When Zola Must Come Into His Own

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).


101 Responses to When Zola Must Come Into His Own

  1. IoDHammer says:

    I look forward to that interview! Hes an awesome player!

  2. Matt P says:

    Agree with the points about giving Savio a run in the team. Think Sears needs to play more games as a sub with specific intention of giving him at least 20 minutes a match to build his experience and confidence. He seemed to be played out of position against Middlesboro, drifting way to deep for a Defoe type player. The real worry is that Cole appears to be playing as the walking wounded, shows how thin we are up front,

    With not naturally wide midfielders we need more from the full backs, something that I don’t think Neill can cope with, he can barely defend let alone bomb forward down the right flank. As a result we can look too narrow and easy to deal with

  3. Roy says:

    Can’t say I’m hopeful about Sunday after Wednesday’s poor show. Oh how we miss Bellamy.

  4. Alan says:

    Agree entirely Iain the four central midfielders has not worked this month. It is obviously GFZ’s preferred system, my concern is what is plan B? There seems to be little flexibility within the squad. If we are not careful a bad run will see us being dragged back into the bottom half of the table and subsequently worrying about relegation. I am 100% behind the management and hope that we will push up and keep our season alive. On another note I was disgusted with the way some clubs treated the UEFA cup yesterday. IF we were to qualify for this competetion I would expect nothing less than total commitment to win it.

  5. Yoz says:

    How about 5 in midfield ? Playing Cole upfront alone but with Noble very close behind in a free role. Noble not playing great in my opinion, but he played that role quite well for U21, plus I dont think he has the stamina for 90 mins and up and down park. The diamond of Parker, Kovac (holding), Behrami and Collison behind that. Wasn’t over impressed with Kovac, I actually put both Boro goals down to him (needless foul for 1st, watched Tuncay run passed him for 2nd) but you dont play for Czech as many times as he has for nothing. Needs time to find feet. Parker seems to be getting forward more now so Kovac as holding would still allow him to run beyond Noble and Cole. Parker’s pressing runs might be leaving the back four open more, Kovac can play Centre Half so should play holding role well for everyone to benefit. Savio on for Noble if need some pace. Di Michele not up to it, too slow and lacks strength. Skillful enough if he has room.

  6. daz says:

    the trouble is we can’t play a winger on the right, we need Behrami infront of Neill to double up and break up play. Can you just imagine Robinho and Bellamy having a free run at Neill for 90 minutes. There is no point even talking about the team going forward if we are likely to concede 2 or 3 goals because of it.

    Sears is not ready to play, even though Di Michele cannot finnish, his link up play, possitioning and vision is excellent. He might be hit and miss but Tristan and Sears are inept.

    That brings me to Savio, he is not a conventional striker and i think due to his age and lack of experience he might struggle playing up top, however Zola has been bringing him on out wide so maybe he is a better option to play as a winger?

  7. Andy says:

    does anybody know how we all get from Stratford to Upton Park on the tube on Sunday with the underground seemingly not running.


  8. Mick in Iceland says:

    Whereas I believe and support the clubs plans to build a team of young talent, which is evident in the young players purchased recently and those tipped to move to the club in the Summer The future is bright however a proven and experienced goal scorer will help take some of that heavy burden of expectation off the youngsters during the transitional period. I am looking forward to the prospect of seeing the lads grasping and playing the Zola way and we should be patient while he goes about the task. COYI!

  9. Pavalova says:

    We need to avoid relegation this season and regroup
    in the summer – we are short in a few areas, especially up-front;midfield playmaker; and has already been mentioned, width.
    With the icelandic ownership up in the air and the
    continuing Sheff Utd saga, which is running longer than Watergate,we need stability at the club first & foremost.
    Remember – this is not Zola’s team, and I think if sufficient funds were provided,we would see a dramatic improvement in the quality of players at the club.We still have some deadwood needs shifting, as well………
    NB:Wish they’d give Lopez a run down the wing or as a wide midfield man – he apparently murdered Ferreira when reserves played Chelsea recently.Worth a go ?

  10. Hayden says:

    Andy – Follow the masses. You should be fine!

