Overly long writings about West Ham United FC. This is the kind of thing you might like, if you like this kind of thing.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Liverpool 2 - 1 West Ham (And Other Ramblings)

1. Service Is Resumed

There are some things in life that I guess I will never get to experience. Standing on the moon, representing England in an Ashes Test, listening to a James Blunt song without wanting to lop off my own head. This is the natural order of things and to that list should of course be added - watching West Ham win at Anfield.

Let's not pretend we're surprised. We'll get over it, but by God wouldn't it be nice to even accidentally win one up there?

2. The Stats

Per MoTD we had 48% of the possession which is not all that bad for a visiting team at Liverpool. However, we managed to convert this into only 1 corner and just 4 shots on target. The former statistic mirrors our tally at Watford, and would suggest that our wide players are not getting to the byline and forcing challenges that lead to corners. In addition, one can probably assume that as a team we are not having enough shots on target that might lead to corners. Of course, that doesn't really matter against Jose Reina - all you need to do is mishit a cross and not take any penalties against him. Et voila.

Bobby Zamora scored his 4th goal of the season and leads the Premier League, a tally he reached on 14 December last season. And I particularly liked the fact he claimed his goal on Saturday was deliberate. Touche, Bob, I won't tell anyone.

We only failed to score in 6 away games last year. Although in the interests of pure entertainment we only kept two clean sheets. N.B: Exactly how do you not keep a clean sheet against Sunderland?

3. Marvellous Marlon

It's a bit deflating when you go one nil up at Anfield and within 2 minutes you know you're not going to win. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened when Marlon was put through on goal, briefly confused himself with Emile Heskey and put it wide. He just needs a goal, rather like last year, when he was put out of his misery by the visit of Aston Villa. And look who's coming to town in a couple of weeks.....I should caveat that slightly, as Villa are now managed by Martin O'Neill, who is more than competent, whilst last year they were managed by David O'Leary who is, well, not.

4. Positive Pards

I liked the fact that Pards read this column last week and decided to switch Bowyer and Benayoun. Unfortunately Rafael Benitez outsmarted us both and played Gerrard down the middle. Slightly disappointing then that we weren't able to create more from the flanks. They had Fabio Aurelio playing at left back after all, and he's as solid as butter.

5. Things To Be Positive About

Nigel Reo-Coker looked a bit more like his old self and a bit less like Christian Dailly. His passing is still woeful though.

I thought Ferdinand and Gabbidon did pretty well although the latter did allow Crouch to run off him for the second goal. Which isn't something to put on your CV.

John Paintsil still looks very good. It was his cross which set up the late chance for Bowyer. I am contractually obliged by the Lazy Tabloid Journalists Association to describe this opportunity as "Gilt Edged".

6. Things To Be Worried About

Tyrone Mears seems confused. I wonder if this is because he came from Preston where Billy Davies gave the sole instruction of "Act Portugese!" before each game. Poor old Tyrone clearly had that in mind on Saturday and upon being brought on, promptly fell over with no one else in view. Now that's quite Portugese and therefore quite good for Preston - but not all that good for us.

Call me old fashioned but I would have liked one of our players to have been within a hectare of Daniel Agger when he hit that shot.

7. Harry Potter and the Liverpool Striker

I'm not a huge fan of us letting humans score against us but I accept it must happen from time to time. I am far less enamoured about the idea of allowing a Goblin to do it, hence my extreme pleasure at the fact Craig Bellamy was kept off the scoresheet on Saturday.

8. The Opposition

Liverpool looked ok. Nothing more. Which is pretty much how I would have described the team that won the Champions League. And that probably says something about Rafael Benitez. If he was manager of Chelsea they'd have certainly won the Champions League by now and probably the Ryder Cup, too.

A lot of the press focused on the debut of Dirk Kuyt. I thought he came on, ran around a lot, had a few efforts, looked deeply ugly and didn't score. Now correct me if I'm wrong but that could be a description of any Liverpool striker these days. Kuyt was better than I gave him credit for but I confidently predict that come the end of the season he will have missed a golden opportunity somewhere which will cost them some silverware.

9. The Referee

Alan Wiley - I didn't notice him very much which is probably a good thing. He did disallow a goal from Harewood for a "foul" on Aurelio that would not have been given if it had been Crouch on Konchesky. C'est la vie - the Premier League does not have the same 4 sides in the Champions League every year by accident.

10. Token Michael Dawson Slaughtering

tottenham lost 2-0 at home to Everton. The visitors played for an hour with just ten men by the way. For the last few minutes Michael Dawson played up front for tottenham. Just how desperate do you have to be to play a Jim'll Fix It winner in a Premier League game?


......Everton won at tottenham with 10 men. Did I already mention that? Don't worry, facts like that are similar to fine wine - they get better with age...........Charlton beat Bolton. Could Ronaldo have got two less intimidating sets of fans for his first two trips away than Charlton and Watford? He'll get a tougher time at a Girl Guide convention........Watford lost 2-1 to Man Utd. Did anybody else think Darius Henderson looked remarkably unpeturbed at missing that chance from 4 millimetres?........Fulham beat Sheffield United. Jimmy Bullard scored the winner with a great free kick. Paddy Kenny didn't move a muscle. And I mean all game.......Man City beat Arsenal. Is it just me or does Theo Walcott have a massive backside?.........Wigan beat Reading. I'm assuming that was a football game, there is no evidence that anybody actually attended it though.......

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