Barnsley Match Report

A job well done. It wasn’t pretty at times, but it was a gritty, effectiove performance from the Hamers which put us into the fourth round draw. bearing in mind how often we have fallen to teams like Barnsley at this stage in the Cup, a comprehensive 3-0 victory has to be seen as highly encouraging. And it was our third victory in a row. And it was Carlton Cole’s third scoring game in a row. And those weren’t the only two high points.

I was delighted to see my instincts that James Tomkins would be given a runout confirmed. And he lived up to expectations. He looks so comfortable in his role and hardly put a foot wrong today. Strong in the air, and accomplished on the ground, he looks every bit the successor to Rio Ferdinand we all hope he will be. He was, however, eclipsed by his central defensive partner James Collins, who I choose as man of the match. His heading performance was faultless and I truly believe he is in the best form of his life. Julien Faubert also put in a much better performance, comfortably interchanging positions with James Collison on the right. Ilunga too was good at going forward and it was good to see him open his scoring account. You could see it meant a lot to him.

Scott Parker was banned and was replcaed by the ever reliable Hayden Mullins, who had a very good game. I thought he was far more creative than usual. Valon Behrami was a strange omission, but Mark Noble also performed well, although didn’t get forward as much as he normally does. He won a penalty and was clearly determined to take it himself. I felt a little nervous about the likely outcome, but he put it away well.

Luis Boa Morten started off quite brightly but faded badly in the second half and was replaced with Matty Etherington. Bizarrely Noble moved across to the left and Matty played through the middle. Perhaps Zola recognised the need for a more attacking playmaker throught he centre. Perhaps he should take a closer look at the diminutive Barnsley midfielder Diego Leon, who was a constant thorn in our side, and very effective at dead balls.

Up front Craig Bellamy put in another excellent performance. All that was missing was a bulging back of the net. Carlton Cole scored just the type of headed goal which will give him even more confidence in his own ability. It was a perfectly placed header, but just the sort of header which most of us expected him to miss – mainly because he has done so so often in the past. But all credit to him. he’s now got 7 goals in 18 games this season. That is by no means a bad ratio.

But perhaps the brightest incident of the game was when Keiron Dyer came on to the pitch after 17 months out injured. He got a tremendous reception and immediately went on a mazy run, shot from 20 yards and very nearly scored. What a return that would have been! He made a real contribution in his 20 minutes on the pitch and you could tell the whole team was lifted by his return.

The papers were full of more transfer rumours today, with the Bellamy/Parker move to Manchester City again being treated very seriously. I am coming round to the point of view that Parker’s loss, while regrettable, would not be a disaster. If Kieron Dyer is fit, a midefield of Noble, Collison, Dyer and Behrami/Etherington would be quite strong.

Quite what we would do without Bellamy, though, is another matter. It’s not as if we could go out and buy a similar player – because such a being does not exist. Tristan and Di Michele are just not in the same class. I was disappointed to see that Freddie Sears wasn’t even on the bench today. Surely he needs to be given experience in matches like this. Tristan only had about 12 minutes on the pitch but contributed very little. I find it difficult to think Sears wouldn’t have done better.

But that’s a minor quibble. Barnsley, despite the appearance of the scoreline, were not a pushover and at times played some very bright, attacking football. West Ham performed well and deserved their emphatic win.

Green 7
Ilunga 7
Tomkins 7
Collins 9
Faubert 6
Collison 7
Noble 7
Mullins 7
Boa Morte 5
Cole 7
Bellamy 8
Etherington 7
Dyer 7


35 Responses to Barnsley Match Report

  1. claire says:

    It seems a bit miserable to complain, but why was Etherington not played wide on the left – we desperately needed width there. Collins met everything thrown at him and he’d be my MOTM. But credit to them all, this was a tough game – as well as England’s number 1 goalie we also have England’s number 1 woodwork which saved us a couple of times – and all apart from LBM put in good performances.

