Well that was entertaining wasn’t it? I think most Blues knew that this was an important game for so many reasons.
A win and we’d be back challenging for the top 6 positions as we probably should be. A chance to stay above the other lot would be a nice treat too. A defeat? Well with us playing West Ham – a team we ALWAYS beat – a defeat would affect our morale quite a lot and actually push us close to the relegation places!
As it was we kept up our impressive record against the Hammers in a bruising encounter that looked a lot worse on the telly it seems. What was Match of the Day on last night. Made every incident look like a scrap. Ignored the offside incident where Lukaku ‘scored’ and focused on the one he scored. Oh, and focusing on Barkley diving – he was wrong, clearly – when other players get away with these things every week without being highlighted is a little odd.
Overall the game was pretty even and it seemed to me that we were quite lucky that they were missing some of their best players, including Diame and Downing in midfield and Sakho up front. West Ham had some good chances and on another day they could easily have snatched something.
In terms of our players, how thankful are we for James McCarthy? Coming back from injury he was all over the place, snapping at the heels of the West Ham players. Possibly too hard at times, but we love him for that too. I can’t believe I’m saying it but Tony Hibbert was great at left-back too – the shame is that Garbutt clearly has no place in the team even when we’re desperate, but Hibbert was composed and did very well on that side with the returning Miralles.
The newest member of the ‘400 games’ club, Osman did very well too, scoring one and being involved in all our best play going forwards, whilst Eto’o, who set up Osman’s winner excellently (do we expect anything else) added a little bit of class.
As I say, on another day the luck could have gone against us and with Clattenberg as ref anything really could have happened. Miralles pushing Tomkins (with Tomkins clutching his face hilariously) could have seen him sent off and changed the face of the game.
Two big away games to come this week against Wolfsberg and then Spurs which could take a lot out of the players, especially with several first teamers still injured. Naismith was stretchered off but apparently it’s not too serious and he should be back for next Sunday. Could be a makeshift side heading out to Germany, and that would probably be the right thing to do with some easier games to come in that group. Get me, sounding like Brendan Rodgers. Good old Palace.