Sunday, 3 January 2010
West Ham v Arsenal. Team and Tactics.
What do we do and does it really matter? I have never felt so ambivalent about a West Ham game. Of course I would love to see us win, and a victory could only help morale, but only a very kind draw would see this team make it to the Final, and after pulling Arsenal out of the hat for the first game, it appears that the gods are not on our side this year. Liverpool have to win something, and the FA Cup seems their best chance of a trophy if the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are going to rest their top stars for games in the competition. Mind you, Wenger desperately needs a trophy too so I would be surprised if he fields a very weakened team today. Tottenham, Man City and Villa will all fancy their chances too. And a cup run for us would, of course, be a needless distraction from the principle business of surviving in the Premiership, with the risk of injuries and suspensions having the potential to relegate us.
What sort of team will we send out today? Is there any point in risking key players like Behrami and Diamanti? Will Upson be "rested"? But if we leave out these three, with Franco, Noble, Parker, Ilunga, Gabbidon and Cole already missing (not to mention the mighty Boa-Morte!), wouldn't we be in for a hiding? If we play a team of kids and we are tonked on TV, how is that going to help anybody?
The worst possible result would be a draw. I was delighted to see Pompey held at Fratton Park, adding another game to their schedule to be played midweek ahead of a crucial Premiership game. Mind you, emphatic victories for Stoke, Wigan, Burnley and Bolton were all bad news - any victory lifts spirits and there is likely to be a carryover into Premiership games. That's why a humiliating defeat would be so potentially disastrous.
If I was Zola, I would go for it. My team would line up 4-4-2 and would read as follows:
Green: Spector, Upson, Tomkins, Daprella; Faubert, Behrami, Diamanti, Collison; Sears and Nouble.
Arsenal's "weak area" is left back so I would look for Faubert to attack down the right flank, whipping in crosses for Nouble. Diamanti would play at the top of a diamond with permission to "roam". Behrami would be encouraged to use his energy to screen the back four. Can Nouble and Sears do a job against Arsenal? Who knows? But there aren't a lot of options are there? Stanislas could play. Diamanti could be pushed forward. Jimenez could play. I'd rather go with the two kids personally as none of the other options excite me.
Alternatively, we could try 4-1-2-2-1 with a team that reads:
Green - Faubert, Upson, Tomkins, Spector - Kovac - Behrami, Collison - Diamanti, Stanislas (or Sears) - Nouble.
I fear for Nouble with that line up, however, given how isolated Franco has looked in recent weeks; when we try this formation, all our midfielders drop too deep, and it would be very unfair to ask a kid to play up on his own in such circumstances.
Do we care? Does it matter? Well if Sears and Nouble were to bag a goal each in a 2-0 victory, it wouldn't do us any harm would it? But if a 2-0 victory involving injuries to Upson, Behrami or Collison would be a disaster. For once, I'm glad I do not have to pick the team and decide the tactics.
Posted by Hammersfan at 12:32