Filed: Wednesday, 23rd January 2013
By: Preview Percy
Is it Boxing Day already? Next up we visit the Emirates (sadly the stadium rather than the much warmer country) where our hosts for the match postponed from yuletide will be Arsenal in a 7.45pm kick-off.
Here at the Avram Grant Rest Home For The Bewildered I note that the snow is melting but the forecast is still a bit nippy so it may be a bit slippy underfoot on the approaches to the stadium. It’s often a problem inside as well judging from the antics of a few of their players.
Our hosts currently lie in sixth position with 34 points from their 22 matches thus far. That leaves them seven points shy of Spurs who occupy fourth spot at the moment. That’ll be going down well. They are also level on points with Liverpool & West Brom who are seventh & eighth respectively so they have only the cushion of goal difference keeping them where they are at the moment.
Current form is mixed – as it seems to have been for most of the season. They’ve won three (5-2 at their whipping boys Reading, 1-0 at Wigan, and the bizarre 7-3 home win over Newcastle) drawn just the one (1-1 at Southampton) and lost twice (2-0 at home to Man City and 2-1 on Sunday at Chelsea).
The manager is in even more of a miserable mood than usual of late. The other week someone leaked their list of fines which contained sanctions for such terrible crimes as taking a newspaper into the medical room, wearing the wrong shoes and, for all I know or care, walking on the cracks in the pavement. The notably myopic Wenger was said to be “fuming” at the leak. You’d have thought he would have had better things to worry about, given that failure to qualify for the so-called Champions League is a real possibility.
Wenger is not the only person who is less than gruntled at the moment. There seems to be a split amongst the supporters as well. One recently accidentally overheard an Arsenal podcast (there was something wrong with my wireless) which descended into an all out slanging match between two fools complete with grown-up swear words and everything.
One half of the argument was that Wenger ought to go, it wasn’t happening and it was time for another manager, preferably (insert name of particularly trendy “in” name of flavour of the month continental coach). The other half of the “debate” was of the “in Wenger we trust” opinion. It was a mildly amusing diversion but it’ll never replace the shipping forecast or “thought for the day” for entertainment value.
The other source of entertainment over the past few weeks/months has been the will he/won’t he saga of Theo Walcott. Walcott seems to have been dithering over a new deal ever since the last one was signed. The latest saga, in which minds were concentrated on the possibility of a free transfer in the summer, finally came to an end the other day when he signed a new deal worth a reported Ł100k a week. So the saga of whether or not he will sign a new deal in three years’ time starts now.
When last we met at the library: Lost 1-0. Rob Green certainly didn’t deserve to be on the losing side as he made a string of saves only for a last minute winner from Song to nick all three points for the home side.
Danger Man: Theo Walcott. He has a new contract to celebrate. With predictable consequences.
Referee: Andre Marriner. Took charge of the defeat at White Hart Lane earlier this season. Not a good omen.
Daft fact of the week: If you look closely enough, the name of our opponents contains the word “Arse”. Try it yourself...
Stat man John: Northcutt's corner
Head to Head
Pld 126; West Ham Utd 33, Arsenal 55, Draws 38.
13th January 1906: Arsenal 1-1 West Ham Utd (Highbury, FA Cup)
6th October 2012: West Ham Utd 1-3 Arsenal (Boleyn Ground, Premier League)
7th March 1927: West Ham Utd 7-0 Arsenal (Boleyn Ground, Division One)
20th March 1976: Arsenal 6-1 West Ham Utd (Highbury, Division One)
10th May 1980: Arsenal 0-1 West Ham Utd (Wembley, FA Cup Final)
Long before the introduction of modern, counter-attacking systems such as those employed by the likes of Sam Allardyce, John Lyall played a tactical masterstroke in opting to play David Cross as a lone striker. It was a policy that served to confuse Arsenal's purportedly superior team, who despite enjoying long spells of possession often found themselves unable to find the gaps that a more familiar 442 system would have allowed for.
The only goal of the game was to arrive after just 13 minutes through the most unlikely of sources - Trevor Brooking's head. Whilst renowned for his silky skills and uncanny ability to pick out a team mate almost instantaneously, Brooking's only previous headed goal of note had come four years earlier against Eintracht Frankfurt (see above). This time he ducked to convert Stuart Pearson's cross-cum-shot from inside the six yard box to score what would prove to be the most valuable goal of his entire career.
Paul Allen, who became the youngest player ever to feature in an FA Cup Final was left in tears at the final whistle - and not because of Willie Young's disgraceful 'professional foul' three minutes from time when the youngster was free on goal with just Pat Jennings to beat.
September 1950: West Ham Utd 3-1 Arsenal (Gazzard, Johns, Robinson)
January 1960: Arsenal 0-1 West Ham Utd (Bond)
Dave Swindlehurst (H) 1984-85; Alvin Martin (A) 1985-86; Julian Dicks (A) 1995-96; Mark Vivien-Foe (H) 1999-2000; Trevor Sinclair (A) 1999-2000; Steve Lomas (A) 2002-03; Carlton Cole (H) 2008-09; Scott Parker (H) 2009-10.
They Played For Both
Jeremie Aliadiere; Manuel Almunia; James Bigden; Jimmy Bloomfield; Louis Boa Morte; Liam Brady; Dick Burgess; Kaba Diawara; Stan Earle; Bert Fletcher; John Hartson; Fergus Hunt; James Jackson; Fred Kemp; Henri Lansbury; Tom Lee; Harry Lewis; William Linwood; Freddie Ljungberg; Roddy McEachrane; Jimmy Marshall; John Radford; Stewart Robson; Charlie Satterthwaite; Davor Suker; Matthew Upson; Charlie Walker; Nigel Winterburn; Ian Wright; Richard Wright, Maroune Chamakh.
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.
09:04AM 24th Jan 2013
''Watched this game live at home in Zimbabwe, sorry I lied for the first time ever went to bed when 4-1 down.
I have decided that enough is enough of supporting this side week in, week out. For the very few highs there are a whole lot of lows and when something causes you so much stress it's best to walk away from it.
My family's weekend plans have had to fit in around Hammers' games for years, where there was no coverage I would sit on the internet watching live updates and could never wait to visit the Hammers site. But last night's game for me was the last straw.
We have far too many weak players. Walcott running on O'Brien was a joke and lucky they only picked this up at half time otherwise who knows what the score would have been? Vaz Te, Cole, Collison, Tonkins and others all hopeless. How Sam saw fit to leave out Diame, Cole and Jarvis is a complete mystery. He has obviously decided to rest players against the top sides and fight it out with those around us like QPR, great result that was.
As a West Ham fan I watch them to see our best side having a go at it. A losing habit is dangerous and I hope for Sam's sake we do not get relegated on a poor goal diff'. Good luck West Ham but I have better things to do and will start with apologising to my sons for indoctrinating them into following the Hammers.''
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