  11. Kim says:

    I know that we miss Bellamy’s skills but I for one do not miss the man himself. He would have completely ruined the team spirit had he stayed. I know there was little sign of the players being a team on Wednesday but I am hopeful for Sunday.

    I have said more than once that I think we should give Junior a chance. At least give the lad a seat on the bench now and then. We have few options other than play Cole with two just behind him (Savio/Stanislas). We just don’t have any out and out strikers in the squad.

    Please don’t let Bellamy score against us…….

  12. Roy says:

    Andy, you could walk it from Stratford.

  13. Roshi says:

    I see Faubert is surprised that he has only made one substitute appearance for Real Madrid, is anybody else?

    Looks like he is on his way back, come the end of May.
    Oh! and he has lost 2 kilo’s, must be smoking more.

  14. matthew says:

    yep, agree with you all. But i will say that we looked much better with collison playing. he ran at players and did well when he had the ball at his feet. Our new cze player(sorry can’t remember his name) got better as the went on, but his passing was woeful to start with and bobbled every pass, also a lazy tackle for the goal. We do need a wide boy, id dyer the answer? who know’s,… the important thing is to give zola time to sort out HIS team and play players he wants. At least if we carry on in this form he won’t be stolen by the scum!

  15. wrighty says:

    Jack Collison per chance Iain? Iain, by the way, completly off topic, can you give us a run down on new FA CEO Ian Watmore, ex politician, i thought you may have some insight; bad decision for me but would love your opinion. And, don’t worry for Sunday, Man City havent won away in the league since Aug 2008 against Sunderland who were in disarray. 2-0 to the Cockney boys.

  16. Dujon says:

    I too have said numerous times that i’ve been anticipating Junior to make a first team appearance. He openly said on The WHU official website that it was his goal, and Collison said he was the near person to watch out for. Come on, Collison said he’s brilliant. he must be !

  17. Eddie Chappers says:

    I believe that Junior was included in our last two league squads and I agree that he along with Lopez should be given a chance in the next couple of games.

    I would like to see Behrami start on the right and Savio on the left with Parker and Collison in the middle on Sunday.

    If Man City play like they did last night we should be fine, the only seed of doubt lies in whether we can halt our recent poor run- though the Bolton performance had plenty of positives the Boro game didn’t (bar Scotty Parker)!

  18. SJ Chandos says:

    Personally I would stay with Sears and get him higher up the pitch, playing off Cole and imposing himself in the final third of the pitch. Against Man City I would play either Lopez or Nsereko on the left and have Collison at the point of the midfield diamond, just behind the strikers.

    We need more mobility, off the ball, from our strikers and the midfield need to give greater support. We also need to vary our play more, its almost as if we are trying to pass it in to the net. Really, the side is crying out for Dyer’s pace, creativity and ability to give close support to the strikers. His cameo against Barnsley was a breadth of fresh air, which was to prove altogether far too brief!

    I think the Man City will be quite an open match and I do not see us being squeezed like against Boro. I must admit I am quite intrigued about the Lopez situation. He consistently performs well for the reseves but never gets a look in. I would like to see how he would play wide left, pushing forward and then providing cover when Illunga overlapped. With Neill/Spector and Berhami on the right, it would give the side a good balance and the desired width. Whilst Nsereko would give us pace, width and more directness in delivering the ball in to the box.

    The other thing that I would like to see is Stanislaus and Banjer being promoted to the bench. They are young, but they are eager to impress. They are both playing well and deserve to step up. Tristan has a lot to prove, whilst Di Michele is a bit of an enigma as far as I am concerned. Islands of ability in a sea of ineffectiveness. The guy is capable of doing some outstanding things, but does not deliver consistently enough.

  19. Far be it from me to spoil the surprise but my money is on CLOCKS ON JAIL for the star interview.

    … or am I being a bit of a dipstick and everybody already knows?

  20. jon.london colney says:

    3 points sunday and all will be forgiven.cole needs to smile again,dmd just needs a goal and to keep going,sears needs to wait a while and i cant wait for dyer and a few games running at people.we forgot that the other night,we were so square it looked rubbish.coyi,focb.

  21. … and if anyone is going to score a hat-trick on Sunday where would your money be? Cole or Baloney?

