Thursday, March 06, 2008

West Ham, Ugly Football, Ugly Reading

As might be expected after a second 4-0 drubbing the papers are more concerned with writing about Liverpool than assessing West Ham's poor performance yesterday. Here is what I could glean from the papers:

The Daily Mail say that "Alan Curbishley (was) forced into a near-crisis meeting in the dressing room with his team after their second four-goal drubbing in five days." Unfortunately for those who think West Ham should drop the 4-5-1 formation it doesn't seem that Curbishley is quick to learn from experience,

"I heard our fans voicing their disapproval, they think that playing 4-5-1 is negative. But that is how Liverpool played tonight, even if they had top players who could change a game. A lot depends on the players that we have available and what suits them. We have been missing so many of our signings through injury, this is the best way for us to play."

The Daily Telegraph don't even mention West Ham until the very end of their match report when they conclude, "It might have been worse. Carlton Cole could have been dismissed for an elbow into Xavi Alonso's face while Lucas Neill, who cut a bewildered figure returning to the club he might have joined, might have conceded a penalty for handball."

The Guardian say that "West Ham ... hardly threatened before Torres opened the scoring in the eighth minute. The Londoners threatened even less after that." They go on to say that West Ham "caved in after the interval."

The Independent only mention West Ham to call their performance 'listless'.

The Times say that West Ham were bad at first and even worse after Upson limped off "with a calf strain." They also noticed that the West Ham fans don't seem overly impressed with their manager, "Having begun by calling for him to play two men up front, they finished by chanting'It’s just like watching Charlton.'"


At 10:35 AM, Anonymous portugal said...

if curbishley is stubborn about clinging on to a 4-5-1 ,this will cost him dearly. earlier in the season it worked ,but it isn t now ,and he needs to be realistic enough to accept that . forget the goal tally,which is mindnumbingly low. the even greater issue is that ,under the 4-5-1, at the minute,WE ARE NOT EVEN CREATING CHANCES. it s one thing not to score due to finishing that is poor or not clinical enough . it is something else to fail to even create chances- the latter demands a tactical change.

additionally, given our shortage of strikers ,it is essential that midfielders step up , and contribute to the scoring. much as like noble ,much as ljungberg has improved in form, and much as i back boa morte despite the criticism he gets, all 3 are falling short in term sof scoring .especially over the last 5 fixtures. these 3 players need to take on board that it i snot enough fo rthem to create chnaces for others. these 3 simply have to start scoring for us to progress ,particularly boa morte. the man is capable of scoring ,as he gets into threatening positions often enough. now he s got to do the business ,no excuses ,as a man of his experience shud be able to.

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous greendressinDUBLIN said...

i am not impressed with the opprobrium Curbishley receives.

this statement says it all and so much more, "... that is how Liverpool played tonight, even if they had top players who could change a game. A lot depends on the players that we have available and what suits them." i only fault him for playing the same game as Liverpool given that he realizes that he does not "have top players who can change a game". second, he is clearly admitting that WHU need more top quality players. in other words: HE CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH WITH WHAT HE HAS.

i already thought that with regards to the the chelsea game. i kept asking myself 'could chelsea really be this good'. but then i looked at their squad on the pitch and their substitutes list. look at who chelsea offered as their substitutes -names that would make any coach drool with envy and lust. yes, they are not unbeatable as was shown in an anon post around the time of the game, however, which ever team that is going to have to play them had better be prepared strategically and physically to meet chelsea on the pitch.

honestly, can you imagine what it must have done to the confidence of the team to have been humiliated and then know that the next team on the roster was going to be no less easy?

consequently, i would just like to see us give this coach a chance -two seasons is not enough. getting it right consistently means: having a great coach who has strategic and tactical vision; possessing great players who are skillful, do not have attitude problems and loads of self confidence; and lastly some luck. WH does not have two of those three criteria in abundance. he can only do so much with what he has.

At 11:20 AM, Anonymous portugal said...

i agree that it needs to be taken into consideration how depleted the squad is. as tony gale mentioned yesterday, to be missing dyer,bellamy and parker strips us of guile and pace. this is where ashton s lack of fitness is costing us dear. a fit and motivated ashton wud not have gotten us points in the last 2 fixtures ,but at least it would have made the matches more competitive,and may have resulted in more points being taken against wigan and birmingham. but ashton is nowhere near fit,hence that is not an option.

which does place real limits on what curbishley can do with the current squad,although one hopes that as zamora regains fitness he will contribute. so to a degree ,i think the manager deserves the benefit of the doubt. if these recent results were achieved with our full set of players fit and available,then of course there wud be no room for empathy.

having said all that , the point remains, and i think it is a key one, that regardless of the quality of the opposition ,if we are not creating chances ,then the system needs to be changed. wud the 4-5-1 work against a side outside the top 4 at the minute?
that is the multi-million pound question, and i think unfortunatley, we may get the answer sunday .

teh manager seems to disagree ,but the inability of us to fashion chances at all recently is as compelling evidence as you cud ask for,that we need to try 4-4-2. you cud argue that we were up against 2 of the better defences in the league ,but that was not the case in the 3 previous matches . it cud be argued that teams have sussed out the success we were having earlier with the 4-5-1,especially given the agility and workrate of cole, and have learned how to cope with it. which means that we have to respond to that. not in a panic,but we have to respond proactively ,and be willing to make chnages.


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