We lined up in our now steady formation, but with the addition of Lanzini and Carroll on the bench. Joe Hart still in goal but fair play after the Chelsea game I suppose.
The game itself was a drab event, and 0-0 at half time with some half chances for both teams. Second half was more of the same, but Stoke seemed on top. Ironically we had an Arnie header ruled offside and a shot from Fernandes also ruled out.
Then Joe Hart ruled himself out of contention for the World Cup by spilling a simple collect and allowing Peter Crouch to score the opener with 10 minutes to go.
On come the cavalry with Carroll, Hernandez and Lanzini replacing Mario, Fernandes and Masuaku. Things start to liven up and Hernandez gets our 3rd of the night ruled out due to handball by Andy Carroll. Never fear however, Mr C did latch on one just on the edge of the box to equalise on the 90th minute.
A draw flattered Stoke but improved our league standing and 3 points against Arsenal on Sunday seals the deal for this season.
My takeaways were that Mario should be sent back ASAP. One good goal allowing, he just doesn’t have the resolve for Premier League football. A few people got onto Masuaku. I thought he played well. My bad. Rice is getting better with every game, but if i hear another Bobby Moore comparison !!!!! Anrie looked very isolated due to Mario not getting forward and then was relying on crosses. That’s fine if you get them from both sides, else its very easy to close down. To be fair Zaba got forward a lot more than usual but it did expose us on the break, and Arsenal could really expose that.
MOTM , was Ogbonna. Solid again and seems to gel really well with Rice.