After our very encouraging showing against Liverpool, I set a lot of store in the fact that we had to keep up the same kind of performance, if we were to show any signs of improvement over the previous few weeks.
I’d have been happy with a draw in what I was expecting to be a typically dour derby, to be honest and although that might make it seem that my expectations have been massively lowered, it wasn’t the case here. I just know how many derbies tend to go.
It was always more about the performance for me, as long as we didn’t lose, of course.
Well, we certainly didn’t disappoint today, did we?
It was quite simply one of the best derbies I can recall (a certain nose thrashing apart) and it had pretty much everything from early goals, own goals, flukey goals and penalty calls.
Just the way I like it.
Albion helped matters in playing a high line, but it was also the case that (and it gives me great pleasure in saying it again) Lambert went for it.
My attitude has always been that if you’re going to lose, at least go down trying to win.
So after us going 2-0 down to a frankly very good first goal and an unlucky one from Delph, I must admit I panicked a bit and wondered if we were going to bottle it. There was no need though, as the lads were resolute today and I applaud them.
I’ve constantly beaten the drum that we should take advantage of our biggest asset, which is our youth and use it to outwork the opposition. We did that in spades tonight, just as we did against Pool and it caught Albion out, in my opinion.
We pressured them and never allowed them time to play, with many second balls dropping to us, which is always a good sign.
Of course, with both sides being somewhat gung-ho, there were always going to be goals and it was no major surprise when we pulled two back, although it could have easily gone the other way, with a very open game being played.
I really thought it would be a different game in the second half, but it wasn’t. It was still very open and I was thinking after about an hour that Albion might actually have enough to deserve to edge the game, but who cares? We got the result, simple.
Not that we didn’t deserve it; we did.
The truth is, I forgot what the score was and was just enjoying a game that could have gone either way, depending on luck. Again, just the way I like it.
It probably wasn’t one for the purists, as there was some shocking defending on both sides, but that doesn’t bother me.
Entertainment value = 10 out of 10
A big win against the Albion = 10 out of 10
What more could you want?
Big shouts for Vlaar, Benteke and Delph, who edged MOTM for me.