  2. WHU Kim says:

    I thought Tomkins was better overall than Collins, looks the footballer out of the two. The whole team played reasonably well so would have given them all a 7.

  3. Big_Casino says:

    I beg to differ with you regarding Parker, Iain… I think it would be a big disaster if we lost him… I think he is a massive player for West Ham, and his influence on the team should not be underestimated.

    Essentially he plays the holding role in midfield, which, first and foremost he is brilliant at doing; throwing himself in front of shots, making challenges all the time, breaking up play and doing all the ugly stuff that needs to be done… but he also has the skills, quality and energy to get box to box… his distribution is good, he is determined, and has been my man of the match on at least half a dozen occasions this year.

    I personally don’t think you should underestimate his presence in the team.

    If we are to play 442 – then i would always have Parker and Behrami together in the middle, with Dyer and Ethers wide.

    If we are to play 433/451 – which i think ultimately Zola wants to when he has everyone fully fit – then I would play Collison, Parker and Behrami as my central midfield trio, with Dyer and Bellamy flanking Ashton. Which unfortunately means no room for Noble – but I think Collison’s passing and vision is better, which is why I would have him in ahead of Noble.

    Just my opinion obviously.

  4. Big_Casino says:

    I’d also add that Parker is a leader, and we need one of them in midfield…. just as Upson is a leader at the back and Bellamy a leader upfront… and with Greeno behind them all, we have a strong spine to the team…. and we cannot afford to lose any of these players.

  5. chris says:

    confused!!some players hot then cold the next,well done dyer.
    still dont know what our best team is.
    cant complain though.

  6. Why why why does he keep playing the usless LBM ?

  7. FrannyZola says:

    I agree with you about Parker Iain….

    you’re really sticking you’re head out aren’t you? First Upson and now Parker. Both good calls that I agree with but would never have seen you make them so well done!

    Parker does a lot for the team, don’t get me wrong, but we’re having the same problem we had with Reocoker in that position. They win the ball back well but their passing and control of the ball is poor….very poor. Also, Parker does not pace himself through games. He plays 100% for 65 minutes and then he’s finished. A clear example of this was our home game against Everton.

    We can get good money for him at the moment as city are after him. With that money I think we should look for another holding midfielder. I was tempted to say we can play Behrami or Collison there but both are too good getting forward and Behrami has energy to burn so I would not play either there.

    We could even hold out till the summer as I’m sure Hayden Mullins can do more than a good job holding if we were to sell Parker. I would even try John Spector there.

    As for the missing creativity in the middle…what about going in for Niko Kranjcar anybody?!?!

    ITVs highlights were awful. Didn’t even show Dyer at all.

    As for the transfer policy…by playing Bellamy I think from this we can say for sure that the clubs statements in the last few days about not selling our best players were honest and not Machiavellian as they have been in the past, and had been accused of being this time. If we were looking to sell our best players then Bellamy would have been no where near the squad for the Barnsley game.

    With Deano back, we’re a top 8 side. Why would anybody want to leave us for Man City?

  8. SJ Chandos says:

    I agree with Iain about Parker. I have been reluctantly toying with this proposition for some time and I have come to the conclusion that we have the strength in midfield to accommodate his departure. But I would add a caveat that any funds raised by the sale of Faubert and/or Parker must be used to secure quality additions that strengthen the squad. That is essential to counter the negativity that will inevitably be generated by any sales. It is vital that the club are seen to keep their promise on this!

    I posted my post-match views on the previous Barnsley/open blog by mistake. I also posed the question whether it was possible, based on Duxbury’s Q&A, that we might see the owner sell a % of his ownership of the Hammers to refinance the club, rather than go for an outright sale? I will not confuse things by re-posting it here, if people are interested perhaps they might care to look at the previous blog.

  9. mal-content says:

    Good result in what could have been a difficult match. As I understand it both Upson & Behrami were carrying minor niggles, so were rested.

