Bolton Match Report

Oh dear, oh dear. Every goalkeeper has an off day once in a while and boy was this an off day for Robert Green. We all see him as Mr Reliable but today he was certainly at fault for two of Bolton’s goals, if not all three. The first was unforgivable, the second one a spill and the third … well, I have seen it several times and I still can’t understand how we can let in a goal from more than forty yards – yet it still seemed unstoppable.

But it wasn’t just Rob Green. It is difficult to pinpoint any West Ham player who had an average game, let alone a good one. Perhaps Ilunga was the exception, especially in the first half, but the rest did not perform anywhere near their abilities.

It seems to me that if the two central midfield players aren’t on song, it affects the flow of the whole team. Noble had a nightmare. Perhaps he didn’t feel able to commit himself fully after being booked so early. Parker was little better with two many passes going astray. Etherington didn’t impose himself on the game and Behrami, although committed, seemed very hot and cold. Faubert’s crosses were either too long or too short, and too often he lost the attacker on the left.

Up front, Cole did OK, holding the ball up and nearly bagging a superb goal which the Bolton goalkeeper somehow palmed away. Although the goal went in off his shoulder, he was in the right place at the right time, something which happens all too rarely. Di Michele had a couple of long range shots but didn’t really make a huge contribution before he was subbed for Bellamy and I suspect he will be dropped for the next game. Bellamy was on for most of the second half but was largely anonymous. Sears only had ten minutes but barely got a touch.

I think we have to put this down to a bad day at the office and not read too much into it. But it did concern me when the commentator said that Rob Green hasn’t had a clean sheet since February. That needs to change, and change soon.

Green 3
Ilunga 7
Upson 6
Neill 6
Faubert 6
Etherington 6
Behrami 6
Noble 4
Parker 5
Cole 7
Di Michele 5
Bellamy 4


23 Responses to Bolton Match Report

  1. foodbwfc says:

    was a good match.

    at the end, we were lucky. and i’m dearly delighted to take the 3 points.

    but gotta admit, that taylor’s freekick was vicious

  2. colney says:

    telly watched it oh dear.not ot sure what we were trying to do? we seemed to play like liverpool knocking about in the back 4 and then as soon as we went forward well it was totscum all over !! nothing.bellamy needs a full game and get him in.the wingers were rubbish,the passing woefull and the creation of chances was non excistant.

    as for mr green,well we all have a bad day at the office and lets just say ok,move on but i agree that the clean sheet is something that we desperatly need to obtain as we dont seem to ba able to out score a team that has musscle throughout the team.

    anyway,totscum are loosing again.happy days.

  3. me says:

    I’ve never seen what the fuss is about Green. At best he is a pretty average keeper, no better than any other premiership keeper. He’s always spilled balls, that’s why, despite what he thinks, he’ll never be Englands number one. The penalty he gave away the other week was through his panicked attempt to get to a ball he couldn’t keep hold of. His lack of a clean sheet in 19 games is also mainly down to his inability to keep hold of the ball first time. Time to try someone else and give Green a bit of a wake up. Aside from a dodgy keeper, no one excelled today except from Ilunga. Noble was yet again anonymous, apart from the 14 times he gave the ball away and picked up his obligatory yellow card. That said, we were still the better team and would have came away with at least a point if not for Green.
    What interested me more though, was that last month Ashton was taken off with a ”cut ear”, and hasn’t played since. Ilunga meanwhile had a bit more than a ”cut ear” strolled down the tunnel had 4 stitches then trotted out and carried on as if nothing had happened (like most players would do). What happens on these occassions is the player is asked by the physio if he can continue, Ashton obviously always replies no, whether it’s a ”cut ear” or ”cramp”. Please, please, Zola, get rid of this ”happy to pick up my wage from the treatment table” lightweight. And while you’re at it get Ludo to give Green extra lessons in how to keep hold of a ball first time.

  4. chris says:

    How did we lose this bolton we,re poor,80% 20% posession says it all,we made some errors at the back and through this game,their second goal was a killer,noble did not pressure the ball and boltons player was allowed to get a clean strike,nobles a great passer of the ball but lacks half a yard its a shame,if we are playing 3 sitting in front of the back 4 I just wonder if this is more a defenders position,thought we played well neat and tidy,ilunga was good, faubert was awful keeps crossing to early or giving ball away,agree bad day at office nothing went our way 3rd goal was never a free kick.

  5. 4737CarlinSir says:

    I’m not looking for excuses, today was poor, but I would like to whinge about the ref. He was good, wasnt he? Booked Scotty Parker for giving the ball back and later paced out a Bolton wall for 8 paces (yards) which took him 2 yards past the wall,he asked them once to move back, they didnt fancy it so he just left them. I have a basic grasp of algebra and I make that a wall 6 yards away from the ball.

    Mentioning walls, what happened to the wall on the Taylor freekick? We know what he can do, he did it enough times for Portsmouth.

  6. Rob Marrs says:

    The first goal for Bolton was silly – keepers make mistakes like that once every couple of seasons.

