Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sheff Utd review: Berbatov off the mark in convincing win

The frustrations from Saturday were well and truly erased with a good win in our first home fixture of the season. OK the opposition are only newcomers to the Premiership, but we were in control from start to finish.

As far as I'm concerned there were five main positives to draw from last night's game. Firstly we had it killed off after just 16 minutes. There was none of last season's inability to capitalise when we were on top. Failure to add a second goal early on could have led to a nervous second half.

Secondly Berbatov got off the mark, so there'll be no big hoodoo hanging over him for ages waiting to break his duck. He looked very impressive all evening and worked well with Keane.

The villains from Saturday all played well. Davids clearly showed he can still cut it at this level. Jenas showed flashes of brilliance and applied himself pretty well. Lee showed he can use his right foot and looked more comfortable - hopefully is confidence will continue to improve with each game in his new position. And Davenport looked more at home too - although he proved he is definitely a defender when he dithered when free in the box in the second half.

A huge plus was the impressive appearances of Lennon and my man of the match, Tainio. Lennon pulled the defence apart regularly and Teemu showed how much we missed him against Bolton.

And finally, although Zokora only got 20 minutes, he reminded me of when Carrick was starting out with us. Lots of simple 10 yard square passes, mixed up with the odd accurate long pass. Give him time to settle in the side and he'll do well. Just don't let him take any corners, as his first one nearly hit the dug-out!

I don't have many criticisms to make but two minor points. Before Zokora came on I felt Keane was playing too deep. All the key crosses and through balls came from him and Lennon. Now that's Lennon's job, but Keane cannot be expected to always provide. He's the one that needs to be in the box being provided to. Now that's no problem against the weaker sides, but if he has to come so deep against the better teams I think we might struggle.

I guess my final point could become a regular moan, but once again we lacked balance with no real left sided attacking player. I do think this is the critical gap to fill before the transfer window closes.

So all in all a good job done. Let's hope our performance against Everton is more akin to last night than last weekend.

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