Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Grant Gambles Again

Avram Grant gambled once again with his cup selections. Before the game the selection of Upson at left back and what looked like the selection of Spector in attack seemed strange to say the least.

As it turned out Spector actually played more of a midfield role than as an out and out striker and West Ham's total dominance in the first half seemed to justify Grant's selection.

After the first half the only thing West Ham would have been worried about was that they only lead by one Noble goal. However Birmingham came out the much better side. Then after they equalised Obinna's insane kicking out seemed to ensure that Birmingham would go on to win the game.

After storming out of the ground on Saturday Obinna certainly owes his team mates a huge apology for his behaviour this week. As it turned out Foster's mistake at Cole's scuffed shot saved West Ham's evening.

Going into the second leg the tie looks fairly even and the final is still in West Ham's sights.


At 1:14 AM, Anonymous Rob said...

Grant's gamble paid off.
Like it or not.
Show respect when respect is due.

At 2:24 AM, Blogger Simon said...

Dont think he showed disrespect to it to be fair mate.
When i saw the lineup i feared the worst (though i give avram alot of respect for it working), bbc made it worse as it seemed spector was the support to a lone striker, wasnt the case at all.
4-5-1 at home really worked, spears has impressed alot, noble makes such a difference to kovac, Upson at left back and reid in the centre amazingly seemed to work? Baffling...
We should have had at least 3 goals first half, great dominance and pressure.. Foster had a good first half, and finishing/goaline chances are always hard to finish for us..

2nd half was a disaster and we were lucky to come away with a point let alone a victory..

Taking an advantage to St Andrews was always a neccesity, hopefully we can bring a game to them there and not sit back or play faubert/reid/spector away from home please..

At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Paul said...

Excellent win. We needed to take a lead to the second leg and we've done it. The main thing for me today, apart from the result, was that our two best players (in my opinion) were home grown - Tomkins and Noble. Both of these players have had good seasons and I think it's no coincidence that when the club faces hard times it's these players (along with Parker and Green) that have shone through.

Obinna: Since he came to West Ham he's looked good at times but the end product is usually woeful. Either he passes it to the opposition or he whacks it in to the stands. Kicking another player just tops it off. He has it in him to be a good player with the right coaching, but we have our own young players. We can produce quality, we need to buy experience.

Team selection: Grant is only partly responsible for the team selection, the rest is down to who's available. Ben Haim's gone back to Portsmouth, Ilunga's injured, so the back-four that played was the only viable option. More talented players are more versatile. Reid has done well in the middle, Upson has to adapt, playing out of position. I don't know what has happened to Gabbidon recently, perhaps injured, perhaps on he's way out.

Grant deserves credit for the substitutions. Much like the Barnsley game we lost the initiative and the subs helped turn that around.

Formation/tactics: Spector was never going to play up-front. Journalists that try to guess the line-up know less than fans who watch the team every week. I saw one newspaper that thought Boa-Morte would play right-back.

Grant likes to play 4-5-1 when we don't have the ball, changing to 4-3-3 when we have possession. Doesn't always work (the wide attacking players get pinned-back by the opposition, leaving our striker isolated) but it did today. We don't have good enough players to be able to press the team all over the pitch, so by stringing five across midfield, with four behind, the only ways the opposition can score are individual defensive errors, set pieces, or playing like Barcelona.

Man of the Match: I agreed with the official choice, Tomkins, although Noble, Spector and Reid were also on good form.



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