It's the 'summarising-points-because-it's-tuesday-night-and-i'm-tired-(and weary)-blog-post' ...
1. Up until we came back - again - we were very poor indeed. We were simply not good enough. We weren't at the races. We were playing at 10 miles per hour and Stoke at 90. It was too similar to Saturday in that we let the opposition come on to us way too much. Last season we showed how well we play when we take control of the game and get a hold of the ball. We need to do that again.
2. We only get the belief when we go 2-0 down. Why?! Two goals down, especially away from home, is a mountain to climb! We may as well start to game two goals down the way were going - it started off as a light hearted joke last season against Everton when we got it back to 2-2. But then we did it again, and the more we do it, the less 'good' the comeback feels and the more serious the problem becomes.
3. Criticise Keith Fahey all you like, but when he came on he changed the game. He came on, sporting a nice little moustache, and was assertive, quick, and passed the ball around well. He got into great positions and his goal was as perfect as you like. The way he controlled it to the way he finished it was sublime - great way to score his first Premier League goal, too bad he couldn't celebrate it like he deserved to! Now give the guy a break.
4. Dave (aka Beausejour) was ineffective tonight. After what we've seen of him so far he does look promising, but he was off the pace tonight and needs to learn he doesn't have as much time on the ball in the Premier League. He will be a great player, I think most can see that, we just need to teach him how to be a great Premier League player.
5. We seem to have a knack of rounding off good goalkeepers and making them into great ones. Ben Foster was on top form tonight - and he needed to be - he puts his heart on his sleeve and gets stuck in there, much like the defence in front of him. He shows no fear in going to collect the ball, and although some of his kicks tonight and one time where he made the wrong decision and Fuller nearly scored, he was brilliant, and kept us in the game first half and at the start of the second half as well.
6. Craig Gardner. Where do I start with him? He had some brilliant shots tonight, namely the free-kick and the shot that was tipped over the bar just after we had got it back to 2-2. He shows something in the centre of midfield that Hleb doesn't show, and that's a real fight. It's all well and good Hleb doing the little flicks and tricks and the 'perfect passes' but when it comes down to it, sometimes you need someone who will just get their head down and drive forward on his own, and like Hleb, he can also pull off moments of magic where you just stand and stare in admiration. Thank you Aston Villa.
7. Credit has to go to Ricardo Fuller and his 100th goal in British football. It was a lovely solo run and a brilliant strike to finish it off. He is a well-rounded striker and a brilliant shooter of the ball, and you could do nothing but admire the goal he scored today. I almost applauded it but then I remembered he had just scored it against my team.
8. Pulis got what he wanted, then. I'd say Clattenburg had a decent game, but when Stoke called it, they got it. I'll say not much more on the matter other than managers do effect referees decisions, it's just normally the Wengers and Fergusons of this world that are the ones affecting them.
9. You can dress it up which ever way you like, but we certainly are in a relegation battle this season. No unbeaten runs, no 'invincibles', and unlike last season, no dead certs to g down. There are more than a handful of teams that could face the drop this season, and unfortunately it looks like we're one of them; but that doesn't mean we haven't got enough to beat the drop.
10. Well Blues, you did it again, although this time it didn't quite work. The next few games are extremely tough, but nothing is impossible in football. Nothing.