Vote: Middlesborough Player Performance Poll

Click HERE to rate the players who played in the Middlesborough cup replay. Give them points from 1-10. Only vote for players who actually played at least 15 minutes.

The result will be published tomorrow.



to vote.


74 Responses to Vote: Middlesborough Player Performance Poll

  1. E1 says:

    ZOLA GOT THIS ONE WRONG and the players did’nt have a clue Wrong selection wrong tactics. I’m still trying to work it out what was we suspossed to be doing and why no wide players ?

  2. Russell says:

    Zola really needs to start playing himself! Thats all I can say about now..apart from my thoughts are with the poor sods just gettin on the coaches!

  3. Dan says:

    Every fan that travelled up there should be given a full ticket refund,what a disgrace!
    No width,no striker,no passion [except parker]
    it was that bad,ashamed!
    Someone show Green where to stand for a left footed free kick.
    Sears looks like an under 11’s player
    Tristan cant move
    Cole is back to the Cole we know
    Di Michelle is weak as water
    No goals in any of them,who needs Craig Bellamy?
    WE DO!

  4. P says:

    We truly were Tottenham in disguise.

  5. Whitey says:

    Oh Craig Bellamy how we miss you. 14m good business, not a chance.

    Bellamy made carlton look good. DDM all flicks and no substance, Tristan may as well wear his slippers and smoke his pipe. Freddie is too lightweight.

    The midfield huff and puff with some neat passes, but it all breaks down as soon as it reaches the front two.

    Behrami looked very average, Noble is always just too late and Kovac made a great challenge on a player going the wrong way for the 1st goal.

    I’m starting to fear the last 10 or so games.

  6. richard says:

    Kovac was awful. Gave away the free kick for the first goal and then proceeded to lose possession for the rest of the game. Sears is out of his depth and what happened to Di Michele – as bad as he was against Bolton. Even Noble has gone off the boil.

    Parker was the one saving grace.

  7. Shropshire Hammer says:

    That was poor! I really felt we had a great chance of getting to the next round and even giving Everton a decent game, how wrong was I. The worst I have seen Behremi, Illunga and Upson play. Kovac? Did not look comfortable on the ball at all, only Parker came out with any distinction. No width, no strike force, no clue, how glad am I that I couldn’t make it tonight. Anyone want a ticket for Wigan next week?

  8. mark says:

    Five games without a win; two draws and three defeats.Two goals scored,one from a defender, one from midfield. The majority of posession and nothing in the final third. Our defence suddenly looks weak. Freddie Sears does not have the build or the brain to play at this level yet. It was a waste of an hour playing him. DiMichelle had a bad game but we need to stick with one partner for Carton Cole. Tristan would need loads more palying time to make an impact, as a 20min sub it’s worse the useless. We need to work out how to get the ball into dangerous positions in the final third. Route one did not work tonight. Stop giving so much space on the left hand side and play with some width. Rant over…..

  9. Hammer Ray says:

    So depressing. Most of the points already summed up. God bless you poor supporters travelling back tonight. You are even more let down than me. Parker the only player who did anything tonight. Everything else is negative. Even Ilunga played like he was on something?? Without harping on, defensively appalling, but up front, completely clueless, toothless, and we wouldnt score if they left them out there until Sunday! DDM has to be shown the door, and I’m gutted to say young Sears is light years away from being ready. The Boro defenders only had to breathe and he was brushed off the ball. Desperately needs a few square meals to hold them off. Have to hold our hands up tonight and say Boro got it completely right and thoroughly deserve to go through. Just can’t believe we rolled over like that. Next season for Silverware then, hopefully with a completely new front line! COYI

  10. Gav Hammer says:

    the shape of the team was all wrong tonight … I’m going to get slated for saying this but I think we miss Boa Morte in games like this away from home. There was no-one in front of Illunga all game & it really congested the midfield. I know his finishing has been off but he gives 110% & gives us a better shape.

    I personally though Kovac did OK, & looked like a quality player at times … I think he will come good.

    Sears was just awful, I feel for the lad, I just dont think the premiership will be his stage

  11. Goatygav says:

    We made them look good. It was very easy for them and, yes, Zola was culpable. The players weren’t great though. There were some truly terrible performances. Some of those poor performances were brought on by the inept tactics but the players were also to blame.

    They owe those 4000 fans a BIG apology.

    I sincerely hope to see a far, far, far better game on Sunday.

