Writer: Alex Lowy
Date:Tuesday July 17 2007
Right, overall, some nice football on show tonight, and a lot better than what I anticipated, being our first friendly of the summer.
With a different XI in each half, we saw a difference in the style of play. The first half team was a lot about long balls and counter attack, with bits of neat football from McBride, Kamara and Davies. McBride dominated the league 2 team in the air, and Kamara was too quick and skilful for them to handle. The second half was more of a neat, tidy, passing team, with more wing play and long range strikes.
Niemi - 6/10, steady & reliable, untested, got down very quickly to save a shot from Nurse when a defensive cockup occurred in the first half.
Baird - 8/10, highly impressive at right back. Very composed, showed a lot of skill on the ball, and decent crossing. For someone I thought to be more comfortable at centre back, a very impressive display. Might be Sanchez' best signing.
night - 6/10, nothing to complain about, used his height properly today.
Hughes - 6/10, a 'steady eddy', as the villa fans referred to him. Did his job adequately enough.
Konchesky - 7/10, combined well with Queudrue in counter attacks. Both his crosses were notably below average, very close to the goalkeeper on both tries.
Davies - 7/10, Neat and tidy, ran at players, and showed some skill. Needs to sharpen up a tad.
Davis - 6/10, average.
Brown - 6/10, was better than Davis for most of the time, but a couple of misplaced passes.
Queudrue - 7/10, played well in a less familiar role. When the fans booed him, he got on with his job. He also hit a cracking free kick that the keeper had to tip wide in the opening 20 minutes. The fans stopped booing thereafter.
Kamara - 8/10, very quick, showed a lot of skill and awareness, always available. VERY well taken goal.
McBride - 8/10, SO clever. Dominated in the air, and gave some very nice one-touch passes to the likes of Kamara and Davies.
Warner - 6/10, his confidence worries me sometimes, but rather untested today.
Volz - 7/10, very good link-up play with Dempsey, but I still worry about his
Pearce - 7/10, played some very nice passes it must be said. Solid, only got caught out once, and it was a matter of pace.
Bocanegra - 7.5/10, Solid enough to maintain my opinion that he is first choice centre back. Top notch in the air, and he has become more aggressive. The timing of his sliding tackle was perfect. Actually I'll give him an 8/10 now.
Rosenior - 7/10, okay at the back, very good going forward, jinked his way past defenders on two occasions at least.
Dempsey - 8/10, VERY skilful, possesses great pace, and showed good aerial prowess. Good all round.
Diop - 7/10, solid enough, also dominated in the air.
Smertin - 8/10, so reliable. He gives the defence a breather at times, always finds a safe option, and is very mobile. A very useful player.
Timlin - 7/10, he's filled out a bit in the last year, isn't so lightweight now. Looks like he's good enough to be given a chance, definitely a left-winger, but not the immediate solution we require for that position just yet. He is now definitely at the point of being able to break in and play 10-15 games.
John - 7/10, worked hard, had 3 headers! One was very well saved. There's still hope for Collins John yet. He was on his mobile phone during the warm-up, and was messing about when they were passing it around in the warm-up too.
Healy - 6/10, A few good runs, and forced a decent save, but there's got to be more to come. Also note that he took an early knock to the head in the second half.
If I were to pick my best 11 from that 22, based on today's performance, it would be:
Niemi; Rosenior, Baird, Bocanegra, Konchesky; Dempsey, Diop, Smertin, Davies; McBride, Kamara.
My man of the match nominees were Baird, Dempsey and Kamara. The best player in each department of the field, but it goes to Kamara, though.
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Date:Tuesday July 17 2007
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