After last week's horror show against Newcastle, Saturday’s 2-0 win against Stoke was a much-needed win for the lads, and I am glad to see an amazing response from the fans who backed the team from start to finish.
Granted, we got a bit of luck along the way with dubious refereeing decisions, but a win was thoroughly deserved and Steve Bruce takes credit for masterminding this result.
By starting the game with a lot of the same players from last week’s abysmal defeat to Newcastle, I had my doubts when sitting in the Stadium; doubts that became even more prominent when I saw that we had lined up with a 4-5-1 formation.
Thankfully, this didn’t last long! Bruce was hit with a setback when Darren Bent was announced injured, yet he made a great tactical decision by putting Danny Welbeck up front alongside record signing Asamoah Gyan. For once, we looked like a team capable of scoring more goals, and more to the point, we looked like scoring even when Bent wasn’t on the field, a true rarity in recent weeks.
Welbeck was much improved in the new forward role, while others showed more passion and determination to move the ball forward.
By playing the same players as last week, I feel Bruce made the right decision, but now is the time to bring in a few more players. As the most expensive British goalkeeper, Craig Gordon should return at Spurs tonight as he adds composure to the defence. On the whole, Mignolet was good against Stoke, and kept a clean sheet that will do him the world of good after last week.
However, he looked nervous and sometimes scrambled for balls that would have been punished against the likes of Crouch and Pavluychenko with this week in mind.
I have reserved special praise for Gyan who has had to wait a long time for his first start in the Premier League and he grabbed his chance with both hands.
The first goal was a typical striker’s finish and the second was a perfectly struck shot in the bottom corner. He looked lively throughout, his control is second-to-none and his attitude was top notch.
Hopefully, upon Bent’s return in a few weeks, him and Gyan can link up and be a true force to be reckoned with in the Premier League.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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