I'm the hardest Zola fan in history. Like a retarded believer from a small Free church I still think Zola and Clarke will be a good solution for West Ham. But lately a small irritation has set in in my belief, and yesterday - against Burnley - I would say that even if Upson has a role to play here - it was Zola's fault that we did not stand up to fight the way we should be in an important game like this. Few but Cole fought the way they should do in a "war" like this. They were not prepared enough!
And even if we went 442 Cole was once more isolated up front, even if McCarthy was with him. There was an ocean between our two attackers and the midfield, who brimed with caution and fear. Yesterday's game showed that few of our players thought that offensive was the best defence. They waited for Burnley to play their game and they certainly did. I think it's the manager who has to take the blame when the team do not show that they are ready for the fight. When there was a gulf between the midfield and the strikers. When we had an unbalanced midfield (once more) and no width at all (until Stanislas came on).
We can not wait to play until we've conceded a couple of goals. We can not let the opponents decide how the game should develop.
In the end, if you see how the play shaped up, we were not worse than Burnley, and we should at least have had one point with us. But that is not enough, as we now have a huge fight to stay up. We should want to win this game, and it should be seen on the pitch from minute one. The result will, I guess, give us the hard task to win some points from the top four as well. As we need it. Funilly we seem better to do that than take them from lower opponents.
So nothing good yesterday? Well, yes there was. Cole was terrific and the newcomers Mido and Ilan impressed and looked like they will be important contributors to our team. McCarthy and the other two had great chances to score. one of them did while McCarthy went out with an injury. I guess he will be ready for the game on Wednesday though.
Green 6 - You can ask if Green was misplaced at the free-kick which gave Burnley a 2-0-lead but it was a perfect kick. I do not consider it Green's fault and beyond that Q there was no mistakes.
Faubert 5,5 - As opposed to other's he started fighting well and during the game he gave us some relly nice crosses but blinders as well. Fought hard defensivly, lost some won some. Needs to ber more consistent.
Tomkins 6,5 - Another solid game. One dangerous mistake, but covered well and took responsibility look like the senior in the middle of defense nowaydays.
Upson 4,5 - Seemed extremely naive (and foolish) when he lost the ball to Nugent to score. From there there was a high mountain to climb, not only our captain himself but for the whole team. Must do better.
Spector 5,5 - The first half was dreadful and he and Collison gave Burnley a motorway to work on at their flank. In the second half he did much better, helped out and raced a bit forward (Guess he was told to). I still see the American as a good player to have on the bench, hardly anywhere in the starting lineup. Ilunga time on Wednesday?
Noble 5 - Fights for the team and tries to be involved. Tries to find solutions, but: Slow! (have we written it before?). Some bad shots.
Behrami 4,5 - Invisible.
Scott Parker 6 - A unusual uninspiring first half. Stood up much better in the second and was more of his usual self. Which did not help this time.
Collison 5 - Really weak defensively, some good efforts going forward. But he does not give us the width that Stanislas do when he came on. Sorry to say: I would sacrifice him in the silent shape he is right now.
Cole 7 - Our best performer of the day. Still never close to a goal. Too isolated once more so there were few opportunities for him, but - as he had to step down and collect the ball - he did what he could and wanted further down in the field.
McCarthy 6 - They can't do it all from the start. But could - like Cole - hardly impress when he so seldom got the ball. I guess he couldn't believe that his great effort was blocked on the line by Cort. Taken off at halftime, with a slight (?) injury.
Mido 7 - This guy did what we hoped for in advance: wanted to show what he can do. And even to selfish (not so strange during the circumstanses) sometimes in his fist game he really made an impression. Was very close to give us a point with a post-shot. When he finds out how this team work he can do a lot more.
Stanislas 6,5 - A moment of fresh air when he came on. The width is there, the speed is there. Should have been given much more time.
Ilan 6,5 - Came on late and scored on his debut. Great. I liked his moves into the box where he was all the time... and with better passes he could have scored even more. Impressed during these few minutes. I would like to see him start soon.
While we were lucky last round, as the other bottom teams lost, there was not the fortune this time. Hull beat Man City for instance. We got to show a strong carachter during the fortcoming games. Birmingham next!