I’ve just about calmed down now. I really don’t know where to begin this. Positives first – Yossi Benayoun and Nigel Reo Coker were simply outstanding. Yossi is now back to his effervescent best and Reo Coker’s surging runs reminded me of his performance against Arsendal last season. He showed us exactly what we would be missing if we let him go. Those who were calling for his head just two short weeks ago should be hanging their heads in shame. Today he showed he wanted to play for us and the crowd’s reaction showed that we also want him to stay. I hope he will.
A word about the crowd. To get a capacity crowd when we are in the bottom three and playing a team like Fulham should tell everyone what West Ham are all about. It’s why we can legitimately claim to be a ‘big’ club and teams like Blackburn and Middlesbrough can’t.
Now several words about Graham Poll. Wanker, tosser, arsehole, fucking joke. There. And let’s add c**t for good measure. I don’t allow that word on my OTHER blog, but I am still so angry at his performance I find it difficult to think of another more appropriate word. I cannot believe he can have put in such a bad performance since his joke of a game when he failed to send off a player after two yellow cards in the World Cup match between Italy and Australia. I lost count of the players he booked, the trouble was, he often booked the wrong ones. Fulham players had obviously set out to wind up Boa Morte, yet they escaped yellow cards for really vicious tackles. He let Reo Coker off a second yellow when he shouldn’t have done (praise be to Allah for that one) and then sent Bobby Zamora off for a challenge which looked to me as if it didn’t warrant it. He then spent most of the second half awarding free kicks to Fulham, half of which should have gone the other way.
We should be pleased with the way the team battled through very adverse circumstances. We lost Tevez and Collins to injuries within the first twenty minutes, with Gabbidon following half way through the second half (having had a good game). Carlton Cole played the last ten minutes as if he had been shot in the thigh and Boa Morte was completely shagged out for the entire second half. So bearing in mind we lost both central defenders and played the last 15 minutes with more or less nine men, or eight if you bring Poll into the equation, maybe we should consider ourselves lucky. Like fuck we should. We deserved to win that game and should have done. Yossi’s after match tears showed what it had meant to him. At least this will hopefully put paid to all the rumours that Curbishley wants him out of the club.
The two disappointments today for me were the performances of George McCartney and Nigel Quashie. McCartney gave away three needless corners, one of which lead to the first goal. He looked dodgy all afternoon. If Konchesky really is going on this performance you’d have to say that McCartney didn’t look to be good enough to replace him. Quashie displayed a shocking first touch but you certainly couldn’t fault his commitment. He got better as the game went on, but I am not sure I see him as bringing much more to the team than Mullins has. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Mark Noble should be in that position.
The big worry now are the number of injuries we have, particularly in defence. All three of our central defenders are now out with what do not look like short term injuries. I commented earlier in the week that we need to buy a quality centre back. Now I reckon we need two.
Carroll 6 – why was he playing in the first place? Not at fault for the goals but he never inspires confidence
Dailly 5 – shocking in the air when he moved into the centre
Gabbidon 7 – good game before he had to go off – several shot saving tackles
Collins 6 – went off after 15 minutes – perhaps he was never really fit enough to play
Spector 6 – possibly his weakes game for us
McCartney 4 – all over the place defensively
Benayoun 9 – man of the match. First goal was unbelievable. Dribbling awesome and tackling was superb
Reo Coker 9 – faultless in both effort and skill. Some wonderful surging runs
Boa Morte 6 – quiet and went AWOL in the second half a bit. Would have been subbed if we had had any subs left!
Tevez 6 – went off with hamstring trouble after 20 mins
Cole – 5 – for someone his height he should win headers. He doesn’t. End of. Far too languid
Newton – 5 came on for Gabbidon but was largely anonymous. Why was he on the bench and not Noble?
Zamora – 8 best game since September. First touch can still let him down but took the goal well
Quashie – 6 got better as game went on. Bad first touch but a hard tackler