A win that was expected, and although not as comfortable as was thought prior to the game, it is another three points nonetheless, maintaining our impressive home record this season and providing some further evidence that we can 'grit out' victories - after a European week and against ten men no less.
As I hoped, Bojinov continued his recovery and managed over an hour on his first start and given more important days ahead, the appearance of Craig Bellamy as a substitute was also a welcome one. It was a surprise to see Garrido not automatically replace Wayne Bridge, and I get the impression that Mark Hughes may have ducked a far trickier decision as to who to leave out from the side.
Disappointing to see Micah Richard's forced off with a hamstring injury, but not before scoring the goal - his first for some time - that won the points. We are far less threatening from set pieces than the makority of sides so it was pleasing to score one via this route. The game of course could have been far more conclusive and there were opportunities wasted (most notably the Robinho penalty miss - why didn't Elano take it?) that could have altered the scoreline if not the ultimate outcome.
Sterner tests undoubtedly lie ahead for us, but heading into the international break we are fairly well set for a big end of season push both domestically and in Europe. I'm sure there will be many fingers crossed that we see a full complement of healthy players return following the international break.