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

Sunday, November 05, 2006

West Ham 1 - 0 Arsenal (And Other Ramblings)

1. Well, That Was Fun

It seems a fitting end to an explosive day to be sitting here in the serene Basra-lite atmosphere created by the combination of Fireworks Night and Diwali, writing about this game.

2. Like The Murphy's - They're Not Bitter

At least Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal team took their defeat with all the good grace, class and dignity that we have come to associate them with.

The Librarians really should come with a health warning saying "Very aesthetically pleasing until defeat, at which point liable to turn childish and petulant. (Also, not available in English)".

3. I'll Bet He Saw That

The Wenger - Pardew bout was marvellously entertaining, purely because it mirrored events on the pitch quite closely. The professorial Arsenal hurried, hassled and eventually reduced to infantile nonsense. The all action Hammers, by contrast, making up for their lack of experience through sheer force of will and a great deal of effort.

In many ways, however, I wish the off the field shenanigans hadn't happened. It will simply deflect away from our performance on a day when we were excellent in every aspect.

You can bet that Pardew will be getting a congratulatory phone call from Alex Ferguson tonight though.

4. My Mate Cesc

You may have seen Cesc Fabregas throw a couple of "punches" at Teddy Sheringham after full time. I hesitate to use the term as it's really an insult to those men and women who earn a living practising the noble art. In fairness to broody teenager Cesc though, it can't be all that heartening to hit a man old enough to be your father in the stomach and have him laugh at you. Twice.

Thus, if any Arsenal fan ever tries to tell you that Cesc Fabregas is a midfield hardman please make them watch that particular bit of footage until they cry.

5. The Stats

We had 44% possession today which is low for us but quite high for a team playing Arsenal. Arsenal's ability to keep the ball is a wonder to behold and it is a real shame that they have no English players in their first choice XI. I say that not because of xenophobia but because if they had, say, three English players it might improve our national team a little. If England were even 3/11ths as good as Arsenal it would be an improvement.

Actually, if England were 3/11ths as good as West Ham on yesterdays evidence it would be an improvement.

6. The Opposition

Arsenal are unquestionably a majestic football team. However, they are also a collection of repugnant individuals. Wenger, Jens Lehmann, Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry are all devoid of redeeming features. That said - when you have Lee Bowyer in your team it's tough to point fingers.

To balance that up a bit, I do love Kolo Toure. How keen is he? He's the kind of guy who looks like he puts his shoes on enthusiastically.

7. The Referee

Rob Styles got the one major decision of the game right and for that he deserves much credit. Not awarding a penalty for Spector's tackle on Hleb was the correct choice, as was not giving us one for the challenge on Bowyer. Elsewhere, he was mediocre and inconsistent and I don't care one bit.

8. Credit Where It's Due Department

Pardew was tactically superb today. I was initially fearful of the 4-5-1 formation as it is endorsed by Sam Allardyce, and anything he favours usually ends in boredom.

However, the additional man in midfield meant that we were able to prevent Arsenal's usual slick passing and movement, and even break sporadically ourselves. More importantly than that, Danny Gabbidon and the rest of our back 4 were immense. To get into November without keeping a clean sheet is notable, particularly when you've played Newcastle, but to then record your first shut out against Thierry Henry and Arsenal simply defies rational analysis.

To do it with George McCartney at the centre of your defence is, well, how can I put this - bordering on the insane.

It also says much for our outstanding defensive performance that the visitors mustered just two shots on target the entire game. And while we're at it, my manly love for Robert Green grows by the game, if you're interested.

9. Just Thought I'd Flag It

An unusual phenomenon I've noticed in the Premiership this year. Linesmen the league over appear to be breaking their flags at an unholy rate. Just how on earth do you irreparably damage a flag when all you're doing is waving it?

All I can say is that I'm glad they weren't carrying the banners of King Henry V at Agincourt.

10. Matt Finish

A word then for Matthew Etherington who battled away down the left flank and eventually created our goal through persistence and out muscling Matthieu Flamini. Now the latter may be so useless that he should have "ballast" on the back of his shirt but you can only beat those who oppose you.

11. Just To Clarify

West Ham beat Arsenal and kept a clean sheet. tottenham beat Chelsea for the first time in 16 years and Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity. That's an unusual day. I was going to nip out and check if Hell had indeed frozen over but mercifully Ikea isn't open this time of night.

Token Michael Dawson Slaughtering

Mrs Dawson: "Hang on a minute - he scored a goal. That verges on competent doesn't it?And he was singled out by Ian Wright on MoTD for extra praise".

HeadHammerShark: "But Ian Wright has the cerebral capacity of an apricot."

Mrs Dawson: "OK ignore that then. But they did beat Chelsea "

HeadHammerShark: "Well, even Middlesbrough can do that. Might I point out he was part of the defence who allowed Claude Makalele to score against them, which is scientifically impossible?"

Mrs Dawson: "You're right, he's rubbish. You do write beautifully though. Keep it up - I never miss a column"

NB: The above discussion may not have ever taken place. It's difficult to recall as my head has nearly exploded courtesy of the Blitz currently taking place outside my house......

1 comment:

  1. dot cottons bairy hiff2:00 PM

    I find it amusing that you target poor old Michael Dawson for his lack of footballing talents, and yet you list Embrace as one of your favourite bands, must be their great singing voices...........