Pragmatic Player Ratings & Analysis

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Good morning.

By the time the Reading goal went in I was like I’d been on the gas and air for a good while, I think I mumbled, ‘Mazel tov, you need another two and you’ve no minutes left to score ’em’ at the telly.

Yes it was a massive relief but it we must remember it was only Reading; a side that AVB baiting and hating pundits had tried desperately to eroticise into the leanest, meanest, grilling machine to ever grace a George Foreman wet dream. The reality was Reading were workmanlike. Not awful, not great. But workmanlike.

Our lads look to me like they are still getting used to the personnel changes and having to continuously play the ball on the floor. We should be grateful that this game has come up and we then have Lazio then QPR to further get our act together. If we were on a run of better clubs then the chances are we’d get beaten. A lot.

The intensity is there, the fitness is improving and say it quitely it under your breath, we may have a striker discovering some class of form on our hands. What we need to see is the players not only indentifying their their roles but slipping into them like their comfiest pair of slippers. Then we’re heading in the right direction.

 Was he caught playing statues for their goal? who cares? We’ve got 3 more goalies up our sleeve! On a more serious note Bradley was on talkSPORT this morning and for the second time calling out the author of the ‘Lloris Angst’ and dismissed it as nonsense. He spoke of the hope to be involved in more than one campaign, ‘there will be lots of games to go around’.

Infuriating. The idiocy of the handball was unforgivably stupid, it’s a miracle that Webb didn’t award a penalty. Also, if he doesn’t get his act together as a defender he (and by that I mean us) are in for a long season watching people go past him. He shouldn’t be getting skinned by Reading players. Offensively he was useful, but that’s not his job.

Another pretty faultless performance. I hear some griping about him and I just don’t understand it. Is it an Arsenal thing from which he’ll never recover? A really solid shift.

 Looks like one of those top of the range European center-backs you see on the television. What a buy he was. The only negative I can scratch up is that we could have done with him two years ago.

Would have quite probably looked a lot less like a Championship player had he not been played out of position. This was a great chance for Bale to step in and aid the cause, give the boy a dig out. But that didn’t happen.

 He didn’t really get into it and this guy is a prime example when I was talking about knowing your role and slipping into it like it was second nature. My belief is that Bale is getting in his way and his role isn’t defined enough.

 As Run DMC said, ‘Tougher Than Leather’. He was mostly very much in control and crucially got a lot of basic things right. No daft runs to pass onto the toes of a man three feet away from him. His mind looks clearer and he’s obviously fitter.

Box to box type stuff, again, once the players had settled into a shape that is genuinely familiar to them he’ll fly. Much of his work is understated and my prediction is he’ll attract a good few fans who like with Modric, simply don’t ‘get’ his importance.

 Like a busy dwarf at an orgy. In and out, up and down, but didn’t really stand out. His ball into Defoe was at long last intuitive stuff and he needs to be doing that every game. Jermain can lap up passes like that all day long. Another concern is the narrowness of much of his play at times. That said, if we win, I really don’t care.

Simply not involved enough. Naughton could have done with dig out but too often the man to pitch in and help him out was like a guard horse outside Buckingham Palace, blinkered, eyes fixed forwards. He obviously wants to do more than power up the wing but that doesn’t give him a license to ‘join in when he wants’.

 Could he be coming of age at long last? The short answer is ‘maybe’. He is certainly seems to be working harder to be less of a one trick pony. Which is pleasing. As per the comments on all of the lads, he needs to do this against superior opposition.

 I’m not sure what formation we were playing. I’m sure someone out there will explain how he morphed seamlessly from 433 to 4321 where and when we needed to. What I do know is that much of what we did went down the middle of the park and the simple concern is that if we play like this against a mob with width we could get our undergarments pulled down. The boss must be relieved and he must be appreciative there’s more to be done over the next two games.

 Always outnumbered, never outgunned. Away fans are fab. Their support isn’t conditional. It is to the eternal shame of those on Twitter etc that began soothsaying doom and gloom from just seeing the team sheet – before a ball was kicked. Too many Spurs fans kicking about at the moment who not only don’t sound like Spurs fans, but do sound like they don’t have the first clue about football.

I’m dreaming here, but you can guarantee that if we’d lost or even drawn that this page and many others would have been infested with the ‘I told you so’ brigade. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if even one of them emerged today and said, ‘It was only only Reading, but I am cheered by that game ..cecause I support the Spurs and I love it when we win.’

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