Sunday, 27 December 2009
Two Games Do Not A Great Escape Make
Well, being West Ham, we did things in extremes in the games that straddled Christmas. Matches against the very top and the very bottom teams in the Prem have seen a surge of confidence and optimism amongst the fans based on 4 home points, three goals for and only one against, and the heady heights of finding ourselves fourth from bottom. Behrami is back, Cole should return soon, Franco made it into the starting 11 despite the rumours of a mystery injury, Kovac played out of his skin and scored, Jimenez won the penalty and delivered a delicious free kick for Kovac to head home, Parker is ubiquitous in every game, Diamanti is looking unique and everything is suddenly wonderful.
But reality, of course, is perched like a ravenous crow on the edge of our bedstead. The four points were based upon a defence that looked so much more assured because of the presence of Upson; if the rumours of his defection are true, then we are in big trouble unless an experienced centre back is sourced. Hull and Bolton, two of the teams below us, have games in hand, as do a number of clubs immediately above us. Wolves illustrate how a few good results can see you leap up the Prem, only to slump back down on the back of one defeat. Cole isn't fit yet and Franco, at 33, has to lead the line alone again on Monday. Tottenham are so flush with talent that they were able to rest Defoe ahead of our game on Monday, a luxury we can only dream of. Behrami looked sparkling for the 15 minutes that he was on but can we risk starting him at Spurs after two relapses already this season? We still have Faubert at right back!
The truth is, these two matches have kindled hope, nothing more. Had we lost both, the coffin lid would be in position, ready to be nailed down. Instead, we are sitting up in bed, in remission, looking at patients who look sicker than ourselves and feeling rather smug about having a 55% chance of survival. However, as great as confidence is, confidence is fickle. Some on here are already talking about a mid table finish, and with Sunderland in 10th, just 4 points ahead of us, that doesn't sound too absurd on the face of it. However, such talk is extremely dangerous. 'Arry and Defoe have sharp needles, desperate to burst our bubble of confidence and should Tottenham thump us, the optimists will turn doom mongers overnight. In a way, however, that game is irrelevant. The big matches are the return fixture with Portsmouth and the home game against Wolves. Four points from those two games would be very useful in helping us secure our Premiership status, which is our realistic target for this year.
Yes there is reason for hope after yesterday's result but only the sort of hope a cancer patient has when he hears that his cancer is in remission. To suddenly think he is going to live forever and return to smoking forty cancers a day would be stupid. There remains something rotten and far from benign in our accounts and, Portsmouth apart, we are likely to find ourselves weakened the most during the January sales. There is a long battle ahead before we can look forward to playing Premiership football next season so let's not get carried away.
We did look much improved in those last two games and lets hope the momentum can be maintained at Tottenham and then into January! But let's not let our dreams fly too high guys! Bubbles are pretty but bubbles burst as we very well know and as a certain Icelandic bank discovered not so long ago!
Posted by Hammersfan at 10:22