  12. MickeyN says:

    I feel very sad for the fantastic following that went up. I think the game taught us and perhaps GFZ some lessons. Sears, Tristan and Di Michele do not seem up to it. I think Kovac is a good player but GFZ played him where the lynchpin, Parker, normally plays. This seemed to upset the entire poise of the team. The defence was not protected – particularly evident in the second goal – and the diamond did not function (look at the stray crossfield passes that usually find Parker). Two other things: first, I know that Collins is often seen as the lesser of the CB partnership – but boy did we miss the Ginger Monster (though Tompkins was OK today and Saturday) and secondly, what’s all this Bellamy adoration? sure he scored a couple of shop window goals but he was a headless chicken a lot of the time. We’ve gone off the boil, maybe the Manure game rattled the team’s confidence, maybe they are tired. Maybe GFZ is doing some squad experimenting. We are still better than we have been for a long time. COYI!!

  13. One peach of a free-kick and a lucky deflection.

    Cheer up, boys, we’ll come good.

    I do feel sorry for the fans on the road, though.

  14. Iron Lung says:

    I thought Kovac improved as the game went on…but he set the bar pretty low with that first five minutes. That’s not where the game was lost, though, we look powderpuff up front, and never threatened them. DDM has GOT to go…I was ASHAMED of his performance tonight. But apart from Parker that would be true for all of them tonight. Embarrassing.

  15. colney says:

    zola didnt do anything to change the shape of the team just sat there with no expression on his face.whats that all about when your team has no ideas and no width ?explain

  16. aussie graham says:

    All the transfer window money where did it all go in the big fat failures pocket to bail him out for a month or two.we need a new owner fast and deep pockets because these crap loan signings are what they are past their sell buy dates investment or go backwards fast.zola is very raw and has a lot to learn but please dimichele tristan lucas neill sears kovac god there must be better even etherington would have had a go very poor as long as duxberry is ceo we will go the same way as leeds you watch.

  17. Hockley Hammer says:

    I can’t see how we are ever going to score another goal. We need to get some width from somewhere. Maybe a change in formation, 3-5-2. 3 c/bs Tompkins, Neal and Upson. Behrami and Ilunga as wing backs, Parker, Collison, and Noble center mid. Cole and Savio up front. Anything has got to be better than tonights performance.

  18. whufc4life says:

    i think we really missed collinson tonight it really showed how well him and upson have been performing together! i think its stil to early for tomkins and should only be used again if we really need it. aloso sears didnt look like the right choice to start with really think savio should have been given a start.

  19. Hammer Ray says:

    I know Savio needs time..but didn’t we pay 9MIL for him? Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but Sears, Tristan and DDM were soooo bad that any amount of quality may have created something to lift us tonight. Typical West Ham of highs and lows..tonight the latter. We still aren’t beating those teams that we really should beat, and then raise it for the top 4! Not good enough if we want to push on, but wont improve until we get some serious firepower up front. I really felt things were looking up but after tonight am having doubts again. Will it ever change?? COYI

  20. Tom says:

    I was surprised at the line up tonight, we have known since the transfer window closed that we were going to struggle up front. However, having read half the tripe from half you lot above it just goes to show why Upton Park never has an atmosphere … week after week same old faces calling for Sears to get a run … and for those of you that know a bit about the game, you will know the wee lad is not up to it yet. Noble has two or three good games and goes off the boil but week in week out you lot just rave on play em … well some times they don’t deliver, and new guys have to be blooded to get a grip of the pace of life in the Premiership tonight showed that.

    Tonight didn’t work so Clarky and GFZ will have them in and try something new. You are only as good as the tools you’ve got and GFZ doesn’t have a goal scorer. Sustain what we’ve got and build an attractive proposition for next season.

    Get behind them guys or you’ll see Chelski walk off with our future.

  21. SJ Chandos says:

    This was a very disappointing performance. When we went 2-0 down Nsereko should have been brought on to provide the width, and direct ball in, that we were so sorely lacking.

    Kovac is still effectively in pre-season, so we should give him the benefit of the doubt. Although there was little excuse for that crude challenge that led to the conversion from the free kick, particularly as the Boro player was heading away from goal at the time! It was a first class free kick by Downing though, credit where it is due! The second goal was slightly unfortunate, the clearance falling to one of their players and the shot taking a deflection past Green.

    Overall, our play tonight was overly elaborate, with too many short passes that went nowhere. There was no killer ball in the last third and it all become very fustrating. With our lack of width, all Boro had to do was squeeze the play and force us to try and play through a central defensive brick wall! Love him or loath him, Bellamy gave us the option of the long ball in to space for him to run on to. We no longer appear to have a striker able to do that!

    It is a bad result. We have conspired, somehow, to make a poor team look good! Still, I have faith in Zola/Clarke and I believe that they will learn from this and work with the players to put it right. Another pacy striker would be handy though, right now! Still, we will just have work with what we have and put it right for Sunday’s match.

