Home cooking does it's job on us again. Or is it The Curse of the Plastic Pitch? Whatever it is, there are enough slack performances at home to make people talk as though there was a block or something. Me? I just don't think that this is a a consistently good team yet. It's not a knock on the coach or the players or the front office. It's just where we are in the rebuilding process as far as I can see it. I personally am not panicking because everything that I see is still better than last season. I will say this until I make someone physically vomit - I will be happy with progress. As far as I can see, we are still a better team - not just in record and table standing - than we ever were with Gasperini and perhaps Ranieri, even considering that nice run we had in December.
As a matter of fact, I think that we were the better team in the first half and unlucky to have conceded a penalty. Don't misunderstand, it was a penalty, no complaints. And Handanovic did an excellent job blocking the kick. But the follow through by the group lining the area who allowed the rebound goal... stink - o. I think that the team stunk up the joint as the second half wore on. Up to the final whistle, I thought we were lucky to draw watching the stink -a- roo the last 45 minutes of that game ended up being.
Looking back, that was a lot of stink.
Handanovic - I don't consider any of the goals to be his fault, nor do I penalize him for the penalty goal, on the contrary, I gave him a nice bonus. 8.5
Jonathan - foul in the area notwithstanding, just didn't do a whole hell of a lot, and he absolutely ate a shot point blank in front of the goal late in the 1st. 4.0
Ranocchia - Up until the second goal I thought he was having a good game. I don't consider myself a hypocrite so I am not going to kill him for it. But it does mar what was a really nice game. 6.5
Samuel - As with Ranocchia, I consider the goal to be his fault as well since he messed up the positioning and the tackle on the player who provided the assist. The main difference I see is that Samuel has a decade in top level competition over Ranocchia and I thought Ranocchia outplayed him. 6.0
Nagatomo - Scored the equalizing goal and that was great. Frankly, I can't see how he isn't the right fullback with Pereira now on the team with a couple of weeks of practice with this team. 7.0
Zanetti - I didn't like Zanetti's performance yesterday at all. It's not that I thought that he did something wrong, but that he didn't do a whole lot right. I really think that we would be better served to have a more athletic player in that spot. 6.0
Cambiasso - I thought Cambiasso had a much better first half than second half. I could have added that last sentence to Zanetti's blurb as well. The difference is that Cambiasso's performance floor is lower. 5.5
Gargano - I thought Gargano was pretty meh for the whole game, but I thought better in the first half rather than the second. I think Gargano works better with a more active midfielder pairing. 5.0
Coutinho - Not much to say here, he impresses me every time I see him. He just needs some toughness and consistency that I hope will come with more playing time. 6.5
Livaja - I like his game having seen it for almost a full game. I like his potential ability on the ball as well as his shooting - he had a shot in the 1st half that looked like he just missed bending the ball enough to hit the top far corner on a counter. Nice header off Cuchu's chip. 7.0
Cassano - Using Cassano right now is a 2 edge sword. He's great for a half. He's okay for 60. He needs a sub before 70 hits. I did like his game, generally though, He made 2 killer passes - one came really close to scoring - see above under Livaja - and the other was the ball that Cuchu fed Livaja. 7.0
That's all I got for right now. Siena is at home on Sunday EARLY, west coast USA dwellers. Be prepared.