Tag Archives: Modibo Maiga

FA Cup no bother for Allardyce, as West Ham become lambs to the slaughter

As the FA Cup game against Nottingham Forest approached, few would have argued that West Ham’s priority should be Premier League survival, and considering Sam Allardyce’s indifference towards playing youth in the first team this season, few would have predicted a team selection comprising a large percentage of the U21 side.

For some time, fans (including myself) have been asking why no youth players seem to be getting a chance at West Ham, with the likes of Elliot Lee, Blair Turgott and Pelly Ruddock showing promise. No doubt this has been a source of irritation for Sam Allardyce who after all is the manager and knows best what his players are capable of. Even when we are so deperately short of fit first team players, Allardyce has preferred playing senior players out of position, and persevering with out of form players like Maiga. Surely blooding new talent gradually in first team games with senior players around them to give them advice and encouragement is the sensible way of going about it? It seems not. Instead, as if to prove a point, Allardyce today fielded a near entire team of young players up against high flyers Nottingham Forest, with only the lightweight collection of Jarvis, Maiga, Diarra and Downing providing the leadership that was required.

Forest bossed the first half and could have had a few, but the young Hammers kept the score down to a single penalty goal. The formation with three centre halves at the back was clearly not working with the defence being run ragged. The second half started and Big Sam obviously thought that things weren’t going quite to plan, and promptly hauled off Diarra and Downing and thrust on yet more lambs to the slaughter to fill their shoes. The tactics stayed the same of course. This had the desired effect, and Forest rattled in 5 goals by the end, and it could have been more.

As Sam Allardyce walked off smiling at the end, the young lads of West Ham trudged off with pain and disappointment in their faces and in their hearts. They had mostly tried their best but had been hung out to dry by their manager who had showed no intent to win the match, and seemed solely interested in proving a point and showing that he was in indeed right all along, such is the arrogance of the man. What should have been an opportunity for a few young lads to show what they can do ended in an exercise in cannon fodder that some of the lads may not recover from.

I have lost all respect I once had for Sam Allardyce, and I will be glad when he leaves these shores with his big fat pay cheque lining his big fat pockets. Shame on you.

manutd-whu2013

Man United preview – bring it on!

West Ham travel to Old Trafford tomorrow with their best chance in a long time of taking all three points from the game. With Rooney, Van-Persie, Nani and Carrick all absent through injury, and Manchester United playing below par post Ferguson, a buoyant West Ham side stand a great chance of getting the victory they so desperately need.

This season has been a major disappointment for the manager, owners and fans of West Ham. The Andy Carroll debacle has been widely documented, and Sam Allardyce has come under increasing pressure as the Hammers drift precariously close to the bottom of the table. The owners have publicly backed the manager (always a bad omen for managers!), although should the results not improve quickly it will take a lot for the owners to hold their nerve in face the inevitable calls for a change of leadership. Under scrutiny, the West Ham players seem to still be behind the manager with committment not currently an issue. Many argue that West Ham have just been unlucky this season, although you tend to make your own luck when you stick all your eggs in one large, leaky basket. Personally, I think that Allardyce should stay, as I think that results will pick up and we will finish comfortably mid-table at the end of the season. Allardyce’s man-management skills and unflinching confidence should see him through, although there will be an interesting end of season review between the manager and the owners.

The win against Spurs on Wednesday should hopefully serve to boost the confidence of the squad, and in particular Maiga, who is capable of good things when he has the confidence to apply himself. It will be interesting to see if Allardyce starts with Maiga instead of Carlton Cole who started the Spurs game. Tomkins returns from injury, but is likely to start on the bench, and Ravel Morrison returns to his former club with a point to prove. Diame and Noble should return in place of Collison and Diarra, with Kevin Nolan sitting out the last of his three game suspension.

With both teams playing mid-week, there are likely to be some tired legs out there, but I have a good feeling about this game and predict another 2-1 win, with Welbeck being the main danger.

COYI

insanity

Insanity

Well, I didn’t think he would do it, but he did. Despite being blindingly obvious to everyone else, Sam Allardyce again played Modibo Maiga up front on his own in the match against Hull, and – surprise, surprise – West Ham failed to score yet again. Not only that, but the referee conspired against us, inflicting a worrying 1-0 defeat with a very soft penalty decision.

As another fan reminded me today (I can’t remember who!), Einstein once said that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I’m beginning to think that Mr Allardyce is indeed in La-La Land, and we are going to be in serious trouble very soon if something is not done now. The whole situation is laughable, as I mentioned in a previous post, but the chairmen must also take a large share of the blame as well as our one-dimensional manager. How we can end up with just one (injury prone) striker with no backup is beyond me.

Allardyce out?

Elliot Lee – what does he have to do?

