Sunday, 29 August 2010
No fight, no guile, no leadership, no heart.
Three games in, and we are already being sucked towards the Fizzy Pop. Looked at one way, we have only lost one game that we would be expected to collect points from, so there's no real need to panic, but looked at another way, we are rock bottom and already three points behind Wigan and four behind Blackpool, two teams nailed on for the drop.
That Wigan victory at Tottenham sent a chill through my heart. Can anybody see us keeping a clean sheet at White Hart Lane? Not a hope in hell the way we are playing at the moment. Can anybody see us sticking six goals past anybody as Newcastle managed against Villa of all teams. Who would score the goals in our present team?
The pre season hope has evaporated completely and part of the problem is Avram's decision to play the "Zola players" rather than the new recruits. The team at Villa only featured one Avram man (and he was poor) and yesterday we started with a Zola 11. If the new recruits are so poor that they cannot force their way into the team at this stage, why did we sign them?
I cannot believe that Reid is so poor that he does not merit selection ahead of Spector. Nor can I believe that Barerra is not worth a start ahead of Boa or Faubert. Once again, Grant went for graft over flair, choosing to leave out Barerra and Piquionne. The decision to give away Diamanti suggests a lack of trust in talent, a prioritisation of perspiration over inspiration and guile. That would be fine if the players being selected had any heart, but they don't. It's not blood, sweat and tears with this lot, it's just sweat and tears! Once again, as soon as the first goal went in, we knew the result. And by knowing the result, I don't mean that we knew we would lose; I mean we knew we would be thumped. When this team goes a goal down, all the stuffing is knocked out of them and we fold.
Apart from an injection of flair, what we need most of all are leaders, players with a voice, players with a stomach for a fight and with a nasty streak. My son made the point yesterday that we are too nice, that there's nobody in the back six who intimidates opponents. We found ourselves yearning for Lucas Neill, for a captain who would bawl out his own team, kick an opponent as a warning and lead by example. It is only when you lose a player like Luckless that you truly appreciate his value. Collins is another, a player that you just would not want to mix it with in a bar. Bellamy is, of course, a third. None of these "fighters" have been replaced. Parker and Noble apart, how often do we collect yellow cards? Given 12 months of struggles, we should be having players booked left, right and centre but it doesn't happen because we are a team of kittens, not tigers. And in Parker's case, the yellows come because of poor tackling technique, not because of genuine intimidation.
Look at yesterday. Rooney started out of form and edgy. Who in our team was going to chip at him, punch him in the kidneys, kick him on his dodgy ankle, remind him of his World Cup failings? It's a dangerous strategy to wind up somebody like Rooney because it could go either way, but it is more likely to succeed than our policy of easing him back into form by treating him with too much respect. The same with Scholes. He can be riled but did we ever get in his face? No chance.
It was all summed up for me when Green made his save from Fletcher. Now, in a team of leaders, the keeper would have stood up and screamed at his defenders. "Why the **** did he have so much time to shoot? Why wasn't he closed? Why are you dropping so deep? Get further up the ******* field you useless *****!" What did Green do? He smiled! Yes, he smiled! Would Schmeichel have smiled? Would Hart smile? Not a chance in hell!
Then look at the penalty. It was a diabolical error from Spector but did anybody tell him? Did Parker turn on him, aka Roy Keane and bawl, "I was 5 yards away you stupid ****, why the **** did you bring him down in the box?" Nope. Did a clutch of players surround the ref trying to dispute the decision? Nope. Was there any attempt to get inside Rooney's head, anybody playing any tricks to get a delay, anybody telling Rooney "You haven't scored since April you granny ******* ******!"? Nope. Instead there was a collective shrug of shoulders, a collective sense of, "Well here we go again, it's amazing we have kept them out until now!"
When Barerra actually got a cross into the box, late in the game, there were four red shirts and the keeper depending the cross and the ONLY West Ham player in the box was Carlton Cole. Chris Waddle said on commentary, "There's only one man in the box, how are you going to score if you don't get men in the box?" Well if you pick Parker and Noble together, that's what's going to happen.
Then when Parker did get the ball in the box (was it really Spector who played that lovely pass?) what happened? He planted it wide with a pathetically tame shot. As Waddle said, "Take another stride and he could have bought a penalty." The trouble is, Parker doesn't think like that and panics when near goal. We desperately need a goal scorer in Parker's position, that's why I would sell him.
Maybe Der Hammer will help, he is a leader. But Parker isn't, and Upson isn't, and Cole isn't and Green isn't. The spine is like an overstretched strand of Blue Tac. This is a team without spite, without fire, without courage, without intelligence and without guile. Never mind Avram Grant, this team needs to journey to the Wizard of bloody Oz to try to find a brain, a heart and some ferocious courage. The trouble is, Lucas Neill has gone and nobody has been brought in to replace him. We are a team of bleedin' Dorothys and our manager is Avram Lloyd Webber!!
Posted by Hammersfan at 10:47