  10. Hammered in Singapore says:

    Parker is an important member of the team for all the reasons mentioned above. I would not like to see him sold, likewise Bellamy, Upson and Green. Once again we have the makings of a decent side. This time the Chairman and the Board must see sense and keep the core of the team together to allow time for the youngsters coming through to blossom. Sell just one of the important players and it gives the wrong signal to the vultures on the side – agents and press – waiting for a sign/excuse to move their player on or write about the demise of a Premier Club. When Rio was sold to Leeds it was the signal to Cole, Lampard and Carrick (or should I say their parents) there was no future at West Ham. It would be a shame to see the likes of Tomkins, Sears, Noble, Collison and all the others coming through such as Spence, have their heads turned by an unnecessary departure of a good player. For that reason I hope we keep all of them including Neil, well until his contract expires. Keep the core of the team in place and we will have a great second half of the season and with Zola and Clarke at the helm we should believe it is possible.

    Great to see a good result against the potential banana skin in Barnsely. With Manchester City losing so badly I am hoping Parker and Bellamy will see there is more sense in staying at West Ham where the manager will be around for some time – you have to feel Hughes days are numbered.

  11. clack says:

    The problem with Parker is his wages.

    His reported 50 grand per week salary is out of all proportion with his ability as a player.

    Unlike Man City with the Saudi billions, Parker is a luxury West Ham can’t afford.

    He is tenacious and does break down the oppsition play, but his passing range, both short, and particularly long, is limited. He often gives away possession cheaply.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see any of Green/Upson/Bellamy/Parker sold.

    But if the financial situation dictates that someome has to be sold then, ideally you’d want it to be Parker in my opinion.

    Certainly, I think it’s vital that we keep Green and Upson.

    Long-term, I think Zola wants to play a more attacking pssession football and I don’t quite see where Parker fits into that. Considering his age, and his fitness/ injury of the last 2 seasons, I think we should grab 7 million for him if Man City are offer that – and crucially it gets the wage bill down aswell.

  12. D&G says:

    As it stands….

    – Man C going to up their offer for Parker & Bellers
    – Villa offering 10million for Upson but we want 15million
    – Neill free to go to whoever wants him…..
    – We are in for Robbie Savage and Dale Winton

  13. StainesWestHam says:

    I agree that ITV’s highlights were a joke. Why is it that ITV give good live coverage of the Champions League, but they just can’t do highlights at all? MOTD would undoubtedly have given mention to the fact that Dyer made a return after 16 months out! I was really disapointed to see that BBC weren’t doing the highlights yesterday and knew what was coming…total rubbish.

    Parker is a good engine in midfield and I wouldn’t want to see him leave, but I get the feeling that both Bellamy and him are being unsettled by the rumours and fees involved. I think City must be the only club on the planet that would increase the wages of either player at the moment too and money in football, as we all know, talks. I completely agree with the Chandos comment that sales are fine if the fee is right, but all the money must be given to Zola and Clarke to improve the team…and I mean all of it, not just money for a loan deal deal for an Italian U21. Let’s not forget that Zola hasn’t even made 1 signing for the club yet and he has earnt the right to bring in some of his own.

    One last point. Has anyone else read the bizarre report in The Mirror (who are notorios for just making transfer gossip up) saying that West Ham will swap Upson for Bendtner? This is surprising on 2 counts. Firstly – surely both players wouldn’t be of equal value??! Upson would be worth about double to my mind. Secondly, Wenger would never swallow his pride by signing a plyer that he should never have let go in the first place! I saw also in the same paper that Julian Dicks said that we could be the next Leeds! Does anyone know if The Daily Mirrors sports pages are being edited by a Millwall fan these days?

  14. chris says:

    Dont read the mirror they are notorious hammer haters!!