  22. SJ Chandos says:

    I have seen Stanislaus play numerous times. He is really skillful, has pace, runs at people and his delivery is very, very good. He is also exceptionally dangerous at set peices, particularly free kicks.

    I think the long term thinking is probably that Nsereko will develop in to a central striker and Stanislaus will play left midfield. The doubt at the moment is whether Nsreko is ready to play off Cole. From what we have seen of him he looks more effective wide left, delivering the ball in to the strikers, rather than finishing chances.

    Nsereko is an exceptional prospect though and he is certainly one for the future, whether it is as a striker, wide left or in the hole behind the strikers. I think that eventually he will be able to operate in all three positions equally proficiently.

  23. SJ Chandos says:

    The agent’s nephew is Jack Collison.

  24. SJ Chandos says:

    There you go, it does pay to keep a eye on Iain’s twitter summary, and just try to ignore all the Tory stuff! Lol.

  25. SJ… and there’s me trying to go for the subtle approach (see above)

  26. Tc says:

    February was always going t b hard. The turnaround starts Sunday.
    It was disappointing t lose t Middlesboro but lets be realistic. I’d rather get this season over and done with in a comfortable league position, let Zola get players in the summer and have a cup run next year with flair and style.

  27. SJ Chandos says:

    Oh I am sorry if I spoilt it for anyone, I am not very subtle in these situations I am afraid. It has always held me back in my career as a diplomat!!!! Apologies again.

    Anyone seen that Lyons have given Fred a free transfer as of midnight yesterday! He is planning on joining a Brazilian club, but if we were to make an approach who knows. He is a free agent, but apparently can be a bit difficult.

  28. TC and Mike in Iceland… I agree wholeheartedly.

    We’re not going to get relegated, so let’s start laying the foundations for next season. I think, in fact, we already have. I can understand the frustrations, but hey, we are Hammers fans.

  29. SJ… I was only teasing!! I’m about to have a brew… fancy a cuppa?

  30. SJ Chandos says:

    milk, no sugar please! lol.

  31. kennyhammer says:

    If Freddie Sears warrents a place on the bench since the start of the season then why has he only made a couple of very brief appearances. Is it because Tristan is better? That being the case then surely Junior should get the nod for the bench and maybe get 20 mins or so to show what he can do.
    MDiM was excellent against Hull but his erratic form should mean that Savio gets to start with CC. Both MDiM and Tristian are only with us until the summer and should be used only as cover.
    Come on Franco lets see what our youngsters can do given some time on the pitch.

  32. SJ Chandos says:

    I thought some of you might like to comment on this Setanta article (link below). The City fans are having it all their own way at the moment!!!!


  33. Rob says:

    well said, we need width or a threat up top. the 4 centre mids worked with bellamy because he could create things out of nothing.

    this would be my team for the end few games of the season as we dont have a great deal to play for now.





    Sort of 4-3-3 when attacking, 4-5-1 when defending

  34. hinsdaleman says:

    Forget Sears. I’m telling you now, he’s not good enough at this level. If he was he’d have played more. Zola’s not an idiot.
    I don’t care where you play him- in the hole, up front, on the right on the left. I also don’t care how much upper body strength training he does, he’s too small and that’s that.
    Too young? Not ready ? No more of that please. I can name a whole host of players who were banging in goals at this age. Rooney, Owen. Walcott, Whitesides, Defoe, Cottee and the list goes on
    Let’s face facts and move on.

  35. Pete in TRNC says:

    I though we lacked any width on Wednesday night. We were so one dimensional it was scarey. I think sears has what it takes in the long term, but I think Savio is closer to being ready at this stage. Although there are many players scoring goals at his age, there are plenty that didn’t reach prmiership standard until their early twenties and went on to be great players!! Sears will; come good in a couple of seasons.

    Give Cole and Savio a few games together as we have nothing to loose at this stage. It’s not working the way it is.

    Anyway… we’re out of the cup and we need a couple of wins to guarantee our premiership status. Lets hope we get the first one against Man C at the weekend. 2-0 to us… one each for Savio and Cole… Bellamy off injured after 25 minutes. COYI

  36. Roshi says:

    All players develop at different ages, sometimes the late developers go on to have a longer and better careers, don’t write the lad off just yet Hinsdaleman. I think he needs a loan spell at a championship club to get first team experience.

