Saturday, 20 February 2010
West Ham 3 Hull City 0 - Faubert Comes Of Age!
Well it has taken long enough, but Faubert showed today why Curbishley bought him, why France capped him and why Real Madrid took leave of their senses and took him on loan. His pass today for Cole's goal was absolutely top drawer and his goal was a beaut. Some weeks back, I called for him to be moved forward on the right, saying he looked our most likely creator of goals. Well Cole scored against Birmingham thanks to a wonderful cross by the Frenchman, and today Faubert came of age. Top drawer, if we ignore a few hopelessly overhit passes!
What to make of today's game? In my half time report, I forecast a red card, and identified Fagin as one of a clutch of players in the frame. Who says I can't make predictions? When Brown brought on three substitutes in the second half with the best part of 30 minutes to play, I said to my son that he had taken leave of his senses, asking, "What happens if they get an injury?" Well, they didn't just get one and for the last ten minutes, we were playing against eight and a half men. Had Faubert not scored, there would have been a real sense of deflation at the end. As with Burnley, we had a relegation rival by the throat but released the grip. Why?
Despite the score, the performance was largely stuttering and, for some reason, we never played with any swagger, Diamanti apart. The Italian, played on the left, was excellent today, nearly setting up a goal in the first half with a delightful run and cross, tormenting Fagin into two yellow yards, performing his defensive duties with a real gusto, and nearly scoring thrice, including one brilliantly audacious effort from inside his own half.
Cole wasn't at his best but took his goal brilliantly. That is nine goals in the Prem this season, and he is tucking them away at a rate of one every two games. I hope to God that the knock he took isn't serious because Ilan, Mido, Franco and McCarthy are not in the same class. Had Cole stayed fit all season, relegation would not be an issue!
And what a goal that was. You will NEVER see a better pass than Faubert's. He looked up, he saw the space and the run and he bent a superbly weighted pass into Cole's path. The calm way in which Cole finished shows what a precious commodity he has become.
But, the goals and Diamanti's contribution apart, there wasn't a lot to write home about in truth. Behrami got on the score sheet at last and, but for a fantastic Myhill save, would have got another, but he again looked high on hustle and bustle and low on class and clarity of thought to me. I wrote at half time about how impressive Green was playing and, second half, he wasn't really tested. His command of the area in the first 45 minutes was very pleasing to see.
On the minus side, we almost conceded when Hull had 9 men on the pitch and it took a last ditch Upson intervention to prevent it. The midfield and front two still looked disjointed for much of the match and Tomkins made a few careless errors again that will be punished if repeated against the big boys. Stupidly, Parker picked up yet another booking - his 9th this season. One more and we lose him to suspension again - and a yellow is a nailed on certainty when we are battling to contain Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United!
It was 3-0 and we scored one brilliant goal (Cole's), one very good one (Faubert's) and a third (Behrami's)that wasn't bad. But the performance was a very long way from scintillating. Still, Parker said that we needed to "win ugly" and this one was "won plain" so I'm not complaining. And Wolves and Sunderland lost too - perfect!
Player ratings: Green 8, Faubert 9, Spector 6, Tomkins 5, Upson 6, Parker 6, Kovac 6, Behrami 7, Diamanti 8, Cole 7, Franco 5 Subs Ilan 4, Mido 5, Collison 5.
Posted by Hammersfan at 16:56