|An archive of Cockney Hammer's West Ham-related daily news digests.
Thought the regular gossip readers might like a peruse of this one...
ARE WEST HAM DESTINED FOR THE PLAY-OFFS?
Posted on Saturday, 17th March 2012 by Tom Rennie on thisisfutbol.com
As we approach the closing weeks of the Championship season…. Sam Allardyce, the West Ham manager, sees his side unable to beat Doncaster Rovers at home, and leaves his seat in the dugout at Upton Park to the now traditional chorus of boos.
Questions have been asked since day one of his appointment; is he really the man to lead a side up as Champions? Has he utilised his squad (the best paid and the most experienced in the league) to their full potential? And if the Hammers drop out of the automatic promotion positions and fail to return to the Premier League through the pot-luck of the play-offs – will he get the chance to try again?
Let’s look at what he’s brought to Upton Park, and what’s been lacking since the Big Man’s arrival.
Certainly what hasn’t been missing is his brazen and brash demeanour - coupled with his continual Balearic tan. Allardyce has rejected claims that his side often lack the endeavour to swat aside the leagues minnows at home, and says the statistics don’t back up claims they often revert to pumping hopeful balls forward that invariably lead to nothing. Allardyce says that the ‘long-ball merchant’ tag is one that has stuck with him unfairly, and to an extent that’s true as his Bolton side that featured the likes of Okocha and Djorkaeff certainly played their fair share of the beautiful game – but with Carlton Cole and Julien Faubert to work with at the moment, there’s hardly enough footballing intelligence between them to equal one of those former leading lights.
The jury will remain out on what Big Sam wants to do with his team until his key goal of promotion is assured – but certainly ‘entertainment’ has not been high on the list of adjectives used to describe the Hammers this season.
West Ham have been magnificent away from home, that can’t be argued. But they’ve lacked sufficient guile to break teams down at the Boleyn, who seem to treat a trip to East London like a Cup Final against Barcelona, where defeat means no wages for year and their family being put in rations – such has been their commitment. This has led to criticism of captain Kevin Nolan – leading to the boss defending him as goal-scoring midfielder, NOT a creator of chances. Selected by his peers in the top 10 players of the Championship this season – away from Upton Park he has been invaluable, at home… somewhat of a burden.
The finishing in East London has been as effective as a man on a rollercoaster trying to eat a bowl of soup with a fork whilst blindfolded. For no player, especially Carlton Cole, to have scored more than 10 goals in a season in the second tier is very poor indeed. But has Nolan’s inclusion hindered rather than helped that, and have Allardyce’s tactics been at fault?
Playing his bastardised 4-3-3 with the lone striker isolated and incapable of finishing against Doncaster, Ipswich and Palace at home is not a good start – but then changing that shape and the teams game plan sometimes 4 or 5 times in a game has not led to any fluency, and has led to formerly prolific strikers like Nicky Maynard and Sam Baldock, playing out on the wing trying to cross to ineffectual forwards, rather than sniffing around the six yard box. West Ham have dropped over 20 points and counting in front of the over-paying East End faithful this campaign – in a league one can’t help but wonder that Chris Hughton may have steam-rollered, should he have been appointed.
Lump your money on Reading for the title – despite a slip, coincidentally also against Doncaster, they have the all important momentum. But don’t expect the Hammers to bubble at the Boleyn anytime soon – the lottery of the play-offs is what they deserve. At least, should they make the final, they won’t have to play at Upton Park!
Last edited by tjr008 on Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
THE SUN: Roman Abramovich is still set to wield the axe this summer, despite Chelsea's Champions League heroics against Napoli. Also: Wolves will step up security measures tomorrow - to protect players from their own fans.
DAILY MIRROR: Spurs will throw everything at Jose Mourinho to entice him to the club if Harry Redknapp quits as boss. Also: Wolves players will be given a 'secret' exit door out of Molineux - if there is another hostile reaction from fans tomorrow.
THE TIMES: Roberto Di Matteo is adamant that he has no objections to John Terry issuing tactical instructions from the bench, insisting that he positively encourages his players to "help each other" on and off the pitch.
THE GUARDIAN: : Patrice Evra has no intention of trying to paper over the cracks.
DAILY STAR: Roberto Di Matteo has told his Chelsea players: Don't get mugged in Europe. Also: Wolves have been forced to beef up security around their own players - to protect them from their own fans.
DAILY EXPRESS: Wolves players could have minders tomorrow for their battle with Premier League leaders Manchester United.
Roman Abramovich is still set to wield the axe this summer, despite Chelsea's Champions League heroics against Napoli.
Real Madrid have told Premier League clubs they expect Jose Mourinho to stay in Spain for at least another two years.
Dimitar Berbatov is on his way back to Germany, with Hannover leading the chase.
Spurs will throw everything at Jose Mourinho to entice him to the club if Harry Redknapp quits as boss.
Former Rangers director Paul Murray expects to hear whether the Blue Knights are the preferred bidder for the club early next week.
Harry Redknapp has confirmed Tottenham are ready to smash their record transfer fee to land £35million Lille wonderkid Eden Hazard.
Tottenham will smash their transfer record of £16.9million to beat Manchester United to Eden Hazard's signature.
Sunderland have a fight on their hands to hang onto striker Stephane Sessegnon.
Steven Caulker, currently on loan from Tottenham, would jump at the chance to play for Swansea again next season.
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has admitted the club face a fight to hang onto Stephane Sessignon this summer, who is struggling to cope with life in the North East.
Tottenham have launched an ambitious bid to smash the club's transfer record and signed £30million Lille playmaker Eden Hazard.
Steven Caulker wants to extend his loan spell at Swansea for another year.[/color]
**** me, are they still allowed to print this? Five years on and they still can't get it right.
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