A bit of an odd one. As Chelsea, Arsenal, Totts and these two London clubs were all playing in the capital yesterday, our games kicked off at 16.20? A new one even for Sky.
Arriving in Green Street wasn’t quite the same as Wembley Way for the NFL, but we did have a band in the car park. Some good old Ska from the SkaTonics who were covering Guy Lombardo’s (and latterly Prince Buster’s and The Specials) Enjoy Yourself. Being a bit of a 2 Tone man myself, I stuck around for a couple of tracks and then headed in with a spring in my step.
This game, although not a six pointer was important for both teams. WHU needed to stop the slide towards danger, and Harry’s QPR need to try and capitalise on recent good performances to try and lift them from their rivals. Needless to say, the weather was shocking, the only good news coming from the fact the wind was blowing away from us in the Upper Bobby.
After we played well in the second half for the last few games, i sort of hoped we might start well today. This was not the case, as after 13 minutes if WHU pressure, QPR broke and found our defence wide open and put a through ball to this weeks big signing for QPR, Loic Remy. Fair play to him , he ran to the ball with out a touch, and fired past Jussi’s left to open his and QPR’s account. The rest of the half was the WHU show, but no goals to show for it. Where we did let ourselves down was in crossing the ball. Both Nolan and Joe Cole were consistently overhitting balls to the far side. To say this was frustrating was an understatement. Winston Reid came close after Mo Diame had a little Giggs style run around the QPR defence, and his cross was met by Reid only to run the whole width of the goal untouched about 1ft from the line. But the key was the crossing. Terrible. Chamakh started for the hammers today, and if I’m honest did not really impress in the first half, although he seemed to be geting about and winning the odd long ball.
The second half was just as annoying, with further crosses into QPR area being mishit and more chances going to waste. We have to learn to finish teams like this. And I have a plan but more of that later.
Winston Reid seemed to be camped in the QPR box, and had a couple of shots blocked by a resolute defence. Cesar in the QPR goal was showing all of his experience by playing quickly when needed and giving QPR time when they needed it as well. But he does kick goal kicks way left, so obviously Rob Green has been showing him some of his talents.
My Remy was very absent in the second half and seems to suffer from the “Berbatovs”. If he gets the ball played directly to him, he is interested, but if not he won’t go looking for it. This will frustrate QPR moving forwards.
CC came on from Chamakh in the 62nd minute, and started to terrorise an already panicing defence. After 6 minutes he rose to a cross, which was saved by Cesar, and then JC followed up to reopen his account at Upton Park (for West Ham !).
After this WHU really pushed on but not break dow the R’s defence.
The game ends one one, and questions have to be asked. We are not scoring enough goals and more shots in this game and the United game during the week would have changed thing significantly.
It should be said at this time. Nolan was shocking today. Passes going everywhere but where they should. This, hopefully was a bad day at the office.
The issue is easy to see. Sam has 4 strikers, Cole, Maiga, Carroll, and now Chamakh. They are all the same. Apparently RVT is a striker as well, according to the squad list on whufc.com, but he’s a midfielder at best. So we have 4 strikers who all offer the same thing at different levels. If Sam needs another striker, and he obviously thinks we do as he got Chamakh, then why 1). Get what we already have. 2). Not play more than one at a time.
Point 2 is just as frustrating. Nolan helps out, as does RVT (to some extent), but to win games we need to have 2 strikers. When Carroll is fit, surely him and CC should terrorise any defence. This leaves Nolan to pick up lose balls, and JC to have 2 options open to him to pass the ball forward.
Point 1 is trickier, as strikers seem to be a dying breed. So we just have to get on with playing 2. Or we try and get players in on loan like Macheda from United or go crazy and try and get some one like Billy McKay from Inverness as a wildcard.
MOTM. Noble played well, and just did his job (and left some corners to JC). Reid looked accomplished as usual, and added to the attack today, but the romantic in me has to give todays award to Joe Cole. Welcome back !
After the humiliation against Wigan, Sam brought out the big gins for the visit to Loftus Road. Cole up top, Carroll on the bench, Diame reinstalled in the middle, and unsurprisingly no Tompkins in the back four. No point embarrassing yourself on the Telly.
Ex Hammer Zamora started for the R’s unlike the shafted Rob Green.
