I don’t know where to start really. I’ve been pondering the 90 minutes of football from last Saturday with a kind of resigned ‘c’est la vie’ and trying to work out what was the most depressing aspect of it
Was it that West Ham did not even provide much of a contest and any fight was pretty much knocked out by Demel’s woeful backpass? Or was it the fact that we pretty much knew when Lampard blasted that penalty in that it was game over? Shall we talk about the substitutions made after 40 minutes and try and work out any logic in the thought process?
Or shall we talk about Carlton Cole not getting on the pitch depite the fact that the crossing from Stewart Downing was one of the few vaguely positive points of the match for us? I wrote in last week’s issue that I was praying for a 0-0 and as the clock ticked down to kick off I was genuinely hopeful that we could come away with a point.
Not once in the run up did I believe we had a chance of getting all three, and especially when the team line-up showed that again we were sticking to this 4-6-0 formation with Kevin Nolan the furthest forward. This is a formation that has worked once and as each week goes by looks like it worked once purely out of chance. It’s the kind of result you sometimes get on Football Manager because for that one game all the calculated algorithms work in your favour.
Your rejoice in your unexpected result before returning to losing 3-0 at home to the bottom team, scream at the computer screen as you realise you’d forgotten to save the game beforehand. I know I am definitely not the only one who does that. If only there was a ‘save and quit’ option in reality and we could have started the Chelsea match again (and a whole host of others) with a different tactic.
Clearly Allardyce did the next best thing from ‘save and quit’ by attempting to turn things around after only 40 minutes. Unfortunately the decisions seemed to be based on hoping the driving force from our victory against our visitors 357 days previously and the scorer of the third goal that day would create a similar second half comeback this time round.
I’m sure Mourinho was quaking in his boots when he saw our tactical transformation – bringing on a striker who doesn’t score goals and a player who it’s suggested is once again having contract discussions and possibly in a pay dispute with the club. After the penalty I pretty much indulged in channel surfing as has become all too common whilst watching a West Ham match at the moment
Flicking over every so often to confirm our ineptitude while another episode of Come Dine With Me came to the rescue yet again on Saturday evening. Everytime I did flick back to the match the commentator and co-commentator (can’t remember who they were now) were discussing the blatant non-appearance of Carlton Cole on the pitch at any point. The summariser was querying what Cole had to do to get on the pitch and why did West Ham give in a contract after all the hoo-ha in the summer if they are just going to pay him to sit on the bench.
I can imagine the frustration going through Cole’s head as he watched Jarvis getting prepped for action. To be honest he was probably already at boiling point seeing Maiga getting the nod to go on in the first half because if that’s not a kick in the teeth and a sure fire motivation destroyer I don’t know what is. Overall then, it’s been a terrible last one and a half matches for the Hammers.
I hate writing negatively about the team but there has been so little in the way of redeeming features in any of our play since half time at Carrow Road it is difficult to remain upbeat and positive, particularly as we have conceded six goals in the last 135 minutes. It is not a crime to lose to Chelsea, far from it, but it’s the way we lost that is very worrying and the fact that Mr Allardyce does not, at the moment, seem to know what to do about it.
But surely the boss has to throw the 4-6-0 formation into the bin for this weekend as defeat is simply not an option. We need goals and we need someone (ie Cole) in the middle of the box to aim at. Even if he doesn’t do anything and the ball just bounces off him from a cross by Downing, Jarvis or whoever at least it’d be better than what we’ve had recently
Failing to score in seven out of 12 league matches is a very telling statistic. Simply put, it cannot be eight out of 13. F