  22. Hammer Ray says:

    Fine Tom, I’m all for positive thinking, but with our strike force it is difficult. Was just about bearable when Cole managed to hit the net, but now he’s reverted to normal, there isn’t anyone else. I welcome with open arms something to cheer about, but unless we get some width and muster up someone to tuck some chances away, we may have to be patient before we see some ground breaking improvements. Whatever changes happen, I am totally in support of GZ and Clarke..the only way forward for me, despite the alleged in-experience..he’ll come through for us! Have faith . COYI

  23. aussie graham says:

    You know zola had all transfer window to get replacements in what a shambles donkeys upfront dont forget 3 out of 4 losses back to where curbishley started have we actually got anywhere in the last 6 months i think not.where are the buyers for our wonderful club .can anyone tell me how can a bank go bankrupt? answer if it is run by the faceless gutless donuts who own us.Just like terry brown true supporters jack walker has been the only one!

  24. SJ Chandos says:

    I would also like to express my sympathy for those 4,000 brave hearts that made the trip up north to see this insipid display. I could not go tonight, because of business commitments, but I have, in the past, regularly travelled and been on the end of results like this. They really do deserve much better!

    Also nice to see that ex-Boro player Andy Townsend did not show any bias in his ITV commentary. Anyone hear that comment prior to the second half about Boro going on to grind us in to the dirt!!!!! And what about Graham La Saux, sharing his expert insight that West Ham ‘needed to create chances!’ No, get away Graham, we would never have known that without you expertly drawing it to our attention. The standard of commentary these days is truly appalling.

  25. Hammer Ray says:

    Andy Townsend, Greame le Saux, David Pleat, followed up by the brilliant Robbie Earle!!!! Surely there are no wiser commentators about?? MOTD all is forgiven! well almost Lawrenson/ Shearer… I give up! COYI

  26. Colm says:

    Its a downer of a result alright but It happens,best not dwell on it,so Lets just keep the faith and get right behind the team for the man city game!!!

    Those who give off about not having bellamy anymore should just get over it, he doesnt care so why should you. Id gladly choose our rubbish strikers over that dis-loyal fool,he just isnt respectable and its only a matter of time before he gets another longterm injury

  27. purser says:

    Couple of thoughts, no width but we don’t have any at the club either so perhaps we recall Reid at least that gives us a left wing option or play the other left back sorry name escapes me that is on loan. I cant see us doing much than win one lose won from now on, 10th in the league about right. Far too many central midfielders, Parker, Noble, Collinson, Behrami and Kovac all too similar. Cole is back to the Cole I have always known workd hard but just not good enough without strong support, Sears needs a good run to gain confidence and is still young, he may not be an Owen or Rooney but may develop over the enxt few years. We have very little options either. Summer we need at least 1 decent striker plus get rid of the loans, 2 new wide men although it looks like Fubert may be back, cover for Neil. 4 quality buys should be enough. Ian has anyone worked out the net profit from player sales over the last 12 months, I think we must be circa 30Million up

  28. West Ham Fan No 32 says:

    It was a terrible performance and still we had enough of the ball that we looked like the home team for most of the match. Since Bellamy has left Cole has gone into his shell, I think Bellamy used to gee him and the other players up, there is a lot of effort going in but no spark with the exception of Parker and Collison when he came on. I think if Zola is going to play Sears heshould tell him to watch video’s of Bellamy and play like him, he spent too much time in midfield instead of trying to run behind the defence. What Le Saux said was mostly right all of our play was lateral in fromt of their back 4 it has been that way since Bellamy left. Perhaps he should give the strikers some viagra before the next game because none of them have any penetration at present ! Sears is a lot better than he looked tonight and it seems strange that Zola should play the B team in a must win game… Kovacs in his first ever game to be playing a cup tie away, that was a huge gamble that failed, not playing Collison who has been one of our best players… the side lacked width and shape it was so narrow that every time they got the ball they knew they could hit it wide and find a player as they did through both half’s. Zola is learning and tonight he made a mistake, he knows how important Bellamy was but Bellamy wanted to go so he can’t be blamed for the dross that we are left with. Lets get 7 more points get to premiership safety and then let him send in some of the youth team and a good idea of who else he needs to sell next year !

  29. Big_Casino says:

    It seemed like Parker vs Boro tonight – though I’d also put in a word for Lucas Neill. Not so much his performance, which I thought was alrite, but I thought he at least showed some desire which was lacking from others.

