Tag Archives: Ricardo Vaz Te

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

The Italian Job

After West Ham’s very surprising win against Spurs at the weekend, things have all gone a little crazy. True, it was great to get a win, and Ravel Morrison’s goal was sublime, but the hyperbole that followed was surely mind bogglng. Not only has Sam Allardyce become an Italian tactical maestro all of a sudden, but Ravel Morrison is also a genius who walks on hallowed ground.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Ravel is a serious talent and we are fortunate that he seems to have turned his life around and is realising his potential while at West Ham. But heaping such praise so soon on such a young, precocious talent is asking for trouble. Considering his past, I can only hope that the manager and fellow players manage to keep his feet firmly on the ground and don’t let things go to his head. If they can do this, and Ravel can keep working hard and learning, then we are in for some exciting times ahead. One gripe though – it grates with me that the person who has done most to get Ravel’s head sorted out is not getting any of the credit. Step up Lee Clark, who was Ravel’s manager while he was on loan at Birmingham. It would be nice if Allardyce publicly credited him for his part in turning the boy around, but so far there has been nothing. Shame on you, Mr Allardyce.

Now on to Big Sam and his tactical masterstroke. What exactly did he change? We have known that without Andy Carroll we have no decent strikers, yet Big Sam has persisted with Maiga up front on his own in the Andy Carroll role, week after week. Against Spurs the penny finally dropped, and we started with …no strikers. The tactics were generally the same though – defend in numbers and try and hit them on the break. This time, with no “big” man up front to hit, the midfield became the front line. And it kind of worked. We got a set piece goal from Reid, a flukey goal courtesy of a break from midfield from Vaz Te, and Morrison’s goal. We defended well, but Spurs could have had a couple of goals, and they played quite poorly overall. A hangover from their midweek trip to Europe? Who knows. But what I am saying here is this. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We had a good day, a fair sized portion of good fortune, a great goal from Ravel and a strong all-round performance. We have the visit of Man City up next, no Andy Carroll again, and the likelihood of a repeat of the formation and tactics. If we get beaten at home by City playing 4-6-0 again and trying to just hit them on the break, I’m sure that that will be the last we will hear of Big Sam Allardicci.

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