Tag Archives: defence

Swansea City v West Ham

Swansea preview and the merits of 4-6-0

The merits of the infamous 4-6-0 formation came crashing down to earth last week at Upton Park against Manchester City, where we were soundly dispatched with the minimum of fuss. Granted, the opposition that day was of a higher quality than provided by Spurs in the previous game, and the silky skills of Silva and Aguero were a delight to watch. But the fact of the matter is, we need a goalscorer – even in a 4-6-0 formation, and we simply did not have one on the pitch that day. We need a Suarez or a Michu, and Vaz Te – despite his endeavour – does not compare. What we do have to choose from are Carlton Cole, Petric and Maiga. Carlton is approaching the required fitness levels, but he is surely not going to improve on his form from last year, which led to West Ham taking the decision not to renew his contract. He is the type of striker that fits most comfortably into the Allardyce Plan A formation though, so may get some time on the pitch to wards the end of the match. Petric is the most obvious choice if continuing with the 4-6-0 formation, and surely he must be fit enough by now to give Vaz Te a run for his money? I would not be surprised to see him start. But I fear it will be a case of “Play it again Sam”, and the same formation up front as last week.

In midfield, Nolan seems a shadow of his fomer self, and I would imagine that if he were not the skipper, he would have been given a rest already. He is probably still one of the first names on the team sheet though, and I would very surprised if that were to change.

Against Man City, the defence were lambasted by Allardyce for some simple mistakes in giving 2 goals away, and as well as Tomkins has been playing, I would expect him to make way for James Collins today who has been generally outstanding this season. Rat should keep his place now he has forced his way into the team, and Demel and Reid should complete the lineup.

Today’s match against Swansea should be interesting, as they do play attractive football along the ground like we used to many moons ago. They have had two managers – Laudrup, and Rogers before him – that have a similar view on how the game should be played. I must admit to feeling a little envious of both teams’ supporters, and have a hankering for a manager like that at West Ham one day. Still, we have Big Sam for now and we must all get behind him and the players he has at his disposal. Carroll is unlikely to be back on the pitch before Christmas, so we may struggle with results. The January transfer window will be interesting, and a chance to fill some holes in the squad (assuming we can offload Maiga and AN Other), but despite all the current problems, I am still hopeful of a mid-table finish at the end of the season.

COYI

westham-newcastle

West Ham vs Newcastle: Match Preview

Newcastle travel to Upton Park today in an intriguing encounter which could have a big say in this year’s relegation dog-fight. A win for West Ham would mean they are mathematically safe, while Newcastle are only 5 points ahead of Wigan having played a game more, and will be desperate for the points.

It is also intriguing for the number of sub-plots underpinning today’s game. Big Sam returns to the club that sacked him, a fact that clearly still rankles with the big man. Likewise Alan Pardew returns to his old club where he has many fond memories, but also where it all went horribly wrong. Add to all that both Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll returning home, and you have a match that is not to be missed.

After Newcastle’s 6-0 drubbing by Liverpool last week, the Magpies are in serious trouble and their confidence is going to be shot. Pardew is sure to change the team around a bit, and Fabricio Coloccini may return to the centre of defence after injury. West Ham have no further injury problems with only James Tomkins and George McCartney on the treatment table.

Andy Carroll should have a large physical presence in the game today, and I fancy him to continue his good scoring run, although he is sure to have mixed feelings returning to his boyhood club. I thought that Big Sam would change the midfield around a bit last week, either bringing in Mark Noble or Joe Cole, but he persisted with the Vaz Te and Mo Diame combination. I can see Vaz Te dropping to the bench this week with Joe Cole starting, but Diame may continue in the middle if Sam doesn’t want to change things around. The defence is picking itself with Tomkins out, and the same can be said up front.

I can’t see any other result today other than a West Ham win with form so good at home. I reckon Jussi Jaaskelainen will provide another clean sheet today too, so I’ll plump for a 2-0 win with Carroll and Collins getting the goals.

If the Hammers do get the win, the club should announce a new contract for Mr Allardyce shortly after, and it is a contract much deserved after achieving the target of Premiership survival in a relatively comfortable manner. It should be an interesting summer too, with the necessity to improve from here and plenty of activity due in the transfer market.

COYI

mancity-westham

Man City 2 – 1 West Ham : Post match thoughts

West Ham’s 5 game unbeaten run came to an end against Manchester City on Saturday, when goals from Aguero and Yaya Toure were enough to seal the points, despite a late consolation goal from Andy Carroll.

It was another one of West Ham’s typical “away” performances, where solid defence was the priority and attacking options were limited. In truth, Manchester City could have had 5 or 6 were it not for some bad luck and some great saves from Jussi Jaaskelainen, who continued his fine run of form. City were by far the better attacking side, and maybe the best that can be said of West Ham is that they again proved hard to beat.

Carroll was again the Hammers best outlet, and if they fail to land his signature in the summer then they would be wise to have an alternative lined up as it is hard to see goals coming from anywhere else. Vitesse Arnhem’s Wilfried Bony would be a good choice, but now all sundry are after his services it is hard to see West Ham being his destination of choice.

At least it seems that there will be no sentiment getting in the way of hard-nosed business decisions, as Sam Allardyce was quoted today as saying that “To improve we just need to add better players, it’s a simple as that. If we get better players then we improve. If we can do that then we get better and we become an established Barclays Premier League side.” So hopefully there will be a sufficient transfer kitty available in the summer for Big Sam to get the players he needs. The Carroll situation will apparently be dealt with first, but things are looking a bit less optimistic on that front after reports in the Mirror that the striker has recently bought a house in Southport. It would be a shame to see him go as he has done a great job and is a firm favourite with the fans.

Finally, now the season is drawing to a close and survival is relatively assured, a lot people’s minds are focussing on the Hammer of the Year award. It’s going to be tough this year as there is no stand-out contender, but Diame, Reid, Collins, and Jaaskelainen have got to be contenders. In a year dominated by the defence, my two are Reid and Jaaskelainen, and at the moment I can’t decide between them. Both have been consistently outstanding, and I think I’ll have to flip a coin in the end! Please let me know who your HOTY is and why ¬†ūüôā

Winston Reid and Mark Noble

Reid and Noble passed fit for Manchester United visit

David Gold confirmed today that Winston Reid and Mark Noble have both been passed fit for the visit of Man Utd on Wednesday night. James Tomkins is unfortunately still injured, so the expected changes to the team will be Reid in for Tomkins and Noble in for O’Neil, with Pogatetz back on the bench.

Sam Allardyce

Big Sam’s defence?

Sam Allardyce spoke to the press today ahead of Wednesday night’s home match with Manchester United, and in particular talked about the current defensive headache he has been given after James Tomkins joined the list of injured defenders on the treatment table.

With Winston Reid and George McCartney also still out, Big Sam declared that barring any miraculous revoveries, Emanuel Pogatetz would again step into the breach, as he did on Sunday when Tomkins came off injured.

Although I think¬†Pogatetz is nowhere near as bad as some would make out, I still find it interesting that Big Sam has again preferred experience over youth in his team selections. I refer, of course, to Dan Potts and Jordan Spence, both of whom have acquitted themselves well whenever they have been called upon. Whether it is because they will be up against RVP et al on Wednesday (and a possible confidence-shattering drubbing), or because of his apparent “whatever you do, don’t lose” philosophy, ¬†but it seems to me that he has a reluctance to give youth a chance. Despite his public endorsement of the West Ham academy, the young players don’t seem to be coming through to the first team like they used to. Is it because they are not good enough? Or is it a sign that Allardyce’s no risk strategy is just not giving them the experience and opportunities they need?