Blackburn Match Report

The great thing about this performance was not the win, it was the consistency. The team have performed with the same dogged determination now for several games. It may not be pretty at times, but it’s effective. When was the last time we had a plus 8 goal difference? When was the last time we had won four games away at this stage of the season? We should remind ourselves that we have only let in 12 goals so far this season. At the same stage last season it was 18. After 15 games last season we had 14 points. We now have 22. We had scored 10 goals last season compared to 20 this season. All in all, we should be really proud of what this team has achieved. Imagine what might have happened if all the injured players had been available.

There were no weak links today. Everyone gave their all. I thought Dean Ashton was outstanding in the second half. Mullins and Parker ruled midfield and the back four coordinated really well. Lucas Neill had a few dodgy moments, possibly, but I’m nitpicking. Boa Morte could have had a couple of goals and he seems a different player to the one I criticised so freely earlier in the season.

And Robert Green. Well, his save from Tugay in the last few minutes said it all. The man is pure class.

Green 9 – Three world class saves
McCartney – 8 Apart from a miskick, dealt with everything that came to him
Neill – 7 Drove the team on
Upson – 8 Kept both Blackburn strikers in his pocket
Gabbidon – 8 Ditto
Mullins – 8 He’s transformed himself this season
Parker – 9 He’s going to be a massive player for us. A real leader.
Solano – 8 A joy to watch
Cole – 7 Few chances but gave his all
Boa Morte – 8 Brilliant volley should have led to a goal
Etherington – 6 Not really on song and picked up an injury
Ashton 9 – Back on song. Imagine what he will be like by Christmas

So as I say, the fourth match in a row where the team has put in a consistent performance full of vim and vigour. Bring on Everton!

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36 Responses to Blackburn Match Report

  1. johnj says:

    What about Nobby Solano? Personally, I’d give him 8. I think he’s been class in midfield and we’re lucky to have him.

  2. Iain Dale says:

    Oops, how could I???! Do you think anyone will notice if I put him in now? Don;t tell a soul.

  3. west ham johnny says:

    what a great performance gabbs n upson are lookin solid at the back, boa-morte has been great these last 4-5 games mullins looks the player of our 1st season back in the premiership and with parke, n ashton lookin great and will only get better things are lookin good.
    just hope curbs starts gettin some praze as he deserves it, this time last year we had arrogent big headed players, didnt look like we could buy a win and curbs come in got rid of the rot and has brang in some good quality players and now there comin back from injurys we should soon see what curbs really can do.

  4. taylor says:

    parker looks like a superb signing, he links play for us and breaks up opponents moves consistently throughout the match. i like solano too, he seems to be the touch of class we have been waiting for, reminds me of brady.
    the whole team were good today, still a bit frustrated by boa morte but carlton cole is going from strength to strength. he is aggressive and awkward and upsets defenders – a little too much today for the ref’s liking.
    deano – awesome!

  5. Phil says:

    What I like is the effort. Any time an opossition player has the ball there are claret and blue shirts swarming around.
    MOM for me was Gabbs followed closely by McCartney and Mullins and Deano.

  6. taylor says:

    totally agree johnny – curbishly has been judged unfairly by some west ham fans, i think he is a top manager and has done the hard part well so far in getting rid of that baby bently thing (the horrific luck weve had from injuries is astonishing as well!) – now time to build strong squad that can compete for trophies and frighten the big clubs, i reckon it looks good for us in the future.

  7. vdm says:

    MOM Gabbidon

  8. mac says:

    Hear, hear, Taylor and Phil. My sentiments exactly.

    What’s really noticeable now is the definite increase in effort off the ball. To see the front players busting their guts to shut down the Blackburn defence was admirable. And that effort is matched across the pitch. Parker’s now owning the midfield and does seem to be the key now he’s fit, breaking up opposition attacks and his intelligent use of the ball when it breaks free is a such pleasure to watch. In fact the intelligent use of the ball in every department is so improved. We now have players comfortable on the ball in both defence and attack. Hang on a minute… I think we’ve become a fully fledged, bona fide football team! Blimey. Quite a transformation.

    All in all a thoroughly heartwarming victory. Everton may well provide a stiffer test, but I think we’re more than ready for them.

    Congratulations Curbs & Co. – a fantastic achievement thus far. Long may it continue.

  9. headmaster1 says:

    Didnt Spector come on as well??

  10. Yes mac, Everton will be a tougher test but if Parker and Mullins can stop Mikel Arteta playing – who is the heartbeat of the team – we should be okay, though Tim Cahill is a good player too.

    It’s funny though. It’s almost not like watching West Ham anymore. I never expect us to concede any more. When was the last time we actually had a steady defence?

