Saturday, 2 March 2013

Stoke 0 West Ham 1 - A Priceless Victory!

Make no mistake, this result was huge. Had we lost it, the anxiety would have been unbearable; had we drawn it, the tension would still have ratcheted up; but coming away with three points has pushed the relegation genie deeper down into the bottle; the cork is still a little loose, but with Reading and Southampton  both losing and Norwich getting thumped, we can all breath a little easier tonight.

To term the performance heroic would be over doing it, but Charlie Adam's brilliant volley against the bar apart, we never looked troubled at the back, despite Stoke fielding the tallest attacking quartet the Premiership has ever seen for the last 15 minutes: Crouch, Jerome, Kenwyne Jones and Shea - talk about land of the bleedin' giants! But Collins, Reid, O'Brien and Demel stood tall themselves and dealt comfortably with all the long balls pumped into them, no doubt thinking they were in an Allardyce training session! Bloody hell, we even kept a clean sheet with Pogatetz on the pitch!

The goal, as I said at half time, was superbly worked and finished by the replacements. Vaz Te ran at the defence - something he did all afternoon - and slipped in a brilliant reverse pass to the superbly positioned Collison, who placed his shot beautifully into the far corner. Collison could have scored again, but lost his footing, and set up Vaz Te, who really should have buried his chance but wanted one touch too many. Carroll missed an easy chance in the first 45 from a cross from Demel and Collins headed narrowly over too and Jarvis forced a good save from Bogovic when clean through on the angle in the second 45.

It wasn't a game for the purists but any football that was played, was played by ourselves. Those who criticise Allardyce for his long ball football really should watch Stoke when they are chasing a game. Yes we played it long at times, but for the most part we passed through midfield and hit the channels when we went long, rather than straight down the centre of the pitch which was the Stoke approach.

And so we climb back up to twelfth and, should Wigan and Villa both lose or draw, a decent buffer will again have been established. Yes QPR won, but they remain 13 points adrift of us. If they now survive at our expense, then Allardyce should be hung drawn and quartered at the end of the season!

Man of the match? Referee John Moss who refused to be intimidated by the crowd, Pulis and the moaning Stoke players. He correctly rejected penalty claims when O'Brien made a brilliant last ditch challenge on Jerome and also got it right when the ball was deflected back onto Demel's arm. I was expecting a Stoke penalty all afternoon so the referee deserves huge credit for his judgement and strength of character.

Player ratings: Jussi 6; Demel 7, Collins 8, Reid 8, O'Brien 7; O'Neil 6, Taylor 5, Cole 5, Diame 7, Jarvis 6, Carroll 7 Subs Vaz Te 8, Collison 7, Pogatetz 5


Anonymous said...

Definiely a better defensive display without the liability of Noble losing the ball and being unable to recover in front of them. The defenders were able to stay in position rather than lose their position to cover Noble's incapabilities in defensive midfield.

Hammersfan said...

LOL, like we were better defensively against Spurs without him?

daz said...

haha anonymous your telling me we are a stronger team with gary o'neil in the middle than noble?

because o'neils range of passing ranges from kicking it long straight out of play to under hitting a simple 5 yard ball and giving it away.

great result though

Traveling Hammer said...

I like whining Pulis comment "We are disappointed with the goal as Carroll drags Shawcross in the build and I thought we should have had a free kick"....,I wonder where that idea came from....oh that will be the thug Huth premeditatedly dragging down the WHU wall to make space for the winning goal 2011 FA Cup. As they say, Revenge is a dish best cold, with their great home form exposed lets hope they get sucked into the relegation battle.

Sav said...

The irony of winning a game through forcing the hand of Sam to make the substitutions. I can't for the life of me understand why Taylos is selected ahead of Collison. May I remind you also that without Collison (and Vaz Te) we sould not be playing the Premier League.

If the Bolton Dinasaurs make way or get injured, I think we have enough good players who for a long time now do even get a chance to play, to make a decent team and finish in the top ten. But why should it be this way (by force and necessity rather than by choice) I cannot understand. I guess Sam will always be Sam.

What about Wellington? Will he ever get a chance to show us what he can do? Perhaps if a few more get injured..

AppyAmmer said...

Yet again I think that was spot on except I think O'Neil deserves a far better rating. Didnt see him make any last minute tackles/lunges, was in good defensive positions all game. Also his interceptions were excellent too and made quite a few, include the neat passing and sensible passes as well, O'Neil knitted things together very nicely. I am a fan of Noble but think O'Neil matched Noble today.

As for the tactics, I really dont like the long ball we play, but then when I see the way Stoke play I am very grateful for what we do. Feel very sorry for Stoke fans who have to watch that week in week out.

Vital 3 points.

AppyAmmer said...

