Even if we started nearly as pale as this Wednesday (in the loss against Tottenham) West Ham ended on a high in the final game of the Asia cup trophy and in the last 30 minutes gave us a much improved performance.
2-0 against Beijing was a fair result in the end and I was extra pleased with the happy goalscorers, Danny Gabbidon who have come back after such a long injury - and you could see the whole team celebrate him with real joy - and Zavon Hines the young striker, who have a lot of potential, scored a real "striker-goal" in the dying minute.
Well, Bejing looked a bit tired and will have a new game in a couple of days, so let's not get carried away. But the energy level was much higher from the East enders and some performances was out of question improved.
Green 5 - Had actually nothing serious to cope with at all. So if not tested, sorry, no high grades...
Spector 6 - Did well and also moved a bit forward with some nice crosses. The weak link maybe in the defence today, when the Chinese players put some pressure, but still solid and seems to play with a little less pressure after the confi-cup games gave him a lot of confidence.
Tomkins 7 - As well as the other defenders they were not tested very hard, but still a very impressive display.
Gabbidon 7 - So happy to see him back, played the easy way and with the elegance only he can. Did his first goal in a West Ham shirt ever. Very happy for him.
Ilunga 7 - Much calmer and much more involved today. One of the best men on the field.
Noble 6.5 - Good to see him start. Always doing his best and playin for the shirt. But playin right wide is not his position and his lack of pace seems to be more of a concern here. When he moved into the pitch in the second half he had a good performance, if not splendid.
Jimenez 5 - Well, his not there yet. But also progressing...
Parker 5,5 - Not as influential as you want to and lost the ball a couple of times too much. Grew during the game and was important with his defensive hard work. Sometimes he must play faster though! Much faster! But: He'll be fine.... and up to it in 2 weeks time.
Collison 5 - I don't know why,but these two last performances has reminded me of his debut against Arsenal. Where you could see his potential, but also that he looked a bit like a hen rallying around not sure of what to do. When he got the ball he always "went home with it" with a safe pass, which disappointed me. At the moment I prefer Stanislas in this position!
Dyer 7,5 - What a difference a day can make. So much, better today and with so much more energy and speed. If he was the biggest disappointment individualy against Spurs, it was the opposite this time. The referee blew for many offsides, but as we could see on the telly he fooled the trap many times. Sorry the linesman didn't do his job. Better on the right I think, and better up front. So not in the middle next time thanks.... MOTM.
Cole 6,5 - Good display, but once again he felt too alone at the top. At least until after an hour' when things started to happen. But he is much more confident with the ball nowadays and found some good flick-ons. I'm not worried at all, he'll be very important for us, I'm more worried who'll he play with and how to find the pace at the flanks that he'll need.
N'Gala 5 - OK. LB is not his position, but I guess Zola wanted to give him some minutes and at the same time see if there is a possibility to have him as a LB back-up. Looks much more like a (good) CB to me.
Stanislas 6 - Better today and even if late on, he made a big change as his pace and strong will to go forward put better pressure on Beijing. Good!
Hines 6,5 - A really nice goal and a threat even earlier on. It won't be the last time we'll see him play for West Ham! A bit weak still, but promising.
Savio and Spence had a few minutes as well and Savio looked much better than against Spurs too.
Overall a much better performance, even if the opposition was weaker it gave us some hope back, that we lost the other day....
I know you don't care, but still I got to write: Tottenham won the final. 3-0 against Hull.
On the same day West Ham announced another signing of a youngster. The Swiss LB Fabio Daprela, 18 will be a back-up for Ilunga. Next year I guess. This year - I'm pretty sure of - Zola will try other options if the Congolese will have to rest (God forbidden). A 5 year contract for the Swiss teenager.
Next Weekend it's time for Napoli, our last game before the PL season starts. As we could see it should have been - from my point of view - at least one, maybe two, more games against hard opposition.
Still: Today we can be much happier! Like Pablo, my puppydog!
Photo: © Karin Hagen.