Well that was a dreadful 45 minutes. Jarvis could have scored but, for the most part, we have been chasing around trying to retrieve the ball. Why? Because without Noble, we lack control in central midfield.
Nobles's critics repeatedly claim he offers nothing in terms of creativity and concedes stupid free kicks. Well Sunderland nearly scored (albeit Bramble was offside) from a free kick needlessly conceded by Noble's replacement Diarra and Sunderland did score after a dreadful headed clearance by the Frenchman. There was no distance on the header, he directed it towards the middle of the pitch from the left hand side of the box, and he picked out Larsson, the best striker of a ball from distance in the Sunderland team! Brilliant!
And what has Diarra offered in possession? Sideways and backwards passes. The big difference is the loss of energy and movement from the centre of midfield. Diarra looks like Diop, a wardrobe parked in the middle of the pitch!
But I don't want to crucify Diarra here. He is stepping into Noble's boots and that isn't easy!
Cartlton has had no service. Nolan is coming too deep because Diarra is sitting too deep. Cole thinks he is wearing a Liverpool shirt. Jarvis looks ordinary again.
Defensively, we have looked better since Tomkins replaced Collins but Demel looks dozy and slow again. What is wrong with the guy? Potts has been lively however.
How do we save this? Vaz Te is the key for me. Get him on!