Saturday, 29 August 2009
Blackburn v West Ham. Hob Nail Boots v Hand Crafted Italian Shoes
When interviewed about today's game, Big Spam said he wanted a repeat of last season when Blackburn were "unlucky not to come away with 3 points". Hearing those words, Zola probably winced, not because of the implications to West Ham's chances of victory, but because of what it says about the lack of progress in the English game. For those of you who have forgotten, the only tactic employed by the BeatThemBlackandBlue's last season was to pump the ball high into the box and charge after it, ideally clattering Robert Green in the process. It was ugly to watch but ultimately, it secured Blackburn a point.
In view of the tactics we face, Collins, Upson and Green are going to be in for a testing afternoon. Amazingly, both Upson and Collins missed last season's game, so it was down to Neill and Tomkins to hold the line against the aerial assault and both coped admirably in the circumstances. The inclusion of Kovac also helped and it may well be that Clarke will make the case for his inclusion today, possibly at the expense of Dyer / Stanislas. We will miss Neill today. His no nonsense approach was perfect for the style of opposition and he supplied his usual running commentary to the referee, pointing out every time a Blackburn player pushed or pulled or barged in the box. Green, you will remember, allowed himself to be obstructed by Roberts on a number of occasions and this led to a disallowed "goal".
In theory, apart from the loss of Ilunga, we should be better equipped to cope today. Collins is better in the air than Tomkins and Upson is the best defender in the squad. Spector was playing last season, albeit on the right of the defence, so his inclusion does not weaken us. Faubert for Ilunga (effectively) is the big negative. Up front, we had Tristan and Di Michele so Cole and Jimenez don't have much to improve on do they? Collison for Boa? I know which one I would rather have!
If this was Allardyce v Zola you would expect the hob nailed boot to trample all over the hand crafted Italian shoes - Spurs fans would delight in calling this Big Spam v Wet Spam. Fortunately, however, Clarke has inserted steel toe caps inside Zola's patent leather shoes so we do actualy live up to our name of the "Hammers" at long last: we can now do infantry boots with style!
I don't do predictions due to superstition but our record against Blackburn is good, albeit our record against Big Sam is less impressive. If we win, Collins will finish the game with a headache! What a relief he is still available to Zola for selection, particularly after Gabbidon's somewhat girlie challenge leading to Millwall's goal on Tuesday!
Posted by Hammersfan at 10:26