It was all so predictable, so predictable in fact that I predicted it. I warned that the euphoria after the Blackpool game was premature. I warned that Birmingham and West Brom would offer tougher challenges. I warned that if Zigic played we would struggle. I'm not claiming to be clever here, it's just that our players are stupid; crassly so.
Look at the goal! What the hell did Noble think he was doing? How exactly were Birmingham going to score from that position without the free kick being awarded? What did Noble have to do? Simple, hold his position, screen the player, don't allow him to get in a cross. But he was never going to get in a cross. He was tight to the touchline with his back to the goal. Why the fcuk would you foul him and concede a free kick? Larssen was on the pitch and we know he has a wicked delivery from a set piece. Zigic was on the pitch, and so were Johnson and Ridgewell. Sooner or later one of them was going to get a good header on a set piece.
What should have been drilled into every player before kick off? UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES CONCEDE FREE KICKS IN OUR FINAL THIRD. How hard is that to understand ? Too hard for Noble obviously. The foul was crass, stupid, idiotic, crazy, moronic, absurd, inexplicable - you take your pick, but the whole lot together don't come close to capturing how utterly mindless that challenge was!
But still, you can defend free kicks if you use your brains. Brains? Our lot? Who had ultimate responsibility for marking Zigic? Bridge. Not Da Costa, but Bridge. Explain that somebody. Explain why we allowed Zigic to choose who he was marked by, simply by virtue of the position he took in our box. Zonal marking, at a set piece? Dear God, it's not as if Zigic is difficult to spot!
But still, you are defending a free kick and you have your wrong player marking a six foot seven striker INSIDE your six yard box but there is still a fairly straight forward way of stopping him from scoring isn't there? Can anybody now explain why Green remained ROOTED to his line? When Zigic connected, he was INSIDE THE SIX YARD BOX. That area belongs to a keeper. Well it should. But not Green because Green is shit under crosses. Always has been, always will be it seems. No matter who we play at centre back, we concede from headers. When are the Green fans going to accept that the keeper is culpable? How was he ever going to prevent a goal if Zigic connected? So he had to attack the ball. He had to. But no, he stood still as if his feet were super glued to the goal line. Pathetic!
The penny has dropped with Capello and he has given up on Green. Now he needs to wake up to the weaknesses of another so called England player in our ranks, a certain Scotty Parker. Want to know why he shouldn't play for England? I will give you two perfect examples. First half, he closed a Birmingham defender brilliantly (although I'm not sure that was his job because if he hadn't blocked the attempted clearance, we might have been in trouble) but what happened from there? He was in the box, he had options, but he panicked and took the wrong one. A great chance wasted.
Then second half, Birmingham lost possession, we had a numerical advantage, Parker was on the ball, Carr had pulled inside to cover the centre of the defence, Obinna was free on the left on the shoulder of the last defender, and what did Parker do? He tried to slide a pass through a gap that did not exist and lost possession. The score was 0-0 at that stage. Birmingham scored within a couple of minutes. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Parker has a narrow field of vision, always has had, always will have. Unlike class players, he doesn't see the whole pitch, he doesn't see the movement of others, he doesn't read the game; he reacts. He isn't international class as a result and isn't good enough to be our midfield general. As I said earlier today, he is part of the problem. It's no good having forwards who can score if you don't have players with the vision to create chances!
We were crap today. Obinna ran around a lot but was back to his infuriating self, making wrong decisions time and time again. Keane, two touches apart had a mare. Noble and Parker were poor. O'Neil looks to me like a Championship player. At the back, we did well, that goal apart. In fact, with the score at 0-1, the shots on target stat read West Ham 2, Birmingham 1. One attempt on target, goal. But if you let Birmingham have free kicks and corners, they are going to score eventually!
But what did we offer going forward? Piquionne looked disinterested. Cole was brilliant for a minute after coming on but crap thereafter. Ba hit the post but if Foster had let it in at his near post he would have been crucified. O'Neil had opportunities to cross but his execution was awful. In fact, our best player in the final third was da Costa, which says it all!
Should we have had two penalties in the first half? No, it was ball to arm. Should Keane have been awarded a pen? No, he had lost control of a speculative pass by Bridge and was trying it on. Did we deserve a point? Yes. Did we ever look like winning. No.
This was a must win game and we lost it. This team is stupid. There are no leaders on the pitch and their combined IQ wouldn't reach 100. People are calling for Parker to be captain. Tell me, what leadership qualities did he show today? At what point did he look like a general in charge of his troops? He resembled a headless chicken at least twice and do headless chickens lead you to success or into the jaws of disaster?
Want proof that these guys are stupid? Three minutes of injury time and a goal down, what do we do? Concede two unnecessary free kicks (Obinna and da Costa) in Birmingham's final third. Had the clearances been allowed, the ball would have gone straight to a West Ham player, but instead we made stupid late challenges, giving Birmingham the opportunity to kill the game and waste time rolling around in agony. And did Captain Parker say anything? How could he? He does the same thing every bloody game!
Player Ratings: Green 1 (No save of note and at fault for the goal that will probably send us down); Jacobsen 6, Reid 6, Upson 6, Bridge 6; O'Neil 3, Parker 5, Noble 3, Obinna 6; Piquionne 1, Keane 4 Subs: da Costa 7, Ba 6, Cole 4