Saturday, 15 October 2011

West Ham 4 Blackpool 0 The conundrum solved?

Sam Baldock
At last! According to the OS this is the biggest home league win since the 4-0 triumph over Aston Villa in 2005! There is, of course, a huge difference between beating Villa in the Prem and the Kings Arms Blackpool in the Championship, but it has been a long, long wait for the team to throw off the shackles of doubt at the Boleyn so, no matter the quality of the opposition, this has to be trumpeted! Has Allardyce solved the conundrum at last? Do the bits finally piece together into a coherent jigsaw?

Noble knockers will be delighted. Mr West Ham didn't start and his omission may, indeed, be critical to the side's shape. He is not a holding midfielder so he has been used as a square peg in a round hole so far this season. Diop is what he is, a stopper in midfield, and his inclusion creates the opportunity for the full backs to get forward, secure in the knowledge that they have genuine protection behind.

Zola messed around with Behrami and Parker, and Grant with Parker and Noble, with neither settling on a pair that complimented each other: Behrami and Parker offered no offensive threat, whilst Parker and Noble both sought to play the same role. In Diop we have the rock and in Nolan the lighthouse. Collison and Taylor meanwhile offer energy, vision, cover and a goal threat. No prizes for guessing the West Ham midfield when we thumped Villa: Mullins played the Diop role, with Reo-Coker, Benayoun and Etherington offering the energy and goal threat in midfield.

It's also good to see a return to 4-4-2. I have long argued that 4-5-1 is the formation of the gods. It's great if you have players of the calibre of Rooney and Young - and even then England struggle to make it work - but with ordinary mortals, 4-4-2 gives you shape and an out ball, especially when a big guy like Carew can knock it down for a nippy striker like Baldock. Hopefully the days of lumping up to an isolated big man are over!

And what about Carew and Baldock? Are they the Claret and Blue Toshak and Keegan? Do we have our long craved for fox in the box to feed off the scraps created by a lion of a centre forward? One swallow does not a summer make, but let's begin to believe! At long, long last!

Reid and Tomkins are mobile centre backs, McCartney is a solid enough left back, Faubert or O'Brien offer the width going forward on the right, allowing Collison to drift inside. It's all down to shape as I have repeatedly argued and the jettisoning of Parker, Noble and Cole may just be key to finding a shape that actually works. Why has it taken six years to get there?

One last thought, perhaps we shouldn't go for Tevez - he might refuse to come off the bench when Baldock tires!

And a final conundrum for all you Claret and Blue egg heads. What player links that 4-0 win over Villa and the 4-0 triumph today?

23 comments:

Stani said...

I think we missed Noble badly...four goals and a clean sheet.

Good to finally have 11 men on the pitch

Andy said...

Bloody hell are you feeling alright HF.. a positive post! I think you may need a lie down mate.

Anonymous said...

Freddy Sears?

USA Dave said...

Was Carew on that Villa team HF?

I followed on my phone while doing yard work, while J Ross was calling and texting me while listening on the web. He said we could have scored 7.

I hate optimism since it rarely proves to be well founded, but I felt the same way vis a vie the formation. Like the lightbulb went off and Big Sam sat up with wide eyes.

Southampton will be an interesting match.

fred14 said...

Yet if we lose our next game and Noble doesn't play someone will still have a moan about him

Hammersfan said...

Good shout Dave but no. Sears was still breast feeding 1832!

dazthehammer said...

kevin phillips was at villa wasn't he? can't remember him playing though, just remember big marlene somewhow getting a hatrick

Anonymous said...

A square peg in a round hole?? I thought that was Parker.

Hammersfan said...

Spot on Daz!

1858, there's been lots of square pegs in round holes!

Anonymous said...

Did you watch / hear the game HF? diop only played for the last 10 minutes.

Hammersfan said...

A holding midfielder is usually invisible when you boss a game. How often did we notice Mullins?

Sav said...

Well, I told you so. I have even posted my optimism about this team when I saw the team sheet (check it out in the previous article).

With Noble on the bench and Taylor and Collison in midfield while having the tall and the versatile scores up front it was almost my ideal team on paper. And it proved so.

Let's hope that Noble can warm the bench for a few more games, at least. I dare hope that Sam is finally getting it together.

Hammersfan said...

LOL, you posted at 1526, when we were already a goal ahead!

Stani said...

Top two play on Tuesday. Big game. We'll find out a fair bit about our lot.

Hammersfan said...

Yeah, and about who is the true fan. Will you keep Lambert as captain for that fixture Stani?

fred149 said...

Diop had nothing to do today he broke nothing up and even gave away a needless free kick 25 yards out from goal. I'm not sure we that good. Might be more blackpools efence were awful

Sav said...

How many times were we 1-0 ahead at Upton Park and not won the game? So, if you like, then I guessed correctly for the next three goals.

The point is, that I saw the team sheet and I felt that, finally, a Noble-less team with Taylor and Collison and the attacking duo was the right selection. Was I wrong? I think that even you can admit that this team was probably the best we fielded this year at Upton Park.

Mike said...

Not even a bad word on Nolan. Are you sure you're feeling alright HF?

Anonymous said...

WTF have you got against Noble Sav?

Has he done your sister or brother up the pooh pipe?

I thought that was common amongst Greeks,after all they do call it "The Greek Way"...

Johntan said...

Told you so. People say that they hate to say it but they are lieing. It give me great pleasure to finally say it regarding the Noble situation. He is, quite clearly, useless and anyone who says otherwise doesn't know anything about football. Fair play though HF you have admited that you were wrong. Now we can all move on. With Noble captaining the reserves and Cole making the tea at half time, we can finally have a proper football team.

Sav said...

Johntan has just described the reason I don't like to see Noble in the team. I guess your judgement about football 00:27 is as crude as your rude comments.

Stani said...

Hahaaa, my fantasy team is an indication of whether I'm a true West Ham fan or not? Nonsense HF. If that was the case, you and Fred would have had Noble in your teams! Why didn't you, by the way?

And as a matter of fact, Lambert is not my captain!

00:27, Have some respect and don't bring people's sisters into it.

Stani said...

How sharp does Baldock look?! Tiptoeing, the yards he made up on the defender for his 2nd and the improvisation for the finish was something. Looks like a young Fillipo Inzaghi. Let's hope he scores as many!

Johntan, they won't listen mate, I've been saying it for years. I was even banned from Dale's site a couple of years ago for simply telling them what Noble was. I will go back one day just to remind Chandos of his words: "Noble is a future England captain and West Ham legend".

But don't be surprised if Allardyce picks him for the next game. The Noble effect is quite a force.