    Behrami has proper gone missing the last two games and other consistent players like Ilunga and Upson just seemed vacant in mind and body throughout.

    Very disappointing. Once again it highlighted our weakness up front. Think it’s harsh to judge Sears on one game alone, though I agree entirely that he looked lightweight and lacking Premiership class tonight.

    Kovac looked like our other loan signing, Mr Di Michelle, very average (at best) and just not good enough for this level.

    I fear our season might peter out, especially as we look so short up front, but in all honesty I think we are punching above our weight at the moment. Man City and Spurs (as much as it pains me to say it) are 6 or 7 players ahead us. We have a a really good first eleven, but almost no strength in depth, and after our great run of performances with our best eleven, we not look painfully short.

  30. HammersWest says:

    Just watched the game as I was at work earlier, my TV turned off at 90 minutes so I missed the last couple of minutes – but that may have been a blessing. Parker again MOTM. I felt Kovac def improved as the game went on, I think he’ll be an asset. Lucas I thought played fairly well. Illunga seemed out of it, Sears too lightweight, though he may grow out of it. DM an embarrassment with that dive. I was disappointed with the team selection, but to be honest GZ played pretty much who we all had been asking for, Kovac was a good idea on paper against that team of big players.
    I really don’t understand why we kept playing down the centre into their packed defense, and why we didn’t bring Savio on to give us some width. I think that was a mistake by Zola that he did not rectify, but I’m sure he’s smart enough to learn from that.

  31. chris says:

    Just got home a while ago,bad day at the office.
    Cant believe I went to this one!
    But I think Zola Used this game to try out something new.
    1.sears is to lightweight
    2.Kovac cant play the holding role like parker,he was at fault for both goals.
    3.Di michele couldn’t score in a brothel
    4.Neil needs to play centre back for a while.

    our problems up front are serious.
    So serious that we could be the 3rd team to go down I cant see where 3 wins is gunna come from,we just dont score.
    Time to shut up shop and go 4 5 1 for the rest of the season,if we cant score lets be hard to beat.
    Why Why why didn’t we invest in a striker!!!

  32. chris says:

    Oh yeah had to take the misses with me,when they walked out she said “Whos that boy with the team”
    Babe thats freddie sears!!!!

  33. Roymondo says:

    We seem to have gone from a team, earlier in the season, that played well and let in late goals to one that lets in early goals and gives themselves a mountain to climb. Agree with most of the comments – Sears very lightweight and, let’s be honest, has done almost nothing since his debut goal last season, no width, DDM woeful – again! – and Tristan like a tailor’s dummy without the movement.
    The other thing to remember is that there have been so many away performances like this over the years. In many ways this was a typical West Ham away performance although the hard bit to take is that we seemed to have changed in the last few months.

  34. Dujon says:

    Savio to start up front. We can’t rely on cameo appearances by Savio for him to produce something. Like i’ve been saying for the last few games, I deffinately would love to see Zavon Hines, Bondz N’Gala, and Junior Stanislas make some first team appearances. Especially right now as we have injuries/suspensions AND we need a change as 33 points will not save us yet !

  35. E1 says:

    Sears needs to go out on loan and get some games under his belt he’s not ready yet.Kovac I think will come good but I prefer parker in the holding role,collison should start all remaining games as he is still out to impress and might as a young player have a dip in form next season,noble needs a rest,tomkins has done well but while ginge is out neil should go centre with spector on the right,Berhami parker collison savio Then were do we go and who do we use up front with cole

  36. I don’t share the doom and gloom about plummeting down the table. 37/38 pts should be enough this season so we won’t struggle to reach that total.

  37. Paolo says:

    Come on chaps, chin up!

    We’ve had two dodgy displays – even the first tie against Boro wasn’t bad, a bit better finishing, and Cole not getting injured andn we would have easily won that one. Even against Bolton we picked it up after a poor start.

    Why not give Savio/Sears/Tomkins a run? I agree we still have enough quality to stave off relegation and get another dozen points, we aren’t going to on the other hand qualify for Europe, so if we accept our season is effectively over then give these guys a run to give them some serious experience ready for next year. We are supposed to be a nurturing club looking at developing youth players. I also agree that we missed Collison last night.

    Defensively I think we still looked OK (a peach of a free kick and a lucky deflection someone said) but what let us down was the midfield – as a unit. Not enough creativity going forward and not tracking back to cover wide areas. That was an issue with the shape, I feel.

    Still, that’s it, season over, so let’s have a proper look at some of these young ‘uns. COYI!

  38. irontc says:

    Terrible performance.Sympathy to the travelling.

    Hopefully, Zola and Clarke will have learnt a lot from that game. And so will some of us!