  37. hinsdaleman says:

    Roshi, I have been watching West Ham since the 60’s and in that time I have seen so many players come and go, develop and not develop. The really good ones do not take this long to develop. They come in and make an immediate impact or at least show signs of greatness. Sears is doing nothing at all!

    The only exception I can think of is Trevor Brooking who really took a few years. That was worth the wait but I fear we are wasting our time with this lad.

  38. Colm says:

    Roshi is right Hinsdaleman, look an Ian Wright.He started his football career at 22

  39. Colm says:

    Roshi is right Hinsdaleman, look an Ian Wright.He started his football career at 22 at some non-league club

  40. Paul M says:

    Not sure if Freddie will become the striker we all wanted him to be!! After seeing him on a few occasions now, he seems to have stagnated and dosn’t look prem’ quality.
    The real gems show thier hand by now, look at Owen, Rooney, Walcott Etc. I hope i’m wrong but I can’t see him being the answer, too small and not ‘confident’ like Rooney was.
    Loan him out for at least a whole season so he plays 1st team footbal and see if that helps, we will see.

  41. Mile end dave says:

    Fred has been released from his contract at Lyon, I think we need to pull out all the stops to sign him. We need a goal scorer, end of !

  42. Goatygav says:

    I’d like to see us go back to the 442 diamond but with: –

    Neil, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga
    Behrami, Parker, Collison, Nsereko
    Cole, Di Michele

    Lucas Neil has improved a substatial amount of late. Back to the defender that he looked to be when he first joined us. His positional play has been excellent of late and he’s looked relatively solid.

    I think this game is tailor made for Di Mic.

    Just one other thing that’s sprung to mind. Did anyone pick up on the poor pace of our passing on Wednesday? Much unlike we’ve been doing so well they all seemed to slow the tempo vs ‘Boro. I think we’ll be able to tell what we’re going to get on Sunday in the first 5 minutes. If we keep the ball zipping around I reckon we’ll start to loads of chances again.

  43. Goatygav says:

    Great point you made about Graham LeSaux SJ Chandos. Shame that “Stating the bleedin’ Obvious” isn’t an Olympic Sport otherwise we’d already have our first Gold in the bag for 2012.

  44. Goatygav says:

    Re Kovacs it’s clear he needs to adjust to the pace of English top tier football. As matthew said above he seemed to adapt as the game progressed on Wednesday. I think he’ll be an decent player for us.

    It would be good to thing that our terrific support didn’t start getting on his back after just one game – give him at least a sniff of a chance.

  45. Goatygav says:

    Would be good to think it too!

  46. PaulF says:

    Should get Kyel Reid Back! He would give us some width.

  47. E1 says:

    NEWS FLASH !!!!!!!
    Ashton out all season Bellamey Now plays for Man city cos’s he did NOT want to play for WEST HAM,So What we want to know and discuss is opinion and statement that is relevent to the players avaliable and current situation, after all if we had bobby moore trevor brooking, paulo Di canio oh how different it would be, but that ain’t going to happen, so lets get real!

  48. E1 says:

    Sorry folks for the last out burst but I’m just getting fed up with we miss belend and ashton neither of which are able to do jack.
    I think we all agree that changes need to made we need width we need pace cole can do a job but if the ball is not played into the box he is Not likly to score,he needs to be able to play the ball wide and move, at the moment all he can do is play it back and try to stay on side. savio and lopez can both play wide. Wide players don’t seem to be in zola and clarke’s thinking.THE CHELSKI WAY ?

  49. E1 says:

    4-5-1 savio wide right lopez or junior wide left cole up front,parker holding,with berahmi and collison either side.we need 3 winsto be reasonably safe and 6 to make sure of europe next year,if we are just playing keep ball then we won’t get either.

  50. Goatygav says:

    Now we’re out of the cup I don’t reckon Europe’s gonna happen. Even if we end up 7th I don’t think that’ll qualify.

