Thursday, January 31, 2008

West Ham Victory Earns Faint Praise

One day West Ham will be given credit by the media for winning a football match. That day is not today. Once again the papers are more interested in how the opposition contrived to lose rather than how West Ham dominated possession and won the game.

The Daily Mail seemed singularly unimpressed with West Ham's win claiming the side is 'crying out for some imagination.' They also seem to think that it is no surprise that Curbishley leaves Ashton on the bench,

"The pair have fallen out, make no mistake, and Ashton is playing a waiting game while the board deliberate the long-term future of their manager."

Did I miss something or do The Mail think that the owners are going to sack a manager who has beaten Man Utd and Liverpool in the last five league games and taken a side from the bottom of the Premier League to within touch of European competition in only a year?

The Telegraph rather than criticise the West Ham players decide instead to have a go at the fans. They were particularly unimpressed with the reaction to Boa Morte's substitution which 'brought a collective cheer from an impatient Upton Park.'

The Guardian acknowledge that West Ham could have won the game by more than one goal,

"West Ham were abrasive, awkward and admirable but neither scintillating nor suffocating and, had Fredrik Ljungberg or Luis Boa Morte shown more composure at the far post, they would have eased well ahead long before Liverpool mustered their late rally."

Now you pick the bones out of that quote are The Guardian trying to praise or criticise West Ham? It's hard to tell. However the paper was less ambiguous in singling out Noble and Ljungberg who 'were both excellent'.

The Times manage to admit that 'West Ham are difficult opponents.' They also see Carlton Cole as 'one for the pragmatist more than the purist. Much like West Ham as a whole.' Which I suppose is fair criticism as is the criticism of West Ham's finishing, "West Ham are as nervous in front of goal as an MP filling out an expenses claim." The paper notes that West Ham's starting eleven have scored just 12 league goals this season.

The Independent website took its normal night's sleep.

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