Sunday, 4 April 2010
Everton 2 West Ham 2 - Ten Heroes And Two Useless *****
Let's address the management question to begin with. Was this result down to Zola? Well, there were three management calls to be made today given the injuries:
Selection poser one: who plays at left back, Spector or Daprela? Good call Zola, Spector was at fault for BOTH goals. The header for the first goal was shocking and I have seen Daprela bend his neck twice this season to clear the ball from danger rather than head it across his box. And for the second, Spector lost possession in our final third and we never recovered our shape. I don't blame the guy, he is not a left back and Daprela is. What did Kev from Manchester say about the basics of management? Play players in their correct positions wasn't it? Don't crucify Spector this Easter, why should he carry Zola's cross for him?
Selection poser two: who plays up front alongside Cole? Mido or Ilan? Good call Zola, Mido misses a penalty, makes a hash of another good chance and, when he is replaced belatedly, Ilan scores the equaliser!
And what do you do when Behrami pulls out late? You send on Stanislas to replace him on the...bloody hell, on the right! Stanislas on the right? Yes Stanislas on the right! And did he look twice the player playing on the right flank? Of course he bloody did! So why, pray, hasn't he been used there all season? Over to you Zola, or to your apologist in chief, step forward Stani and explain to us all why Stanislas is a LEFT WINGER!!!!!
Were the players behind Zola? Yes. Was the team set up by Zola? No. Clarke was in charge of the tactics today. We were compact. We were set up to frustrate Everton and hit them on the break. And but for Spector and Mido, we would have pulled off an amazing victory!
Fact. Green did not make a single save in the game. Fact, Cole could have scored from a brilliant slipped pass by Stanislas who carried the ball on his RIGHT (in both senses of the word) foot. Fact, Da Costa looked so much better than Tomkins at the back. Fact, Faubert provided a brilliant cross for Ilan's header, showing why we should get him higher up the pitch. Fact, we looked so much more mobile once Ilan was on the pitch; suddenly Everton were worried by pace and had to drop deeper, creating space for us to play in. Fact, Noble did a brilliant job on the left, out of position but protecting Spector superbly and linking the play well. Had Mido not started, we would have won that. Had Daprela started instead of Spector, we would have won that. Like it or lump it, Zola's team selections again cost us points today whilst Stanislas showed the folly of Zola all season!
And remember, if Behrami had not pulled out, we wouldn't have seen Stanislas on the right - the decision was forced on Zola. But doesn't Zola deserve credit for switching Noble to the left and using Stanislas on the right? That wasn't done for positive reasons, the switch happened to protect Spector at left back!
But Hell, we got a point and I didn't expect that in a million years and that point could yet keep us up so let's look at the positives. Spector's errors apart, and Da Costa's foul in the box on Saha, we were remarkably tight at the back. Part of that was down to shape and the absence of Behrami was key here. Instead of a headless chicken charging all over the pitch, we had a unit of four marking space, in classic Steve Clarke fashion. We played like we played at Liverpool and Chelsea last season. It wasn't pretty but it was pretty effective!
Were we unlucky? I was calling for Distin to go after the penalty was awarded but I was pleasantly surprised it was awarded to be honest - it looked six of one and half a dozen of the other. The Everton claim for a penalty was much more clear cut. Da Costa was late and took out Saha around the hip. But, leaving aside Mr Webb's decisions, we were unlucky! Green did not make a SINGLE save. Typically, we still contrived to concede two goals however. So were we unlucky? Yes we were, unlucky that Zola picked the bloody team!
Player ratings: Green 6 (No saves but took three crosses well, albeit he dropped one!); Faubert 8 (no errors and a wonderful cross for Ilan's goal) Da Costa 7 (Two brilliant challenges and a goal. Thankfully Mr Webb gave him the benefit of the doubt on the penalty!) Upson 7 (Green didn't make a single save!) Spector 3 (Poor sod!); Stanislas 7 (brilliant slipped pass to Cole, stretched Everton down the right and went outside! See Stani?) Parker 9 (Booking could be expensive! Brilliant pass to Cole for the penalty. Everywhere!) Kovac 8 (did his job well all afternoon) Noble 9 (Out of position and played for the team. Corners were good and so unlucky when he hit the bar); Cole 6 (Still feeling that knee. Is he risking his World Cup place in the cause?) Mido 1 (The worst penalty I've seen since Harewood's. The guy is useless!) Sub: Ilan 7 (pick him up front from the start Zola you twat!)
Come On You Back From The Dead At Easter Irons!
Posted by Hammersfan at 18:07