Bit late for new year, but we invited the neighbours over for a party, and ensured they left with the favours. I say left, they were stolen by one man.
This game was billed as a tribute to the late great Bobby Moore, who passed away 20 years ago (seems I was at the gates of Upton Park yesterday), and as a spectacle more than lived up to it.
There was a one minute applause, followed by a fans mosaic celebrating the man. I was in the mosaic and I have one comment. Next time, show it on the screen at the other end, or we have no idea what we are showing ! Judging by the camera flashes (plenty from the Spurs section), it was impressive enough.
Noble was replaced by Gary O’Neill in the middle, and Guy Demel was brought in at right back. The game got underway with WHU on the attack for a change. At the six minute mark there was a another break out of “Bobby Moores’ claret and blue army”, and WHU continued piling on the pressure, with Jarvis getting in crosses, and Joe Cole looking lively.
On the rare Spurs attacks it was being pointed out by the WHU faithful that Gareth Bale looked a little like a chimp. He responded by taking a goal, that on the replay was well taken ,but in play looked too easy for him. Skipping along the edge of the box he then turned to pass the ball past Jussi for the opener. WHU seemed to fall apart, and thing didn’t look good.
10 minutes later, Scott Parker (who was getting booed all night, nice one WHU “fans”) took out Carroll to give WHU a pen. Up steps Carroll in place of Noble and smashes it home. By this time Nolan was already struggling and was replaced 10 minutes later by Taylor. With none of the usual midfield cautiousness, WHU seemed to push on and finished the half well ,with Jarvis going close with an acrobatic volley.
At half time, Becks said to me “what a shambles, bloody disgrace ,etc”. No idea what game he was watching. I’m no fan of Allardyce but I tend to remember what I’m watching !
The second half was pretty quite with Bale being especially quiet if I’m honest, but you know it wont last. When he doesn’t have the ball he is constantly moving, chopping and changing markers all the time. This confuses defenders (poor lambs), and mixes up formations.
Just over a quarter into the half (an eighth ?), up pops Joe Cole, to finish off a good move between Caroll and himself, to poke it past Lloris to put the Hammers 2-1 up. Jussi spends the next 20 minutes being the best keeper in the world, making some of the most outrageous saves, including a double from Adebayour that I’m sure he still doesn’t know what happened.
At this stage a point works, and 3 would be great. Enter Big Sam. Demel comes off for Pogatetz, and we lose a goal mouth scramble for a Spurs equalizer. Then, the main thorn in their side Diame is brought off for Collison, who for all his skills is not a hard hitting midfield general. Then Sam gets his get out jail card, with hardly anything left on the clock, Gareth Bale, scores a world class goal from miles out from nothing, no run up or big swing just pure class.
So did Sam throw it away ? Based on Jussi in the second half probably not, but he could of maybe helped the situation.
The league situation is looking very precarious now, but a win against Stoke this weekend could make all the difference.
MOTM Everyone else will give it to Bale. But for some world class keeping in the second half, and making sure we didn’t lose 6-2, i’ll give it to Jussi Jaaskelainen
Viva Bobby Moore !