    Great to see Deano back again. As much as I’ve loved the improvement in LBM and Cole, I really want to see him start on Wednesday.

    Parker = pure brilliance. Keeps the ball running and has great awareness, probably our best buy of the season (though I’m still eagerly anticipating watching Faubert play)

  11. new york says:

    strange game in that we seemed to edge it in the first half, but didn t get rewarded for that until Ashton came on in the second. then once we scored ,we seemed to take the foot off the pedal for a little while,and given the chances they created ,in some ways i thought we were fortunate to take all 3 points. i felt that we worked very hard defensively ,and did a pretty good job of trying to close them down,which was not easy once they started chasing the game. and that doggedness in defense is probably what got us through,that and green s saves. what was a bit of a concern was that for part of the second half we seemed to lose possession too easily,especially from throw-ins. offsetting that was that we did create some decent chances in the last 15 minutes or so that nearly killed the game off. i thought boa morte s volley was a good one ,and required a damned good save from friedel. Everton probably will pose a slightly stiffer test ,as i d imagine they will pass the ball a bit better than blackburn did , but we shud be more than able to cope with that .

  12. claire says:

    Just got back from the game after (quite a few) pints. The key to it for me up front was Solano – great through balls. Agree re Parker. And, for the first time since Yossi left, we have playmakers.
    Curbs first year in the job and the omens are good,

  13. Plaistow54 says:

    That was a fixture we needed to win & we came up with the goods. Blackburn usually play well against us. They are well drilled & a similar style but we didn’t let them get a rhythm going. We have become hard to score against even away from home. Parker is a quality player, works hard & tackles well. He has made a difference to us already. Boa Morte had a good game & nearly scored. It could have been two if Ashton hadn’t missed the sitter but it didn’t matter. I thought Solano’s crosses were not as good as normal but he still had a reasonable game. Not a 100% sure but i think that was Coles fifth yellow. You missed Spector & Camera but it’s a secret. Curbs has got us through a hard time last season & the first part of this season & we are starting to look like we are good enough to beat the teams around us who are also looking for Europe. Good feeling isn’t it.

  14. mamamia1511 says:

    With this 1-0 victory over Blackburn, now West Ham is on the top half of the league! 🙂 Congrats hammers. Curbishly timely substitute won the match for the hammers. Oh not to forget Robert Green that made a few wonderful saves as wellz. Anyway check out the highlights:- 🙂
    http://squaretan.com/blackburn-vs-west-ham-videos-goals-and-highlights/

  15. ironsmith says:

    I was so pleased to see the improvement in deanos’ fitness last night he is such a class act and with the industrious and forceful cole they looked as good a pair in the premiership as anywhere else. My impression after the first half was that we were comfortably superior to blackburn in every department and was delighted to see the half time substitution of etherington who as you may have gathered I am not a big fan!Boa Morte seemed to be inspired by this and performed well. The mighty australian is such an excllent captain even though his personal performances have not been consistently perfect this season. It was a case of Lucas the man leading the men to a richly deserved 3 points and we all have the right to be proud again and praise alan curbishley!!

  16. Robbin says:

    Was a must win to stay within touching distance of the top 9.

    Good work rate but we were fortunate in some ways. Santa Claus (Cruz) gave us some presents with the chances he missed plus we can be thankful that Bentley wasn’t playing. Hope we look at the mistakes for Wednesday….have to keep tabs on Cahill; the guy is quality.

    Also, get Nobby and Boa in for some extra work in training on finishing. They get in some great positions…..just need to convert…would be a great help.

  17. new york says:

    agree with claire on the importance of solano ,not only yesterday but in general. the guy gives us another dimension . possibly the best bit if transfer buisness ,pound for pound ,that w eve done since last january

  18. For me, Neill still has to convince. He does some silly things (e.g. the penalty challenge v Spurs) and I think he flatters to deceive on the ball. On the whole, though, I think the team spirit is building healthily, and that is a key aspect of any season.

  19. NunheadHammer says:

    Thanks for your report Iain. I think what really comes across over the past couple of months is that we are a really hard team to beat, unlike last season. And Curbs has stuck with a few players who we thought would be out over the summer… in particular George McCartney stands out as the most improved player, consistently performing at a high level. Scotty Parker is fitting in well, and I agree, he has real talent. Mullins again, is performing well, and our unsung hero. And Green… what can I say?
    We all knew the players could perform but it takes a good manager to bring the best out of all the players and for some to step up a notch.

