Warning Explicit content early on:
Another day, another hiding. This week we have lost 4-1 to Man U away and now 5-1 at home to Arsenal. Things are not good, and only the fact that 3 teams appear to be worse than us is keeping us from dropping into the relegation zone. And having watched these games, I’m struggling to believe they are actually “worse” than us.
Slaven has an issue, the board have an issue and we as fans have an issue.
Slaven needs to raise the team back to last seasons levels. This is becoming difficult if what he said in the post match interview is anything to go by. He is aware the players aren’t putting a shift in and basically stated they are the same in training. Now I’m not close enough to say whether he has lost the dressing room, but things don’t look good. Even Mark Noble looks resigned. Continue reading “WHUFC vs Arsenal 03/12/2016 EPL 2016-2017”
Could it get any worse? The recent few games have been a wake up call for all WHU fans, that with a big ground and a big pitch comes big responsibility.
With that in mind Slaven made some further changes, bringing in Obiang for Lanzini, and pushing Ogbonna out to left back, for another centre back change with Reid and Collins making up the back four with Byram. Personally I would have played Arbeloa and got my wish in unfortunate circumstances as Byram was stretchered off just 7 minutes in, with I think a thigh knock.
Noble was pushed further forward to help the front man, who seemed to be Antonio or Tore. Basically we had no front man. I’ll assume Slaven wanted a point first, but it did look odd. We were getting most of the ball, but finding it difficult to break through. Adrian didn’t have a lot to do, but neither did Valdes in the opposition goal. WHU shaded the first half, but we went in 0-0.
We needed to change up top, and Slaven took off the ineffectual Tore in favour of Zaza. Tore was terrible if I’m honest, and needs to be benched if this is his best. Zaza isn’t much better, and it’s a bit worrying that if he plays 15 games we have to buy him for 20mn. Hopefully Andy Carroll and Ayew are close to returning.
But it did give us balance to attack, and once again we had most of the ball. On 51 however, Boro had a corner and Stuani got a header at goal, which appeared to bounce off of Noble, who was on the line, but the referee and his technology ruled it over the line, and normal service at the OS had been resumed !!
But for once, we didn’t have to wait long for a response, as Payet took the by the scruff of the neck and ran through Boro’s defence to score a Goal of the Season contender and make it 1-1. Cue jubilant scenes in the OS, and atmosphere breaking out abounds.
Then Noble made way for Lanzini and it looked game on, but once again Zaza got no service and those balls that did come his way, didn’t really inspire confidence in my opion of the Italian.
So we put the run of losses to the sword, at the expense of another injured full back. Did we play well, no, but we also didn’t let in another torrent of goals. We probably actually looked better to the observer than we the fans thought we did. Every time Boro made one of their quick attacks the fans started to panic , as we seem to slip goals like a poor project manager recently.
The fans, as they were against Southampton, today were largely well behaved. The standing nonsense seems to be sorted for now. Whether the club has accommodated the move requests or not, there seemed to be no outbreaks of bother, and some areas seemed to be standing and other were seated, all with no issues. One of the standing areas seems to be to my left in the lower tier. and we got 2 new songs. “Stratford’s a shit hole, I want to go home”, and “Can we go back to Upton Park”
My new neighbour was OK today as well. So all good.
Payet will get all the headlines, but Reid and Collins were way more solid than recently today, and everyone else did their jobs, with the exception of Kouyate, who seemed very quiet. Hopefully Obiang will get a run in the team now, even if its in the space of (whisper it ) Mark Noble.
oh, there was one more talking point. Antonio had a shot from miles out near the end, the spooned off nowhere near the goal. The crowd reacted , as they do, with a collective “why do that?” moan, and Arbeloa started clapping the crowd for making that noise. And it didn’t look sarcastic either, more a “I agree with you, what the hell is he doing ?” Interesting……
MOTM – Payet.
So another interesting day of growing pains in the OS yesterday tapped off with a poor performance.
Payet was back, and Antonio was placed back in his rightful position in midfield. Zaza started up top, and with the exception of Byram being played in front of Arbeloa we probably had our strongest team in my opinion. That opinion has now changed, but lets get onto that later.