    Freddie aint ready yet. Tomkins, not sure either. We need to play Savio wide / up front. Cole looks jaded, carrying an injury? And we should have gotten a proven striker in the window!

    On the positives = we’ll be fine this season – we are building for the future! And I think Kovac might do a job for us.


  39. colney says:

    i hate to say it but i think the main problem is ashton.because of his long term injury the board just cnt go out and buy another 10 mill striker with the posability of ashton coming back one just seems to me were holding back on investing in the forward line due to him being on the books.all we have are second rate strikers who are free loading of our club.dmd does put in a shift every now and then but were a prem team ffs!cole is not looking fit at all,hes gone back to his grimicing every time he screws up,his confidence has just seeped away again.i must admit i was questioning zola on seers lack of games but not to put to much ov a boot in i think maybe another year learning maybe be the best thing for the lad.

  40. E13 says:

    Worst performance so far.

    Sears and Noble stood out for obvious reasons.

    I wonder how much training a player needs to take a decent corner?

  41. Roymondo says:

    The calls to play some more of the youngsters are probably a bit wide of the mark. Sears, so far, has proved to be a false dawn and there has been a deluge of posters over the past few weeks demanding his inclusion.
    Zola and Clarke see these guys every day and it would appear that they are not ready, in their judgement.
    I would, however, stick with Tomkins while Ginge is out. He did OK when he came in last season and also did well at Bolton. Whilst he didn’t have a great game last night, neither did anyone else. He’s quicker than Neill and we will need that on Sunday against Man City as Bellamy, Robinho and Wright-Phillips are all a bit speedy.
    I’ve cast my vote for last night. Parker and Green both 6 (I don’t think you can fault Green for either goal – the free kick was about as good as it gets – and he made a couple of good saves), two ot three 5s and the rest 4 apart from Di Michele (3) and Tristan (2) who was an unbelievable non-event.
    Am I right in thinking that Di Michele is on loan, so we can offload him, but Tristan was signed on a “free” so he is under contract. Anyone know how long that contract is for?

  42. Dujon says:

    I haven’t seen much of him play, but if Savio is stiffening up then he needs to loosen up!

    There is a video of him on youtube tricking a defender, and he looks so incredibly confident and relaxed. I know it’s a big step up from Serie B to EPL, but Savio is an incredible player. Get’s my vote for taking Free Kick (shots) and corners.

  43. IOWHammer says:

    That was awful. Kovac’s foul right at the start was schoolboy stuff, great free kick though, fair play, lets face it, could not imagine any of ours doing that. Unlucky for the second. Yes, Tomkins should have tried to clear it out to the side but still unfortunate to fall straight to them like that.
    After that it was up hill and i think we have been found out. ‘Borough worked hard in midfield-again. This is what we were doing a few games back but we were out worked through the middle, again. They know we play with no width so nothing to worry about there for them, when we did get someone wide, only a few times, they could not cope but we did not bother to commit someone to playing wide so there was no need for them to worry. Plus when they went on the attack they knew they just had to go wide for space. Sears is still to lightwieght and Cole does not stand a chance without diagonal balls coming in from wide, it’s just to easy for centre-halfs to read when balls only come down the centre. DDM & Tristan need to be fined for faulsly impersonating strikers. The lack of movement up front was appalling.
    Felt sorry for Parker who ran himself into the ground, again. The guy should get the armband. He may not be that vocal but his workrate, even for a lost cause, shames the others.
    Hope Zola has learnt something from the last three games, i’m confidant he has, if not it’s going to be a nail biting end to the season.

  44. Paul M says:

    poor performance for sure. I like the Zola style we have adopted but we must adapt to be able to play different styles too!! Last night screamed for some width against thier huge centrebacks, so why no Savio, AT ALL ?
    I’m no manager, but christ it’s not rocket science. Ok, many have called for Freddie to get his chance and let’s be fiar we don’t have many options up front. It did show that he is not ready at this level, yet. Loan him out to get some experience. Di Mic, (i call him di flick)past his best for sure but Tristan, do me a favour, GZ had alook at him before we gave him 2-3 months to get fit and liked what he saw so signed him. 3 months later and the guy is a chump, so what did GZ see? He has finished at this level for sure he needs too many touches.
    Cole is lumbering a bit, but he is still feeling the ankle problem and is only playing because we are so thin up front.
    Parker was his gritty self and Collison looked good when he came on. Kovac started slowly but showed some signs he will be OK.
    Noble needs a rest for sure, he gets it Sunday cos he’s banned.Behrami looked jaded as well, again!!
    At the back Neil battles but god he is so slow and gets caught out too often. Illunga was poor, saw him on a few occassions press forward up the left, but when the attack fizzled out he just WALKED back, sorry NOT good enough run or at least jog.
    Upson and Tomkins were only OK, they don’t gel like Ginge and Upson. Greeny, not at fault for a world class free kick or a deflected goal and made one superb save from Aliadirre when he rushed out to his feet – braveheart.