West Ham development squad trounced Ipswich 5-0 tonight, but the main talking point was four goals from Elliot Lee. At a time when the first team are struggling to score, young Elliot must be wondering what he has to do to get picked for the first team. He has been banging in goal after goal for the development squad this season, but Sam Allardyce somehow refuses to trust the youngster to do the business for the first team. Modibo Maiga has been clearly ineffective in front of goal this season, but still Allardyce stubbornly persists with him. A resurgent Ricardo Vaz Te is also knocking on the door and may get the nod for the Hull game tomorrow, but surely now Allardyce must give Lee a chance in the next few games. I know he is not 7 foot tall and he doesn’t fit the Big Sam template of a striker, but the manager must surely now dust off Plan B and give it a try while Carroll is still crocked. Surely?

COYI

A couple of points to prove?

So, West Ham scraped through against Cardiff last night, after nearly throwing the game away. Cardiff should have been dead and buried by half time, but the usual curse of the Hammers not taking their chances allowed Cardiff to draw level and nearly spoil Sam Allardyce’s 100th game in charge.

West Ham’s winner was scored by wantaway striker Ricardo Vaz Te, who clearly has demonstrated by now that his best position is up front and not stuck on the wing. Whether Big Sam will realise this is another matter. The cross for Vaz Te’s goal was provided by Jack Collison who, by all accounts, had a good game. Collison has become the forgotten man lately, and since his knee injury a while ago he has seemingly failed impress the manager enough to warrant a place on the pitch. Perhaps now Mark Noble has to serve a suspension for his recent sending off, Collison could have a chance to show Allardyce what he is missing.

Modibo Maiga started up front again last night, and surely by now the manager must realise that he is never going to be good enough, especially when playing the favoured (by the manager at least) tactics of one up front. Mladen Petric has shown promise but is still a way of being completely match fit, and likewise Carlton Cole is still attempting to prove his fitness before any decision is made about his future. That leaves the youth, and I feel it must be really frustrating for the likes of Elliot Lee who has shown promise in his limited amount of pitch time, but seems to be unfavoured by Allardyce.

Ravel Morrison had another good game and scored a great goal. I just hope that now he has sorted his head out and is doing the business on the pitch, West Ham manage to hold on to his precocious talent, as I can see a host clubs being interested in him in the near future.

COYI

David Sullivan

Has David Sullivan made West Ham a laughing stock?

I’m sure it is not just me. I’m fed up of being the laughing stock of the Premier League. Again.
Since the Davids took over the pattern has been clear. David Gold is the wise old bird with a love of tweeting. David Sullivan is the brash, hands-on fanatic, like a kid with a brand new toy.

To be fair, they have pumped a substantial part of their personal fortune into the club, and for that they are to be thanked. They have (along with Mrs Brady) negotiated a move to the Olympic stadium for peanuts, which could be a masterstroke or the end of the club as we know it. But that’s all fine. What I take issue with is the manner in which certain things are done.

From the start Sullivan has been overly vociferous. In the days of Zola he was openly commenting on how pathetic some performances were. He also stated at one point that the entire West Ham squad were up for sale (apart from Scott Parker). Whether that was to deliberately undermine tha manager because they wanted their own man in (who laughably ended up being Avram Grant), or whether he just got over-excited with his new toy, the end result was cringing embarrassment and yet another face-palm of the highest order. Over the months that followed Grant’s appointment, Sullivan did manage to keep his comments to himself somewhat more, and when Avram Grant was rumbled for who he really was (just a randy old bloke who hangs around football clubs pretending to be a manager), the two Davids seemed to make the right decision (despite initial concerns) when appointing Sam Allardyce.

But things have slipped again since then. Sullivan’s teenage son, Jack, has a Twitter account. It must be with his father’s blessing, and perhaps it sometimes is his father in disguise, but some of the comments that get tweeted are not just unhelpful, they are unprofessional and damaging to the club. When Chamakh was signed on loan from Arsenal, young master Sullivan tweeted how disappointed he was, and that the player would not have been his choice. Many other tweets have followed, some saying uncomplimentary things about players we were hoping to sign. There was even a spot poll on whether we shouls sign a convicted rapist. Enough! What other clubs have to sput up with this complete lack of professionalism? In my opinion Sullivan senior shows a lack of class allowing this foolishness to perpetuate.

And finally, we have the lamentable business that was the recent transfer window. Carlton Cole turned down a new contract at the end of last season (if what we are told is correct), and despite just having Andy Carroll (who was out long term injured), Modibo Maiga (who has been unimpressive since his arrival) and a couple of unproven kids, we neglected to attempt to sign a second striker until the very last day of the window (and they were long shots at best). When Carroll got crocked again and we were left with nothing, we tried to re-sign Carlton Cole again who was now out of contract (having spectacularly failed to find a new club over the summer). Unfortunately for both parties, Carlton had spent too much time on the beach and was nowhere near fit enough. Doh! So West Ham scoured the remaining pile of out of contract players and managed to sign Croatian international and former Fulham striker Mladen Petric on a season long deal. On the face of it that sounded like good business, and a good stop gap until Carroll’s heel finally mended. But wait! It seems Petric is also unfit and needs a few weeks to get up to speed! Amazing! But wait, isn’t there that Carlton Cole chap? He was half decent. Let’s sign him again. And so it goes on.

