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West Ham v Newcastle


John Simkin
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Watched the whole game on Sky last night. The real star was Clarke. I really liked the formation that is based on the one used by Chelsea. It was a good idea to move Neil to centre-half (although I would have dropped him altogether). One of the club's best performances in recent years:

Green (7) Did not have much to do. Had no chance with the Owen goal.

Ilunga (6) His distribution was poor but he had an impact when going forward. Still need a good left-back.

Neill (6) For the first time since arriving at Upton Park he was not caught out of position. Easily turned by Owen and would have been sent off if he managed to catch the ball with his dive.

Behrami (7) I must say I like this all-action player. Has got tremendous energy levels and is very good at closing people down.

Upson (7) No mistakes this week. I must say the lack of pace down the middle with Upson and Neil worried me but Faubert managed to cover for them.

Etherington (7) Was given more freedom by Zola/Clarke to move around and it worked well. Newcastle failed to get an early heavy tackle on him and so he played without fear.

Parker (9) My man of the match. For a man with short legs he covers a lot of ground. Passed the ball well and is great at picking up loose balls. With the help of Noble and Behrami he dominated the midfield.

Noble (8) High-energy performance. Good crisp passing and was always a danger when going forward. However, his shooting was disappointing today.

Faubert (8) Duff caused him a few problems in the first-half but I think he will do a good job for us at right-back. Worked well with Behrami going forward and came across and covered well for Upson and Neil when Owen ran at them.

Cole (8) A great centre-forward performance today. He reminds me a lot of Kevin Davies in the way he wins the ball in the air and holds the ball up on the floor. He also made several defence splitting passes. Apparently, Zola/Clarke, who both rate him from their time together at Chelsea, are working with him on his finishing. Could end up being better than Ashton.

Di Michele (7) Is the kind of player who can find plenty of space in a game. Despite scoring two goals he looks very nervous in front of goal. He got lucky with the first goal and that was a poor shot that resulted in West Ham's third goal. However, the second goal was class and he might get better as he gets fitter. At 32 he is only a stop-gap and will be replaced in the team if Bellamy ever gets fit again.

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Guest Gary Loughran

I didn't see the West Ham game as I was watching Ryder Cup. However, I did watch Spurs v Newcastle last night. It appears Newcastle are abysmal and Spurs marginally better in what was an awful game.

Given that a strong West Ham side were beaten by Watford and Newcastle are the whipping boys of the PL at the moment - do you really believe that West Ham's Newcastle performance was really up there with the best in recent years? I can't imagine it was truly that good in respect of what I've seen of Newcastle. Parker and Nobles performances must be balanced because on watching Newcastle last night it seems they don't play with any centre midfielders :)

We are not a good side, and the Newcastle game is not something to base future predictions on. I hope I'm wrong.

Carlton Cole caught drunk driving and Scott Duxbury caught lying and cheating on behalf of the Brown/joorabchian criminal cartel - things are not looking rosey at West Ham. If this was an Eastenders script it would thrown out for being too far fetchced.

Lets examine the cost of the unnecessary lies which got us Tevez/Mascherano (a deal which was only done by Brown to sweeten the Joorabchian lead takeover) - £5.5 million fine by FA for breach of regulations- £7.1 million claim by Joorabchain settled out of court and the guy given a role in advising on transfers at Upton Park - this is a completely and utterly shameful reflection on the club as a whole. Brown made £30 million out of sale to the Icelandic team after failing to cook the books to Joorabchain and the Russians liking. Brown allowed £1.5 or so million a year deal to remain some kind of honourary West Ham persona, including seat in directors box etc. for life - all after a threat of leagl action. Now a likely £10-20million compensation (depending on outcome of CAS appeal - which more likely a play to force Sheffield to take a reduced fee now) claim payable to Sheffield United, none of which can be deffered to Brown after a clause he inserted in contract waived him of all responsibility. Now, Duxbury must go, and undoubtedly he will get well paid to leave and maintain silence, though I'm not sure he'd want to reveal just how murky it all was.

The reason that most of this money was so willingly paid is that we are so culpable in all this that the 'insiders' are all being paid off to maintain silence so the whole truth doesn't come out. Duxbury lied to the world when he said he had ripped up and devised a new contract for Tevez with 3 PL games to go. He didn't and hasn't - I couldn't believe this revelation. These people Brown/Duxbury/Joorabchian and everything they represent is the antithesis of everything I believe in. It is difficult to proudly support the club at the moment as there is no defence to the accusations of lying and cheating. Though hopefully Maurice Watkins knows some.

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I didn't see the West Ham game as I was watching Ryder Cup. However, I did watch Spurs v Newcastle last night. It appears Newcastle are abysmal and Spurs marginally better in what was an awful game.

Given that a strong West Ham side were beaten by Watford and Newcastle are the whipping boys of the PL at the moment - do you really believe that West Ham's Newcastle performance was really up there with the best in recent years? I can't imagine it was truly that good in respect of what I've seen of Newcastle. Parker and Nobles performances must be balanced because on watching Newcastle last night it seems they don't play with any centre midfielders :lol:

I did not see the Watford match but I did see the Fulham game and even though we had problems in the first-half we did not allow them to score and would have had a clean-sheet if it had not been for Neil unnecessarily handling the ball. How many penalties has that man given away over the last two seasons? Whatever the number, he has got away with several genuine claims for penalties against him.

