Our season is finally off and running, with a well deserved point at a Stoke City team who play their football more in the style of Bolton than Brazil. One of my favourite performances under Zola was when we battled to a 1-0 Diego Tristan inspired victory up there, and this battling performance was reminiscent.
In spite of Avram Gran't absence, the lads were well drilled and disciplined. Perhaps the only thing missing from the managerial side was the bravery ro make a sub in the last 15 mins to push on and win it. I thought Barrera could have been a good swap for Piquonne who had faded. But really, this is a decent point and can't have too many complaints.
The stars for me were an omnipresent Scott Parker and a strong performance from Manual Da Costa. Victor Obinna continued to impress. On the downside, Matthew Upson was occasionally sloppy and Robert Green, despite a wonderful save, still looks a little lost between the sticks.
Onto the ratings….
Green – 6 – still looks nervous on occasion but able to pull off a good save as well
Gabbidon – 5 – filling in for Illunga at left back, did okay but the lack of pace was occasionally apparent
Upson – 5 – helped survive the bombardent but never fully convincing
Da Costa – 6 – strong showing from the young centre half
Jacobsen – 6 – the guy offers very little going forward but is a solid, competent right back
Noble – 6 – faded in and out but always looking to get involved
Parker – 8 – a captain's performance from the man who should be captain
Behrami – 6 – bit of a headles chicken performance from Valon but got stuck in
Piquonne – 6 – one cracking shot and some good defensive play
Cole – 6 – needs to show a bit more, doesn't lack for effort but want him to get on the scoresheet
Obinna – 7 – settling in more and more and offering a threat up front
Sub – Kovac – 6 – did okay when coming on for Behrami
Overall, very proud of the lads, we have finally got a reward for the kind of work we showed against Chelsea and Man United and have set ourselves up nicely for Spurs next week. Proud to be a Hammer again!