Date:Wednesday August 27 2008
Here's my ratings for the players, feel free to agree/disagree etc!
Weaver - 7.5/10 - Didn't really do anything wrong, had no chance for their first goal, and the saved a pen (looked at the reply after, he moved less than a foot off the line BEFORE the ball was kicked, most of his forward movement was made after the ball was kicked in a second movement), and put off the reading player for the first pen with his "big arms" tactics. What he had to do he did well, but his distribution was slightly sluggish.
Basey - 7/10 - Fairly quiet game and looked to be able to sit back more with Bouazza impressing on the left. Got skinned a couple of times by their Right Winger but made up for this with a couple of crucial headers following Reading's deep crosses from the left (Reading's)
Hudson - 7/10 - Didn't notice him too much, but barely put a foot wrong. Perhaps could have organised a bit better by pushing players out of box following corners. This was the problem with the Reading first goal.
Fortune - 7.5/10 - Did very well with most stuff thrown at him, and wasn't caught on his heels, which is usually his biggest problem. Play a couple of stunning 60 yard balls to Bouazza that really opened up the game
Moutaouakil - 9/10 - Anyone who knows my thoughts on him last season will be surprised at this rating, but he was stunning. His defensive play was solid from the start and his forward play gave us an extra dimension. If you get to see the fourth goal his assist was almost as good as the finish.
Bailey - 9.5/10 - My Man of the Match. Looked a little sluggish in the first 10 min, but after that was superb. He was confident on the ball, assured in his passing playing a couple of cracking through balls, and ultimately stalwart in his defensive duties. He reminded me of a cross between Holland and Parker. If his shooting was a little better on the today he would have had a 10/10, but looked too desperate to score.
Holland - 9/10 - Very good, and led the team like he was still captain. Was always there for the pass, and broke into the box well. Got the opener by following his instincts and showed his years of experience. With him and Bailey the CM area looked much stronger than last season, and allowed the wingers more freedom knowing that those two were there to mop up.
Sam - 8.5/10 - Great game. Did his usual trick of going missing for 15 min in the first half but was superb other than that. Only criticism was when running through he needs to look up more rather than head down running.
Bouazza 9/10 - Amazing game on the day. Started a little slow, but after 10 min began to show his class, and kept on getting better. Had the skill to beat players, the knowledge to pass and cross effectively and the presence/composure/genius to use all of this consistently. If he can play like this regularly then he'll be the best player in the division. Stunning finish for the 4th goal.
Gray - 7.5/10 - Took pen well, showing Reading how to do it. Had a decent game and his hold up play was good, but was occasionally bullied out of the ball in the first half. Brought Bouazza and Sam into the game consistently well.
Varney - 9/10 - Sky's Man of the Match, worked as hard as anyone and did everything, won a pen, scored a cracking header, skinned the defence several times with his pace. People's criticism last season was he didn't run constructively with the ball and in the channels, but today he did everything you could have asked for and could have had a hat trick if it wasn't for Hahnemann making some good one on one saves.
Pardew - 8/10 - Got the tactics and team selection spot on today. Did well in that he didn't bring Shelvey on, the temptation was there to let him pick passes through the gaping hole in Reading Defence, but with Holland and Bailey playing well there was no need, and could have over complicated. Might have given Dickson a run out in last 10 min as both strikers looked tired, but still, can't complain with a 4-2 win where the ref was giving them everything.
Fans - 9/10 - Sang well on the day, and Reading getting back to 2-2 with the retaken pen etc spurred everyone on and at that point we were always going to step up. Great day all round and in the end alls well that ends well.
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Date:Wednesday August 27 2008
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