Somebody needs to talk some sense at half time. Thus far, we have allowed Stoke to dictate the tempo and style of the game. We are being bullied and are not thinking our way out of the problem. We need to get hold of the ball, pass it around and take the sting out of the match. But can we do it?
How mindlessly stupid was da Costa when he put the ball out for a Delap throw one foot from the corner flag? He was slow to deal with the situation in the first place and then, when he was closed, I was screaming at him to hammer it against the Stoke player or put it out for a corner. Under NO circumstances should you give Stoke a throw in that position. But da Costa is brainless so he very deliberately conceded the throw. And it was obviously going to be a goal as soon as it went into touch.
Of course, we should be able to deal with the situation. We know where the ball is going, and we know that Huth is the primary target, but the German was still given a free header after Walters blocked Upson's run. It was a foul but that happens every time the ball is played into the box for a Stoke set piece. Handball is a little easier to spot!
The Hitzlsperger pass to Piquionne was superb, and the Frenchman finished brilliantly, but Clattenbung would have disallowed it, even without the help of a linesman. Freddie handled it, no question. But who cares?
Going forward we have been poor. Obinna has looked crap and behaved disgracefully again when booked. His feigning injury was pathetic; to then jump up and complain in a Lazarus style recovery would have earned him a red if I had been the referee. I fear he will collect another yellow if he comes out for the second half. I would bring on Keane and go 4-4-2 personally.
At the moment I can only see one winner. Upson has looked like a rabbit in the headlights all game, Tomkins is struggling against Etherington and da Costa is on a dangerous yellow yard, like Obinna. Keane is our best bet in my opinion, if Grant decides to risk him.