  20. Plaistow54 says:

    It seems like the right time to say this. It wasn’t long ago that some were critical of Curbs & some people are probably still not sure. Think about what he has done. Where were we a year ago. Sitting in the dressing room heads hung low, leaking goals like a sieve, thinking about relegation. Curbs has built from the back. It’s still a team game but for the first time i can remember we have a defence that is confident. We have one of the best defensive records in the League. That’s a great place to start, like it or not, it wins games. We have a positive goal difference. Even when we finished fifth in 99 it was minus five. We have never finished a season in Premier with positive goals. We have a fine midfield trio in Parker, Mullins & Noble although Noble has had groin operations & needs to be eased back in, & more to come back. Ashton & Bellamy when fully fit. We may or may not make Europe next year but Curbs has done this in 12 months. It is a step up again to Champions League but i am beginning to hope that Curbishley becomes a long term manager. I think considering all things he has & will do well for us.

  21. jon l.colney says:

    please refere to my previouse posts……mullins for england i believe?

    parks and H were just class.

    mr mullins does everything simple and lets all the fancy pants stuff go on around him.
    mind you i did notice the odd venture in to the area in the game,please did he get a nose bleed?

    gabbs and upson have made there positions there own which leaves anton getting cold ,
    still no news on the zd man? whats happening to bellamy?

    this result will only lead to good things and i realy do believe that curbs is getting the best out of these players now.

    bring on the hub cap knickers!!!

  22. DevoDevo says:

    Agree, for once, with Iain! We are putting together some really impressive, solid performances at the moment. For the second match running, the only weak link was Etherington. I texted my brother at half time and said Curbs should bring him off and bring on Ashton to give Cole some support – maybe I should apply for the England job!

    I think the secret of our ‘success’ at the moment is the settled back 5. We have England’s best keeper and in Gabbidon and Upson, one of the best central defensive pairings about at the moment. McCartney continues to impress – his workrate was tremendous – he made the goal from the byline, how often does Matty do that?

    Great to see Ashton back and looking sharp, he really is on a different level. I think Curbs’ hand may be forced by injury, but Matty should be dropped for BM on the left and Deano up front with Cole.

    Final word for Parker. He looks an absolute gem of a buy and it’s no surprise that with the added competition for places Mullins is back to his best!

    To all the Curbishley knockers, I suggest you compare the last few performances to those of a year ago!!!

    With Faubert, Bellamy, Dyer, Bowyer and Noble all still to get back in, the future looks very bright.

    We are desperate for full back cover, though.

  23. new york says:

    fair cop from graybo on neill. i think he s a good player, , and at times outstanding,but the issue this season has been one of consistency. he was the one player on the pitch yesteday who played below his potential. i appreciate that some people didn t feel etherington was at his best , but perhaps the groin injury which resulte din him coming off had something to do with that. I actually thought etherington didn t do badly yesteday in any case. it is also good to see people gradually acknowledging whatcurbishley has done in the last 8 months,amidst difficult circumstances . it s a long old season,and he certainly cud come under some criticism later, as expectations have risen ,but he deserves credit for what ha sbeen a very good campaign to date. we re not a million miles away from being able to make more progress. Quality players to come back from injury yet. if we can work on keeping the ball a bit better when we get possession, and if we can work on some areas individially that wud benefit from improvement, like solano s heading , and green s decisiveness in coming off his line in certain situations ,then the best is yet to come. teh phrase several people have mentioned .which i think sums it up neatly ,is that we have become difficult to beat. that is massive progess in less than a year, and very pleasant to watch.

  24. jon l.colney says:

    http://sports.setanta.com/en/Sport/News/Football/2007/12/10/Opta-Keeper-Capers/

    green 4 england|?

    na doubt it,he plays for west ham.

  25. Mac says:

    Match report in The Times today describes us ‘gritty’ and suggests that Curbs is shaping another dour, low scoring side in the mould of Charlton from a few years back; unattractive to watch and only successful until the Spring.

    Personally I’m more than happy for us to be ‘gritty’, having endured a number of thrashings over the past year, but it did make me shudder slightly that we could turn into a Charlton (or even a Graham-led Arsenal). Definitely don’t want us to become boring to watch, after all our trademark is flowing football.

    Guess I just want it all ways; mean and attractive at the same time…

  26. jon l.colney says:

    West Ham boss Alan Curbishley has told Fulham and Reading to forget about signing striker Bobby Zamora next month.
    The former Tottenham forward has been linked with both the Cottagers and the Royals, but Curbishley insists he has a big role to play once he shakes off tendinitis which has marred his season since the Carling Cup clash at Bristol Rovers in August.

    “Bobby Zamora was one of the players that finished last season so strongly and at the start of this season he started in the team with Craig Bellamy,” said the Upton Park boss.
    “He got injured up at Bristol Rovers and we haven’t seen him since. He is in my plans but we have to wait for him to get fit.
    “He always seems to be linked with Fulham but I had dinner with Lawrie Sanchez the other day and he never mentioned anything to me at all – and he had every opportunity because we were together for about 10 hours.

    phew !!!!

