Filed: Monday, 8th October 2012
By: John Rolls
With the Arsenal game now behind us, we can use it as a benchmark to look at the team and the squad and draw some conclusions.
It is fair to say that Arsenal were the the first team with real quality we have faced this season. I think it also fair to say that in a match so heated with emotion West Ham really needed someone out there with a cool head to have calmed us down a bit.
I was surprised that Kevin Nolan missed for him what would have been on any other day certain goals, but we must forgive him as he has been outstanding for us over the whole of last season. Everyone has an off day and hopefully this was his.
I am still undecided about Ricardo Vaz Te and Matt Jarvis on a day where the Arsenal back four were sh*tting themselves trying to deal with Andy Carroll. What was needed was the two of them running at the full backs and getting the crosses in as it was evident the Arsenal centre backs couldn't handle Carroll at all. But all too often Vaz and Jarvis started to run and went the easy route the square ball inside; I don't know if it's a confidence thing or instructions.
I am at a loss as to why Sam Allardyce started with George McCartney instead of Matt Taylor; Taylor is a better crosser of a ball and on a day when we were going to use Carroll's dominace of the air why did we take one weapon out of the armoury?
Now I come to the title of this piece. I really am worried about our defence - and I include Jussi Jaaskelainen in that.
Living as I do in Cardiff, I once saw a young ginger-haired centreback make his debut and play for Cardiff City. He looked a real hot prospect and with the right coaching could perhaps progress a bit.
He did have this annoying habit of stopping to pull up his socks every few minutes, it got to be that me and a few mates would have a bet on how many times he would do it during a match. However he played well, he fitted in as a make-piece striker and centre back and alongside Danny Gabbidon formed quite an effective pairing.
When Gabbidon left for West Ham and Ginge went with him, everyone here in Cardiff thought he had gone as a make weight. Personally I thought he was the better part of the deal.
His first spell with the Hammers was good - not outstanding - and he was the centre back we needed. When he decided that another claret and blue team was preferable to us, I mentally wished him well, but he came back. There's a old saying; "never go back". Well, he has - and I'm sorry to say the concentration level has dropped again.
After the absolute howler against Swansea, I have kittens everytime he makes a back pass or makes a tackle. I know Swansea was a one-off and he has in some way atoned for it. But answer me this: against the Arsenal, when Walcott made the run to score, who was standing in the centre of the defence clearly playing Walcott onside by a couple of yards with arms aloft calling for offside?
Yes, it was Ginge. Instead of standing there he should have seen what was coming and called for the line to push up. Isn't he the leader of the back four? The one with the experience? I can't see me or my ticker taking a whole season of this.
The Swansea howler will haunt me every day this season; FFS Ginge, step it up mate. I want to go back to counting the sock pull-ups safe in the knowledge that you'll be the rock at the centre of defence we so desperately need.
I also have heart palpitations whenever the ball is passed back to Jaaskelainen; it sets my pulse racing . I just have thoughts of him clearing it short (has has done this a few times) and putting the pressure straight back on us. Either that or he waits with the ball at his feet until the opposition come towards him and then clears. Just get the ball forward!
In his time Jaas has been an excellent keeper, a great shot stopper effective in what he did but never one to really command his box. I get the same feeling watching him now as I got what watching that other West Ham goalkeeping legend, Allan McKnight(mare, how many of you remember him?).
I know I shouldn't be this way and that I should have confidence in the man but I still feel like it's watching a Norman Wisdom film. Something will come along and cause a comical farce. I haven't seen enough of our reserve keepers to make a valid judgement on them, but from what I have heard Stephen Henderson seems the better of the 'keepers.
I know we only want to be assured of Premier League survival, but for the sake of my nerves I'm only watching when we are in the opponent's half! Can someone please reassure me that we have a 'keeper who can step in?
So in summary. With Ginge giving me the twitches whenever he has the ball and Jaas giving me the heebie-jeebies whether he has the ball or not, I need help, I need comfort - but most of all, I need them to inspire me.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
by keith cockayne
10:31AM 11th Oct 2012
''Totally agree. All things considered, the defence has done well this season. But, sooner or later someone is going to put 5 or 6 past us and I don't think that will be the end of it.
Maybe it's an historic thing, but I don't think that West Ham have ever had a competent defence.
So far, we've largely got away with the mistakes; but how long will it last?
We should have signed a couple of "no nonsense" defenders in the transfer window. I only hope that we can get by until the next one!''
08:29AM 10th Oct 2012
''Couldn't agree more with regard to to both Collins and Jussi's kicking. Ginge has pretty much been at fault in some way for most of the goals we have conceded this season, and I can see why Villa fans were happy enough to let him go. Reid and Tomkins is the way forward for me.''
by Cranham Hammer
11:50AM 9th Oct 2012
''Big Sam had made our defence better by protecting it with midfielders in front. We had started to play with more confidence and the team moved up and down the pitch as a complete unit, so the defence was always covered.
Then on Saturday we took the field with no confidence and the game plan of sitting in our own half with a few players breaking forward when they got the ball. This tactic completely broke up our play and left us exposed at the back again. If you give any team all the possession and plenty of shots they will eventually score.
Arsenals weakest area is in defence, and we stood off them. Much the same as Newcastle did against Man U on Sunday.''
08:51AM 9th Oct 2012
''Can I also add that our centre backs have a needless tendency to use the back pass when under the slightest pressure. Tomkins really excels in this routine. Ginge normally boots it upfield. Reid is the more assured in possession. But the back pass is used far too much and with Jussi as the keeper, we are asking for trouble.''
08:41AM 9th Oct 2012
''I agree with your comments about Collins. He is costing us a goal a game. He is too slow, cannot read the runs of the opposing forwards and his distribution is very poor. Tomkins is a far better player but for some reason that only Allardyce knows he has to play second fiddle to Collins.
Is Yossi going to get a game? If he is anything like he was then he is something different to the players we have and can offer different options. My concern is that may be his lack of matches in the last three years means that he is no longer the player he was.''
by Martin James
07:57PM 8th Oct 2012
''Not sure how many games you have watched this year but against QPR the three points was down to Jussi. He is an experienced keeper unlike Henderson who has yet to be tested. Henderson also made a howler this season in the cup. Not a big fan of Big Sam, but I do trust his decisions and believe he will keep us up.''
by Angry hammer
05:44PM 8th Oct 2012
''I agree with your observations and here is a controversial point of view to ponder: Noble, for all his passion and running slows every attack down giving the opposition time to regroup.
His passing is generally negative (side pass or back to keeper or full back). His stats are impressive in passing to his team mates but when do you see the early killer pass or positive offensive ball? He is not Premier League quality, at best a fringe player.''
comments powered by Disqus