So there we have it. I’ve had my rant. I’m grateful to the current owners for saving the club from financial peril. I grateful to them (and the manager) for guiding us back to the Premier League so quickly and keeping us there. I even think that moving to the Olympic stadium is a good move. Just please start showing a bit more class and professionalism. It would be much appreciated.

Newcastle 0 – 0 West Ham – Hammers fall short

These days, games against Newcastle United are a bit special for Sam Allardyce. After being unceremoniously sacked by the Barcodes and leaving a big stain on his CV, you can be sure that getting one over on his old club gives the big man an extra little bit of satisfaction. He must have been disappointed, therefore, that Andy Carroll was still not fit enough to make the first team, and instead, Modibo Maiga was given another chance to prove his worth.

In all honesty, it was not a game that will live long in the memory, and Big Sam will feel satisfied with a point. But I’m sure he will feel that all three points were there for the taking, and West Ham’s failure to do so is indicative of a lack of ruthlessness that West Ham need if they harbour any notions of a top six finish.

In the first half Newcastle were poor, and their chances were limited to long range efforts that were closer to the floodlights that the goal. They were nervy and West Ham were comfortable without being very threatening. Noble and Diame bossed the midfield, Collins, Reid and O’Brien were resolute in defence, and Downing and Jarvis played ok. But it just wasn’t happening in the final third. Maiga was irritatingly slow at getting back from offside positions again, and Nolan had a bit of an off day.

The second half saw Newcastle come into it a bit more, but the Hammers were still coping well. Downing started putting in some better crosses for the visitors before being hauled off to be replaced by Joe Cole, but there was still a lack or urgency around the box. Maybe it was the torrential rain that ensued in the second half, but it looked like the Hammers were always going to be happy with a point. In fact it could have zero points as Newcastle hit the post near the end, by which time Big Sam was probably anxious for the final whistle. Today showed us that we still need a new striker in my opinion. Maiga does ok, but is not enough competition for Carroll. Let’s see what the last embers of the transfer window bring.

Ravel Morrison came on as sub today sporting a pair of gloves and “Ravel” on the back of his shirt. He showed some nice touches without having the time to really get in to the game, and as far as I’m concerned he can wear what he likes as long as he does the business on the pitch. After all, this is the guy that would only drink West Ham branded bottled water in his first stint at West Ham. He has had a lamentable start to his career (and life) it would seem, but by all accounts his has grown up in the last year. This could be a big year for him, if he can keep on the straight and narrow, and by implication a big year for the Hammers too. Let’s hope so.

COYI

Step up Modibo Maiga

The Hammers first game of the season saw new boys Cardiff City visit Upton Park, and they were duly despatched in a workman-like perfomance by West Ham. With Andy Carroll still injured and no more Carlton Cole, it was left to Modibo Maiga to fill the striker postion and although he didn’t set the world on fire, I think he did pretty well. He is a different type of player to Carroll. He needs the ball to his feet and is not that great in the air. But he played well in pre-season and scored a few goals, and deserves his chance to show what he can do.

He arrived at the club in July 2012 from French side FC Sochaux-Montbeliard for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £5 million, and to be honest struggled quite badly with the pace of the game. He was a yard or two slower than everyone else, but showed enough promise with a couple of great goals not be shown the door. He made relatively few first team appearances after his uncertain start, but has shown this summer that he is coming to terms a bit more the hurly burly of Premiership football, and the injury to Carroll and the dearth of other strikers has given him the opportunity he certainly been waiting for. He still appears to be a bit lazy at tracking back, but a few choice words from Kevin Nolan will hopefully put that right. He seems to me an “arm around the shoulder” kind of player though, and no doubt Big Sam has been giving him a squeeze in the right places at the right time!

Maiga’s good fortune however, has highlighted the predicament that West Ham find themselves in now, and the manager and owners have made it clear they need another striker before the transfer window slams shut at the end of the month. However, the new financial fair play rules mean that they deperately need to get someone off the wages bill before they can sign anyone else. Matt Taylor and Ricardo Vaz Te have been mooted as the two most likely to fit the bill, but time is running out. Should nothing transpire, everyone will be hoping that Carroll stays fit after his return, or else it will be a long haul till the next transfer window in January.

Finally on the subject of transfers, it was disappointing that Loic Remy ended up at Newcastle, but who knows what goes on behind the scenes. Perhaps a look at the baggage that comes with the player was enough to put them off. In Sam we trust.
COYI