F365 Rate England v San Marino

Roy Hodgson said that 'everyone brought their straw to the water'. We honestly have no idea what that means but we were impressed by The Ox in particular...

Last Updated: 22/03/13 at 22:22 Post Comment

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JOE HART: That Head & Shoulders is working a treat. No sign of flakiness.

KYLE WALKER: By his own admission, Walker wasted his chance against San Marino in the home clash. This was better but there was nothing in this return match to suggest that Glen Johnson will not return against Montenegro. Walker was slightly overshadowed by Leighton Baines and there was a lapse of concentration early in the second half that a) could have been punished by a better side and b) will not have gone unnoticed by Roy Hodgson. Great ball for Jermain Defoe's second, mind.

JOLEON LESCOTT: His brief was to get through the game unscathed and not to get booked. Well done, Joleon.

CHRIS SMALLING: Nothing silly and looked comfortable stepping out of the defence with the ball. As he bloody should, to be fair.

LEIGHTON BAINES: "I actually think he's a better deliverer than Ashley Cole," said Andy Townsend with the air of somebody imparting something contoversial. Of course he sodding is, Andy (though Ashley Cole is still better at actual defending). This is was always going to be a game to suit Baines, who forced the opening goal with a first-time pass and then pulled back for Frank Lampard's strike. He's excellent when given space to overlap.

ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN: A nervous start - a needless foul and being dispossessed were his first contributions of note - but then became England's most inventive player. Seemed to relish linking up with Wayne Rooney and his goal came from wonderful feet and a smart finish. He claimed one assist for Jermain Defoe's tap-in with an intelligent header and should have had another if Daniel Sturridge had buried a sitter. It will be a shame to see him miss out to the square jaw of James Milner on Tuesday.

TOM CLEVERLEY: Opta tell us that in two appearances against San Marino in World Cup qualifying, Tom Cleverley made 214 passes and completed 205'. He was neat, he was tidy, he did absolute nothing that we can remember. His early withdrawal suggests he will start again in Montenegro.

FRANK LAMPARD: A trademark sidefoot finish gave him an inevitable goal to cap a busy performance that saw him consistently find space in and around the penalty area. Uncle Roy has some serious thinking to do ahead of Tuesday.

ASHLEY YOUNG: Frustrated with some of his decision-making in the early part of the match but his goal - an absolute cracker - appeared to settle any nerves and his movement was excellent in the second half, forever searching for gaps both with and without the ball. Delivered an intelligent, looping cross for Sturridge's goal.

WAYNE ROONEY: His first real contribution was the misjudgement of a bouncing ball and you wondered whether it would be one of those 'not quite' nights. But then he started drifting to both flanks and deep in search of the ball, linking up with Oxlade-Chamverlain in particular. After contributing to a couple of his teammate's goals, his clipped free-kick was just reward.

JERMAIN DEFOE: Scored twice but frankly we expected him to get a hat-trick because these games are tailor-made for a poacher like Defoe. Missed one easy, early chance with his head but could make no mistake with his feet from a grand total of about three yards. Andre Villas-Boas will hope he takes confidence from his first strikes of 2013. Now if only Spurs played against this calibre of opposition every week...

DANIEL STURRIDGE (FOR ROONEY, 56): Given 33 minutes against a flagging and frankly rotten San Marino, you should be ashamed to play up front and not get a goal. Sturridge started badly by missing an easy header but saved himself from the ignominy of failure by being in the right place to convert Young's cross.

LEON OSMAN (FOR CLEVERLEY, 56): We noticed him chasing back when he first came on and then noticed a misplaced pass. We didn't notice a great deal in between but we're guessing that's because he was neat and tidy.

SCOTT PARKER (FOR LAMPARD, 66): Kept things ticking over and even managed to pass the ball to teammates without running pretty much all the way first.

Sarah Winterburn

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

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Wenger hails important win

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s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

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