The 80’s are fashionable currently so I hear. Jordan 1’s are back in stores, as is garish gym gear. Women’s fashion seems to be very 80’s based currently and last week I swear I saw someone playing with a Rubik Cube on the train.
West Ham join in the revival and we get castigated ! I remember a time when smashing the opposition bus, having several thousand fans locked out the ground, starting the game an hour late, throwing bottles at their keeper (plus the obligatory, should be old enough to know better, pitch invader) , running a bar dry, and leaving the ground to make your way through riot police was a staple of most Saturdays. But now people just get hot about it.
OK I jest, but anyone who wasn’t there and has just read the websites and papers, and listened to Adrian Durham drone on (who wasn’t there either) will think (once again) WW3 broke out in Upton Park last night. I’m not condoning any of the above (except the bar bit) but lets be real. Yes the streets were packed, yes loads of people without tickets were there, but a few idiots throw some bottles at a bus and it’s the ICF comeback. Nonsense. Absolute nonsense.
I spent about 5 hours there, and never heard a raised (angry) voice. But I heard many voices, all raised. The atmosphere was just something to behold. This fixture is always an occasion, but last night was off the chart. I was there for the last game of the South Bank, the North Bank and the West Stand, but this was something that will live with me forever.
All the stuff afterwards with the fireworks and all that, although I see some people liking it, isn’t for me and I scooted prior to the Rejects playing, which is a little annoying but like I say, that stuff isn’t for me
There was a video played on the screens, listing many of the players that had passed away but would technically been “young enough” to be there, and although John Lyall, and Graham Paddon were up there, obviously the big one was Sir Bobby Moore. The Man U fans spontaneously burst into a chant of his name. Class Act all round. It was that kind of night.
With all this going on there was a football game on as well, and although late, it was probably one of the best Premier League games of the season. Both teams still have their eye on 5th, and both put out very strong teams. Our nemesis, Mr Rooney, started for United which is usually ominous. But we seemed to contain him ,and he seemed a little off form, which doesn’t bode well for the Euros. Misplaced passes out wide were common place and we started to get the upper hand. For the first time in a long time we played two real strikers up top, I assume to keep the Utd centre backs busy, and it seemed to be paying off. Then Sakho bent one round De Gea from distance, and it was game on after 10 minutes. We had another chance when Carroll went clear from a great through ball from Payet but hit it straight at the keeper. Anyway, we held onto our lead to half time, and it looked like the dream night would happen. In the 2nd half Man U came out firing, and the wingers seem to be on their A game. In fact one of them, Mr Martial strolled though our defence to pick up a straight pass/cross and draw the visitors level. Did I expect it it ? Yes. Did I expect a re run of the first 2 Swansea goals? No. Slaven needs to get the CB’s to work on position when there is an overlap, its just too easy for the opposition.
Soon after Martial got another one by getting into a stoppable position again, and the wheels were coming off. But the team fed off the incredible crowd, and in only 4 minutes, Antonio had equalised with a great header. Once again he had a set celebration ready, but Andy Carroll dragged him up the pitch. He knew it, we knew it, this was our night, and ours only, even if you are the most decorated team ever in the English game. Another 4 minutes, another goal, this time from the unlikely source of Winston Reid, whose other goal was pretty famous on the terraces as well, but will always now be the scorer of the last ever goal at The Boleyn.
We played out the last 10 minutes on the edge but for a change in control. So who won the game? The players played for the fans, the fans went berserk for the players, and Slaven was the architect. Did it mean as much to him as everyone else? Considering he was in tears at the final whistle, I think the answer was yes.
5th place is in the hands of others now, and I think the game at Stoke is a bit after the Lord Mayors show, so we have to see the shake out of FA Cups and UEFA cups to see if we get another shot in Europe in our new shed in season 1, but I for one will never forget this evening. Leaving earlier than most gave me a bit of time on my own taking one last look at the old girl and I left with a heavy heart, but hoping we can build this club on the potential that is now in place. Whether I will be along for the full ride will depend on how the new “experience” plays out, but I have my ticket, and we shall see.
