I’m glad I took the time out to calm down before writing this article after our last match against Norwich. I’m sure, like me, you watched on in astonishment as events unfolded in the second half at Carrow Road. Although it was an odd type of anger I was feeling – not a ‘rage’, not a torrent of expletives, it was almost like I was so angry I had actually flipped through to a feeling of utter nothingness.
An acceptance of this is how it is, this is how it seems to have been a lot this season and probably will continue for quite some time yet. Actually, well before they added their third goal I was grateful for a ‘Come Dine With Me’ Supersize edition I’d discovered on another channel at the same time. Far more entertaining.
And yet it was all going so well. After flying overnight back to Dubai, I was feeling tired and irritable but delighted we were the evening match so I could slump on the sofa and relax ahead of next day’s return to work by slobbing out and watching a match that I had every hope of us getting three points from. The first half was pretty good as well, getting the goal and all that, and with our defensive record as well as the fact we were playing a team who had had seven knocked past them the previous week things were on course for a precious victory.
Unfortunately this was only at half time. Yes Norwich had been poor, yet we were stroking the ball around very well and effectively although, of course, our lack of firepower was exposed again and again. Norwich could not be that bad in the second half though and it was obvious where their weakness was.
Pundits, commentators, every Norwich fan and every West Ham fan pretty much knew they would not play two upfront after the break and they’d sort out the midfield which was being totally overrun in the first 45 minutes. Everyone knew, it seems, apart from our manager. Ok, you could say it was Jussi whose blunder let them back in the match but he can hardly be criticised after saving us time and time again this season. With or without the penalty there was only going to be one outcome based on the respective second half performances.
Why did we not have an alternative strategy to snuff them out? It was painful to watch. So where does that leave us now? Well, a few weeks ago, sportswriters were looking at the run up towards the festive season, noting that we had a fairly decent set of fixtures in order to get some points on the board and move ourselves up to our usual mid-table safety level.
When they were writing this they were obviously giving a nod to Aston Villa and Norwich, pretty much ignoring this match, and then looking beyond. I’m thinking they were not envisaging just 1 point out of 6 after the Villa and Norwich ties which leaves us loitering down at the bottom, grateful that Fulham and Stoke are equally as rubbish, Crystal Palace more so.
Sunderland, who we could have said that about a few weeks ago, are not in that category at the moment unfortunately so it is up to us to start getting results to avoid becoming a serious relegation candidate. But you know I don’t think it really matters that it is Chelsea who are our visitors this weekend. Our sequence of results has been so poor since the Tottenham match that I’m sure most experts won’t give us a hope of getting anything out of this game but they didn’t think that when we were playing Spurs though, did they?
Regardless of our opposition at the moment we have to concentrate on not losing at home. There have been some bad results and we have to stop that if our away tightness could be starting to fall apart. It’s seems typical of West Ham. If we do OK away from home, our home form is rubbish. Do well at home, our away form is appalling. Could it be possible that we could at least have a period where we have both doing OK for a while, please?
That would be nice and you know I am actually praying for the first time ever that we actually finish this game 0-0. Either way, it’ll mean if we do get a win, it will be a return to the ecstatic feeling of the post Tottenham match (and after the corresponding fixture from last year come to think of it), a draw will leave me quietly satisfied and a defeat will be not the end of the world as everyone’s expecting us to lose anyway. After all we can always take solace in watching us beat a bunch of kids 9-0. Thanks for that, marketing team. Not!