Not unexpected (0-1 @ Manchester United)

•January 17, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Well, this is what happens when you have a team that has scored 5 goals away from home in the league this year and take them to play Manchester United at Old Trafford.  Wayne Rooney returned to the lineup and scored 9 minutes into the game, thanks to a fine ball from Anderson to Javier Hernandez who squared to Rooney for a tap-in goal.  A mostly impotent first half from West Ham gave little to look forward to for the rest of the game, and truthfully other than a couple half-chances (at best) the Hammers never really looked a threat to score.  It wasn’t all bad though.  I don’t generally root against Rooney, but for some reason I took a little pleasure from his penalty attempt.  And on the plus side, at one point we did have five academy members playing on the field at the same time (Tomkins, Spence, Potts, Collison, and Lee).  On the whole the youngsters did not play too bad, other than Tomkins getting beat for pace (again) for Manchester United’s goal.  Spence held his own against a tricky winger in Nani, while Potts was solid along with having a crucial clearance off the line.  It’s nice to see some of the kids getting playing time, and this does nothing but help the team depth for the rest of the season.

Now that the FA Cup is done and over, the team can focus on securing a second season in the Premier League.  Unfortunately, this weekend’s upcoming game against QPR just got tougher with the news that Rangers has signed Yann M’Villa and long-time West Ham target Loic Remy.  QPR has a nice collection of individual talent and may be able to put out a stronger side than West Ham, at least on paper.  Whether Harry Redknapp can get that talent to play as a team in time to win this game, and ultimately save Rangers’ season is big question.  At least this game is at home, so the Hammers may be able to have a couple shots hit the back of the net.

Hopefully an aberration and not a sign of things to come . . .

•January 15, 2013 • Leave a Comment

A rather poor showing on Saturday up at the Stadium of Light.  West Ham was comprehensively outplayed from start to finish and came out on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline.  With Mark Noble and Mohamed Diame out of the midfield, there seemed to be a lack of push from the middle of the park, and combined with poor link-up play and haphazard defending, this would see the Hammers drop their sixth road game of the season.  Coupled with other results, West Ham finds itself seven points above the relegation zone, and with performances like Saturday’s, fans may be starting to look at who’s behind in the table rather than who can be caught.  It’s easy to argue that this was West Ham’s worst outing of the year, and it is up to Sam Allardyce to motive the team to perform not only in the FA Cup replay at Manchester United, but what is also looming as an important game at home against QPR.  Having already lost games to relegation-threatened Wigan and Reading, West Ham can ill afford to gift QPR points in their battle to stay in the Premier League this year.  Rangers comes in on a decent run of form, with a victory against Chelsea and a tie against Tottenham in their last two league games along with a draw against West Brom in the FA Cup.  Harry Redknapp seeks to work his managerial magic and rescue QPR’s season, and will look at this upcoming game as an opportunity to pick up some valuable points.  And you know it must be something important if Big Sam sends me an e-mail explaining what these upcoming games mean.  Here is a copy of the message that was sent out to West Ham supporters from the manager:

We have to take it on the chin and admit we were second-best against Sunderland. We do lose games of football and we have to accept that we will lose, but I cannot accept how we played when I saw how well we played last weekend against Manchester United

We didn’t look like the same set of players this week who played last week, with no disrespect to Sunderland because they are not as good as Manchester United, and we managed to close Manchester United down and nearly shut them out. Our home form and performances are outstanding but our away performances are the reverse of that – they are just not good enough.

I think we can provide the kind of chances that Marouane Chamakh thrives on. He’s been short of first-team football so the more he gets the better he will get. It’s the same with Joe Cole and Alou Diarra. I know they’ll get better with the more games they play.

James Collins pulling up with a hamstring means I’d like to add a defender to the squad as we’ve now only got two centre halves left in James Tomkins and Winston Reid and aside from young Dan Potts, we’ve got no other fit left-back in the squad. We don’t want the injuries all in one area so we might need to take a look at the market and see if there’s anyone that can help us in that department.

While Wednesday night’s replay is about the glory of the cup competition and it will be fantastic to go to Old Trafford, QPR next Saturday is our bread and butter and we must make sure we secure three points against them.

Come on you Irons!

Big Sam

It’s now up to the team to show some of the fighting spirit that Allardyce clubs are known for. Personally, a prolonged cup run is not as important to me as consolidating the team’s position in the Premier League.  This season was always going to be a fight for survival, and finishing safely in the table would complete a satisfactory job, especially considering where the team came from 2 years ago.  Anything else would be a cherry on top.