    The problem was the second one… it wasn’t an easy take but it wasn’t a terribly difficult one. That’s partly Green’s fault but he needs a helping hand from his defenders after a slight mistake.

    The third one – terrible defending. 1 person in the wall is terrible and offered no protection to Green. Fair play, it was a great strike but he was allowed to do it.

    Clean sheet isn’t just Green’s fault – it suggests systemic problems with the defending.


  7. Gorgonzola says:

    I may be being harsh but this is probably the grounding Green needed. He was just not confident in the game at all after that first blunder. He did hold his hands up which was commendable. He should just forget it and move now….it’s happened.

    Ilunga was brilliant and the only positive from a poor performance and the only positive of a very dodgy looking defence. I hope Collins starts in our next game. It’s not Green who’s responsible for that run of no clean sheets, its the back four and the defensive midfielders.

    Yes Noble had another poor performance but to say it was because of his early yellow is no excuse. The challenge which resulted in the yellow was pretty silly anyhow especially considering how early in the game it was. He needs to be more clever. Parker, Faubert and Noble gave the ball away too many times today.

    I agree Iain, it was a bad day at the office but it does give us a reality check in that we should not expect too much. Without sounding negative, I think our position in the table is better than our team and performances have been so is not a true reflection. I believe, all things considered (e.g injuries, strength of the league), that we’ll finish between 8th and 12th.

  8. simo says:

    admittedly a bad performance, rob green had a bad day but he’s due one, usually he is top class. think it’s fairly evident that we need a creative midfielder, noble is sound but parker is only able to pass sideways or back to defence, does my head in

  9. irontc says:

    Lets put it down to a bad day at the office I reckon.

    Next 3 are bankers anyway ! , Hull, Arse, Man U.

    Did any one see the interesting article in the Observer about that reptile ‘non-agent’?

    The paragraph below I found very interesting….

    ” If the concept of West Ham’s new owners employing a man so central to their current travails as an adviser appears bizarre, it may be because it was agreed as an out-of-court settlement to Joorabchian’s High Court action against the club for tearing up the contract agreed over Tevez and then charging him to move the player to Manchester United. ‘We’d given them a free loan and they wanted to charge us £2m, which was unfair,’ Joorabchian says. ‘So we processed and settled to get our money back. Not to gain any money, but to get our money back.”

    ”tearing up the contract”

  10. I think we weren’t that much worse than against Fulham. We totally dominated the game up to 0-1.
    Major difference is that Bolton punished us when Fulham didn’t (OK, Green helped…)
    But how on earth can we concede so many fouls in our own half of the pitch? We all know that set pieces are the number one Bolton threat!
    And how on earth can we lose the ball in the build up phase over and over again!?
    I counted 8 times and I was pretty forgiving when counting.

    I think there are some fundamental shortcomings.
    One is the lack of an alternative to Cole. (I mean what is Bellamy supposed to do with his pace with 8 Bolton players in their own box?), another is the sloppiness in the buildup phase (Noble is Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to me) and a third is that we lack ability to transform possession into finishes. We weren’t sharp enough in the last 1/3 of the field, don’t know why really.

    Apart from these (in my view fixable) problems, our players showed an impressive attitude with everybody working hard for each other and and that can take us pretty far.

  11. Having watched the Mighty Hammers for three decades that was more like the team I recognize. Knocking the ball around beautifully for the first half hour before conceding a silly goal and going on to lose. Kind of gave me a warm feeling inside like I’d come home after being away for years.

    I started counting the passes at one stage and there were a few ocasions where we were putting together 12, 13+ in a move before getting a shot in,winning a corner or throw. At that stage I was extremely optimistic. Then the goal – and the game changed dramatically.

    A well organised, physically strong team, that closes down quickly and gives no time on the ball, like Bolton are always going to give us a hard time while we’re doing things “The West Ham Way.” The one thing we can do against the Bolton’s of the league is work harder on defending set pieces.

    Rob Green had a howler but you have to forgive him. After the performances of the last couple of years he was bound to have an off day sooner or later.

    That apart I’m happy we’ve returned to the enterprising football we’re known for. We can only expect to see games like today’s once in a while. It’s a natural by-product of entertaining footie. Bearing this in mind I sincerely hope that those who wanted Curbishley out because they wanted a return to a flowing and attacking style have got the stomache for more frustrating days like today. They come with the turf.

  12. colney says:

    how funny,green has his worst game for us and then gets picked for england.Now we now what hes been doing wrong,PLAYING WELL DONT GET YOU PICKED 4 ENGLAND !!!!!!

