Wednesday, 10 February 2010
West Ham 2 Birmingham 0 - Order Restored
Thank God for that! It wasn't an exhilarating performance, it wasn't even a particularly good performance, but it was efficient and featured two fantastic goals. The three points are in the bag and we can move on. Even with Wolves beating Tottenham, we still find ourselves sitting in 14th place in the table. A win at the weekend and the headlines will read "crisis? what crisis?"
The critics will try to suggest that Birmingham had a bad day at the office but the truth is, we did a number on them. A minute before half time and I was ready to lay into Zola for selecting Behrami, Kovac and Parker in midfield instead of gambling on Stanislas or pushing Faubert forward, but then Parker won the free kick, after a superb driving run, and Diamanti buried it with aplomb. What a masterful free kick that was! It actually landed on the inside of the side netting - truly perfect! Until that moment, we had fashioned, at best, half chances, with Cole's wonderful turn and shot our best moment of the half. Again, there was a lack of penetration down the flanks and a lack of space down the middle.
The second half started worryingly. Birmingham were bossing the game and our back line was dropping deeper. It felt as if a Birmingham goal was coming. But then came, what for me, was our goal of the season so far. Behrami slipped a lovely pass to the on rushing Faubert, who burst into the box (at long last!) and delivered a wonderful cross for Cole, who had stolen in front of his marker like a class international striker should, to head home. It was simple, brilliant and a throw back to how we used to play in the good old days! This is what I have been calling for all season, a player getting to the byline and crossing off his best foot. Why have we had to wait until now for it to happen?
There were some real positives tonight. Faubert again looked comfortable defensively and offered a threat going forward. Upson and Tomkins were rock solid at the back, with Tomkins sticking to Phillips like shit to a blanket and making one brilliant challenge in the last 10 minutes. True Upson handled and it should have been a penalty, but he got up and cleared the ball expertly in the same movement! In midfield Kovac and Behrami hunted the ball down like hungry tigers. I was a critic of the Czech earlier in the season but he has been impressive since Christmas and kept Bowyer under wraps so well tonight that McLeish withdrew him. Diamanti was exciting in flashes and did his defensive duties well, except for when Carr did him and burst unchallenged into the box in the first half, forcing Green into a palmed clearance of the cross. Parker was good too, but did not stamp himself on the game so obviously tonight, perhaps because others were doing their bit too. Up front, Cole looked class - unlike Mido and Ilan to be honest. And apart from one rush of blood and one sliced clearance, Green was impressive tonight. He didn't have many saves to make but I was impressed with the way he handled the crosses into the box.
We must not get carried away. Our midfield was still mostly huff and puff and we still did not create many clear cut openings; but we won and we kept a clean sheet and we scored two goals and so I am feeling bloody happy! Well done to Zola and the boys, you earned your wage cut tonight!
Ratings: Green 6; Faubert 7, Tomkins 7, Upson 7, Ilunga 6 (Spector 6); Behrami 7, Kovac 7, Parker 7, Diamanti 7; Cole 7, Mido 5 (Ilan 5) (Noble not on long enough to rate)
Posted by Hammersfan at 21:40