Thanks for the memories, old girl..
MOTM: The Stadium and the Fans
Palace are without a win in the premier league this year and WHU are tearing up trees pushing for a CL spot. But in true West Ham style we blew a gift. Everyone seems to the blaming the ref, but I differ, and will explain below.
Big Sam returned yesterday and didn’t it show, with one of the worst games I’ve seen this season. The only plus point was we won by scoring the only goal of the game but I don’t think anyone left there thinking they had had a good time, home or away fans.
Don’t know where to start with this one. For the first time in a long time (Everton in the league cup last year 🙂 ), WHU delivered on a night under lights..
It’s that time of year again, when thoughts turn to cup glory and the romance and fantastic stories that the FA Cup normally delivers.
None of these were apparent at Upton Park yesterday where an uninventive WHU beat a Wolves team looking for a draw.
The main problem from a hammers perspective was there was no one in the midfield who wanted to go forward until Payet came on. Noble, Song, Zarate, and Obiang were happy to pass it sideways all day long. Zarate tried a couple of shots from distance, and as usual refused to pass to players in better positions. Song and Noble seemed to be trying to make the perfect pass through defence with little success. All in all, this left Jelavic isolated and he lost interest pretty early on.
What also didn’t help was that Wolves played with 8 players back most of the time, which as Sheffield United demonstrated to Man U yesterday, is a little frustrating. This surprised me ,as they had some good breaks, and made the space, but then ran out of people to pass to due to them all being in their own penalty box.
It will not surprise anyone to know the first shot on target for either team was in the 16th minute.
Finally , Payet and Carroll were introduced and the game changed, for the better. It’s amazing how Payet lifts the whole team to play better. With 5 minutes to go, Carroll laid off the ball for Jelavic to smash in a great half volley.
So , we are in the hat for the next round, but will have to up our game to progress in this competition.
MOTM (after my slagging of the midfield) was Pedro Obiang. He kept breaking up play through tackling and sharp reading of the opposition passes.
Yesterday we welcomed one of the new teams to the Premiership. I for one, was not sure of victory as we had had a tough game at Leicester during the week, which was lost in extra time. This was born out by the WHU start which was leggy to say the best. Noble and Kouyate especially were out of sorts and just looked knackered. Just as well we are not still in Europe !
Noble summed this up just before the 10 minute mark, by directing a lazy pass across our goal looking for Tomkins. This was intercepted by Brady who coolly opened the scoring for the canaries.
West Ham huffed and puffed throughout the half. Just after the half hour mark we managed an equalizer when Payet and Sakho combined well to finish with a tap in to make it 1 – 1 at half time.
No subs at half time for WHU , which surprised me, as I wouldn’t have been amazed to see neither Noble, Koutaye, or Jenkinson come out for the second half.
The second half was very much more of the same in what was becoming a easy to forget game. Nathan Redmond came on near the end and I imagine thought he had scored the winner when once again Noble fell short to allow Redmond’s shot to find Adrian’s bottom corner.
Then WHU woke up, and we threw everything at them including Andy Carroll who got himself into a couple of good positions, which were well covered by Ruddy, who also made a great save from Payet. Ruddy’s luck ran out when he tried to punch out a Free kick with Carroll bearing down on him and got it as far as Kouyate, who finished well to secure a draw with seconds to go
So, a point at home keeps us in 3rd and 1 point closer to Man City, but Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham, are 2 points closer to us. Fairplay to Slaven, who had no problem taking off our Captain, as he was having a shocker, maybe a little earlier next time. He also finished with 2 up top, which is encouraging, but with Moses and Payet, you will always have some sort of forward presence.
The Norwich fans seem to be turning into some sort of Palace style “Ultra” support model, which is funny if nothing else.
MOTM was both goalkeepers who kept the goals with some great saves, especially Adrian with his face, which must of stung a bit. With all these saves you would think the game was a classic, it really wasn’t. It was a bit of an attritional game and the score was about right, although Norwich may feel they shaded it, but they did sacrifice the lead twice.