The first half of this match was pretty much the epitome of all our problems this season. Our spacing was horrible, our positioning was questionable, sometimes the idea was a good one, but the execution wasn't there, and other times the execution was there, but the idea was a dead end.
Why is Sissoko playing so far up? Personally, I'd rather have Mascherano play more up and Sissoko back more. Maybe this is one of Rafa's experiments. I'm not going to start complaining about Sissoko's play because I think he's playing out of position.
If there are any players who I don't think are playing up to par, they are Stevie-G, Crouch, and Riise. Does Gerrard need glasses or something? Early on he made some pretty bad decisions with the ball, which is quite odd for him. It looks as if we're trying to go through Pennant for our offense, which is fine, but we can't do it every single time, so the player who needs to step up is obviously Gerrard. Crouch is just inexistent, please take him off, and Riise needs to learn that we don't need an out-of-the-box, long range strike from him every time. Zenden though not as bad as I've seen him, is not playing all that great.
Pennant is having a very up-and-down game. The placement on his corner kicks is uncharacteristically bad. His crosses could be better, but Middlesborough is crowding the box, marking their men, and on top of that, we're crowding the box as well.
Is everyone going to go for the draw against us?
Our defense is solid as always, though we did almost make a couple of mistakes.
Javier Mascherano has been our best player so far and like I said, I'd rather see him play forward rather than Sissoko. If Rafa isn't going to at least make that change, then he needs to take out Sissoko for Kuyt and let Kuyt play up with Crouch and put Gerrard in the center with Masch behind him.