West Ham conquered the Chinese wall.

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.


Far east and far from the form

We were beaten by Tottenham in the Bejing cup with "kind" 0-1 - and that from a rare mistake by Robert Green - just 25 days we'll meet them again in the PL start at home. But the result was really flattering for West Ham who seemed far, far from the form they are expect to show us the 15 of August. Tottenham seems to be far better off in preseason.... The worst with the loss was that LBM was the next man to have a serious (as it seems) knee injury in our team. A real backlash... again for Hammers. Against the thoughts of most fans - I guess - I think he could have played an important part for us this season.

Green 5 - The shots from Tottenham were many, but Green could just stand and see them fly wide all the time. So not much to do for the England keeper, except an excellent save when Modric came through. But looked a bit clumpsy when he lost control of Defoe's winner.
Faubert 5 - Well, our Neill-cover-up is still not sold and it may be the french guy we'll have to see as a RB against Wolves as well. I was not very impressed this time either, it looks that he don't care which I guess he does, but there is a spark missing. Changed to midfield in the end of the game.
Collins 8 - My MOTM. Great work, good challenges.
Upson 5 - Hm. Where was he? It looked that his season hasn't start yet. Once I (from the telly) shouted at Faubert, becuase he let his opponent so easily just walk through. Afterwards I saw it was Upson and I do not expect that from him. Not his only mistake either. I hope he doesn't have his mind somewhere else...
Ilunga 6 - OK, but a bit whiny wasn't he? You did not see much of his silent energy (which can spark the whole team) today. The left flank did not look like it uses to do, but Ilunga was left on his own to often.
Collison 5,5 - OK, but did not use his speed and lost to many second-balls.
Jimenez 5 - Has the ability, but looked a bit confused on the field today and was easy to tackle down the "british way". Well, found Cole a couple of times and The Wizard was the one closest to score in a tiny collaboration with Cole.
Dyer 4 - Where has his pace gone? Maybe he slow'd down he play because Zola has told him to. Was to play the man in the middle where everything should circle around but failed and played some very bad passes which could have cost us. And too slow. Well, from here you can only improve... In the end of last season he had some minutes coming back from hiss horrible injury, soon it's time to deliver again.
LBM - Injured himself seriously (knee) after just some minutes and will probably be out for months. Sorry for him and West Ham.
Stanislas 5 - Shaked his head when substituted, and you could understand why. Nope, not so influential as I guess he expected and wanted to be.
Cole 6 - Had a very hard task. I don't know how many times he had to cope alone with five-six Tottenham defenders. I guess this wasn't the way we wanted to play 433?? Showed at least power and som energy and some moves... even if he missed  passes like the rest of the team.

Noble 6,5 - Came on earlier than he expected than he thought I guess (when LBM got injured) and began to make the most stupid pass of the game which led to a counterattack. But then he really took responsibility and I liked what I saw. Good game.
Parker 6 - came on and had some influence on the game.
Savio 4,5 - Do still want too much and should start every game to play much more simple...
Spector and Hines had some minutes as well.

What also worried me that you couldn't see the ideas of Zola's play. We created far too little and had far too few men up in attack. It was not 433 but more of a 451. The players looked worried and few really looked like they wanted the ball. It's preseason, so do not count to see this restless way of playing later but... it worried me a bit. Tottenham knew that we (nowadays) want to keep possession and have some neat passes before we go for attack. So they just put eight players behind the ball and we couldn't create anything but a few balls to a lonely Cole or back to Green to have a longkick. We have to be able to play much faster à la the Sunderland-goal last year...
Tottenham's play was torrent, had ideas and they used speed and flanks.... and saw our weak sides. They have met much harder opposition in their training, and that was pretty useful I guess for them today, but that doesn't matter as we do all start the 15'th.
The press report that Stanislas was given shirt no 9, which should mean that we have seen the last of Ashton. Probably a solid observation. Edit: The rules in China states that the players should wear 1-24, so editing my former statement; This was not a solid observation. 
 But: Even if LBM haven't scored since he was 11, his injury means that we looks even weaker goin forward. I do not know if it's the right time to sell Ashton then? Our team do not possess too many goalscorers. On the other hand, if not fit, how long can you wait??

I do really long for the PL-season to start, but this game cooled me down some degrees... I must admit.


The new Season starts!

The new season is here as the first teamers - well, most of them - started the friendly game against Turkish side Bursaspor tonight in Austria. 1-1 in a pretty scrappy contest (nothing else to expect) that at least saw Dyer score, Collins have a really good game and we also saw some classacts by the new Jimenez. I was also impressed by Stanislas and some of the youngsters that came on during the game. N'Gala and Spence both showed that we have loads of good CB's to choose from and Anthony Edgar came on late and impressed me. Faubert played the whole game and may be Zola's first choice this year as a RB if noone else is found and Behrami prefered in a midfielder role. I prefer not, but: Let's see...

A spot up for grabs!

While the Neill saga has dragged on, it seems that our former Captain finally will move to Turkey for his last (?) big contract, we at bubbleview do wonder who to fill his gap? At the moment it looks like Faubert can get another chance as our RB, but I doubt that he'll be the permanent solution even for the season to come. And expects that he moves back to France soon. 
Spector should be ready to take another step in his development – and when we saw his distinctive play in the national team against Brazil, we wondered if it was the same guy who are doin these uncertain appearences at Boylen ground? But even if mostly a RB even in the US, I can't see him as his right and final position. He is not good enough, not in the PL at least, but maybe he can prove us wrong. 
Jordan Spence? To early for the CB probably. Gabbs or Collins? Nah. Not if we want to improve. Let them fight for the CB spot instead and if Gabbs should leave the box LB seems to fit him better. 
While it seems that we could do with some new name to fill in the right defensive position, - even more than bringing in new strikers - I hope Behrami will - until then - be back here. 
I can see that his working rate makes him a better midfielder than RB. Still with a lot of midfielders to fight for few places, this might be it. I think he can be fast enough and hard enough and should be able to find the position work, something he lacked a bit in his first season when he begun as a RB. Still to find his feet goin forward, a bit like Ilunga has done. 
So Behrami it will be! At least until Zola has signed Dani Alves. Or??


Another Nouble is noble in Claret and blue

Today we are happy to announce that Frank Nouble is a West Ham player from now on. The 17 year old striker has signed a five year contract with us after he said goodbye to his childhood team, Chelsea and their attempts to hold on to the big, young player. I guess he will go right into our first team squad which should have been enough of bait to sign for us. 
Maybe you have checked his goals in the Academy league already? If not CHECK IT OUT.
We'll be even more happy when Nouble scores his first goal for us, after a pass from Noble...

Bubbleview has been on holiday, but as the new season is approching fast we'll try to give you more of our ideas, thoughts and news considering our beloved claret and blue. So please don't give up. We'll soon take a more active part in WHU!