  15. E1 says:

    3 wins on the bounce a clean sheet and carlton scores again, 7 in 18 ! A good day at the office. Overall rating 7, with Lbm getting a 5 and collins and tomkins on 8 very solid looking at the back and I am sure they can only get better. Not sure what to think regarding Berahmi being left out hopefully he was just being rested. Upson I think is the one we are going to lose and if davenport goes as well we are going to be a bit light in the central defence area. Newcastle,Fulham and hull all big games and max points must be the target and expectation, we could then sit comfortable in the top 8 making us a more atractive aqusition for a new buyer ( fingers crossed ).

  16. Chris H says:

    I really enjoyed the game yesterday,

    For me it was the first full sense of what life under Zola could really look like. It felt like they were playing his way and it was working very well.

    Bright, attacking, fast, inventive, passing play building from the back and using speed and quick first touches to open things up. Much less of the “hoof it towards Carlton / Deano and hope” style we saw from Curbs.

    Nine goals in three games. Carlton scoring three games in a row and looking like he’s benefitting from Zola’s 1 on 1 input; Bellamy a constant threat giving defences a real hard time.

    Match that to our solid defence, where we showed we have some strength in depth beyond the ordinary starters; add the return of Dyer showing real forward momentum (he seems to go forward straighter and faster than most of the rest of our midfield) and I allowed myself to feel quite optimistic and excited going forward.

    The state of the Premier League this season also means that although we’ve gone on a bad run over the last two months, we’re still well placed for an assault on the FA Cup / UEFA places if we get a good run going which I can see us now doing. (Slightly surprised to see the Tony Gale comment in the programme that we’re only four points behind where we were last season and remember what a great first half and dreadful second half we had last year).

    It might all come very good indeed, particularly if we come out of the Jan transfer window no weaker than we currently are.

    PS Agree with Iain about Diego Leon, the Barnsley 14, I thought he looked really good yesterday.

  17. Tony says:

    Good result, put me in a good mood, gotta start work 2morrow, after 18 days off for Xmas and New Year!! Dont think we will sell any of our best players, well hope not. If we get 5 or 7 points from the next 3 games and a good Cup draw ,then things will look very good going into a long hard winter. Fitness and yellow cards hurt all teams about now, so we arnt that badly off , r we? COYI

  18. StainesWestHam says:

    D&G I agree that it wouldn’t be a Lottery signing Dale Winton. For free kicks he always fills the Hole in The Wall and can also play as a (Supermarket) Sweeper.

  19. chris says:

    Some people not bothered if upson goes!!
    Sorry but what I’ve seen of Tomkins in the prem I’m not all that Impressed.

  20. colney says:

    i think the age of some of the players is a worry for bg and zola,they dont have a value after 28/29 as this usually is there last transfer,zola however will be looking at a smaller fitter squad so reliable players are required much more with a smaller squad,bellers/upson/dyer/parker have all suffered lately so i think this is the reason why they wont commit to all staying.i think youll see 1/2 big players go and maybe 1 big player come in to replace,thats not forgeting all the wasters we have on the books.

  21. old biddy says:

    Iv read the comments on Tomkins and Sears and watched Tomkins pretty closely yesterday as i use to play center halve myself many moons ago and im not sure hes ready for the prem just yet!he is defo one for the future but i think both him and sears(especially)would benefit a few months out on loan playing regular football

  22. Ginger fella says:

    I was at the game yesterday, but i just was not convinced with the performance on the pitch, I thought we looked a bit suspect at the back, it will take time for Collins and Tomkins partnership to gel, Faubert gave the ball away too often.
    Luis Boa again was dissapointed with him, he has to stop the flash touches and play it simple, his perfomance was a shame because the game against stoke he was looking a lot better.
    Midfield looked strong yesterday but i am worried about the lack of width, we are playing, were cutting inside too oftern and not hitting the flanks, even when matty came on he did not hit the left flank to provide more width. Oh well its all change and a different stle of play, bonust to see Dyer back, I have no complaints with Bellamy run his socks off all afternoon,
    I was more concerned with the absence of Upson more than the suspended parker,
    if we have to sell one big player m personel preference would be parker than upson, green or Bellers.
    Our midfield is quite strong with Noble, Behrami, Ethrington, Dyer, Mullins, Collinson,
    I dont think we could afford to lose Bellers or Upson or Green.

