Interesting isn't it? When he plays, Parker looks as if he is the only one playing; when he doesn't, the rest of the team step up to the plate, especially when Upson exits stage left too! I wonder why that is?
I'm not going to pretend that we were brilliant or even unlucky here, but two goals down after 14 minutes we were all expecting an avalanche, and instead, 11 players stood tall and fought as hard as their limited ability allowed.
The same old problems persisted of course. We were vulnerable down the left flank because nobody bothered to buy a left back, and there was a huge gap between our back four and midfield four because nobody was holding. Why is that? I can't explain it. It is easy enough to resolve. You simply appoint a player and say, at all times you MUST have the other three midfield players in advance of you; and if you do range ahead of one, you yell at him to fill in, not go forward with you. Perhaps it was to accommodate Parker that the basics were abandoned. I don't know but at times Toure, Silva and Johnson had acres of ground to play in.
But that apart, and Boa apart, we played pretty well from the fifteenth minute onwards. Indeed, for the middle period of the game, we were in control, actually enjoying more possession than Unreal City. Primark looked more stylish than Armani at times!
True City hit the bar and true we were lucky to clear it off the line, but you can't argue with the desire when THREE defenders run back twenty yards to form a wall on the bloody goal line! And if Hitz had delivered his free kicks and corners better, we might actually have nicked a point. Overall, it was a very creditable performance, based around COLLECTIVE effort.
Ba took his goal well but made a hash of a chance superbly created second half by Sears. Keane missed a sitter after Spector laid it on a plate for him with a better pass than Parker has played all season. Cole's effort was goal bound until Lescott blocked it. Hart was stretched to clear a Hitz free kick and if he hadn't got there, da Costa would have had a good chance of heading home, and the woman beater also forced a Hart save with another header. We didn't create as many chances as at Chelsea but we certainly held our own for 70% of the game.
So, we looked decent at Chelsea and were unlucky to lose by a three goal margin; and we acquitted ourselves well against Man City and achieved good damage limitation in terms of goal difference; and what was common to both games? No Parker.
So Parker carries the team, but perhaps he carries the team to nowhere. Sometimes less is more and if Parker did less and held midfield effectively, I reckon we would be much higher in the table now. He may be Player of the Year but at what cost to the team?
Player ratings: Green 6: Jacobsen 6, Tomkins 6, Upson 5, Gabbidon 6; Sears 6, Hitz 6, Spector 7, Boa 4, Ba 6; Keane 5 Subs: da Costa 8, Cole 6, Obinna 0
And I accept the individual ratings don't look that good. We need a separate rating for team effort which I would rate at 8!