Sunday, 31 January 2010
If only Terry was as impotent as Zola's West Ham!.
Zola has passed judgement on the performance and, for once, he came close to hitting the nail on the head when he said, "We didn`t pass the ball around very well and we didn`t take on opponents and get the ball into dangerous areas."
Great, but why was that exactly? To explain the inept performance, you only have to look at the way Zola chose to set up the team. With an 18 year old kid leading the line on his own and no natural width in the team, how exactly did Zola expect us to get the ball into the box and create chances? Our most likely source of goals was Faubert. Why? Because he was a right footer playing on the right flank and so able to knock in crosses without coming inside. Faubert, however, has an aversion to trying to go around a full back so even his balls into the box were from deep, making it easier to defend and harder for players to get into the penalty box in support. How could we penetrate down the left? Collison and Spector are BOTH right footed, so the ONLY two balls into the box from the left came when Diamanti found himself on the left in the first half and when Parker burst into the box and crossed in the second.
The worry is, how will this change if Zola persists with his bloody mindedness? I was disappointed to see Sears come on instead of Nouble. The game was crying out for the introduction of Stanislas in place of Collison, with Diamanti switched to the left and Junior told to attack the full back on the right, whipping in crosses off his strongest foot. In this way, we would have stood a chance of getting behind Blackburn's back four rather than standing the ball up aimlessly for Blackburn's big defenders to head clear. With Stanislas and Faubert attacking the right flank, Blackburn would have had something to worry about. Instead, Collison and Diamanti kept turning inside into the congested area in the middle of the pitch and Cole and Sears could not make runs for fear of being offside. How often did we get into the final third without even attempting to get the ball into the box?
People are talking about McCarthy as if he is a genius. Well he will need to be given the paucity of supply. I was lambasted when I criticised Behrami 15 months ago, saying he was over rated. I stand by that opinion. Yes he is a dynamo, yes he brings great energy to the team, yes he closes and covers superbly, but what does he offer going forward? When does he play a killer pass? When does he whip in a cross? When does he break into the box and have a crack? Zola was right to take him off yesterday because Noble was doing the defensive midfield job adequately and we needed forward impetus. The trouble is, we then became vulnerable at the back and Roberts really should have won the game for Blackburn, having completely mugged Tomkins. Behrami is unquestionably worth his place in the team but so is Parker, and neither offer a goal threat from midfield so the inclusion of both gives the team a defensive bias which we can ill afford when playing at home to teams intent on suffocating the game. Wolves, Hull, Wigan and Stoke will all come to Upton Park looking to stop us scoring. We have to unpick those defences and we won't do so playing like we did yesterday!
And back to McCarthy - he isn't a genius is he? In fact, he has been off the pace for the last two seasons. We have bought an ageing striker whose best days seem to be behind him - some might describe that as a "shot bolt". Yes he may chip in with the goals needed to save us, but he will only do so if chances are created for him, he is not a Rooney who will magic opportunities out of nowhere.
The problem remains balance. Tomkins is inexperienced and needs to be protected. God help us if Upson picks up a long term injury because with Da Costa and Tomkins at the back, we would ship goals every game. With all the focus on the need to find a new striker, people seem to have overlooked our lack of defensive cover. Tomkins would be a great understudy at this stage; instead he is first pick.
The other problem remains Zola's tactics. We need to be more direct. I don't want to return to the long ball lump of the Curbishley era but why pass ten times when one pass will do the job just as well? Yesterday, the build up was so slow, so deliberate, so telegraphed. Only Diamanti attempted to play killer balls and his delivery was poor for most of the afternoon.
What would I do? Go 4-4-2 at home. My team would read:
Green: Faubert, Spector, Upson, Ilunga; Stanislas, Parker, Diamanti, Collison; McCarthy, Cole.
This would still leave a right footer on the left flank but I would like Diamanti to be freed up to float, and to break into the box more often. Parker would be restricted to defensive duties but that can't be helped given his ineptitude in front of goal. Why the guy can't work on his finishing, I don't know. This side would offer much more of a goal threat surely.
Posted by Hammersfan at 13:55