When Zola Must Come Into His Own

February 27, 2009

There is little doubt that Gianfranco Zola’s team selection against Middlesborough was defective. But if anyone can pick up the players he can. They ought not to need geeing up in advance of the Man City game. They know they let themselves down. And then there’s Craig Bellamy to look forward to.

When Bellamy left, we appeared not to miss him at all. Well we do now. Let’s be honest about it. Di Michele isn’t a replacement and like many of you commented after the game, I am beginning to wonder if young Freddie Sears is the real deal we all thought he was. Zola has to make a choice now, and stick to it. He can’t chop and change every game.

If I were him I’d stick Savio in and tell him he has got at least five games. He doesn’t appear to be a conventional striker, but I just have this gut feeling that he would do rather well alongside Cole. Tristan is not an option – he’s lost whatever he had. But if it isn’t Savio then he should tell either Di Michele or Cole that they are in for the long haul.

The other thing we desperately need is width. Playing four central midfielders worked in January, but in February it’s proved disastrous. It’s now left to the full backs to get crosses in. The trouble is, apart from the untested Junior Stanislaus we don’t have any wide players left. Even Boa Morte always drifts infield when he is supposed to play on the left.

Noble is suspended for the Man City game and I believe Behrami is suspended for West Brom, so some changes are going to have to be rung in midfield come what may.

PS A first team member has agreed to be interviewed by me for the blog sometime in the next few weeks. I’ll tell you who it is when it’s all set up. The only clue I will give is that the player’s uncle is my theatre agent (I host a theatre show called A NIGHT WITH ANN WIDDECOMBE, you see, but that’s another story).


Middlesborough Player Performance Stats

February 26, 2009

Well, it’s quite clear, you were less than impressed. Here’s how you voted.

Scott Parker 6.64
Robert Green 5.92
Jack Collison 5.48
Lucas Neill 5.31
Valon Behrami 5.02
Herita Ilunga 4.87
Matthew Upson 4.86
James Tomkins 4.85
Mark Noble 4.79
Carlton Cole 4.72
Radoslav Kovac 4.62
Freddie Sears 3.95
David Di Michele 3.90
Diego Tristan 3.18

Vote: Middlesborough Player Performance Poll

February 25, 2009

Click HERE to rate the players who played in the Middlesborough cup replay. Give them points from 1-10. Only vote for players who actually played at least 15 minutes.

The result will be published tomorrow.



to vote.

Middlesborough Open Thread

February 25, 2009

Well, Setanta Sports News have found a Bioro fan to join me in their studio, so we’re waiting to go on at 8pm. She runs the Come on Boro website and is called Liz Medhurst. Do tune in – SSN is a free channel.

I must apologise in advance for not wearing Hammers kit, but I haven’t been home this week, and the shirt they gave me to wear was about 5 sizes too short. My man boobs are not going to be revealed on national TV for anyone!

The Player Performance poll will be live shortly after the match finishes.

Middlesbrough Preview

February 25, 2009

This is quite funny. Setanta Sports asked me to go on tonight to do the punditry on the Middlesbrough game tonight. They just called to say that unfortunately they are having to stand me down as they can’t find a Middlesbrough fan to go on with me. LOL.

Anyway, I hope we have a good contingent going up there to cheer the boys on. I am sure they will be totally up for it. I have a feeling that Zola may make a few changes today. One forced changed will be to replace James Collins, so I imagine Tomkins will retain his place and that Lucas Neill will replace Spector at right back. I wouldn’t be surprised if Di Michele was replaced by Sears or Savio, either. Radoslav Kovacs is also tipped to make his debut as a replacement for Mark Noble in midfield. Noble is suspended for the Man City game and there are rumours that he took a knock against Bolton on Saturday.

