|Player reports from Plough Lane...|
at 08:30 17 Jul 2022
Bit difficult to assess the players, as, to be honest, the opposition were pretty toothless, and have lost a few key players since relegation - but as the old cliche goes, you can only play what's in front of you.
Formation: Hard to say...with Greg Leigh getting forward, looked like the 3-4-2-1 we played last season, but KVY was so far forward most of the game, looked like a sort of right-side heavy 4-2-3-1 (2 number 10's (TJJ and CC) and a right winger), back 4 of El Miz, Woolfenden, Burgess and Leigh, Evans sitting, Morsy going box-to-box, and Ladapo the lone striker.
Walton - little to do, but solid as ever; was impressed with a couple of sweeps of balls played in behind - defenders probably could have covered them, but guess he was getting bored...
El Miz - feel sorry for the guy being shoehorned in at right back, but did a sound job there. He's clearly good enough to be playing regularly in his preferred centre-mid, but with Evans, Morsy and Ball ahead of him think he may have to move on to do that.
Woolfenden / Burgess - would have no problem seeing these 2 playing as the centre-backs in a back 4; good right / left balance, and good balance of a CB to attack the ball, and another to sweep.
Leigh - our first choice LWB, LB, LW, you name it; if we are still looking for another, he's going to have to be pretty outstanding to take his shirt. Playing at left back yesterday defensively solid (few crunching tackles), great leap when attacking his headers (at both ends), and got forward well whenever he could.
Evans - Pretty quiet game, but when you're protecting a defence that doesn't really need it because of the opposition, understandable. Again, usual tidy display on the ball, pinged one or two of his trademark ones as well.
Morsy - MOTM, not just for the 2 very well taken goals, but for his usual captain's display; rock solid on the ball, and his usual wrecking-ball performance off it (even though it was a friendly...)
TJJ - Think we've unearthed a real quality player here; was assuming because he is so young he might be here to use for the odd game, or as an impact sub. Held the ball up, and then used it well, won nearly all his headers; rewarded with a goal - can see him starting quite a few games for us this season.
CC - Usual busy self on and off the ball; linked the play up well, got into shooting positions, where he nearly always seems to test the keeper. Unlucky not to score from at least one of those chances.
KVY - Hugged the touchline, and always looked to make himself available to balls down the line from El Miz, or a cross-field pass or ball over the top from midfield. Considering how little he played last year, to chuck in another cliche, could look like a new signing once he hits his stride.
Ladapo - worked hard (leading the press), and ran hard; must have been a nightmare in those conditions. Missed a few chances that he'll probably think he should have done better with, but get the impression that when he takes one, it'll settle him down and more will follow.
Away from the game, shockingly slow queues for a half-time drink, and if you ever find yourself going for a curry in the Apollo Banana Leaf on Tooting High Street, whatever you plan to order, half it; insane portion sizes!
[Post edited 17 Jul 14:11]