  51. Keith says:

    Goatygav – the passings not so pacey now I think because without Bellamy defences are pushing further up against us and there isn’t the same space in midfield to pass it around. If the forwards have no pace to go beyond the back 4 that’s what happens – the way round it is get a quick forward or get it wide – neither of which we can do at the minute

  52. hammeredCalv says:

    E1 – i agree, we are trying to play like Chelski,and its the right way to play, we just dont have there quality players to make it work , im just looking forward to all the activity in the summer , good times are coming to upton park !!!!!!!!!!!!

  53. DevoDevo says:

    I like Rob’s line up and I agree, Lopez on the bench and get him on if things are going badly.

  54. E1 says:

    hammeredcalv: I agree all the way,and in the mean time we have got to make the best of what we have and stop wishing for players of the past and sicknotes.

  55. thegeneralmuz says:

    hammeredcalv i have said before and i’ll say it again…you dont know wot you are talking about! di michele is rubbish so is tristan sears needs time;cole up front alone is the only option,but i dont like it’the generalmuz’

  56. thegeneralmuz says:

    hammeredcalv are you and E1 more than friends?

  57. E1 says:

    generalmuz: None of us are experts we are just suppoters who give an opinion based on what we see and hear. What premiership club do you manage?

  58. E1 says:

    THEGENERALMUZ :are you a freind of the banned savvyho ? sounds like it or are you the same person?

  59. E1 says:

    Mick in iceland: Did you used to work in Purfleet?

  60. Whitey says:

    From Stratford, catch the North London Line southbound to West Ham and walk from there.

  61. Whitey says:

    Or walk from Forest Gate station, which is 2 stops back from stratford

  62. Benfleet hammer says:

    Anyone heard any thing bout next seasons prices. Season ticket prices I mean?

  63. hamsandwich says:

    I find myself agreeing with Iain for once – Freddy is all heart, but lets face it not quite up to the job required.
    Di michelle and Tristan say no more – Cole needs to get back with the program.
    Why not push the saviour – Savio up front, he cannot be any worse!
    During the next transfer window we need to invest in a proven goal scorer – goals are required -if you look at all the stats which zola/clarke must be doing then a striker must now be top of the list.
    COYI – Please Bellamy try not to score Sunday or even better how about an injury before KO.

  64. Kev says:

    Apologies if this question has already been asked before, why has Freddy Sears never gone out on loan. IMO he needs more experience, the Chanmpionship would be ideal to nuture his obvious talent…

  65. the headmaster says:

    Missed you guys – nightmare week. Oftsed!
    Savio and Cole for me. Agree with the Lopez comments. On Wednesday the two most embarrassing features were the weakness of the diminuitive sears and the utter lack of either width or any plan B.

  66. DaDon says:

    Hmmm. Sears was poor against Boro. But then again he was great against Blackburn and Man City last season. I don’t think any of us are in a position to judge just how good he is until he’s had a few more games, it takes time to make your mark at this level. He’s quick and he’s skilful, but he needs the right kind of service (which he palpably didn’t get on Wednesday). Let’s give him a decent chance before we discard so wantonly.

  67. Mile end dave says:

    Thoughts on fred anyone ?

  68. the headmaster says:

    He’s too sexy for his shirt Mile end Dave

  69. hinsdaleman says:

    Kev. Sears? What obvious talent? Let’s not keep harping back to the goal he scored on his debut when he was an unknown quantity to defenders. I haven’t noticed any obvious talent this season. My whole point is that players who need time to develop now and again show you flashes of their true potential. I’m not seeing anything and nor is Zola.
    If he spends time in the Championship he may shine a little more but as we all know it’s a lot different to the Premiership and I don’t think it will do anything to sharpen his game. What he needs is size and unless playing Championship football causes him to grow it won’t help. Everytime the ball comes near him the defenders shrug him off and he looks like he’s about 12.
    Re Ian Wright not shining til he was 21-22. This is true and great players make the big time at different ages. My point is they nearly always make an impact straight away once they are deemed good enough for first team football. We are seeing nothing at all from Sears. Sorry but that’s just my opinion.

