Here are the highlights.
You get freedom of the cottage for cup games and, for the sake of it, I got tickets right behind the goal in the Putney End. You can see me in red talking to Martin after AJ shot straight at the keeper in the first half.
Anyway, lessons have been learned about sitting too close: that shot, for instance, felt like a sitter from where we were. He seemed so close in, it seemed an affront to forward play that the shot was so lame. Now I see that he was 20 yards out after all and that it wasn’t a bad effort.
One thing you do get from being that close is a good sense of the corner kick hurly burly. The players really do crash the area, and you can see how Hangeland’s game has come on – there’s a serious purpose about his runs. I got the sense that pre-Hughes, Hangeland didn’t really know how best to attack corners. Now he’s an absolute menace.
One final note. I watch a fair bit of Kenny Dalglish the other night, and what I noticed was that some of his play (don’t laugh) wasn’t unlike that of Zamora. Dalglish was an absolute bugger for defenders to deal with, deceptively strong. History has tended to paint Dalglish as a type of Beardsley link up man, but the player I saw in the 70s was rolling defenders mercilessly.
It’s something I wonder if Zamora could do more of. I say this as a huge admirer of our centre forward – surely he’s good enough for a champions league team at this point – but could he turn defenders more with that body strength? He’s amazing at stopping the ball, shielding it, using it, but you don’t see him do this and then half-beat his man very often. Dalglish somehow managed to maneuver himself so that he was receiving the ball on the half-turn, squirm away then shoot/lay it off. Something to ponder.
Back to the game. Everyone else seems more positive than me, which is unusual. Perhaps in our goal net seats we were just too close.