The game itself was pretty painful to watch. As usual, we started off really strong and then faded as the minutes went by. When we finally got the lead through Eto’o Penalty rebound, I found myself continuously looking at the clock to see how much time was left. I shouldn’t have to be doing this when we’re playing against a relegation contender. But I guess at the end of the day this is the sort of thing you do when you have the lead and Rafa is on your bench.
Julio Cesar – 6.5
He was sharp and alert throughout the game. He couldn’t stop the Udinese goal.
Zanetti – 6
On the attacking front JZ4 played well. He looked menacing whenever he pushed forward. Defensively, I thought he looked out of position quite a bit. I don’t know if to place the blame on the high defence or Javier just not playing at RB for a while.
Lucio – 6
scored a great goal off of a corner, but gifted Udinese their equalized with some terrible marking. In my eyes he scored a goal and conceded an own goal during this weekend’s play.
Samuel – 6.5
Rock-solid as ever. Walter is becoming the new Javier when it comes to consistency on the pitch.
Chivu – 6
Attacked well when he was able to advance into the Udinese half. Defensively, he did his best and only got burnt once for the entire game. That has to be a record, right? Eventually came off for Cordoba in the second half. Reason for the substitution? Looked injury related, because there’s no way on God’s green earth that Rafa is so dumb to put Ivan at LB by choice. Cris’ hobbling also help me come to my conclusion.
Mariga – 6.5
I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no one within our squad that can replace Thiago Motta. His passing is sublime and his defensive work (when he’s up to it) is fantastic. Micky D is a player with loads of potential. His tackling is on par with Motta’s, but his passing, shooting, decision making, and control leaves a lot to be desired. His shooting during the game was absolutely dire. I hope he learnt from this experience and never shoots again. For now Mariga will do until Motta comes back.
Cambiasso – 6.5
Don’t really have too much to say on Esterban. Cuchu’s passing was great as always and his marshalling of the midfield was his normal high quality. What I did notice is that he doesn’t seem comfortable playing in such an advanced role up the pitch. I guess everything takes some getting use too, right?
Sneijder – 6.5
Picked out the majority of passes that he saw during the game. Udinese did well to stifle his service. He also had an amazing run through the heart of their defence. At the end of it he should have shot instead of laying it off to Mariga who squandered the opportunity.
Biabiany – 5.5
He did do badly, but he didn’t do great. This was an average performance at best for the youngster.
Milito – 5
Oh Diego, Diego. Wherefore art thou Diego? He’s still looking like a shell of his former self. Why does he look like he’s carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders? Can someone please answer these questions for me? Sigh… Il Principe had a terrible outing Saturday. He was only able to have one crack at goal. It wasn’t a bad effort, but it is one that the Diego from last season would have buried. Hopefully he sorts his head out soon as we’re going to need that penalty box assassin very, very soon.
Eto’o – 7.5 and man of the match
these Samuel Eto’o is really something special. This is one football professional who works his socks off for his pay packet. I’ve never seen a striker track back so much and win so many tackles without fouling the opposing player. He did give me a scare with his penalty miss, but was cool under pressure to tap home the rebound.
Cordoba – 5.5
I can’t remember anything he did during the match, neither good nor bad. That has to be a good thing.
Pandev – 5
He was useless when he came on and gave nothing to the attack (not like his predecessor was doing any better).
These are games that we should be putting to bed early. We should not have to be made to sweat against a relegation contender that only has one attacking threat (i.e. Di Natale – his 29 goals last season were the difference between Serie A and Serie B for Udinese). Rafa needs to realize that this high defensive line will only hurt us in the long run, unless we play a formation that plays to our strengths (4-3-1-2 anyone?). Also, he needs to stop being so passive and shake things up when things aren’t going our way. His hesitant nature when it comes to making substitutions bothers me. We should have seen Pandev at the beginning of the second half instead of midway through it.
I guess this is all growing pains that we have to put up with. How long again do we have to? I’m not sure, but when I have the answer I’ll give it to you. Let’s just hope during the wait we all don’t jump on that "Hate Rafa" bus that’s rolling through town.