Going one nil down against Spurs most teams think 'oh deary me'. Not Blues. Not even the fans, especially after the last few performances and the last two wins against Chelsea and then Villa in the Carling Cup. We were transported back to last season: it was just like we played in the unbeaten run. We were fearless, we never gave up, we kept going at it, and we got our reward. I can't fault any player and that's why for this match report I'm going to do a quick summary of each player today. Because they were all great.
Ben Foster He won't be better than Joe Hart they said. He might have a good kick but he's not as good a shot stopper they said. Bollocks, is what I said. He's brilliant, he's consistent, and he saves us time after time; game after game. He's progressing under the wing of Dave Watson and he's becoming an even better keeper than he was before. Keep it up Ben, you're doing brilliant.
What more can I say about him that hasn't bee said already? Today he kept Crouch in his back pocket most of the time, and he followed him round the pitch wherever he went. He blocks, he clears, he tackles, he puts his head in where no one else would: I can't fault him because - touch wood - at the moment, he is pretty much faultless.
Same goes for him. absolutely brilliant. Somehow, he's just always there: making headers, blocking shots, getting stuck in. All the time. And aren't we glad of it! It was the same again today too. He's a rock at the back and it's refreshing to know that, for a second season running now, we don't have to be as scared when the opposing team are awarded corners or free kicks: because Scott will deal with it. Super Scott. Now back off please Liverpool.
Yes, Aaron Lennon did give him a bit of a torrid time, but that happens to pretty much every left back he comes up against! But, credit to Ridgewell, he didn't get totally 'done' by Lennon and marked him really well. He got some great crosses in and how he didn't finish off that chance he had in the second half when he was about 3 yards out is beyond me!
You wouldn't believe how fast he can run for a man of his age; you wouldn't believe how brilliant his crosses are; you wouldn't believe how much work he does during a match getting down the wing, supporting the man in front of him and tracking back... you would believe all these things if you're a Blues fan though. Because we know all this, and this man doesn't get the credit he deserves in the media. Superb, Captain Carr. Superb.
Oh Barry Barry.. what would we do without you? The man really is brilliant, perfect, astonishing, give me a dictionary and I'll come up with a few more words to describe him. He covered so much ground today tracking back, chasing balls and winning the ball back. Every game he pulls off the most perfect passes, every game he shows the fighting spirit you want in all of your players, and every game I thank Rangers for selling him to us. That is potentially the best 1 million pounds we have ever spent.
Aka Dave. Dave wasn't so convincing the last time he oplayed aginst Stoke, but today he was given a chance and he showed what a promising player he is. Just a little more work on him and he'll be a good Prem player. He has speed, skill and a great crossing ability on his side, and that was evident today. He can beat a man to an extent, but he just needs to get more used to this league and more used to the physical side of England football. But, the kid done good and he will proove to be a great buy, I'm sure of it. (I'm also waiting for the PA announcer to announce him as 'numer 23, Dave')
He's getitn back into the swing of things after a couple of bad performances in the Autumn, and could havemade it even better today missing a chance that was just begging to be put away! But he's getting back to the old Lee Bowyer (the Bowyer of last season, not the fighting-on-pitch-Bowyer, just the clarify). He's a great player to have in your team because you know he'll never stop working, he'll never stop running and he'll always give you his best. The Bowyer-Ferguson partnership in midfield is back again, and it's nice to have it back!
A lot has been said about this little Irishman. Some fans still don't get him, but I do. I can see what he brings to the team and, although not a winger by trade, he does well out there and did well today too. He';s getting more confi8dent now with running at people and taking them on, and his crossing is superb - really pinpoint and accurate and in the right places in the box. He's a great little player for his workrate too and I think some cricism he gets is unfair. People need to remember that two years ago he was playing in the Irish Leagues, and now he's playing every week in the Premier League: of course it was going to take time.
I actually remember saying last January 'I'm not too bothered if we don't get Gardner' - I really take that back, because this man will give you 110% and then a little more into every game he plays. Like I've said about most players, his work rate is faultless; I loved the reaction of the crowd today when he hassled and hassled Bale (Baaale Baaale Baaale*) and ended up winning the ball. It was great. Gareth Bale left on the floor by Craig Gardner because of his sheer determination. That's what we love down the Blues, someone who will fight for the cause, and obviously someone who will chip in with a few goals - getting another one to add to his collection today in the form of an equaliser. This must be a dream come true for him.
Can't fault him today, I really can't. Won pretty much everything in the air, knocked down some absolutely superb headers that unfortunately, because he was playing on his own, didn't always go to a man in a blue shirt - but at least he was winning them and not just standing still. He really is growing in confidence with every game he plays, and although he will never be the first touch genius we all want him to be, he is a great striker and he will work for you - and at the moment that's all I want.
He's been the local hero since Wednesday, and although fans may complain; he is a good player. His confidence today when he came on as a substitute today was evident. Wednesday's goal gave him a really boost and he needed it, because he's not had the best of starts to life in the Premier League. Getting an assist today will have helped him more I'm sure, and the header he knocked across to Gardner today is a key example of why we bought him: he may not be the 20 goals a season striker, but he'll be in the box when you need him, and that height will help him tremendously.
Seb Larsson and David Murphy
As they both came on late I don't have too much to say about them, but at the same time what I do have to say about them is the same: they are great crossers of the ball, and people whop will always track back. Larsson, well we all know what he can do, but coming off the bench especially in a game like today, he an help you keep the ball and, well, he'll just do his thing really. Top player, but I really am worried we may lose him. Murphy, although a defender, has come on to play in midfield the last few times he;s been subbed on. It's a good tactical decision from McLeish because he's a brilliant crosser, yet he;s a defender so he will track back as quick as you like. Great people to have on the bench.
Our persistence today paid off in what was arguably one of the best games so far this season. The players are a credit to McLeish, because pretty much the same team has beat local rivals Aston Villa and drew against title contenders in the space of three days. Keep it up Blues - that's all I can say really!
* I'm sorry, it had to be done.