Sunday, 17 January 2010
Aston Villa 0 West Ham 0 - Organisation Suffocates Limited British Talent
Excuse me eating whilst I type this but I have a bloody great Humble Pie to get through this evening after I foolishly blogged that I saw no way of coming away from Villa with a result today. I predicted that, without Diamanti, we would be devoid of creatively going forward and that Villa were nailed on to score twice. I called the team selection a disgrace before kick off - so what do I know?
Well Villa were tame today but a great slice of credit for that is due to the West Ham players and to Zola and Clarke for the way they set them up and motivated the team to fight for the draw. Tomkins looked like a future England defender again today and Spector was a revelation at left back. Not only did he defend superbly, he was also involved in our best moves going forward. His fouls apart, Kovac was excellent, and Upson looked to be back to his Steady Eddie best. Faubert, two poor passes apart, played well too. Up front, Nouble was heroic given the odds were stacked so heavily against him. What a run in the first half and what a shame he couldn't keep the shot down.
What is there to report on the game? Green made two goodish saves in the first half and was quick out of the starting blocks to deny Ivebonkedawhore in extra time. On the flip side, he made a hash of another cross and so nearly lost us the game by losing possession after dwelling on the ball too long and spilling that shot, thankfully for the resulting "goal" to be ruled out for offside. He is still badly out of form and must not go to South Africa. Mind you, on the evidence of this, Ivebonkedawhore, Young, Milner, Downing and Heskey shouldn't be on the plane either. All were decidedly average on the day. It was a great game to watch as a West Ham fan but Capello must have been shaking his head in disbelief at the lack of invention and creativity - and I include Parker and Noble in that too!
Going forward, that Nouble solo effort apart, we were all but non existent, although once Diamanti and Stanislas were on, we did at least make it into Villa's final third. In fact, for a five minute spell, Villa actually found themselves under pressure. Not that this was a deliberate attacking move by Zola. Parker was injured and Kovac had to be withdrawn. I suspect the Czech stayed on the pitch because the referee realised subsequently that the first booking was harsh. How Kovac avoided a yellow for THAT tackle in the second half is otherwise inexplicable. Given he was on a yellow, he should have seen red.
What do we make of Noble after that game? To me, he still looked off the pace and very much the weaker of the midfield unit. In that sense, I still maintain that Zola picked the wrong side: Diamanti has to be a better option in my opinion. Collison was also disappointing today. He offered nothing going forward and lost possession in our final third a couple of times.
As a game, the match was a non event. Green was rarely troubled and I don't think Friedal actually made a save all game. This was a great bonus point, lifting us two places above the relegation zone. The next four games will decide whether or not we survive in the Prem. Let's hope Fulham can come back and pinch a result at Blackburn!
By the way, Humble Pie tastes pretty good!
Player ratings: Green 5: Faubert 6, Tomkins 7, Upson 7, Spector 7; Behrami 7, Parker 7, Noble 6, Kovac 7, Collison 6; Nouble 6 Subs: Diamanti 6, Stanislas 6
Posted by Hammersfan at 16:08