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

Thursday, January 29, 2009

West Ham 2 - 0 Hull City (And Other Ramblings)

1. Lucky To Get Nil

By half time alone, we'd scored once, hit the post twice, missed a penalty and invented the word "squanderosity". I'd say we edged it.

Hull were absolutely, criminally terrible though.

2. Atmospheric Pressure

In the aftermath of a performance like this it can be easy to go overboard with praise, but I have to say that even to a natural cynic, this was the best West Ham home display for some considerable time.

There was a tangible buzz in the stadium, Jeremy Nicholas was back on the mic, voice cracking with emotion and the visiting supporters were impressively boisterous. I believe in my childhood days on the North Bank, people used to call that an "atmosphere".

For a while it seemed that we were destined to waste all opportunities presented to us, but once di Michele deservedly got his opener we were firmly in control, so much so that we could even afford to bring on our 12 year old new signing from Brescia right at the end.

Last time I can recall a similar type of feeling around the ground? Bradford at home, the game after Roeder had been sacked and Sir Trevor was briefly back at the helm.

I think the similarity might be that both games represented a potential change in the direction of the club, giving the feeling that for the first time in a while we could look upwards without shame.

3. The Statistics

Although ESPN have the possession statistics as fairly even, and with just a slight edge to us at 51%, we mustered no fewer than 28 (twenty eight! as per the old biddeprinter) efforts at goal.

This means that we essentially had a shot every three minutes, of which Carlton Cole had a truly squanderiffic 9. He managed just 3 on target and seemed to be on the verge of self harm in his post match interview, even though he had equalled a record set by Tony Cottee as he scored his 5th League goal in as many games. Nice - good attitude.

The visitors had 16 attempts although I'd have to assume that this incorporates a very generous description of what a goal attempt actually constitutes. Apart from a late Jimmy Bullard drive that Green smartly palmed aside, they mustered very little, and returned home thankful not to have suffered a second consecutive 6 goal defeat at the Boleyn.

4. The Opposition

"The limelight around here is terrible" thinks Phil Brown, even as a killer cameraman lurks behind him.

Apart from the commendable Jimmy Bullard, who was sporting a haircut and physique that wouldn't have looked out of place on a runway model, there was absolutely nothing good about Hull tonight. The magic, it seems has gone.

Brown's assertion that "The front men were the difference" is absurd, and indicative of a lack of awareness about their plight. Hard work and energy will get you so far in the Premier League (hey, ask Danielle Lloyd), and their early results were stunning, but they are begin to get the thousand yard stare in their eyes and it might only be the enduring shittiness of West Brom, Stoke and Boro that save them.

They also appear to have employed the "West Ham circa 2002" method for marking at corners. This involves 9 outfield players attempting to replicate the various orbits of the planets, whilst never, at any point, you know, marking anyone.

Taking advantage of this elliptical set up was James Collins, who had a free header in the first half that was so easy he could have drawn up a sofa and knocked it in with his pipe. Sadly he instead chose to do a splendidly accurate impression of Darren Bent, and put it wide.

Sandra Redknapp in.

5. Cole Patrol

Ever seen Carlton Cole play better than that?

You're lying.

What a performance from the big lumbering Heskeyite, as he tore shreds out of a Hull defence that would have had to be inert to be any slower.

He started off with a miss, but was soon combining well with the excellent di Michele, culminating in him diving/being pushed over for our penalty (I guess your opinion on that is likely to correlate with which side of the Humber you live on).

He then missed a one on one, scored a goal (despite being in a coma at the time), had a few good runs, missed a one on one, set up a chance for Faubert, and finished up by missing a last one on one in the dying seconds, just for old times sake.

I can't believe that he's being touted for England, but I'm coming round to the point of view that there might be stupider ideas in the cosmos. Like Jimmy Bullard joining Hull.

6. Behrami Army

I'm being won over. I really am. I was sceptical at first because I don't rush in like you lot. Not after that last time with Kepa Blanco.

Instead, I've sat back and watched as Behrami has slowly become an integral part of the team. It helps, of course, that he makes Haile Gebreselassie look like a wheezing asthmatic, but his technical excellence is beginning to show itself now as well.

It was probably the last minute at Chelsea that first really caught the eye, as he set Cole up for the chance that should have won the game, but since then he has been an integral part of our flourishing midfield.

So, yes, count me in. I like the blonde highlights, I like the running about, I dig the big pearly smile. I am in the Behrami Army.

7. Luis Boa Morte Footwear Update

I swear that Luis warmed up for this game in a pair of white running shoes. I was watching intently, because obviously it would have meant that this section was effectively writing itself. Alas, he came on, missed a golden opportunity and had to put up with a bit more booing.

I actually quite liked the bit when new signing Savio got his first touch, did a couple of Dale Gordon lite step overs and then just turned round and gave a one yard pass to Boa Morte. It screamed "I'm worth £9m but you are the senior player - so you tread on it and fall over". Which he did.

Probably because he was wearing these:

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