It is true that any good performance is influenced by the quality of the opposition. However, the 12 websites that rated the players, gave West Ham team an average of 7.66 against Newcastle, which makes it the best performance of the season so far. It is also a higher figure than achieved in any game last season. The top performances were the home game against Liverpool (7.10) and the two away performances against Derby (7.08) and Reading (6.99).

Since the arrival of Clarke the club definitely looks better as a defensive unit. Both the league goals scored against since Clarke’s arrival have been caused by mistakes by Neil and it is only a matter of time before he loses his place in the side.

Cole, Etherington and Noble have all made significant improvement since the arrival of Zola/Clarke. Etherington is playing with greater freedom and is becoming a vital figure in the team. As Gordon Thrower pointed out on KUMB: “In the past when he’s been kicked by the opposition he has disappeared – something of which Konchesky seemed well aware judging by his assault. However, Etherington seemed spurred on by the treatment he received in this match and the freedom to roam the new system clearly suits him.”

I agree with Zola that Cole has the potential to go to the very top. Hopefully, Zola is the man who can make this happen. I am really excited by the prospect of a three man attack of Cole, Bellamy and Etherington. That kind of pace will trouble most defences.

Noble and Parker have also shown much better form since the arrival of Zola. I still think we might need another midfield battler against the better sides. I am not yet convinced that Valon Behrami is the man for that role. I thought that Herita Ilunga had an impressive game against Fulham and although his form is currently patchy, Julien Faubert has the potential to be a good right back.

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Guest Gary Loughran
I didn't see the West Ham game as I was watching Ryder Cup. However, I did watch Spurs v Newcastle last night. It appears Newcastle are abysmal and Spurs marginally better in what was an awful game.

Given that a strong West Ham side were beaten by Watford and Newcastle are the whipping boys of the PL at the moment - do you really believe that West Ham's Newcastle performance was really up there with the best in recent years? I can't imagine it was truly that good in respect of what I've seen of Newcastle. Parker and Nobles performances must be balanced because on watching Newcastle last night it seems they don't play with any centre midfielders :lol:

I did not see the Watford match but I did see the Fulham game and even though we had problems in the first-half we did not allow them to score and would have had a clean-sheet if it had not been for Neil unnecessarily handling the ball. How many penalties has that man given away over the last two seasons? Whatever the number, he has got away with several genuine claims for penalties against him.

It is true that any good performance is influenced by the quality of the opposition. However, the 12 websites that rated the players, gave West Ham team an average of 7.66 against Newcastle, which makes it the best performance of the season so far. It is also a higher figure than achieved in any game last season. The top performances were the home game against Liverpool (7.10) and the two away performances against Derby (7.08) and Reading (6.99).

Since the arrival of Clarke the club definitely looks better as a defensive unit. Both the league goals scored against since Clarke’s arrival have been caused by mistakes by Neil and it is only a matter of time before he loses his place in the side.

Cole, Etherington and Noble have all made significant improvement since the arrival of Zola/Clarke. Etherington is playing with greater freedom and is becoming a vital figure in the team. As Gordon Thrower pointed out on KUMB: “In the past when he’s been kicked by the opposition he has disappeared – something of which Konchesky seemed well aware judging by his assault. However, Etherington seemed spurred on by the treatment he received in this match and the freedom to roam the new system clearly suits him.”

I agree with Zola that Cole has the potential to go to the very top. Hopefully, Zola is the man who can make this happen. I am really excited by the prospect of a three man attack of Cole, Bellamy and Etherington. That kind of pace will trouble most defences.

Noble and Parker have also shown much better form since the arrival of Zola. I still think we might need another midfield battler against the better sides. I am not yet convinced that Valon Behrami is the man for that role. I thought that Herita Ilunga had an impressive game against Fulham and although his form is currently patchy, Julien Faubert has the potential to be a good right back.

Good overview. I would say that we have rode our luck all season - long may it last. Even in games we win, home or away, we have tended to have less shots on goal than the opposition. Whilst not a great indicator for many reasons, I find it a little alarming.

I laughed out loud when I heard Zola justify his stance that no-one would be sold in January to cover the credit crunch/Teves affair. His reason for this optimism - Scott Duxbury told me. So that has reassured me no end.

I now come to something that irks me about match rating systems. Arsenal v Hull. Lets be honest, Hull battled hard and got a result; they offered nothing to the game as a spectacle. Arsenal players all received 4-6 marks and Hull players 7-9 marks. Not at all a fair reflection of the game and individual contribution. If Arsenal won, playing like Hull had, it would've been called a travesty of justice. Hull, nevertheless, would have received great plaudits and the markings received would be the same. Arsenal totally destroyed Hull from a football perspective, a fact missed by pundits in their effusive praise of a spoiling Hull side. As in years gone by, Arsenal cannot finish off teams in spite of their superb overall approach to games.

It seems every team has a Neill and Gallas is Arsenal's. I haven't witnessed such deterioration in a top player for a long time. Gallas is mentally unfit for football. Perhaps Mourinho had good reason never to play Gallas as a centre half :) - he alone has brought about at least 3 of the few golas Arsenal have conceded. Just like Neill contributes to the vast majority of goals West Ham concede. Neill seems to be the new Dailly. Awful players who somehow ingratiate themselves with managers and in doing so keep in the team, no matter how undeserved the selection is.

I love the way Arsenal approach games from a technical and skill viewpoint. If Wenger could identify centre halfs as well as he identifies other players then I imagine Arsenal would be nearly unstoppable. He can't/doesn't play with centre halves who can head. His buy of Silvestre is another case in point.

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