Sunday, September 21, 2008

Clarets give us the blues

West Ham 3 - 1 Newcastle Utd

"You stole my holiday" may have been the chant of the day from the away fans, but "you screwed my team up" might just as equally have been directed at the Fat Controller who watched our latest debacle from the comfort of an executive box.

It was a poor game between two teams who've both lost managers due to the reported interference of other members of their club's hierarchy. However, whilst the Hammers were able to replace Curbishley with Gianfranco Zola relatively quickly, we remain in limbo with Chris Hughton picking a team of dispirited individuals and sending them out like lambs to the slaughter.

Whilst West Ham's first goal took a fortunate deflection off Taylor, the bottom line was that the Hammers were repeatedly able to get time and space in midfield, with our combination of Butt and Cacapa looking decidedly pedestrian, and equally Taylor and Coloccini doing little to justify their significant pay packets.

If Di Michele's first goal for West Ham was fortuitous, the second was down to terrible defending, and with Taylor selling himself short, and Coloccini turning away from the challenge.

What was more frustrating was the fact that Carlton Cole was made to look a world beater. Carlton sodding Cole.

In the second half it was initially a case of more of the same, with N'Zogbia once again proving that he's not a left back and allowing Di Michele to once again get in on goal. The Italian's quest for a hat trick was hampered by his awful shot, but his miscue fell into the path of the onrushing Etherington who knocked it into the net from point blank range.

Bizarrely, having rolled over so terribly, we finally started to get our act together, and Cacapa's through ball saw Michael Owen show Fabio Capello what he can do, finding space inside Lucas Neill and slotting the ball past Robert Green. Both Duff and Cacapa had chances to make the watching Hammers even more nervous, but their shots were tame and Green was able to save relatively easily.

At the other end, Luis Boa Morte made an early entry in the "miss of the season" competition putting his one-on-one wide.

Scratching round looking for positives to take into our League Cup match with Spurs is pretty tricky. Hopefully the emergence of Bassong from the bench might finally see an acknowledgement that he must start ahead of the Zog at left back, allowing the Frenchman to enjoy a run out in his preferred midfield berth. Another goal for Owen again demonstrates that, given service, he can and will score goals. Otherwise, we're left hoping for speedy recoveries from Spiderman and others to try and give the team a lift.

In reality, the quicker the club is sold, the better. Too big a delay and Ashley could be looking for a buyer for a team destined for the Championship.

West Ham fans' perspectives: Parallax View, West Ham Online

Other reports: BBC, Observer


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