MOTM: Fabrice Muamba

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: Fabrice Muamba of Bolton in action with Cameron Jerome of Birmingham during the Barclays Premier League match between Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers at St.Andrews on April 2, 2011 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

Maybe I am overreacting a little bit. The return of the 4-5-1 formation, and fabulous Fabrice Muamba in the middle, made me a happy man regardless of the result. However, when we play 4-5-1 with Muamba on for 90 minutes, good results seem to follow.

There were several Wanderers who played well. Ryo Miyaichi, obviously, is at the head of the queue. He scored just 3 minutes with a sublime finish, and looked threatening every time he touched the ball, particularly in the first half. It's probably not surprising that he fell off int he second half, Ryo has only played a few matches all season, and just doesn't have the fitness yet to last 90 minutes. If anything, Owen Coyle could have taken him off earlier. That said, if he can start putting in performances like the first half today for entire matches, we have got us a good one. Who else was in the running for Man of the Match? You'll have to keep reading to find out.

Tim Ream made a fine debut. It was more solid than spectacular, and normally wouldn't merit MOTM consideration, but given the state of our defense, and the fact that it was his first appearance, he should be singled out for praise.

Tuncay Sanli and David Ngog were solid as well. Ngog scored a good goal, and Tuncay brought some much needed creativity to the midfield. Tuncay also did a good job with his defensive responsibilities, which certainly surprised me, and I can't be alone. I assumed he wasn't playing a lot because he didn't defend, but maybe that has improved, and he will continue to earn more time on the pitch as the season progresses.

Good performances all, but Muamba takes the big bottle of Grape soda. He defended high up the pitch, pressed Millwall in possession (creating the second goal), controlled the center of the pitch, man-marked the Lion's most threatening player for a fair part of the second half, and covered for his teammates when they went forward. He ran miles, brought steel to the team, and even got forward well a few times (We know he has to work on his finishing).

Congratulations on your triumphant return Fabrice. You damn well better start and play 90 minutes in every match for the rest of the season!

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