Tott'ham were served and gifted the points.

Our first game at Upton Park for the season. We met a team which we always loses to, who have shown - in the last two games -  pace like Arsenal and strength like... eh, Chelsea. (Ups, all of a sudden I've given praise to a bunch of teams I don't want to praise). But we showed skill and strength as well against our rivals, Tottenham. We showed that we wan't to play the ball... but also that we still are the boy with no luck at all.

But: I did not expect us to play as well as we actually did today. At least in the main part of the game. I had expected Tottenham to run us down. They did not. Well in the end they did. But we controlled the midfield much better than I expected (well, we had five men there) and Carlton Cole had a great game. Expect for those three seconds. Who cost us so dearly. 
And 1-2 hurts a lot, still I think I'm in a way in better mood than before the game. Strange. 
Cole had a moment of nightmare when he from the middle of the pitch tried to reach Matthew Upson at back but instead passed the ball perfectly to Jermain Defoe who easily ran and shot past Green. That was just minutes after Carlton Cole had made one of his best goals ever and given the home crowd dreams to fly... From the moment Tottenham scored their first you could count on another slip from our team. And - sorry to say - there was of no surprise that Jonathan Spector served Lennon the winner....

Green 6 - Did not have a lot to do at all. Two shots well saved, but no chance at the goals and actually a suprisingly quiet afternoon. I do not know if I'm that fond of his long kicks all the time though. I thought we were to play differently.
Faubert 7 - Trés bien Monsieur! Most crosses was good, lost his area two or three times but came back strong with well timed tackles. Had some rackets with Defoe, which I didn't mind except for the one in the end which cost us a dyin minute to push forward.
Collins 6 - I did not expect him on the field today, but there he was. His ordinary self. A decent performance I guess, as Keane and Defoe was not to be seen in the box at all.
Upson 7 - Good game, it's not easy to have Spector out there on his flank and should maybe have helped him off a couple of times more.
Spector 4 - Started well and found Cole with a terrific pass, seemed quite good goin forward. But then and once more he looked like a schoolboy and plays likewise naive. It was not his first mistake - and everyone does from time to time -  but I can't understand how he could give Lennon that ball. (And Tottenham the victory). But sorry to say I can't understand why he is on the field at all.
Jimenez 8 - The big surprise! So this is the player we've been waitin for. Played really well and kept the ball to his feet, fought hard, won headers and should maybe have had a penalty when pushed by A-E. Played smart at right mid or right behind Cole. Could have scored if not Collison had taken the ball - after great trickery by Jimenez - from his feet and tried his luck himself (not a good one!)
Noble 6,5 - Fought hard as always, and contributed well with some nice defensive work, some good passes but the play stops - or slows down - every time he has the ball. Even if slow himself he still must learn how to make the play more fluent.
Parker 7,5 - Good game, harder than hard. You must love this man!
Collison 5 - A bit better today, but still not involved enough and easy to beat. During the last part of the game he fought hard and tried his best though.
Stanislas 6,5 - Does never look afraid and always tries to challenge. I like his spirit. He had to help Spector a lot (should maybe have done so even more) but still had the time to make an impact goin forward. As the good passer and crosser he is, he still have to learn how to find his temmates more. For a period of twenty minutes in the beginning of the second half I had to look twice to see if he still was on the field, but came back strong.
Carlton Cole 8 - Even with that terrible pass which probably cost us the points, he was my MOTM today. So strong that even Ledley King looked like a junior beside him, fought with two men all the time, but even had the confidence to dribble and never - or seldom - lost the ball. And that goal was a stunnder, absolute wonderful!! Then he had his inexplicable nightmare, but came back quite strong. But when the final whistle came he just fell down inconsonable (?).

Subs: Kovac (subbed Jimenez who had a knock I was told), Hines and Nouble all played very few minutes, No marks.

Bitter yes! You got to be after this cursed game, but I'm still hopeful. Jimenez will be a great asset for us and I do like Zolas strong belief in his players. They grow (most of'em) and will be able to give us a lot of points this season.. with (yes please!) och without reinforcements. At the moment I'm more worried about our lack of depth in our squad. We surely missed Ilunga today, and I keep my finger crossed that Dyer will be fit very soon as his body seems to be very fragile. We will be much better off with Behrami and - if, if  ever - Ashton. Zola said after the game that he still think our striker will be out there on the field sooner or later, in contrast to earlier reports this weekend which said he would retire. He also stated that things looked a little bit better for Davenport than first reported. At least that's good to hear.

Millwall next!


Hakan said...

I never thought I'd say this: Carlton should start for England (but maybe try to avoid back-passes).
Like Prince H I was impressed by Jimenez. Stanislas also very good, even though he drifted out of the game at times.
On the whole a very promising performance.

Joppe - said...

Several players performed better than I expected. Stanislas, Collison, Jimenez, Faubert and Cole. I think the team showed that we have little to fear from the “relegation ghost” this season, even if we don’t find another classy striker.
Jimenez and also Stanislas showed that they will score for us this season. If this is the kind of football we play without Dyer, I don’t mind him being out for a while.

When we will meet teams with pace on their right side we will be enormously vulnerable if Ilunga is out. Lennon is a class player and we all knew that it would be hard for Spector to cope with him. But apart from his problem one on one I don’t think he had a disastrous game (a big enough problem, I know…).
The only player in West Ham that underachieved in my eyes is Noble. He lost possession more than once in awkward positions and failed to hold his own against a pacey T-ham side. With Behrami fit his place will/should be In jeopardy.

Prince H said...

Yes I agree with you, and Noble lost possession and even more dangerous the ball like he always does once a game just when the team moves forward. But I can't say he udnerachieved as he did a lot of work as well against their strong midfield and pushed us forward (even if slow), as you all know by now I'm more worried for Collison. BUt maybe they both have to take "next step" this season... as you said Behrami and Dyer will both be contenders when fit. And Stanislas continues to impress. Will Savio ever play this year? Maybe not if Hines and Nouble continues to impress and the left midfield is "closed" by Stanislas or Collison.