  70. upton spark says:

    poor performance against Middlesboro and it makes me worry about facing Bellamy & co as our defence is leaking goals again.
    Not penetrating up front so hope the goals will come from somewhere.
    Agree that Sears is not the right one to play at present and he should be better coming on from the bench when required.
    Tristan is rubbish,let’s be honest,and Di Michele is ok for the odd game here and there.
    Cole needs to gain his confidance again and we need the midfielders to start chipping in with some goals.

  71. joe says:

    you’re spot on with this article iain. i’ve been very impressed with your views on here.saw you on setanta for the bolton game mate.great show! you did us hammers fans proud. keep up the good work! i enjoy this site very much.will we win sunday? the head says no,the heart says YES!

  72. chris says:

    play who in what formation you like still cant see us scoring! we need 5 players a.s.a.p a rightback 2 wingers and 2 strikers.
    4 5 1 for me with savio given a game.
    I heard dyer might be back on the bench cant be true surley?

  73. Goatygav says:

    You’re right Keith. We’ve been sussed out. Teams have learned how to play against us in the 442 diamond. I still thing it’s our best way vs City this weekend. So long as we can move the ball quickly enough.

  74. Tevezgate says:

    Amid all the doom and gloom after Wednesday’s debacle, let’s remember one thing… Rome wasn’t built in a day. We are at the start of a five year plan, GZ has committed himself to the club and that will do for me. Let’s not expect too much too soon, but look forward to future glory.

  75. Wavid says:

    I think it is right to be really frustrated with our performance against Middlesboro in the cup – nothing like the passionate passing game we have come to expect from our team previously. I must agree that we have to be patient, I think I have mentioned before that Henry had a rough first season in the premiership so we should give players time to get used to the way football is played but to also play football the Zola way. Although we may not be points ahead from last season I personally enjoy what I am seeing far more that last year. When the team play well everyone is a hero, when they play badly the players are not worthy to put on the shirt – that is the passion of a fan, isn’t it? But, I have the same concerns as many other contributors, mainly the lack of width and the gap between what happens – when we are playing well too – in midfield and the strikers. Bellamy, for example, could not score to save his life in claret and blue but is scoring for fun now. I was also concerned about how Kovac altered the midfield and seemed to have such a negative effect. I have trusted Zola so far, despite initial concerns, but the tactics were a worry against Middlesboro. Zola is allowed to make mistakes, the players will have off days, if they did not then we would be where Man U are now. It does not mean we cannot aspire to that in the future, but for now, give the players and Zola/ Clarke time. I will be happy with mid table this season – next season – well, that is a different matter entirely!

  76. E1 says:

    Poject football is rolling on and so far we have had one hic up, Not bad for a 5 year business plan. Results and performances have pleased US all most of the time, It is not all doom and gloom we can still finish higher than last season and that is the most we should hope for.More players will come and go come july and zola and clarke will I am sure be working toward top 4 over the next 2/ 3 seasons.
    The boro game may have been a disaster for us the fans, but I am sure all involved have learnt by it and a plan B will be worked on.( I hope)
    city on sunday may see it, we know noble is out so there will be at least one change in personel and I like most on here would like to see 4-5-1 to start
    and really go at city and pin them back. We will have to wait and see in the meantime positive support is all we have to offer.

  77. hammeredCalv says:

    GENERALMUZ — thanks for your kind words,i guess that most on here would love to have your superior knowledge of west ham, wow 451 formation, i bet thats taken you all season to figure that 1 out !

  78. E1 says:

    12 games left possible 36 points would hope to get 8 from the next 4 city H wigan A albion H and b’burn A
    2 wins 2 draws.
    Next up
    sunderland H yids A Villa A chelski H at least 4 points 1 win 1 draw 2 loss.
    The run in
    stoke A liverpool H everton A boro H 5 points
    1 win 2 draw 1 loss
    17 points from now to the end of season (minimum)
    Total for season 50 = top 7 finish.

    Just an opinion and on the side of caution we may well do better I would be suprised if we did worse.

  79. DevoDevo says:

    I’m sure you all know I’m normally one of the most optimistic contributors on here, but I can’t see past a Man City win today with Bellend continuing his scoring record against old clubs. 😦

    Our one beacon of light is that City’s back 4 has hardly been frugal this season. Sadly, if we do get through these we have to beat the excellent Shay Given.

