match day 11: blackburn vs ‘pool


match: another game, another frustrating event for all ‘pool fans. admittedly (most) pool fans were just hoping that ‘pool will keep the unbeaten record in the league against the on form blackburn team. however, as the match wore on, traits of the ‘classic’ ‘pool team was finally let out in full effect – lousy finishing, bad tactics and pure senile riise doing things that’s beyond understanding. ‘pool should’ve won the match, but threw it away again.

rafa, at his usual best, continues to tinker with full confusing effect. knowing that blackburn has 2 very solid central defenders in samba and nelson, he opts for a lone striker in the gremlin of kuyt. i don’t have a qualified coach license but any sane man can realise with that tactic in hand, nothing will ever come out of it. to make things worse, they do not have any creative central midfielders operating to control the tempo of the game. this game does not prove much justice to the likes of benayoun and babel who were left ostracized due to the very lack of support when proceeding forward. as noted by the commentators, whenever babel was given the ball, he has no one to bring the ball to in the third quarter of the field as kuyt was doing rubbish business all over the field and gerard cannot be dependent on as a target man. i’ve noted time and time again that this does not do any justice on babel whenever he plays in this type of tactic, especially when he is tasked to operate on the left flank. people should have noticed that on the opening day of the season, babel came on in the second half and tore aston villa’s defense when operated on the right. somehow, it gave him the freedom of expression to convey his full talent while playing there. and – surprise, surprise – his lone goal in the league came when he was operating from the right, even though against the minnows of derby. how rafa keeps overlooking this is way beyond my understanding.

it took rafa 70 minutes to realise that his tactics were not working. and as always, rafa will substitute babel as if to chop him with the scapegoat label whenever things are not working well. he substituted both of his wingers with kewell and crouch coming on. both substitutes are decent enough to change the complex of the game, but rafa should had taken off sissoko and move gerard to the middle with kewell operating on the left and babel to the right. how is it useful for crouch to operate properly when there was only one winger operating to supply the crosses in? what was rafa thinking?!

and if crouch does not play more often after today’s match, i do not have any more to say. when crouch played, ‘pool suddenly have a target man, plying his purpose and thus can generate their attack more efficiently. his knockdown to gerard – that was saved brilliantly by friedel – was the carbon copy of the goal that gerard scored in the fa cup final last 2 seasons. i still remembered rafa saying that playing crouch in away games is very important in ‘pool’s strategy as he has the ability to soak up pressure and holding up the ball for other players to come into 2 seasons back. whatever happens to that now? he has proven it time and time again and yet is still overlooked.

blackburn has 2 very golden chances to score but were unlucky to hit the post, both times. both of those chances, if the viewers watched closely, were the fault of both riise and hypia. both of these operated on the left side of the defense, but it seems they were either not communicating well, or are just plain poor. the distance that hypia and riise were so far apart that blackburn managed to cut into and strucked those 2 shots. i wonder if rafa had kept notes on that.

and yes, please stop playing kuyt. not only does he looked like a gremlin whenever he pants, he was ridiculously bad when given the chances to score. my eyes hurt, seeing him physically and seeing him either striking the ball too hard or too soft or just choking in the last quarter of the pitch.


reina: looked out of position on those 2 blackburn shots. scary.

finnan: still as decent.

carragher: referees must have loved him as he keeps getting away with punishments. that was a blatant handball in the 2nd half.

hypia: please retire for the sake of your legacy.

riise: i was hoping for joy when he was clutching his feet, hoping that he suffers a bad injury. but unfortunately, not. i think he threw 4 throw ins giving straight away to the opposition. what was he thinking?! it’s a throw in for goodness sake! how can he make such mistakes over and over again?!

benayoun: unlucky.

mash: very decent yet again. funny to see him arguing with carra after he took the shot instead of passing. “why not! why not!”

sissoko: he seems to have his hair grown. maybe that’s why he’s getting worse by the day.

babel: must’ve wished he’d gone to arsenal. he’ll probably be leaving next season by the looks of it.

gerard: 2 shots of certain goals but saved by the keeper. other than that, mmmm…not much. seems to drift inside and abandons his positioning whenever tasked to play on the right. yikes.

kuyt: the tv channel must masked his face whenever he misses a shot ‘cos the look of him sucking up his nose carries a parental guidance warning. i still could not understand what he was trying to do with that lame shot/pass after working so hard on the right to get into the penalty box.

kewell: hmmmm, very deft touches and good crossing. if only he can keep up to this level.

crouch: please play him.

interesting note: why did the fan bring the rubik cube to a football match?!


man-of-the-match: brad friedel

match rate: 6/10


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