  13. E1 says:

    Mullins could do a better job as the holding mid fielder play him and take your pick out of noble or berahmi to drop. If collins comes back another problem who goes neil or faubert I think neil should go based on faubert ‘s performances prior to today. Bellamey for ethrington and sears for di michele give us a bit mors pace all round and parker can see some movement in front of him.
    Still spurs lost so no harm done there

  14. Plaistow54 says:

    Two steps forward, one step backward. Bolton have come on a string of bad results & got a bit lucky. We were the better side until Green dropped the ball. Oh well, wet day, that’s how it goes. That knocked the confidence a bit. Cole is putting the ball in off his head now & his strike just after half time took a world class save to keep out. Yes we need Bellamy back for full games. Parker didn’t have a great day. He clasped his hands at one stage & looked skyward. He is the engine room, he will have better days to come. Referees seem to be getting on to him about his tackles. That’s his game & he is a clean tackler. What is it these days, can’t you go through the ball any more ? Did you see, i think it was llungas tackle. One footed, took the ball clean, player fell over, free kick. What ? Mike Dean did us no favours, but we didn’t exactly help ourselves either. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I still like the way we play now.

  15. chris says:

    If we play this christmas tree formation with one up front,that takes bellamy out the game,hes best on the shoulder of the last defender,not tucked inside.

  16. Stephen says:

    Why is the club persisting on not playing bubbles when the team come out? Why would they do that?

  17. JackHammer says:

    Totally agree with Gavin T’s comments above,
    we played good attractive football against a packed Bolton defence and maintained posession in a way I haven’t seen in many years.
    The mid-field is a tricky area, are Parker and Noble too similar?, perhaps Mullins disipline and work rate behind the “creative midfielder” would work better?
    Green had a nightmare by his high standards, but he is a good keeper make no mistake about it.
    Its good to have so many players coming back from injury, Zola has choices and with Steve Clarke at his side I am sure he will make the right ones.

  18. East Hammer says:

    Unfortunately whenever we get the chance topush on in the league we fluff it. Another poor performance from Noble. I’d rather have Mullins in there – at least he will give you consistency.

    Zola and Clarke are not stupid, I think with time they will suss out which players need to be dropped. We need Collins and Gabbidon back in defence, a bit of pace and height. Neill and Upson are way too slow.

    When the injured players are back, I suspect there will be wholesale changes to the first 11.

    Appiah would be a great buy to give us that strength in the middle.

  19. Roy says:

    We looked at our best before Bolton scored when Ilunga was getting up the left flank. After that we didn’t use the width of the pitch enough. The best way of causing teams like Bolton problems is to get round the back of them and we spent too much time trying to get at them down the middle. I like Ilunga but he seems better going forward than defending where on occasions (like for the first goal) he seems a bit slow to react. I felt he couls have got a boot on it when Green dropped it.

  20. ironsmith says:

    We appear to have our West Ham back despite the fact that Zola is only a few weeks into the job. Green handed the points to Bolton with a poor display but I think there is much to look forward too and be confident about this year. One thing I am particularly confident about is that after two excellent games Etherington is back to his usual self and his season of form appears to be over already and he has reverted back to being a liability and a wimp both on and off the pitch. Of course, I hope that I am proved wrong on this one and we see more of the good side of Matty like his one good game last season against Reading away. We really do need someone on the left wing that will turn in regular performances which we do not have at the club right now unless Walter Lopez can fill that position. Li Lunga looks to be a great signing and despite some less than satisfactory performances by some of our players we passed the ball very well at times and I agree with those that put it down to a bad day at the office.

  21. Clawhammer says:

    I have serious issues with your “7” for CC. I have been very happy up to now with the way he has led the line and especially his effort. Yesterday he was just not at the races and, in my view this completely blunted our attack. Up to Green’s howler (I only really blame him for the first) we looked in line for a repeat of Newcastle and Fulham.
    A bit worrying as it seems unless we score first we have a problem. Maybe Sears and Bekllamy in a 4-4-2 if Cole is not functioning would have been better.

  22. chris says:

    Lets be honest how many of our players ever get above 6 out of 10….parker upson di michele cole iilunga geen,the others blow hot and cold to much.

  23. DevoDevo says:

    I wouldn’t be too negative after this result. For the first half hour it was a joy to watch the team knocking it about, even in their own penalty box!

    Once Green dropped the ball for the first goal, the complexion of the game changed. I agree with some others that I I didn’t hold him responsible for the 2nd, just one of those things. Interestingly, Bolton scored from two knock dows. Where was Cole when Jaiskerlinen was spilling shots? Nowhere. Despite his goal and wonderful shot on the turn, he is not a natural predator.

    Negatives: Di Michele is not a midfield player, I’d use him as cover for Bellamy.
    Desperately need Tomkins /Collins at the back.
    Noble’s inconsistency and lack of pace.
    Faubert’s commitment.

    Positives: Ilunga.
    Parker – although his final ball has to be improved.

    Bolton was always going to be a difficult game when they turned up with 9 behind the ball. Unfortunately, we played into their hands conceding so many free kicks in dangerous areas.

    The players tried hard in the 2nd half to get back into the game but for some strange reason, we stopped using the flanks, despite Zola calling for his players to get out wide.

    Next game away to Hull should be different. Hull are on a crest of a wave and will fancy their chances. This may give us the opportunity to counter attack.

    One word of warning, though, if we concede free kicks to them, Giovanni will have a field day.

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