    I really fear that bellamy, Robinho, Ireland & SWP are going to run as ragged on the break today. Hope I’m wrong.


  80. E1 says:

    Devodevo I know what you mean, SWP is out so we don’t have worry about his pace, I just feel that after the other night the players will want to put it right as far as the score goes I am going with a 3-2 thriller lol (fingers crossed) subject to starting line up.

  81. Old Biddy says:

    I was so down after wed game,but we need to think positive now look at the league position and whats around us!..theres a fair chance that a 7th place finish could be enough for a uefa cup spot(my thinking that man utd will beat spuds on sun and a top 4 club wins the fa cup)…so lets get back to the kind of form and performance we showed against Hull the other week,stick with cole and ddm up front,get savio out wide,stick with Parker and Noble in the middle and collison…….that run of games and performances back in jan reminded me so much of our football under John Lyall but with solidity at the back,something we lacked back then or im certain we would of won the league back in 85/86

  82. Rob says:

    E1, very optimistic to suggest we could get top 4 over 2/3 years because at the moment we have very little money to invest in new players without selling what we already have, and to generate enough without selling our best players we wouldnt be left with much of a squad.

    all this alk of sears and ian wright and whatever is nonsense. last time i checked fred sears wasnt ian wright so any comparison is ridiculous.

    and i read someone saying he is just too small and will never make it, what a load of bull! put him on a high protien diet, stick him in for weight training over the summer and he will bulk up a bit. if you are small you can still make it….Lahm, Tevez, Defoe (hate to say it), Lennon etc…

    with no money we need to focus more on our acadamy again, lets bring through another batch of superstars but this time we need to keep hold of them.

  83. phil says:

    Agree with Devo. Bellend will get booed and he’ll score, no question. We miss his pace, goals and general ability to irritate the opposition. But we don’t miss his ability to irritate the dressing room and I’m glad to be rid of him. Hughes reckons he could walk into any team including ManU. On football alone he could, but he has a major personality defect – that’s why he’s had 10 clubs in the last five minutes. He reckons staying at WHU would be settling for second best. A lying little tosser (‘I’ll never ask for a transfer’) is second best.

  84. CanveyLad says:

    Not for me that Sears is too small – just that he is too young – by which I mean physically immature rather than his actual age. Not much he can do about that for a couple of years until his body catches up. He reminds me in that respect of Andy Murray (tennis) – another ‘late developer’ – but now he has got there, the training regime is making the difference, and his on-court performaces are reaping the benefits.

    Important for us is that Sears’ football development continues while his physical development catches up – so as many have suggested, a season on loan with regular football would do him, and us, the world of good – then revue next year.

    I think 50 points is at the very highest end of expectations for this year. We are in the business end of the season now, where relegation-threatened clubs turn over the form book to get results. We are heading for that mid-table space with no heavy fear of relegation, and no realistic European hopes. As that becomes clearer, I would expect to see younger players given experience, experienced players rested etc. E1 reckons only two defeats from here in. I’m sure we will be safe – but I see more like 4 or 5 losses from here in. My guess is 45 points. Hope E1 is right though!

  85. DevoDevo says:

    Anyone got any good links for the game?

  86. E1 says:

    Rob: I did say :working toward top 4 over the 2 / 3seasons not just the team but the club are working toward this and of course funds we need to be avaliable and who is to say they wont be when the time is right we may have a new owner by next season in the mean time project football will continue to make the clubs finances viable and enable us to compete and stay in the PL. Only time will tell

  87. phil says:

    Boro 2 Liverpool 0 – as I said on Wednesday, just like West Ham to resurrect someone elses season.

  88. StainesWestHam says:

    This is the best thread i’ve seen on here for a while. A very honest summary of our attacking options Iain. I think we can let Di Michele and Tristan both go at the end of the season and Sears should drop down to the Championship on loan for at least a few months if not a whole season. Savio, therefore is more our only option up front rather than my option of choice. He doesn’t even look like a striker at times. When Ashton eventually comes back that will help, but I think we will still need to spend big on a centre forward in the Summer.

  89. Goatygav says:

    Will be at the game tomorrow. Hoping for a win but I reckon it’s a big ask. Another performance like the one vs Hull would do nicely.

