Port-mortem: Three points in the bag and a point off fifth

As things stand, a point from fifth place, you have to be happy. I know I've said this a lot and I'm pushing the transitional season point a lot more, but what more can anyone want twelve games into the season with a new manager that wasn't here at the start and hasn't had a transfer window?

Now, we can look at the football if you want, but you've also got to remember where we are coming from and where we are trying to go and that that doesn't happen overnight. So, I'm not going to spend too much time on the football either, as I accept it needs time and spending too much time writing about it, other than to say, I can see it is changing, is wasting my time a bit.

We won, we picked up three points and at the end of the day we played against a side, albeit very different to the side that played at the weekend, that had lots of reasons to go out and fight for their place and you always have to be wary of newly promoted sides.

What the Papers Say

Jon Culley, The Independent
Gerard Houllier's side rallied in the second half, going ahead again after an hour through 19-year-old Nathan Delfouneso's second Premier League goal, fired home with considerable composure after Ashley Young had sent him clear.

Most of all the other papers seem to be focusing on Ian Holloway and his quit threat if the Premier League fine him for making ten changes to the team. The thing is, you've got to sort of fancy they will, seeing as they fined Wolves last season for doing pretty much the exact same thing.

If they don't, just because he has threatened to quit, then it really would suggest the power is very much with the managers, especially after the Redknapp threat a couple of weeks ago and if this just goes away with nothing happening, it will probably be for the best, but it will make the Premier League more of a laughing stock.

The Manager

Gerard Houllier
There was a team who had nothing to lose - and they played well. There was also a team who were a bit nervous because they have dropped too many points. We have dropped 10 points. If you halve that, you are more comfortable, you are more relaxed. The first half we were too nervous and too tense. We were a bit anxious and a bit nervous because we needed points. We know the table doesn't reflect the quality of the games we have played. Our first half was dreadful. The second half was much better because we took the game to them, we took more responsibility and attacked, created more chances and had a more exciting game.

The Players

Brad Friedel, Luke Young, Stephen Warnock, Richard Dunne, Ciaran Clark, James Collins, Stewart Downing, Ashley Young, Marc Albrighton (Stephen Ireland, 81), Barry Bannan (Eric Lichaj, 90), Nathan Delfouneso (Gabriel Agbonlahor, 64)

Man of the Match

He worked hard last night and I'm not surprised he got a lot of votes although I am a little surprised that he won, but he did. The man of the match for last night was Ashley Young with 35.7% of the vote. In second place was Stewart Downing with 31.2% and in third was The Fonz with 16.9%.

Match winner James Collins only got 3.9% of the votes and finished in fifth place.

Final Analysis

Ian Holloway will have to quit this weekend after the Premier League fine him. They shouldn't be able to as the rule itself is stupid and the manager should be able to play whoever he wants, but they League have set a precedent and they have to fine him. It will be very interesting to hear the excuse if they don't.

But to the match; great to see The Fonz score and he should have had two, but the worst referee I have seen in a long time disallowed it for I don't know what. He also waved away a penalty shout for a clear as day kick on Albrighton, although it could be argued it was just outside the box - either way, he waved away a kick on the player and it was clear as day.

Also great to see Albrighton, Bannan, Clark and The Fonz all make an impact and Downing and Webcam were good too although I was very surprised to see The Fonz taken off just after he scored.

Overall, we can see things changing and we all accept these changes will take time, so I'm happy. As long as the football keeps changing and it eventually starts to get better and we start seeing three points on a more regular basis, then what more can we ask for?