  23. Russell says:

    Impressed with Dyer after 17months out – looked sharp. (wonder how long he’ll last this time tho)
    Players I’d like to see go: Bowyer, LBM, Faubert (if he’s gonna grizzle every time he gets dropped he can jog on), Quashie, 1 of our 5 centre backs (preferably not upson, ginge or tomkins), Ashton (as we’re used to playing without him anyway, £10mil would be a result, if he wasnt injury prone we could command £18mil like D Bent or R Keane, but he will always be a sick note now – I blame SWP).
    Wont be too devestated if Parker leaves as good as he is, its only for 65mins & is not as consistently good as we’d all like, if man citah wanna play over the odds it will be a result.
    Will be pretty gutted if Bellers leaves as we’ll be pretty buggered scoring.
    Will cry like a baby if green or behrami goes.
    Regardless we’re on the up so bring on the geordies! COYI!

  24. D&G says:

    So Hartlepool away! That’s got giant killing potential all over it. Got a feeling that will be a live match in the next round……

  25. murdoch says:

    The Mirror are notorious ”hammer haters.” How insane are you people? How mad and paranoid are you that you’re convinced that certain newspapers promote hatred of your football team? You could have at least published the results of the poll you took amongst Mirror staff about their footballing loyalties. Though i suspect you say the same thing about every newspaper on earth. Oh, and Julian Dicks is right, and he isn’t even on the Mirrors payroll.
    Now go get help for that paranoia.

  26. E1 says:

    were is hartlepool ?

  27. Darren says:

    news of the world sed that west ham want cash and micheal johnson for scott parker i would take that as johnson is 20 and parker is 29….. also upson for cash + nicholas bednher would be gd buisness.

    agree with you iain that diego leon looked a good player on saturday, would seem a cheap + gd addition to the squad.

    Enjoyed the game on saturday loved seeing etherington and dyer back looked dangerous

  28. LJ says:

    Agreed our game will probably be live.

    But what a great draw all round…….fortunately with Man Utd likely to play Spurs, the Mersey derby, the Clough Derby derby and Fulham going non- league the spotlight isn’t likely to be totally on us

    Having seen for ourselves exactly what Stoke had to offer we shouldn’t be too worried about giant killing precedent though the media advance billing will no doubt be “expect a shock” in that sort of oxymoronic way they spin stories.

  29. FrannyZola says:

    Yeh Darren, I would do the Johnson Parker swap. Not only age but he’s creative too. Not sure about Bendtner…think he’s over rated and misses too many chances. Plus I think we’re alright up front as we are once we get Ashton back.

  30. Upton Spark says:

    FrannyZola; Don’t have to worry about Ashton as he’s out for the rest of the season.
    We are short of a striker as we could have injuries or suspensions before long and we will need someone who has the experience at our level plus they need to able to stick it away.
    I know we have Sears but he is not a proven goalscorer at the top level. Zola will be looking to bring someone in,perhaps on on loan from abroad.Lots of rumours going round about where we are looking for players.SHOCK,SHOCK,Can you believe we are looking in ITALY no less!!

  31. FrannyZola says:

    I see what you’re saying UptonSpark…

    We have a lot of strikers though. The only worry I think is if Bellamy is injured because he has the uniqueness of pace which our other strikers don’t have. Sears is quick but not like Bellamy. All our other strikers have attributes that over lap so a injury to one of them would not hurt us too bad.

