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Curbishley's Ratings Against Chelsea

John Simkin

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Anyone interested in rating Curbishley’s team selection, tactics and substitutions out of ten against Chelsea?

His scores so far, in rank order, are as follows:

Derby (9.7)

Portsmouth (8.7)

Reading (8.4)

Middlesbrough (7.7)

Spurs (7.6)

Birmingham (7.1)

Sunderland (6.8)

Arsenal (6.6)

Wigan (6.5)

Aston Villa (6.0)

Bolton (5.9)

Newcastle (5.1)

Manchester City (3.7)


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Team Selection: My only complaint was with the selection of Solano. In my opinion he is a luxury player who should not be playing in games like these. I would have played Noble in that position but as he was not on the bench, I suppose he was injured and would therefore have played Spector.

Tactics: Packing the midfield was a no-brainer. However, they did it exceptionally well. Parker and Mullins were excellent and Boa Morte put them under constant pressure. I thought Neill got caught out of position too many times but Gabbidon and Upson picked up everything except for the goal (Upson left Cole for a ball he was never going to get).

Substitutions: I would have brought on Spector for Solano at the beginning of the second-half. I definitely would not have brought on Ljungberg. I would also have brought on Ashton earlier - though he is still clearly far from being fit.

Overall: The best performance of the season. Curbishley is clearly building a well organized team who are quick enough to hit the best teams on the break. Unfortunately, the best two chances fell to Solano. I thought it was disgraceful the way he ducked out of the second of these chances. Like at Portsmouth, he was thinking of being clattered by the goalkeeper.


Man of the Match

There are several good candidates today. I thought Cole was magnificent again today. He caused John Terry a lot of problems. I was also impressed with Mullins, Upson and Parker, who can turn into a very important player for us. However, my man of the match was Gabbidon. It is the best game he has had for us for three years.

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Guest Gary Loughran

The team selection left the wide midfield areas looking a little flaky today. Etherington was invisible the whole first half and wasted possession all too often. Parker, who was excellent for 60 minutes, obviously tired and was over running the ball near the end. Upson, was outstanding along with Gabbidon at the heart of a very solid defence.

The tactics were well set and executed. At last West Ham have a team capable of performing to the tactical nuances of the manager. Every player (except Etherington) worked doubly hard today, notably Cole, Parker and Mullins. It was a very impressive performance as a team. It is difficult to take a defeat to a Joe Kinnear/Wimbledon special. That could have been Fashanu, Jones and Earl arriving offside to score.

The players disappointed reaction after the game, says a lot for their improvement as a whole - competing equally with top sides, often retaining possession for long periods. This is where Solano, Parker and Mullins were so effective. It was a pity Solano and Parker tired so much and so quickly as Ljunberg will not graft.

Great performance, disappointing result, tactically sound 8.0.

MOM - Everyone put in a great shift today. Gabbidon, Parker, Mullins, Boa Morte all deserve merit. Carlton Cole was outstanding...again. I give Man of the Match to Matty Upson for a quietly confident performance. He gives a reassurance to the back four not seen since Bilic and has been for me a consistently excellent performer over the last few games.

Edited by Gary Loughran
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