That will teach me to leave two minutes before the end! Apologies this is a bit delayed. Am at Heathrow Airport on my way to Washington for ten days. In my innocence I assumed there would be computers available but every single one is out of order. Typical BAA. Anyway, I digress.
The first half yesterday was dominated by a West Ham team who were clearly up for it. Three times the ball failed to drop for us in the penalty area and I don’t think we had a shot, but more importantly neither did they. Defensively we were again awesome. Some of Upson’s play was spellbindingan although one wayward backpass which went for a corner had my heart in my mouth.
Anton and George were, as usual, also on form and I thought Lucas Neill had his best game for a long time. He got caught out of position a couple of times but Gerrard didn’t take advantage.
Talking of Gerrard, it comes to something when he is eclipsed but Mark Noble owned him last night. I know some people on this blog reckon I overrate him but after that performance surely even they can see his quality. He was absolutely everywhere. Indeed the middle three all performed well. Hayden Mullins looks so confident now. Our first half performance was in large part down to the success of Noble, Mullins and Bowyer dominating the central areas.
When I saw we were going to play 4-5-1 at home my heart sank. It’s not the West Ham way. However, it seems to bring out the best in these players, especially Carlton Cole, who, again, was a revelation. He held the ball up superbly and seemed to win everything in the air.
There are three contenders for Man of the Match – Nobes, Upson and Cole. I’ll go (surprise, surprise!) for Mark Noble.
I’m afraid the broken record is about to be played again, but I do have to mention the perforamnce of Luis Boa Morte, who was appalling. After missing two chances he just seemed to give up. He persistently lost the ball and was, well, just crap. And the way he loped off the pitch, wasting valuable time was a disgrace. There are still 12 hours left in the transfer window to flog him, but let’s face it, who would want him in this form.
It has to be said that when he went off and was replaced by Matty, not a lot changed. Ashton came on too and we reverted to 4-4-2.
A final word about Freddie Ljungberg. Another great performance. I may have to eat my words on him…
All in all, just what I needed before an eight hour flight.
And don’t worry, I’ll still be posting every day while I am away.
Boa Morte 4