For two teams that play football, the game started quite ugly, and turned into a head tennis match. After 3 minutes RVT fot the ball on right, got through a challenge, and put a cross in for Nolan. Big Kev made a mess of the shot, straight onto Jarvis’ head, and into the net. Cheers, 0-1 to the Hammers.
After that, the next 15 were end to end with no end ! WHU seemed to be quite “agricultural” in the tackle, and luckily Mark Clattenburg was light on the yellows. On 19 minutes QPR had a free kick that put some panic into the West Ham box, and ended up with Jussi sparking out Winston Reid. Having had a concussion last season, and the fact he wasn’t moving a lot, they were a little concerned, and they subbed him off for Tompkins. Winston left on his feet, which hopefully is good news.
Once again CC seems to be getting penalised for no reason. Maybe Sam needs to have a chat with the refs, a la Mr Rogers at Liverpool. Noble seemed more settled, must be his new wallet balancing him out.
On 33 Joey O’Brien went off with an injury for McCartney. So, with about half an hour gone, we are two defenders down. What to do, eh? How about a goalmouth scramble, an excellent cross from Tompks, and a smart finish from Ricardo Vaz Te, for his first of the season. Happy birthday RVT!
With 5 to go, from a QPR free kick, Cisse gets a nice volley in only for Jussi to push over the bar. This was the first time he had really been called into action in the half. The weight he seems to have lost since he signed for WHU helped him him get up to it, I’m sure!
After 5 minutes of extra time, WHU go into the break 2 up, in a game that was really even to be fair. WHU pushed a little more and were harder in the tackle.
The second half started in West Ham’s favour, with Diame forcing a save from Cesar, and QPR seemingly all over the place.
After 55 minutes Mark highes made a double sub and brought on Adel Taarabt, who waited 70 seconds before rifling in a screamer into the top right hand corner. 1-2 to the Irons. Then the game livened up as you would expect, and WHU started to look concerned., picking up needless yellows, and running balls out for no reason. Jussi made a brilliant save from Granero, only then to get booked for time wasting.
On 67 Carlton Cole missed a stone wall sitter by putting wide, after Nolan picked up a loose pass, and put him through perfectly. Definitely a man not in form.His reward was also a yellow, along with Kevin Nolan who did no more than question the ref (this is the job of the captain, isn’t it ?). With the game going against us bit by bit (another save by Jussi, after a good long range shot by Cisse), BFS played the trump card and brought on Andy Carroll in lieu of CC for the last 20. The big question now was “Is he fit ?”. With 15 to go, Diakite (a second half sub) got his second yellow, and the R’s were down to 10. Once again the pendulum swung the way of WHU. QPR were tired and this didn’t help. Carroll made a nice knock down to RVT, whose strike pulled a fantastic tip on to the bar from Cesar. With 2 to go, Jussi made another good save from Zamora, to keep WHU ahead.
The extra time went up as 6 minutes, real Fergie time stuff, and QPR seemed back in the ascendancy. Howlett forced another Jussi save from distance. James Tompkins made it 8 yellows for West Ham. Just before the end, Carroll took a ball down, turned and got a shot off, and was unlucky to get a rebound. That was about the end of the match, and WHU recorded their first away win of the season, and went 7th in the league.
Not a lot to winge about tonight, but once again selection is odd. O’Brien in front of George Mac. Really ? Training must show things i’ve never seen. Noble seemed more content, with Nolan ,and Diame, moving well around him.
While we are blowing smoke up ourselves, lets stay grounded. We seem to play well against teams at our level, but we will struggle against anyone who wants to pass and move quickly (as proved by Taarabt). Cisse and Bobby Z were never going to set fire to the grass tonight. I said earlier in the season 10 points before Arsenal would do us well. We have 11, and our real season starts on Saturday. We might need to watch the discipline as well, with 8 yellow cards !
What was encouraging is that we seem to be getting more shots off, because we are playing further up the pitch. Andy Carroll’s return was unexpected and welcome.
The crowd must get a mention. Its so good to hear on old school London derby crowd, with both sides going for it.
MOTM: Noble played well, AC looked the part when he came on, but Jussi Jaaskelainen kept WHU in the game. Much to Rob Green’s disappointment, I’m sure.