    So where do we go from here? Who’d be a prem’ manager. I want some width so would look at 4 across the back, 3 centre midfielders with 2 more playing as wingers/midfielders and play Cole up front as the hold up.
    My team would be
    Spector Neil Upson Illunga
    Savio Behrami Parker Collison Lopez

    Bench – Kovac, Noble, Tomkins, Sears, Lashtuvka & Boa

  45. hammeredCalv says:

    total rubbish !!! Parker was only player that looked up for it !! embarrassed to be a hammer today !!!!!!

  46. iron man says:

    What a let down ,Zola should have played his best team from the start. Collison and Savio should have started, Kovacs was piss poor and his foul that led to the first goal was stupid and cost us dearly.
    We made a very average team look good. What also worries me is that Zola did not respond and try to change the shape of the team a bit earlier. Tristan is pretty useless. If you throw more attacking players on to try and get back into the game they need to be a real threat and he was not, nor was Di Michele. I felt a bit sorry for Freddy and think this was the wrong game to give him a start. I really hope the team can pick themselves up and get a positive result on Sunday.

  47. DevoDevo says:

    Going to quickly post my thoughts as I am a little busy this morning and then catch up later:

    2 major things have happened to cause the downturn in form. One is Bellamy. As I said on many occasions on here, the guy is class. Pulls defences all over the place, gives you the ‘over the top’ outlet and runs all day. He is also able to get behind defences wide and lay chances on for Cole. This has disappeared. Two, teams are working out Zola’s formation and doing what we and others do to Arsenal & Chelsea. Sit on the edge of the box and ask us to try to get through the middle.

    I’ve said before that the only way this system will work (the midfield) is if you get the full backs overlapping. Ilunga sometimes does this, Neill, rarely. Plus Neill doesn’t have the legs to get back after an upfield run.

    I’m beginning to think that we train in the corridors such is the narrowness of our play. Earlier on in the season players were switching position and drifting wide. This has stopped.

    Finally, our defence and midfoeld are no longer functioning as two banks of 4. Again, last night a goal came from Tuncay not being tracked back by Kovac. I’m losing count of goals coming from these areas (and free kicks!)

    Let’s get back to basics. Set up to be hard to beat and try to break on teams.

    Green – couldn’t be faulted for the free kick last night and had a pretty decent game

    Neill – Lacks Spector’s pace and energy, give the Yank a chance.

    Tomkins – often outfoxed by Alliadiere and Tuncay, still lots to learn.

    Upson – shadow of former self recently, let’s hope it is a blip.

    Ilunga – worse game I can recall

    Behrami – gave everything but no impression

    Parker – Tried to replicate his effort on saturday to no avail. make him captain.

    Noble – Innocuous

    Cole – Poor service, no support, never figured.

    Sears – now we know why he hasn’t played him

    Collison – we improved when he came on, but still offered no width

    Di Michele – shocking and out of his depth

    Tristan – embarrasing.

    My worry is that we are not going to score goals for the rest of the season. Our corners never look dangerous and our free kicks are the same. Who else “knew” Downing was going to score?

  48. DevoDevo says:

    Sorry, forgot Kovac:

    Gave away free kick needlessly for 1st goal.
    Didn’t track Tuncay back for 2nd.

    But did look a useful addition and got better as the game went on. He also had our only shot in anger on target.

  49. James says:


    Green can be faulted over the free kick, his positioning was all wrong!! Why does he stand right side of the goal?

    It was a repeat of Bolton’s free kick last week and I guess Downing knew where to put it!!

    So along with Kovac making the tackle Green is also accountable for not learning from the Bolton match!!

  50. colney says:

    “It wasn’t a great performance, but I believe the players gave everything, which is very encouraging.”

    zolas words not mine !!!!

    oh dear,the chelski deludedness is seeping through i fear!

  51. DevoDevo says:

    James – his positioning was correct last night and he had the left side of the goal covered fine. Downing put the ball where NO keeper would reach it, it was a sublime free kick.

    As Townsend also said, the wall did it’s job as well. all jumped knowing what was coming, but sometimes you have to accept quality play.

  52. Eddie Chappers says:

    Someone show Green where to stand for that free kick??

