Where was Nolan in Portugal? Nursing his injury presumably, which is very worrying. Just as worrying was the decision to start Tomkins as a holding midfielder because of Diarra's absence. The pattern has been set as a regular posted earlier today - flat back four screened by two defensive midfielders, a striker supported by Nolan (when fit) and flanked by two wide men. Where's the midfield? There isn't one! Win the ball and hoof it; lose the ball, retreat and park a six foot plus caravan. Turds would approve but it is not the way most West Ham fans want to see the game played.
The optimists will point to us getting a draw yesterday, but our goal, inevitably, was from a set piece, with Tomkins and Reid combining. We scored precious few goals from open play last season and we are going to score even less this! Cole, Maiga and Vaz Te will be asked to chase down long balls, press for corners or free kicks, and then the giants will crowd the box hoping for an ugly goal. No wonder Allardyce dreamt of landing Carroll!