Tag Archives: Kevin Nolan

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.



West Ham 0 – 0 Newcastle : Match Report

What was anticipated to be a match full of passion, physicality and goals turned out to be a tame affair, and one that will not live long in the memory.

It was evident even before the kick-off that there was something missing from the atmosphere. Maybe it was the downpour that soaked the ground prior to the start of the match, but an out-take from Braveheart it certainly wasn’t. West Ham started slowly, happy to sit back and watch Newcastle play the ball around, a far cry from their usual positive home form. The return of Ben-Arfa for Newcastle gave them more scope, and Fabricio Coloccini was back giving the defence a well-needed boost. In terms of shots on goal, Cisse had an effort cleared off the line by Winston Reid, but the first half remained goalless, although Newcastle were ahead on points.

The Hammers improved after the break and Rob Elliot in goal for Newcastle had to make saves from Nolan, Jarvis and Carroll, and Nolan had a fair shout for a penalty. But the game drifted to its inevitable conclusion, and despite the obligatory positive noises from the management teams, it was definitely a day to forget. Wigan’s win means that Newcastle bums are getting progressively squeakier, and West Ham are still not mathematically safe. Let’s hope that the Hammers’s next game away at Everton will be a tad more entertaining.


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.



Wigan, Nolan and Carroll

West Ham continued their recent run of good results with a 2-0 victory over Wigan on Saturday. After the exertions of the 2-2 draw the Wednesday before with Manchester United, the performance itself was relatively poor. Wigan had about 60% possession in the match and had a number of chances to secure the game, but Jussi Jaaskelainen was in fantastic form again and kept the Hammers in it. A largely defensive display by West Ham was punctuated with the occasional counter attack, and Wigan were to rue their number of missed chances when goals from Matt Jarvis and Kevin Nolan completed an unlikely victory. In seasons past West Ham would have lost games like this, and it says a lot about the quality and organisation that Big Sam has brought to the side that they were able to smash and grab the points here.

The goal from Kevin Nolan was the hundredth of his career, and now he has crossed that psychological barrier I expect him to get at least a couple more by the end of the season. Andy Carroll was instrumental in setting up his good friend’s goal, and now that the end of the seaon is approaching, the West Ham PR machine is in full flow with regard to his possible permanent transfer from Liverpool.

Big Sam has spoken about how the Hammers simply cannot afford to buy Carroll when the Financial Fair Play rules come into force next season, and all and sundry are saying how vital it is that West Ham manage to keep Carroll next season. Of course it all comes down to money. Will Liverpool drop their asking price low enough? After shelling out £35 million on Carroll they will want to recoup as much as possible, but their current asking price of £17 million will surely not be met by anyone. Brendan Rodgers has also made it clear that if Carroll stays with Liverpool he will likely be a bit-part player, coming off the bench as an impact sub. Although Carroll knows he still has a point to prove at Liverpool, I cannot see him forgoing a regular starting spot, and the likelihood is that he would want to move on. Newcastle have also announced their ambition in Carroll’s direction, but they are in a similar position to West Ham who hold all the cards in the shape of Big Sam, best buddy Nolan, a style of football that is tailor-made for him, and the fact that Carroll is supposedly very happy where he is right now. Carroll’s wages are an obvious stumbling block, so it remains to seen how that will be resolved, but my feeling is that he will take a cut to stay where he is. Big Sam knows that that would be the best move for West Ham and has intimated that it would be the best move for Carroll too. Let’s hope that he does stay. Hero status is just around the corner.