Ian Porter offered this instant analysis at the Blackcats list soon after the final whistle at the Reebok – an impressive blend of realism and approval …
We totally dominated the second half, but didn’t really make out possession and domination hurt too much.
Mignolet kept us in the game with a good save, but wasn’t really bothered much apart from that.
Defensively, I thought all the back four looked solid. Richardson’s had his critics, myself included, but he played well today.
In midfield, the major improvement was simply that Elmo wasn’t playing.
Larsson ran his socks off, but his set-pieces weren’t up to his usual standard.
For all that we had five “giants” in the box for corners, we never won one first ball in the air.
Colback had a good game I thought; he’s getting more involved all the time, rarely loses possession and gets tackles in.
Personally, I think in six months’ time, as long as he plays, he’ll be a better player than Henderson.
Sessegnon continues to frustrate me. OK, he scored a good goal and set up the second goal well, but for 75 minutes he saw lots of the ball, but was regularly just easily nudged off the ball.
I still think he’s too small and lightweight for this league. Vaughan worked hard, defended well when he needed to, broke things up and played the ball forward.
Up front, Bendtner played OK, but wasn’t as effective as he has been in previous games I thought, but his finish for his goal was perfect.
Finally, taking everything into account, 18 years old, making his first PL start against an England centre half and a bruiser who was on the verge of the England squad a couple of years ago – Wickham was absolutely awesome! In the second half he really stepped up. OK, he made a few mistakes, and was berated by Bendtner in the final minutes – I don’t think that will worry him. Wasn’t intimidated, held the ball, took on players and hit the bar. If he meant it, and I think he did, that shows wonderful confidence way above his age.
Whilst I don’t want Cashamoa back on principle, the loss is nothing because Wickham will shortly be a better player. I don’t think Cashamoa’s ego would be able to withstand having a youngster in the side before him anyway – good riddance !
Bottom line is a vastly improved performance, but we should have scored more with the possession we had.