    You’re having a laugh mate, it went over his wall, hit the postage stamp and he still almost saved it- behave!

    We didnt look like a team until Collison and DiMichelle came on, DiMichelle’s ball to set up Parker for our best chance of the game was sublime and showed why he merits a place in the team over Sears who was worse than awful- wouldn’t merit a place in Championship side and got muscled off the ball every single time he got it. He might still be young but he needs to go out on loan to the Daggers or the Orient. Poor performance from the team mainly due to a poor team selection but I’m not sure DiMichele deserves singling out by people as he (along with Collison) brought us back to life.

  53. chris says:

    Eddie agree Di michele has that trick we need in the final 3rd but it never comes off.

  54. chris says:

    Devo agreed, kovac at fault for both goals,this fellas a centre half playing midfield,but at least things were learnt.

  55. DevoDevo says:

    Eddie – I think DiMichele’s intended target was Cole and not Parker, just my opinion.

    chris – he does play midfield as well, but perhaps Zola should try him CB with Upson for his experience?

    Can’t understand why Savio never came on. We were crying out for pace and as Roymondo so eloquently said, Tristan was less mobile than a tailor’s dummy.

    Also agree with chris that his flicks normally come to nothing.

    I felt for you boys that travelled last night. Respect.

  56. WHTID says:

    what we have all got to remember is that was kovac’s first game. you all know what its like going out for the first time with your team ( if any of you have played footie)it take a little while to gel, and be fair he was getting better a few more games under his belt he will be class. he showed a few glimmers

  57. Kovac is always going to take a while to get up to speed so we need to take it easy on him, the rest of them looked like a bunch of muppets, against Boro no less!

  58. Roymondo says:

    I think DevoDevo got it about spot on. I also agree that you cannot fault Green for the free kick. The keeper has to line the wall up on one side and stand the other side. If he did it the other way round he would have given Downing far more of the goal to aim at. I think that the kick was about as perfect as it gets and no keeper would have stopped it. I wouldn’t even have got close to it in my prime. Oh, hang about; I was a striker so that’s understandable.

  59. hinsdaleman says:

    I agree with a few of the comments here. You have to give Kovac time. In time I think he could be OK.
    Forget Sears, Di Michele, Tristan We need to move on and find some other strikers.
    At the back, Tomkins needs more time.

  60. djclipz says:

    Fist 20 min, Kovac was awful especially his positioning, but after that he improved a hell of a lot like a majority of people agree with. Maybe this wasn’t the best game for him to have his first appearance especially with the back 2 not being upson and collins!! Tomkins at this point needs as much help as possible at the minute so we should have stuck with parker just in front!!

    Don’t know what to say about collison being on the bench… i just don’t get it!!

    And im sorry to any Sears admirers but… he may have been outstanding all throughout his youth career but he just hasn’t got it at this level imo. Even though i don’t see savio as a striker i still think i have seen more in him in his 10min showings than i ever have with sears. I thought he was meant to be quick and run at ppl, all i saw was him look to pass when he had the ball or get easily muscled out the way when challenging or tryin to get on the end of a pass. Would rather of seen DDM there all game even if he can’t hit a barn door, he does have the football mind and some great touches to go with it! That would have been more effective last nyt but obviously not in the long run!!

    Overall a terrible game and awful result considering we should of done them at home, i just hope they pick themselves up and respond on sunday! Hate to say it though im worried about tht lil welsh guy especially if tomkins starts. I do rate tomkins and believe he will be a good player, but at the minute bellamy will look to exploit that weakness in our defence and we all kno his running at people abilities. But saying this the main part to dominate is the midfield, which we simply havent been able to do recently, apart from at the end of the bolton game. If we win this battle we will have a much better chance and more control in the game, man city like us look poor when they don’t have any control in the middle.


    ps. Our width problem is hurting us too, we go 2 down to middles, so they put 9 players through the middle, and as no one even bothered looking or running wide we just ran into a sea of red. No chance!!

