Saturday, 28 November 2009
Burnley Are No Push Overs
In typical playground style, the Org has run a "Team and Score Against Burnley" thread and, apart from one very informed poster who has joined in, everybody is, of course, going for the home win as if it is an absolute banker. One "genius" has not only picked the score, 4-1, to West Ham of course, but even announced the five scorers! He probably only knows the name of one Burnley player which made identifying him as, not only easy, but inevitable! He should ask for odds on his prediction. It must be worth 5000-1 in any bookmakers!
One thing that is interesting from the posts so far, however, is that the fans are unsure who should play. Spector or Faubert at right back? Hines or Franco up front? Include Stanislas or not? Noble or Jimenez in midfield? Grumpy hasn't joined in yet so nobody has suggested not playing Cole! Remember back to the halcyon days under Pardew before the arrival of the Argies? Back then, the team pretty much picked itself didn't it? Everybody knew his job and everybody went out and did that job for the team. There was a shape - 4-4-2 - and a style of play suited to the strengths of the players at Pardew's disposal. He knew Etherington was one footed so he had Matty hugging the left flank, he knew Mullins was limited as a footballer so he had him sitting like an anchor in front of the back four, etcetera. Like Pullis at Stoke, Pardew didn't overly complicate things but recognised what his players were good at and designed a style of play which squeezed the very best out of everybody: Zamora scored, Etherington looked England quality, Harewood terrorised Premiership defenders, Reo-Coker ran and ran and ran, Konchesky raided up the left, Yossi glided inside and played delicious passes, etcetera.
But now? Well courtesy of Curbishley and Nani, Zola has a jumble of bits which will not fit together into a puzzle. If we play Stanislas, we will be vulnerable down our left flank, if we play either Faubert or Spector we will be exposed down our right. If we play Franco, Cole ends up feeding off a target man who drops into positions that Cole naturally wants to drop into himself and if we play Hines, Zola seems to want to revert to 4-3-3. Noble is out of form but Jimenez is crap. No wonder ten different West Ham fans will give you 10 different formations because, the brutal truth is, whatever combination you come up with, you know it isn't going to work.
Meanwhile, Burnley fans know their team and know their tactics. Each player has a job to do and knows that job inside out because it is the same job every week. They know they are not world beaters but they also know that, with organisation, endeavour and bursting lungs, they can beat anybody on their day. Coyle will be able to say to them, "We've already beaten one United this season and this version is only West Ham!" Like Hull did last season, they may fall away and struggle after Christmas but, for now, they are playing with fire in their bellies and pride in their hearts, two qualities distinctly lacking in our team!
I think we need Noble for his passion. If Dyer is unfit, I would go with Stanislas, but I would move him onto the right flank where he belongs. Faubert is my choice for right back, Gabbidon to partner Da Costa at the back, and the General to partner Cole up front. Am I confident that is the right selection? No. Ask me for an honest prediction and I fear I would have to say 2-2.
The sad fact is that we are not good enough and, more worryingly, Zola thinks the players are better than they actually are. That is a recipe for disaster. Pardew played to the team's strengths with an eye on individual's limitations, Curbishley designed a system exclusively to mask the players' weaknesses, Zola keeps setting up as if we are Brazil and is surprised when we then play like Scotland! If he does it today, Coyle will say thanks very much and Burnley will go home with a share of the points at the very least!
Posted by Hammersfan at 08:57