'1-0 in your Cup (semi) final'
I know I said we should not read too much into pre-season friendlies, and we should definitely not get too excited about reaching the final of the Asia Cup (cough) but there are still plenty of positives to be taken from the uber-comfortable 1-0 win against a very inept West Ham United. Compared to the way we played against Celtic, it was nice to see some sustained effort from all players present.
O'Hara was industrious. Palacios commanding, which is nothing less than expected from him. Jamie might just have a place in the squad as decent cover. The pair of them in central midfield actually allowed for more creative freedom from other areas of the side, although I'd much prefer a slightly more creative partner for Wilson in the middle. Jenas, absent due to injury. We'll have to wait a little longer to see the return of a Palacios-JJ combo.
Pav looked sharp, far better movement and touch than for long periods last season and should have scored if it wasn't for the pesky post getting in the way. And he worked well alongside Defoe, who should have scored a brace.
Having Keane on in the second half alongside JD sort of proved that the reason these two struggle to play well together is because they appear to bring out the greed in each other, shooting when passing is the better option.
Naughton continues to impress. Has some great qualities about him (calm and versatile and very quick).
Modric was Modric. The usual class act. He will be VITAL for us this season.
Huddlestone wasn't too shabby either, although he's no centre-back. Talking of which, we need to sign one between now and the start of the season as Dawson and Woodgate look set to miss the big kick-off and Ledley is, well, he's Ledley...so we can't assume he'll be 100% for the Liverpool game.
As for Livermore, I like the cut of his job. Very confident on the ball. We might see quite a bit of this lad this season. More so than Bostock and Rose. Finally might be able to celebrate a break-through player from the academy. Rejoice!
As for lickle West Ham, they looked a mess. Unfit and disorganised and lacking any bite up front. Flattered them the final score really. Still, 1-0 (a little credit shared by Rob Green) does once more suggest that we don't take our chances during periods of dominance. Bit more composure and luck in front of goal required.
Still, let's not read too much into it, right?