Saturday, 13 March 2010
Chelsea 4 West Ham 1 - Bye Bye Zola
I wrote this at half time:
"We are horribly open down our right frank. With Ilan playing wide right and unwilling to perform defensive duties, Spector is finding himself one against two time and time again. Zola has to change this at half time somehow. I think we should keep the same personnel but go 4-4-2, with Behrami detailed to protect Spector more. That instruction should have been given by now and, in truth, we are lucky that we are not behind at half time. Chelsea have tried to walk the ball in on a number of occasions, with Drogba, uncharacteristically, trying to set up team mates rather than heading for goal. If the change isn't made, sooner or later Malouda is going to tee up Drogba, Anelka, Ballack or Lampard... We may still be stuffed if we leave the right flank open..."
Tell me, if I can see it, why the hell can't Zola? Could I have scripted the second Chelsea goal any better? Now I'm not claiming to be a genius here, I was simply stating the absolutely, blindingly, ridiculously obvious. It's a bit like seeing Angelina Jolie on a topless beach and saying "Nice tits" or seeing David Cameron on TV and thinking "Tory Twat". But what did Zola do about it exactly? Nothing from what I could see until Chelsea scored in exactly the way I had predicted. Malouda was completely unmarked and had as long as he wanted to tee up Drogba, who scored with a header from a yard out!
Poor Spector. Now the guy aint great I know and must carry responsibility for the first goal because he lost possession in his own half, which led to the corner, but Zola has hung him out to dry in each of the last three games. Valencia, Lee and Malouda will all be sending Spector a Christmas card this year - and with Capello watching today, Downing must fancy his chances of being selected for England's game against the USA. But Spector will not look as bad in the World Cup because he will be offered protection from the midfield. But at Old Trafford and against Bolton he had Diamanti in front of him and today it was Ilan. Thanks but no thanks Spector must be thinking!
I suspect today will be the last time we see Ilan in Claret and Blue. Apart from missing that sitter, I'm struggling to remember him touching the ball. No wonder we signed three strikers in January - if we played all three together, along with ten other players on the pitch, they might just do the shift of one Premiership class striker. Did Mido manage a shot? I don't think so. Did McCarthy make it onto the pitch? Of course not.
Goals three and four were humiliating. Poor Daprela had Lampard running past him on the left as Malouda ran towards the box and tried to cover the run and show Malouda inside expecting a centre back to close him. Upson was nowhere to be seen, Gabbidon left it too late to close, and Malouda simply said "Cheers" and passed the ball into the net. The fourth was even worse. How far was Lampard allowed to run unchallenged before he shot? Was that Upson sitting on his arse as Lampard strolled past unchallenged as if taking a Sunday walk in Plashet Park? And Capello must have winced as Green failed to hold the shot, allowing Drogba to score another from inside the six yard box. It should have been five of course, because Malouda, again unmarked and unchallenged down the right flank, was allowed to tee up an unmarked Lampard in our six yard box, and fortunately the England man deflected the cross against the post with Green beaten.
What did we offer in return? A fantastic strike from Parker and that dreadful miss from Ilan in the first half but what about the second 45? Kovac burst through and tried to score from an impossible angle, forcing Turnbull into a save, and Cole had a shot well wide on the turn. But what was there apart from that? Stanislas hit the wall with a free kick - with Diamanti still sat on the bench and Ilan missing in action on the pitch. That was it. Second half Parker ran around like a kid in the park and was so so lucky not to collect yet another yellow card for a deliberate hand ball on the half way line. Capello will have ruled him out now, despite the goal, because he loses possession far too often. What did Behrami do? Does anybody remember a forward pass or a cross into the box from our "Swiss David Beckham"? Where was Kovac for goals three and four exactly? And where was the Czech when Alex, completely unmarked, headed the first - two yards behind the play is your answer, sniffing Alex's arse as his head connected with the ball.
The second half was humiliating. We looked like a non league team chasing Chelsea shadows. On came Stanislas to play, yet again, on the left. On came Diamanti, belatedly, to play anywhere he cared. It was brainless stuff because Zola is a tactical clown.
We have fallen so far this year under Zola. We may just survive because Burnley and Hull are crap but if Hull roll up their sleeves and fight on the pitch in the way that they fight on the training field, then God help us! Zola should go now.
Players ratings: Green 6 (One brilliant save but at fault for the fourth goal) Spector 3, Gabbidon 4, Upson 4, Daprela 6 (brilliant headed clearance to stop yet another goal from inside the 6 yard box) Ilan 0 Parker 6, Kovac 4, Behrami 4, Dyer 6, Mido 6 Subs Cole 5, Stanislas 5, Diamanti not on long enough to assess.
Posted by Hammersfan at 16:55