Short Corners

•January 8, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Just a couple random thoughts since so much has happened in the past year…

  • I washed my jersey, but the luck has seemingly moved onto my scarf.  I’ll let it claim responsibility for the Play-off final against Blackpool and the Chelsea victory.  Results have been undoubtedly better with the scarf, although Sam Allardyce might have something to do with that.
  • Speaking of Big Sam, one of my first posts on the site was a breakdown of potential managers before we hired Avram Grant.  At the time I may have been “less than enthusiastic” about the prospect of Sam getting the job.  That being said, I can freely admit that I was wrong.  Allardyce has brought a real organization to the defense, and a bite to the midfield that is surprisingly pleasant to watch.  I still see too many balls lumped up front for my liking, but you can’t argue with the results.  I have no problem with hoping that Sam is here to stay.
  • Andy Carroll – perfect for Sam’s system, and a coup of a loan.  Hasn’t done enough to warrant buying him at the end of his loan, but hopefully he can soon shake this injury bug and get back to terrorizing Premier League center backs.
  • Welcome back Joe Cole.  You know he would always be welcomed back to Upton Park with open arms.  It’s been a rough decade for him, at least in terms of expectations, but if he regains a semblance of what made him a poster boy of English football then he’ll be well worth it.  His debut against Manchester United in the FA Cup wasn’t too shabby.
  • Mohamed Diame – a revelation.  I love pretty passing football as much as the next guy, but there’s also something enjoyable in watching a player who marauds through the center of the pitch, sloughing off would-be tacklers with ease.  He’s not in the class of Yaya Toure, but his ability to single-handedly bring the ball up the pitch is fun to watch.  Now if only his final decision at the end of the run was a little better . . .
  • Preferred bidder status for the Olympic Stadium – Good and about time.  Suck it Spurs, and suck it Barry Hearn.  There are few things I hate more than hypocrites and shady people.

Americans on Trial

•January 8, 2013 • 4 Comments

The posts are few and far between, but it seems that it’s only when there are American players involved does this site get updated.  Nonetheless, Graham Zusi and Juan Agudelo are reportedly training with West Ham this week.  Whether these are trials looking at potential transfers or just training sessions are a matter of debate, but it should be noted that another MLS’er in Osvaldo Alonso just completed a similar week-long trial.  Intriguing, but the reality is that Zusi just recently signed a new contract with Kansas City and Agudelo also just completed a trial in November with Celtic.  Any hopes of permanent transfers seem to be long-shots at best, but the situation bears watching.  The only current Americans on the squad are youngsters Danny Potts and Sebastian Lletget, so having a more prominent national team player would bring more exposure for the club in the United States.

An American on the way . . . ?

•December 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

U.S. national team striker Edson Buddle’s agent confirmed on Monday that the player is currently on trial at West Ham. The 30-year-old Buddle is currently plying his trade at 2-Bundesliga side Ingolstadt although he appears to be surplus requirements at a club looking to reduce its payroll. He is the German’s club leading scorer this season with 6 goals in 16 games and is a strong, mobile striker for the American national team. I remember watching Buddle come through the ranks of our local MLS team, the Columbus Crew, although he didn’t really blossom until he moved to the LA Galaxy in 2008. It’ll be interesting to see if he is signed on and how he’ll fit into a crowded striker situation at West Ham. With Sam Baldock out with an injury, West Ham is down to three first team strikers so Buddle may be able to provide some depth to what has been an underwhelming strike force, aside from Carlton Cole.

Not a bad debut . . .

•December 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

West Ham’s famous Academy produced a nice, albeit unintended, debut for young Dan Potts on Saturday. Kudos to the boy for a strong performance at left back against Barnsley. Starting the game because of a pregame injury to Abdoulaye Faye, the 17-year-old showed that just maybe the new crop of youngsters coming through the system will be ready to contribute sooner rather than later. Son of former Hammers captain Steve Potts, Dan had just signed his first professional contract only a day before what turned out to be his first team debut. His rise to first team football is especially impressive considering he was diagnosed with leukemia at only 12 years old. An impressive game and congratulations to the youngster on his Man of the Match-worthy performance. Here’s to hoping for more from Mr. Potts and some of his Academy classmates.

Time for a good wash . . .

•December 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Athletes are a superstitious bunch, and fans are no better. I blame myself for some of the struggles the team has endured over the past season and a half, since I only just realized my own abilities to affect my team’s fortunes. I can’t remember the last time West Ham won a game while I wore my jersey. I do however, remember losing to Liverpool 3-0 in a bar filled with Pudlians, blowing a 2-0 lead to ManU at home, watching Nigel de Jong of all people score from 20 yards out, and now checking the Reading score to see 2 red cards and another 3-0 thrashing. All games I’ve worn my jersey in so I’m doing my part this week by throwing the accursed thing in the laundry and hopefully washing the bad luck away. If nothing else, even if we drop another game I can lose myself in the smell of a fresh, spring rainfall.

 
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