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On the Iwobi/Digne axis….
As so much of our attacks we’re going doing our left yesterday (and coming to nothing largely due to Iwobi being way off the pace) I couldn’t help but think about the Baines and Pienaar years and how good we would be with those two in this team.
Digne will come good again but Iwobi is squad filler at best. Another terrible bit of business.
First of all, as always, great to see old friends and enjoy Goodson with a win…. The crowd was pretty quiet though compared with the usual and that was a clear reflection on an ok- ish performance against a team who will struggle to stay in the PL given today’s display.
It was frustrating this afternoon. Norwich tried but were pretty poor - Max Aarons, for example, gave little indication that he is worth what was mooted in the press (aside maybe from one moment when he beat Digne twice in as many seconds).
Everton were far from convincing - best performers Doucoure (by far the best on the field) Allan and Mina. Pickford still looking a more mature goalkeeper than in recent seasons. One excellent save from Normann.
Godfrey had a better game but is not IMHO the answer as a fullback as he offers too little in attack.
Iwobi - not enough from him today. Comments from fans such as “He bottled that…” when trying to tackle on more than one occasion.
Keane was better but still worrying when he turns or does not attack the ball, leaving it to run past him towards his own goal.
Digne was definitely better than in the last couple of games but still far from his best.
Gray relatively quiet but assisted well for the second goal.
Townsend tidy and effective - stepped up ok for the penalty.
Rondon - well he may have done well for NUFC, but there is surely a long way to go fitness wise before he looks even a shadow of the player who has bullied our CBS in previous seasons. Calls for him to be replaced by either Simms or Dobbin after 60 minutes. We were ok with his signing given what we’ve seen from him at GP in other seasons, but he was a big disappointment today….
We felt Anthony Gordon looked more promising - direct, snappier and stronger. Less like the callow teenager, more likely to affect the game. He tracked back and was willing to compete defensively/put his foot in (unlike Iwobi).
Benitez - did make changes but left us bewildered with one or two. Kept Rondon on (only reason surely was to give him more match fitness?). Brought Davies on in a more advanced role which we didn’t understand. Only gave Dobbin 6 or 7 minutes even when we were 2 up. We expected Simms to be given a chance given Rondon’s ineffective display.
But whatever - we won and it was at home…
We’d definitely have taken that number of points from the first half dozen games.
Not sure I’ll be putting myself through MOTD of that performance though…
The squad still needs work in numerous positions. It appears Benitez acknowledges that. January will be important in that context.
Some unexpected results today.
Our view overall though was today’s squad would have really struggled against a lot of PL sides…