Martin Smith

Smith Says...

Published:
by Martin Smith

'Son of Pele' on Arsenal, N'Diaye and the second-best team in Sunderland!

Last weekend was a real ‘game of two halves’ but I definitely think there were more positives to take than negatives.

They had the better of the first half but we looked a different side in the second and had a real go.

I’d look back to the point where Aaron Ramsey was dispossessed on the halfway line – that looked like it gave us real belief.

I think the fact that the team were clapped off at the end shows how much the fans appreciated what they did in the second half

- Martin Smith

The sending-off helped, of course, and we had some good chances and played at a high tempo.

I think the fact that the team were clapped off at the end shows how much the fans appreciated what they did in the second half.

Steven Fletcher had a couple of chances and was unlucky. Normally he’d probably have stuck one away, but you can’t argue with his goals-to-chances ratio this season.

Days like that happen to any striker – that’s just how it goes.

The second half just shows how we can do when we play a high tempo and press teams up high. If we’d have got a goal with 15-20 minutes to go we could have gone on to win, but it wasn’t to be.

It was good to see Danny Graham getting a cameo and Alfred N’Diaye playing another big chunk of the game.

To me, Alfred looks more comfortable having a defensive midfielder behind him. He likes to get around the field and has the energy to do that.

It looked as if the shackles were off him a little bit. He can run all day. The English game is different to France in terms of the timing and the way we play, but that will come with time. 

He is definitely making the right runs.

No game this weekend, so I’ll be spending my Saturday watching the under-18s, who are at home to West Ham.

Then it’s off to watch my old boys, Sunderland RCA, or as I call them, the second best team in Sunderland!