  27. Ian the Hammer says:

    ALAN CURBISHLEY’S CLARET N BLUE ARMY
    Very plesaed with the performance , felt we needed Ashton on to turn our great shape, possesion & fight into a win & he’d didnt let us down. The only thing that worrys me slightly is we cant play like that at home as we have to make the running, but once our more creative/expressive palyers are back & finding there feet, Bell, Ljungberg etc this may resolve itself. Curbs now needs us to fully support him as I cant EVER remember us playing & looking so composed. The defence is vert tight with both Neill & McCartney bombing forward, Mullins & Parker look unbeaterable in the middle & as you say, “who are you & what have you done with Luis Boa Morte”.
    Without trying to put the kiss of death on Wednesday I just dont get the feeling that we’ll throw away oppotunities if only due to our work ethic. If Everton knock us out, they’ll have to deserve it & not rely on us giving it to them.

  28. west ham johnny says:

    i’m liking what i’ve read so far there’s alot of positive talk on curbs which he deserve’s rightly i just hope now people start to sing curbishleys claret n blue army and not just we r west ham’s claret n blue army.

  29. taylor says:

    i know what you mean mac, we hav always enjoyed exciting football at west ham at the expense of trophies etc. but there is no reason why you cant have ‘gritty’ defending and exciting attacking play together. all the best teams combine the two, i agree with ITH, when the sicknotes return (especially bellamy) we will be frightening in attack.

    its a tough call but i think i would rather have good, open football and struggle for points than defensive football and moderate success (like say, villa or newcastle) – although i can see the potential for a lively, intimidating side at west ham, i think curbishley can too.

  30. Brooking always knows best! says:

    Well, a win is a win and I thought we just about deserved it! Deano! I thought the best players was Upson, Parker, Ashton and Cole. A solid backbone to the team. McCartney must be the player of the season so far and to think how under-rated he was in the summer. Well done Curbs! The improvement we have had in the last 12 months is incredible. Another mention for Green, surely must be the new England no 1 I hope Curbishley stays, there are those who could have a strong case of making him the new England manager

  31. WHU Kim says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the Times report. It’s just an “obvious” thing to say without actually giving it much thought, Curbishley was at Charlton a long time so it’s an easy way to fill newsprint to compare us to Charlton. Several teams in the PL play well organised football with a strong defence, but they don’t get referred to as another Charlton. It takles a lot of effort to come up with original thought and it’s a step too far for many of these match reporters.

  32. new york says:

    with respect to the manner in which the media are describing the way we play,dogged defending and good passing football are not mutually exclusive. i think we do generally try to get it down and pass it . the other thing is that it s a bit naive for journalists to have a go at our style of play ,when we have the likes of bellamy.dyer,faubert and others out injured. plaudits from journalists don t get you into a uefa slot- picking up points at grounds like fratton and ewood park do.

  33. new york says:

    good to see that curbishley has clarified the situaton regarding his potential availability as a candidate for th eengland job, and regarding zamora. the clarity he hs provided will be appreciated by supporters. now that we are little by little making reasonable progress ,the last thing the club needs is rubbish being fed to the world by journalists in search of a story.

  34. Mac says:

    Agree with that entirely new york and WHU Kim. You can’t win with the media. The angle they take does depend on the manager’s history, hence when Arsenal grind out a win or draw it’s generally applauded. Historically we’re seen as the lovable losers; playing with style but with limited success. And as you say new york let’s see what happens when the injured return.

  35. Plaistow54 says:

    NY, Kim, & BAKB are spot on, i agree. You start by stop leaking goals, then move forward. We had leaky defences for many a year but we could score some too, just not quite enough to get a positive GD. Curbs did that at Charlton & is doing that for us. It takes time. He will spread his wings when the time is right. By the way. That was CC’s 5th yellow. You are suspended 7 days after the event. That means he plays both Everton games & suspended against Boro.

  36. new york says:

    cheers plaistow and mac
    i like th epoint on goal difference and goals conceded. it says something that we currently have the 4th fewest number of goals conceded in the league. to a certain extent , you cud say that i sthe story of our season so far. i also agree with plaistow s concept that the first and foremost task is to minimize conceding. that may not be sexy,it may be boring, but if thats whats required to get the plane in the air, then fine.
    once we have the fine art of not conceding soft goals under control,then perhaps we can be a bit more concerned with issues of style. but in all honesty, whether we defend poorly as in we have at times in recent seasons, or whether we defend well as we are at the moment, i don t think we play boring football. it s just not in the mindset of the club ,or in the mindset of this set of players. i don tthink solano, noble,ashton,,neill and others do boring- it s just not in their character.

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