Your Top 100 West Ham Players of All Time: The Results

February 23, 2009

1. Bobby Moore 9.87
2. Trevor Brooking 9.7
3. Paolo Di Canio 9.67
4. Geoff Hurst 9.17
5. Billy Bonds 9.16
6. Carlos Tevez 9.12
7. Alan Devonshire 8.99
8. Martin Peters 8.94
9. Julian Dicks 8.87
10. Phil Parkes 8.82
11. Tony Cottee 8.6
12. Robert Green 8.56
13. Alvin Martin 8.52
14. Ludek Miklosko 8.5
15. Frank McAvennie 8.43
16. Vic Keeble 8.37
17. Johnny Byrne 8.28
18. Rio Ferdinand 8.24
19. Joe Cole 8.2
20. Slaven Bilic 8.09
21. Bryan Robson 8.08
22. Ray Stewart 8.06
23. Matthew Upson 8
24. Valon Behrami 7.96
25. Scott Parker 7.82
26. Frank Lampard Snr 7.74
27. Ernie Gregory 7.73
28. Eyal Berkovic 7.68
29. Michael Carrick 7.56
30. Malcolm Allison 7.54
31. Tony Gale 7.5
32. Andy Malcolm 7.44
33. David Cross 7.43
34. Herita Ilunga 7.39
35. Yossi Benayoun 7.39
36. John Hartson 7.39
37. Ronnie Boyce 7.37
38. John Sissons 7.36
39. Liam Brady 7.28
40. Trevor Sinclair 7.28
41. Jim Standen 7.23
42. Paul Goddard 7.23
43. John Dick 7.22
44. Ken Brown 7.16
45. Noel Cantwell 7.13
46. Clyde Best 7.13
47. James Collins 7.12
48. Graham Paddon 7.12
49. Ian Bishop 7.11
50. Martin Allen 7.1
51. Jack Collison 7.08
52. Dean Ashton 7.06
53. Mark Ward 7.05
54. Mark Noble 7.04
55. Mervyn Day 7.04
56. Stuart Pearce 7.03
57. Teddy Sheringham 7.03
58. Peter Brabrook 7.03
59. John Bond 7.01
60. Steve Potts 6.98
61. Marc-Vivien Foe 6.95
62. Paul Allen 6.95
63. Frederic Kanoute 6.94
64. Dave Sexton 6.94
65. Frank O’Farrell 6.94
66. Marc Rieper 6.93
67. John Smith 6.89
68. David James 6.88
69. Harry Hooper 6.88
70. Thomas Repka 6.87
71. Alan Taylor 6.87
72. Shaka Hislop 6.85
73. Phil Woosnam 6.81
74. Paul Ince 6.8
75. Frank Lampard Jnr 6.76
76. Glen Johnson 6.76
77. Carlton Cole 6.72
78. Billy Jennings 6.7
79. Geoff Pike 6.69
80. Stuart Slater 6.68
81. George McCartney 6.66
82. Jermain Defoe 6.64
83. Alan Sealey 6.64
84. Steve Lomas 6.61
85. Trevor Morley 6.61
86. Bobby Zamora 6.6
87. Tommy Taylor 6.58
88. Pat Holland 6.58
89. Brian Dear 6.57
90. Alan Dickens 6.56
91. Eddie Bovington 6.55
92. Malcolm Musgrove 6.48
93. Tim Breacker 6.47
94. Ian Wright 6.47
95. Kevin Keen 6.45
96. Anton Ferdinand 6.43
97. Frankie van der Elst 6.43
98. Stuart Pearson 6.43
99. Michael Hughes 6.42
100. Lawrie Leslie 6.42

In any poll like this, people tend to overrate the players they are most familiar with, hence the relatively high positions of some of our current team.

If you split this list up by decades, the same issue arises…

2000 27
1990 18
1980 17
1970 10
1960 12
1950 12

Looking back at the teams of the decades, I’d love to see the 1960s team play the current team. It would be some match.

Your Top West Ham Team 1950-2009: The Result

February 22, 2009

Tomorrow morning, I will publish the full list of your Top 50 West Ham players of all time. In the meantime, here is your top West Ham team based on a 4-4-2 formation…

Phil Parkes
Bobby Moore
Billy Bonds
Julian Dicks
Ray Stewart
Trevor Brooking
Alan Devonshire
Martin Peters
Joe Cole
Paolo di Canio
Geoff Hurst


Robert Green
Slaven Bilic
Rio Ferdinand
Frank Lampard Snr
Valon Behrami
Carlos Tevez
Tony Cottee