A nice enough evening stroll for the men in white. It wasn’t especially pretty or effective, but a 7-1 aggregate win is emphatic enough.
The goals were all fairly routine and made us wonder why there weren’t more of them. For 1-0 AJ slipped through, and calmly finished, for 2-0 Senderos sent Duff scampering clear, and he calmly finished, then Zamora scored at the far post to make it three, then Sidwell overcame a serious case of finishing yips to make it four.
Otherwise Johnson snatched at a shot on the edge of the area, Sidwell volleyed wide following a scintillating buildup, Zamora headed straight at the keeper, Sidwell missed with a horrible slice then with what was either a goal line clearance or the post, and so on and so forth. We certainly had chances, and to continue the “nothing’s ever good enough is it?” theme, would have had more had our buildup play been better.
There were some decent performances though. Damien Duff looked sharp as a knife, but held no surprises for the Crusaders defence, who dealt with him quite well; Sidwell, despite the faulty radar, had another barnstorming game, and the intriguing Briggs/JA-Riise left-midfield/back combination showed some promise. Both seem very able attacking and know how to defend. You wouldn’t necessarily want to play them in the same team like this – that seems unduly negative – but it is an option, and shows that we do have genuine strength in depth in one position (another is centre-back, where Senderos split Hughes and Hangeland and looked pretty good).
You can’t read much into these games but we must assume all is broadly well until proved otherwise. On we go.