    Anyone know where City are staying? I was hoping to get a dodgy lasagne served up for Craig Bellamy!


  90. jeffreybubbles says:

    The wifes cooking a lasagne for the family tomorrow could always get her to nip down to docklands or whereever citeah are staying and give em a pressie.
    trouble is where in norfolk so might be a bit of a trek.although would be worth it.

  91. Rob says:

    Even so E1, i believe if you realistically want top 4 then you need funds we wont have for a while as i dont think there will be as many takeovers for the next few years (credit crunch and all!)
    however saying that if we add a defender, one or two wide players, a fast/proven goalscorer and maybe develop 3 or 4 youth players we could get europe.

    i would focus on a goalscorer, as the rest of our team does seem to be coming together nicely (barring the borough game)

  92. upton spark says:

    It sometimes happens at West Ham that just when it looks like we are going through a rough patch,we come up with the goods,and tomorrow could be our day.
    A lot of fans are obviously dissapointed at going out of the Cup,but it could turn in our favour as we now have a clear run for the league and could still finish high enough for a European place.
    I will keep evrything crossed for luck tomorrow and a good win could well be on the cards.
    Lert’s not worry about Bellamy.Upson will sort him out I’m sure.COME ON U IRONS.

  93. WHU Kim says:

    I hope you are right upton spark, I travelled up to Boro and it was a real downer seeing the team play so feebly. Let’s hope Zola and Clarke instill a bit of pride back in the players and remind them that they let us down big time on Weds.

  94. chris says:

    Just got in working late again!!
    Cant wait for tomorrow and bell-ends return.
    We all know He’s gonna score but as long as I can shout at him all game I dont care!
    On a serious note I can’t see us scoring again,boro have picked up 3 points,things getting to close for me!
    some people saying we will get 8 points in our next few games! but we got to score to do that,so where’s these goals coming from then?
    Coles goals have dried up again so?
    I think WBA will go with stoke,the final place is between us and hull.I know its negative but I’m really concerned.
    Cole sears di michele tristan…no way!!!!!
    i will be surprised if we win another game, honey moons over sorry.

  95. Dujon says:

    Fairly pessimistic way of approaching things. I agree with the fact that no game from here on is a gimme, or even easily winnable. They will all be struggles, but if we play our best and take our chances then i don’t see how we can’t win some games before seasons end.

    Savio up front. I cannot stress this enough. And i would not mind Stanislas playing as well. we need their pace, too put pressure on man city’s defenders. I will be utterly disappointed, if things continue to go against us not go our way, and yet savio hasn’t even played half a game at least.

  96. Lumpy says:

    lets face it we need a goal scorer although cole has improved and holds the ball up well hes never going to be clinical in front of goal.Sears look like he got pushed off every ball and is far from ready.Savio needs a good run out, Tristan needs to retire back to spain, di michele skillful but past his best. We need to invest big in a prolific striker this summer.I thought kovac looked good in midfield as a holding player but would also like a gifted playmaker to come in.Hope bellamy is off form today and we create chances in the last 3rd rather than passing it about from middle to back.

  97. E1 says:

    Acording to the sunday mirror , we are to be bought by an asian consortium THIS WEEK for 90mill ?
    Lets hope that’s true and they keep to project football and the club’s traditions IF it goes through.

  98. Dujon says:

    In regards to selling the club for 90 million, does the price actually effect the club, or only the profit or loss of the current asset holder (Guumondsson?).

  99. E1 says:

    I think it’s just the asset holder as the new owners will take on any dept the club has or may have ie shitfield 45m lol curbs 3 mill and kia 10mill. The club WAS valued at 150mill so it’s a good price and hopefully one that will enable new owners to invest in the team over the summer, our debts are around 20mill.

  100. Goatygav says:

    I think the Mirror (Mirror Group) have got a very poor track record of late. I’m not sure they’ve actually got ANYTHING right about West Ham in the last few weeks.


  101. chris says:

    Just leaving, Yes I know its early but i’m buzzing!
    See you all in the cafe, eggs beans and chips!!!
    And a large portion of bellamy slagging!!

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