Pfft. I’ve never done one of these and I felt the time was nigh to do it. Sadly for me, it turned out to be one of the worst of the season so far (the game, not the review, although you can be the judge or that in a few minutes or so…).
The biggest problem I have here is that I have literally no idea what the midfield was doing. Not in a flippant “pub manager” way, just a general “I have literally no idea who was playing where and when” kind of way. The midfield equivalent of musical chairs, if you will. Anyway, here we go...
Luke Southwood: 6
Out of position for the early McGoldrick chance but recovered it well. Distribution was poor in the first half. Point-blank smother early in the second period bumped his score up but aside from picking the ball of the net, was a virtual spectator for large chunks of the game.
Andy Yiadom: 7
Weathered the early onslaught down the right with some smart tackles. Showed plenty of endeavour moving the ball forward throughout the game, but lacked the finishing touches to these moves in the final third. Arguably the Royals' most consistent attacking threat until the arrival of our number 9.
Liam Moore: 5
Bit of a poisoned chalice, this one. Plenty of heat on the captain at the moment, rightly or wrongly. However, call me old school but I’d want to see El Capitan leading a bit more when the chips are down and they were certainly down in large spells tonight. Didn’t show any real leadership. Eventually went up front. No idea why. In any event, got caught offside twice in the process.
Scott Dann: 6
If decimals were allowed, I’d give him a 6.5, but that’s probably splitting hairs. At times he looked very good: clam in possession, organised those around him. Other times was a bit “flappy” and out of position.
Baba Rahman: 5
Got forward and found a bit of space in the second half, again with no end result. Nice free kick delivery for Carroll in the second half but wasn’t his finest showing. Will be interested to see if he can spin the performance and result positively on Twitter later. He does and he gets an 8.
Ovie Ejaria: 5
I mean, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know where he’s gone. If I’m honest, I couldn’t really tell where he was playing in this game. Lost the ball, didn’t go forward enough, didn’t track back enough. Is it his fault or the way he’s told to play? Is he not trying because he’s scared of failing or trying because he doesn’t want the pieces around him to fail? More questions than answers at this stage, but this game was one that he won’t remember fondly. I want our Ejaria back.
Danny Drinkwater: 5
Nice ball into the box after good work from Swift on the first half. Floated a second nice ball in for Yids in the second half. Has that quarterback pass in him and was disciplined in a very, very liquid midfield. Just don’t think we are playing him where he needs to play right now.
Josh Laurent: 6
First half, 5. Second half, 6. Yeah, I know I’m bending rules and pushing boundaries but what do you want me to do? I had to check he touched the ball in the first half. Second was much better and put in the usual work rate we have to come love and admire from him, but the last few games he’s been nowhere near his consistent best.
John Swift: 6
Driving run in the first half allowed him to give a nice layoff. Footwork at times was excellent and kept the ball well in spells, looking for both the sensible and “Hollywood” passes. Looked to get things going quickly but lacked the support in the final third. Delivery from corners wasn’t good.
Tom Dele-Bashiru: 6
He gets the 6 for the amount of lonely miles he put in in the first half. Shedloads of running off the ball which failed to get him noticed or even the ball. Was hooked on 60 minutes.
George Puscas: 6
Touched the ball twice in the first half. Looked lively when he had the ball / was given it. At times he has to drop very deep to get it. Began pushing out wide when Carroll came on and there some to be a kindling of the fires at that point. Could it work long term? Dunno. Which leads me to the next player…
Andy Carroll: 7
I’ve given him a 7 purely because he showed more attacking impetus than anyone else before his arrival. Granted, there were a few pieces of good delivery that fell literally on his head, but when the ball wasn’t being gift wrapped for him he did go looking for it. Had a pile driver well saved. If he is the solution, we need to come up with a way to fit into team much more fluidly than we currently are.
Alen Halilovic: N/A
Should have come on sooner in my opinion. He’s a player I really like but it’s hard to know whether he was expected to make a meaningful impact at this point in the game or if it was just to let him “taste the grass” after a while out with injury.
Tom Holmes: N/A
He might have played at centre back, he might have played up front, he might have just been chasing shadows. I don’t know. Should have started the game, though.
Medical team: 10
Superb response to an awful situation. To have the skills and concourse to act purposefully and decisively in those circumstances is something I am genuinely in awe of. Best wishes to John Fleck as he starts his recovery.
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