James Collins may save West Ham!

Maybe it was a good idea to sell James Collins after all. At least, as he late Wednesday was one of the main reasons Hull were prevented any goals and any oints at home against Villa. Kilbane had a number of chances to score, and Hull held their heads high during most of the game, just to be prevented to deliver any goals by Dunne and Collins, to giants in Villa's defence.
You might say that we would have had more points if Collins had stayed, and I do not challenge that. Not at all. But today I'd like to thank our old redtop for a great game.
0-2 is a cruel result for Hull ( In an awkward way I actually felt sorry for them as they did a really hard try - the opposite what we saw from "our boys" the other day.) I guess the fight may be over this weekend. As long as we win against Wigan.
We demand: Just do it!


Weak ham!

I do not know if the West Ham players were told before the game not to get hurt or not to get any yellow cards? If so I can understand why we did not seem to be at Anfield at all. Not trying to create any close contact at all. Creating just one really good chance during the whole game was really, really bad (with some memories from this weekend were Wigan fought to a win against Arsenal despite 0-2 down. This was the opposite what Wigan did.)
Yes; This 3-0-loss was one of the biggest disappointments this season. Well, the fans were told that "this is not the game we got to get points in" but actually it may be, so why play a game like it was softball? Or can we win any points by trying to bore our oppontens to death? Liverpool did not have to play well to beat us, and could field a team without many of their best: Still they won very, very easily. The only good thing today was our fans. They were great!!! All respect to them.

Green 5 - Not to do at any goal, still: last year he had saved one or two.
Faubert 5 - Not as good as lately, still one of the better players in our team.
Da Costa 6 - After he missed the offside trap in the beginning he was the anchor (well a small one) in defence and it was long time ago I saw a CB dribbling so much up front as he did today. Tried.
Upson 4 - Never seen him so bad. Was not able to get connected to any of "his" players during the whole game, and certainly not at the goals where he looked weak and slow. Captain? Nah.... Maybe he had lasagna for lunch in that bus?
Spector 5 - The first goal was once again partly his fault, after that he played OK (after his standards). Can't understand why we are selling N'Gala and not Spector to Plymouth....
Stanislas 4 - Fast but weak. Gives us "something else", but not today as he did not manage anything he wanted to. Out at halftime. Disappointing.
Kovac 3,5 - Very disappointing. Does not look like a holding midfielder, hardly a football player.
Noble 4 - Against Sunderland this boy was more than excellent, today he was more than disappointing. First half he was never seen at all, second he did some good tackles but very poor with his passes. Our attackers were left totally stranded.
Behrami 5 - At least he fought a bit. Happy birthday!
Ilan 4 - As good as this guy can be in the box as useless he can be as midfielder (second half). In the first he was left really without any chance to get into the match.
Cole 5,5 - Fought but was left without any real chance to impress as he was alone up front nearlly all the time, even when he first won the ball at some few occasions there wasn├Ąt a player within a mile. Two shots in the first half, and a really huge chance in the second whre Reina did well. Subbed late to be fresh.

Franco 5 - Not much impression today,
McCarthy - Not any impression at all, but that we can see that he is not fit enough. To his defense: not an easy situation to get on, as we are already down 3-0 and Liverpool can just hold the ball.
Daprela - had some minutes to feel how wonderful it is to lose at Anfield. Like the youngster though.

Can someone (maybe Zola?) please tell me why Diamanti isn't playing? I mean he can't just have been left out because on inappropriate or bad behaviour os so? Cause then he wouldn't be on the bench would he? And if he is so hurt that he can't come onto the field why is he then on the bench? I do not understand!

So another year without a win at Anfield. Now it's 47 years! But I do not care as long as we can be a PL team next season. The problem today was that we didn't look like one! We also lost the half momentum we had after two good displays. Now we are back at square one. Next game is a must, must. Wigan can play without stress, will that be good or bad for us?? I am really, really nervous. Anyhow:
This was not acceptable, and the most really worrying thing is maybe that our big names like Upson, Noble, Green and Cole are in bad form. Please, Parker help us!


Will Wigan be our last resort?

Now it’s time for the heavy math’. As Bolton lost and Wigan only took one point in their home tie game against Portsmouth, we can now see that the "three-team-battle" has become adogfight between five or six teams involved. I do not mind. As long as we stay up. Looking at the fixtures it is Hull who looks to have the easiest schedule left and Wigan the hardest.