  61. Old Biddy says:

    Dear oh dear…just when we seem to be moving to greater heights…BANG!back to square 1,iv being saying this for months but Sears really needs to go out on loan and see regular first team action,he looked well short last night but what do you expect with him only starting a couple of games ALL SEASON LONG,it did Defoe no harm being loaned out all them years ago did it?…..the only bright spark was Parker i thought he was fantastic again defo inline for Hammer of the year

  62. E1 says:

    with regard the youngsters: Sears needs more games in a first team lower league to sharpen him up a bit he also needs to work on his upper body strength.
    Tomkins is at the moment doing well and seems to be making progress how ever as all young players he will make mistakes and his form will dip likley next season as could collison who in my opinion is the pick of the crop.
    Noble has not had a great season and has not come on as quickly as we the supporters would want but we must remember that he is still very young and will come good over the next few months and pre-season a rest may do him good and with a suspention for next weeks game could come back with renewed vigor(I hope)
    With the squad as it is I don’t think a 4-4-2 is our best option IMHO and maybe we should look at 4-5-1
    Spector Neil/Tomkins Upson Illunga
    Savio Berahmi Parker Collison Lopaz
    Just an idea cole needs to be able to play the ball out wide and move into the box at the moment he is having to spend most of the game with his back to goal and playing the ball backwards.
    What formations would you all play with the players we have and the position we are in at the moment and who would you pick ?

  63. DevoDevo says:

    Similar to you, E1:


    Spector…..Neill or Kovac….Upson…..Ilunga




  64. tommo says:

    Worst performance ive seen by us this year in my opinion,against a very average side,could go on about Zola getting it all wrong but i think the lads have covered that one.I just would like to say a big thankyou though to Sky Modern for putting on Diamond’s are forever because the film really came to my aid after about watching 60 minutes of that shite!!.

  65. E1 says:

    I have seen lopaz play in the reserve team he is a good crosser of the ball, gets back when needed and will take people on.
    At the moment I think noble is best used when we are needing the slow the oposition down and stop them scoring rather than when we trying to win a game(mullins), don’t get me wrong I have every faith in him and I am a fan but with the lack of fire power I think we just need to keep playing wide and getting to ball in the box for cole.With berahmi and collison for support. I’m just trying to see how we can get goals and this is my best, though not perfect solution.

  66. Rob says:

    zolas biggest blunder was leaving out a 20 year old brimming with confidence…..Collison!
    i am disappointed that when we were chasing the game we throw on 2 has-beens in DDM and Tristan. This game had savio written all over it.

    i think neil deserves some credit as well as parker, he was our best defender.

    and im not sure if its just me but i think cole has forgotten his basic job since having that burst of form. he seems to get frustated much more now hopefully just an off day.

    i think we should play just cole up top, and have collison savio and behrami bombing forward just behind him. and i have heard some people criticise green, the free kick was unstoppable……but kovac showed some real stupidity given it away in the first place

  67. Rob says:

    oh and i agree with giving youngsters a run, we could field a team with 6 or so acadamy graduates……
    Stanislas (This lad has something special, and would add some desperately needed width)

    and to those saying relegation is an option, dont be so silly, we need about 5 points untill the end of the season probably for survival, and if you think that isnt possible you must be the most miserable sod in the world

  68. E1 says:

    Rob: Well said 3 wins and we should be safe but stranger things have happened remember ‘To good to go down’ and we did with 42 points!
    Hope that don’t make me a miserable sod?
    I agree Stanilas could be given a go as could Lopez but wide players don’t seem to be in Zola’s thinking?

  69. peter.g says:

    3 words,,, dia-bol-ical, coyi time to get it together.

  70. Iron Lung says:

    Love Robert Green to bits, but…how can you give him the benefit of the doubt after being beaten on the left again? Obviously Middlesbrough watched the Bolton free kick. As Downing was shaping to take the kick it was glaringly obvious which corner it was going for….he left acres of space and invited Downing to use it. Can’t take anything away from the quality of the strike – it was a beauty- but Green got it wrong. Nothing someone posted on the line wouldn’t have stopped, either. It’ll be interesting to see how they defend the next one, after being mugged so easily twice in a row.

  71. jeffreybubbles says:

    Steep learning curve thats all i can say and hope.

  72. DevoDevo says:

    E1 – I haven’t seen Lopez and have heard varying reports. Having watched Sears’ performance last night after calling for him to start, perhaps Zola feels that Lopez is not good enough either? I agree, we need some width, so he has to be worth a go.

    The most improtant thing for the team at the moment is to tighten up early on with two banks of 4 like we were doing when we were winning. last night we were a shambles defensively.

    Someone said that we were beaten by one moment of magic and a deflection. I counted at least another 3 chances better than anything we had that should have been buried. We were outplayed and outfought. Simple.

  73. Hammer Ray says:

    And for Sunday, can we please start with somebody who can take a corner, in a manner that somebody can attack it! When it comes down with snow on it, or drops straight into the keepers arms, time after time, you would think someobody might want to change something. Basics…COYI

  74. chris says:

    Intresting posts guys.
    Feel really sorry for sears but maybe he could play out wide,he has got pace! might be easier for him than playing with his back to goal up front.
    Worked for milner of Villa who started out as a striker.
    Just a thought.

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