Premier League
West Ham United 3 Fulham 1

Sunday, 18th January 2009
by John Simkin

Gianfranco Zola's appointment as West Ham’s manager caused me some concern. The historical record shows that top players rarely make great coaches. It is argued that naturally gifted players find it virtually impossible to understand how to coach someone to greatness. What is more, Zola’s only experience was of coaching the Italy Under-21 team.



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Player Ratings

Robert Green
Had little to do but some would argue that no goalkeeper should be beaten from that distance.


Lucas Neill
His distribution was better today but his forays into the opposition half always make me very nervous. His slow jog back to his position is unacceptable and is lucky to retain the faith of Zola.


Herita Ilunga
Another assured performance from a player who makes very few mistakes.


James Collins
He is developing a very good partnership with Upson. So far his lack of speed is not causing him any real problems.


Matthew Upson
Commanding performance from this talented player. Hopefully, he will not be tempted to join a team playing in the Champions League.


Scott Parker
The quality of the Fulham midfield meant that Parker did not have to be at his very best today. However, it was still a highly competent performance.


Mark Noble
He gives the midfield a sense of urgency. As with Collison, his youthful energy makes a great deal of difference to our midfield.


Jack Collison
My man of the match. His promotion to the first-team has been a tremendous difference to the side's performance. Has the ability to go to the very top. West Ham's ambition will be tested by the offers that will come from the top clubs for this highly promising player.


Valon Behrami
Another all action performance from a highly valued member of the team. He only just failed to close-down Konchesky for Fulham's goal.


Carlton Cole
Kept fairly quiet in the first-half by the impressive Hangeland. However, he proved a real handful in the second-half and showed that he is now full of confidence in front of goal.


David Di Michele
His best game since he joined the club. His style of playing was suited to a packed midfield. However, I am not convinced he has the necessary abilities to be successful in the Premier League.



Substitutes

Julien Faubert
(replaced Noble, 81) No comments.


Hayden Mullins
(replaced Collison, 83) No comments.


Kieron Dyer
(replaced Di Michele, 87) No comments.


Marek Stech
Did not play.


Luis Boa Morte
Did not play.


Fred Sears
Did not play.


Diego Tristan
Did not play.



Match Facts

West Ham United: Robert Green, Lucas Neill, Herita Ilunga, James Collins, Matthew Upson, Scott Parker, Mark Noble, Jack Collison, Valon Behrami, Carlton Cole, David Di Michele.

Goals: David Di Michele 6 Mark Noble 59 Carlton Cole 76              .

Booked: Valon Behrami 53          .

Sent off: None.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Paintsil, Konchesky, Hughes, Hangeland, Etuhu, Murphy, Davies, Dempsey, Zamora, Johnson.

Subs not used: Zuberbuhler, Gray, Kallo, Baird.

Goals: Konchesky (22).

Booked: Paintsil (45), Davies (52), Konchesky (58).

Sent off: None.

Referee: Phil Dowd.

Attendance: 34,818.

Man of the Match: Jack Collison.