I agree with 17.47, I think we were more solid with O'Neil and gave the ball away less. I really Like Noble as well.

Anonymous said...

have you ever heard of a football blogger that only watches the games on sky??? haha i cant believe it.try coming to upton park sometime mate

Anonymous said...

How much better do we look w collison and vaz te? It's incredible, the question is does Sam finally drop chicken legs from the line up like he should?

Demel Tomkins, Reid, obrien

Collison Diame

Vaz. Te, cole/Jarvis


Stani said...

HF, I know you mentioned Collison's finish and Vaz Te's exquisite reverse pass, but the first touch from Collison for the goal was was all in that. The way in which he killed the ball bringing it to rest in front of himself to open up for the shot was perfect.

Finally we look like we have 11 men on the pitch thanks to the injuries to Nolan and Noble.

Anonymous said...

I would even run cole and Jarvis on the edges w vaz te tucked under Carroll, finally replace Diame with collison. You can say what you want but watch collisions passes, much more efficient then Diame. In fact I don't even think Diame passes


Stani said...

I agree with the boys, O'Neil did himself no harm at all. His ball in to Collins when he clipped the bar with a header was what a cross is about...take note Noble and Jarvis

Hammersfan said...

Took your time Stani! Did you see that glorious O'Neil pass when, on the half way line out on the left, he looked up and played the ball square to a Stoke player in the centre circle? The back four were left totally exposed but fortunately Stoke cocked it up.

Hammersfan said...

US HF! You are daring to criticise Diame? Wash your keyboard out with soap!

Question one. Does the guy ever look up?

Question two. Does he have a first touch? His second touch always seems an attempt to get the ball back under control!

To be fair, he pressed well, covered a lot of ground and was difficult to shake off the ball. But it is all brawn and no guile.

Anonymous said...

All season we have (for the most part) lacked creativity. I love vaz te today, played as a true playmaker/ team player which is what we have lacked all season ... That and fullbacks.


Stani said...

Honestly, you shouldn't just wait around for me HF. Gawd, what will everyone think?

Diame can work on his touch and passing and at 25 I think he has still time to progress. But, he takes a lot of pressure off the team when he carries the ball up field with those epic strides. I think in a better team you'd see him pass more. He just feels he needs to do more when he's amongst limited players like many of ours are.

Rab said...

As you say, HF, a priceless three points.

Stoke were rank, though. AS one of the previous contributors said, you've got to feel sorry for Stoke fans having to watch that week in week out. But I wonder did Allardyce ask any questions of his own tactics and team selection.

It was a great game of football but what football was played seemed to come from West Ham and the two forced substitutions were crucial in that respect. I thought Vaz Te was great. And Collision took his goal really well. Stoke's answer was to throw a lot of giants up fron and try to hit them on the head from long range.

Pulis's excuses are laughable, but I hope Sam sees the virtue of actually having the courage to play a little football.

ianthehammer said...

I think we're all a bit harsh on O'Neil. Never the most gifted of players but he always puts a shift in & rarely lets us down. Very much a Geroge Paris imo

AppyAmmer said...

I see noble give the ball away just as much as o Neil in fairness. I didn't see o Neil dive in once. You have to ask why does noble make last minute diving tackles? I can only presume he is not in position in the first place. I think going forward noble is marginally better than o Neill but both are much of a muchness. Still think best 3 centre midfielders are noble, diame and Joe Cole. Out wide Jarvis and vaz te.

Anonymous said...

noble was poor yesterday,deserves to be dropped for our next game

Dunlopilo said...

O'Neill was one of the few players who actually worked hard to keep us up two seasons ago. His injury due to the criminal action of Coker was a turning point in the struggle to avoid relegation.

I really admire the guy a lot. Limited skills, but hard working, never give up mentality has gotten him back on the pitch. Let's not forget the docs gave him less than 1 chance out of 3 to be ale to get back to playing football after that injury.

Did O'Neill give away an easy ball like HF says ? Yes, but that simply happens even to the best (look at how Barcelona is playing right now, with tons of missed passes from confirmed players). He also covered a lot of ground AND gave a beautiful cross "a la Cole" for Collins, who almost scored.

I agree with what other reviewers said here, just wanted to add that the two substitutions (especially that of Taylor) forced the team to step up, to assume responsibilities, it looks as the players were "freed". Also, most of them got to play in a more natural position. Even though the opponents were Stoke, and we shouldn't start being overoptimistic, there we have the result... And as a last word, I finally am seeing Jussi much more in command of his area and defence. That is a welcome change.

Bobby said...

We now have 100% record in the matches which Nolan has missed this season!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah totally agree except he wasn't in the squad. Dick. Either you're a troll or a complete mong. Get a grip