Round 35: Liverpool-West Ham, Wigan–Arsenal, Sunderland-Burnley, Birmingham-Hull, Stoke-Bolton, Fulham-Wolves.

We can get something from Anfield, but I do not count with it. Wigan can rock Arsenal after their loss against Tottenham and the title fight. But van Persie will be back and I can’t see Wenger accepting another loss. Sunderland will win against Burnley at home, no doubt and Stoke-Bolton may see Bolton snap a point. The most nervous game here will probably be Birmingham against Hull. A point or three for Hull, against a good, but nowadays seldom sparkling, Birmingham side may well be a good chance for Hull if they have any mental strength to came back after their frightening loss to Burnley.

So this forthcoming round may not be decisive, but it will certainly be able to give us a new agenda. A point against Gerrard & co would do magic. And we may have some points to go on when we'll meet Wigan....


Ilan in the sun!

Can you be more relieved than relieved?
Certainly you can and I guess it was more than me who felt that way when the poor referee Michael Jones blew his whistle for full time. 1-0 against Sunderland is massive, so was the players big heart out there today. With a lot of support from the stands. It was not the prettiest victory, but who cares, and we certainly deserved it.
Man of the game was our young hero Mark Noble, who really took the responsibility when Parker was not there. Another hero was of course Ilan who, with his special ability, once again gave us a crucial goal. But I want to say that every player did what they were expected to do today. And that was to fight, fight and fight. Which was enough and even better when we saw Burnley win their first away vicotry this season, against Hull! Lovely day!
35 points may now be enough to play in the top league next season and we have four games to get those four (well, I would not mind more)....

Green 7 - Made a crucial save in the second half from a surprising freekick, when his reaction was fast and spot on. Other than that, not much, so credit to the back four!
Faubert 7 - Another massive effort from our Frenchman. No mistakes, played with calm and decisiveness.
Da Costa 7,5- Another massive effort from our Portuguese. No mistakes, played with calm and decisiveness. Impressed and it looks that he will be important for us next season if Upson leaves.
Matthew Upson 7,5 - This was the best from our Captain in a long time. Gave Bent and Sunderland few opportunities and had a really strong game against one of the teams that scores most at the moment. In the offense he should stop to try to score with weak headers. Idea: Try to find try to find a teammate instead.
Spector 6,5 - Well the first half gave us (once again) some nervous hiccups with his bad ability to get rid of the ball from his area. The second 45 was better as he was less challenged. Then he also had time to go forward which also gave us a couple of really neat dribbles(!). Who had thought that? (My wife says I sound like Seinfeld mentioning the name Newman when I say Spector, but credit to him today)
Stanislas 5,5 - Not as important as against Everton, but made his contribution more in the middle of the park than on the right.
Kovac 5,5 - A pretty silent game. Worked - once more - pretty hard for the team, made some important blocks, but I do want more from the experienced blonde.
Mark Noble 8 - We hardly missed Parker today, and that really says it all. Gave everything, played smart and had wonderful tackles and blocks. We did not even once saw that he is slow today. Thanks Mark!
Valon Behrami 7,5 - One of the most important players for us today as he rallied around all 90 minutes and gave the guests no chance to calm down. He even contributed with some offensive play today, but gave away some stupid freekicks which could have cost us.
Carlton Cole 7 - Impressive display from our big man. Won nearly every header and took care of many long balls. Headed the ball nicely to Ilan for the winner and should certainly have had Gordon sent off when he perfectly saw Gordon drop the ball and he was about to put it in the net when Gordon grabbed Colewith both hands and pushed him over. But "referee" Jones totally misjudged the situation.
Ilan 7,5 - As I've said before, this man knows how to find space in the box! A natural goalscorer which now has "given" us four points in two games. Ran perfectly at Coles header. Well, he still needs to learn the physical aspect of English play, still gives us womething new and special!

Franco - We all like this guy nowadays. He comes on to fight, to play smart with his experience and to irritate the opponents. He does that very well. I would give this guy another year no doubt.
Daprela - Came on in over-time just to check out his boots.

A massive, massive win!!!! Without Parker, without Diamanti.
Happy for us, happy for the players, and happy for Zola who never gave up! Two games ago I really thought we were doomed.... not anymore!

Liverpool next!