    DiMichelle – I think people are being a bit harsh on him. Technically he is very good. When he got his brace against Newcastle early season, people were raving about him. He just needs a run. He replaced Bellamy recently (suspension) and people criticised him but you’re not gonna get from him what you get from Bellamy – they’re different players.

    Also, I really believe there is a lot more to come from Tristan. He used to be one of the worlds top strikers. Yes, strikers do lose pace as they age but the finishing will still be there. When he gets a run together, I think he will be lethal inside the box. I think he can be that one you referred to as being able to “stick it away”.

    Sears – he’s worried me to tell you the truth. He’s prolific in the reserves but has had quite a few minutes in the first team with a number of good chances. I am certain he has the ability, certain, but he must impose himself. He needs to be more confident and cocky – needs to stop being the youngster from the youth team. Shout a bit more, take the odd free kick and corner and be more confident. He needs to stop looking up at the first teamers because he is one now. You look at youngsters from other teams e.g Arsenal and they’re well cocky…Sears needs some of that….especially being a striker.

    I would be happy with a loan striker. I think a permanent striker signing will be a waste because if all or most of our strikers stay fit then that signing will be a waste unless he’s something special of course. Hence a loan will suit us well because if he does start moaning about lack of games then back he goes! Then, in the summer we can evaluate. Bendter would definitely be a no-no for me.

    As for Ashton…I think we’ll get 2 months out of him this season at least…seriously. I agree with Gianfranco when he said that Ashton’s our best finisher. Some fans think we should sell him but I think his injury lay-off has made us forget how good Ashton is.

    Striker from Italy….O if Nani can pull DelPiero off!

  32. E1 says:

    Ashton is not going to come back after this lay off and bang in loads of goals by the t
    time he gets back he’ll just about be match fit and the season will be over. A loan quality striker will gives us the quick fix we need untill next season then we can see IF ashton has still got it in pre-season and move on from there.

  33. Doc H Ball says:

    I’m shocked at the posts that are lukewarm about Upson going. He’s the one to keep in my opinion and a pairing from Collins/Tommo/Dav with Faubert at right back is very worrying to me.

    I’m also all for letting the bellend go – if we can get anything like 12-15m for him, I’d grab your putter with both hands. He’s 29, missed most of last season, has a real attitude problem and probably wants out.

    As for Parker, again he’s 29, can be injury prone but has played like a hero all season. I think he’s a great influence on Noble/Collison and I’d sell the bell over him anyday.

    Where TF is that Indian billionaire?

  34. DevoDevo says:

    Let me say this again, though I’m sure it will fall on deaf ears. I don’t expect ANY of our best players to be sold in the window. I can see Neill going and that’s fine with me. Other than that, I expect to see Green, Upson & Bellamy lining up in February. As for Parker, I would also want to see him line up in claret & Blue. However, if we can get top dollar & Johnson for him (I’m a big fan), then so be it.

    Bendtner for Upson is the funniest one yet! Not just because Bendtner is so poor but Upson is worth double, despite his age.

    In contrast to other posts, I don’t think Sears has had enough chances – it takes more than a couple of sporadic substitute appearances to settle in at this level. The one or two he started with Bellamy, I was quite impressed with his movement. His biggest problem at the moment is that he is similar to one of our best players in Bellamy. However, i would still prefer him on the bench to Di Michele.

    Tomkins is also one for the future and should be loaned out again for more experience, Despite his poise and excellence on the ball, he found out last season just how unforgiving the Premiership is for young centre backs.

    I’ve noticed the Zola detractors seemed to have disappeared on here now and the “Bring Curbs back” brigade have thankfully gone as well.

    Progress is looking good. Passing the ball, good spirit, better fitness and players not dropping like flies back onto the treatment bench.

  35. Upton Spark says:

    Well,I do agree that Zola is definately doing something right as we have not seen the continuation of players going back to the injury/treatment room.
    Bentdner is a NO GO for me to. I hear we looking at Celtic player Craig Brown who I think could do well for us.

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