Point of grace

So a bit of relief, wasn't it? To see the spirit! To see Faubert still fighting after Yakubu's "winning" header – and a "guaranteed" home win – and put in that wonderful cross and see Ilan fly through the air and meet the ball perfectly with his head.
2-2 was a fair result and ended the fightful spell of losses.
Everton our boogey team (oneof'em) had win after win at home in Liverpool, but still we fought, and this time fought to get something. We certainly deserved it.

After a first half where we - as guests I presume – we lay low in pour positions and just took chances with long balls up the field (sometimes to a lonely Cole), we took contol of the second half and could really have won the game. A point is a point! Vital or not may not show until the 9th of May.

Cause we haven't achieved anything yet. Looking at next weekend's fixtures it looks like we need a win over in-form Sunderland to keep us over the "drop line". I mean; Hull will take on Burnley, Wolves will meet Stoke and Wigan is at home against Portsmouth.
But if Upson can show that he is a man for the England team by putting in an immaculate performance against Darren Bent and Da Costa can keep winning headers even against Jones I think we can do it even without Parker.

Green 6 - Had he any saves in the game at all? Alright he came out in the box a couple of times, once to grab the ball in front of the feet of an opponent but not much otherwise. And not much to do about their goals either. Maybe he can leave his goalline a bit earlier sometimes.
Faubert 8 - That cross was spot-on. And this man fought and is really in form now. Great effort and no mistakes.
Da Costa 7,5 - His goal was not the most beautiful, and he was part of the defense that made pitiful mistakes at Everton's first goal. Still a great game. Good headers, good blocks, an important goal and good fighting spirit.
Upson 6,5 - Not at his best yet but better than lately. I can not understand why he shoves those long balls up the field again and again and never reach a player in claret & blue. Ever.
Spector 4 - After some good games from the American this was another showing of mistakes. He made two mistakes at Everton's first goal (the bad clearence and then just left the Russian on his own) and a useless pass right into the arms of an Everton player that led to the home teams second. I've seen enough. If Ilunga is a doubt still, Daprela should play from now on. I do not care if the youngster from Switzerland (edit) is looked upon as "too young" in an situation full of pressure. He can take it.
Stanislas 7 - Behrami was injured (or sick) in the warm-up and Stanislas came on instead. I think that was tremedous move for Zola, as we all of a sudden had speed and width, and some (if too many bad as well) good crossing. The right side is probably better for the rightfooted youngster as well. Good game with energy, even if a bit too eager sometimes.
Kovac - 6 He was alright and played for the team.
Parker - 8,5 Lovely game again. Lost some ball's unnecessarywhen the team had found themselves in the opponent's box - Parker should have made some easy passes earlier. But that is the only thing I can find to complain about. And of course the yellow card that makes us very vulnerable for the next two fixtures. Otherwise a great, great game with an effort that probably noone in PL this weekend can compare themselves with.
Noble 6 - Totally lost in the first half on the left hand side (not a good position for him) but got into the game and showed heart and a strong will. A good shot at the bar, took the corner that lead us to our first goal.
Mido 5,5 - The penalty was as naive as parts of his play. But actually fought pretty hard. ut: Gives few options that Cole doesn't already possess.
Cole 7 - Left stranded in the first half even if he fought and won balls even if he had two or three men against him. Won the penalty after a good run. Decent but not at his best yet. I think this man has to score soon.

Ilan 8 - That goal deserves credit!!! We could see it from the beginning when he came. He may not be anything peculiar in some positions, but he is something special to when it comes to get himself into the box and find room and space. Gives the team new qualities. May it continue!
Gabbidon - Came in at overtime just to check his boots I guess.

Sunderland next!


For goodness sake focus!

I’m not quite sure who needs this urge the most, the owners, the manager or the players. But it was the Fulham complaint that got me started. Let’s focus on getting the required points to stay up instead.
Of course I see what Sullivan is doing, using his default method - threat - to refrain other teams to do the same, be it teams in the relegation battle resting players against teams they’ll lose to anyhow (Wolves) or safe teams focusing on a bigger game as Fulham.
Of course it’s morally questionable to field an under strength team for several reasons but I think that West Ham is best served by everybody focusing on one thing – the game against Everton. Besides we have not been strangers to resting players ahead of vital games ourselves, the latest example being Parker against Arsenal, and quite a few fans demanded him to be rested against Chelsea as well not to risk a ban for the important games ahead. So where is the morally acceptable limit? 2 players? Three?
Go shock Everton!

And so we did!
Also, Sullivan confirms my thoughts in this interview HERE