Saturday, 8th September 2001
Is Glenn Roeder rapidly becomming the next George Graham?
Perhaps a bit harsh on Skoda but there are some parallels; I cant remember the last time I saw a West Ham side look so organised and determined at the back, unfortunately for Roeder the new found emphasis on defence is having a detrimental effect on the attacking side of the team where it is clear West Ham's old problems persist. Namely that they are either too elaborate in front of goal or too shot shy to actually shoot when it counts.
That said, West Ham started the game much brighter than their opponents and could have taken the lead when Freddie burst down the right, cut inside the box, over-powered a defender and spanked a scorching drive that hit the top of the bar and left the frame behind the goal shaking for a minute or so after.
Realising that they couldn't allow us to simply play through them the tenacious (or dirty depends how you view it) midfield trio of Derby set about breaking up all the fluent midfield play of the Hammers four in midfield, and in doing so stifled the game somewhat. This was not at all helped by an incompetent referee and a seemingly German linesman who stopped the flow of the game at every opportunity.
So with a punctured game of football becomming evident the chances were few and far between. Joe cut inside from the left and hit a drive against the Derby keeper, then Ravanelli forced Shaka into two good saves at the end of the half, the second a reflex catch from the arrogant Italian.
The second half started with chants of "Harry Redknapp says your sh*t" from the Derby fans, this confused us all but I suppose this was to be expected from supporters who thought Paolo Alves was actually Kitson a few seasons ago.
In fairness Derby had the better of the chances in the second half and again Shaka made a fine stop from Burley and brilliantly saved what would have been a bizarre own goal from Song.
It should be stated that for each of these two chances Derby exposed our left side with Winterburn in particular guilty of ball watching twice.
Jermain might have won us it at the death but he fluffed his lines in front of goal and that about sums up an average game..no one found the end product.
Still, I bet George Graham would have been pleased with the defending.
West Ham United: Hislop, Winterburn, Song, Dailly, Schemmel, Sinclair, Carrick, Hutchison, Cole, Kanoute, Di Canio
Subs: Todorov (Kanoute 54), Defoe (Di Canio 80), Moncur (Cole 85), Forrest, Soma
Derby County: Oakes, Boertien, Riggott, Higginbotham, Mawene, Burley, Powell, Johnson, Kinkladze, Ravanelli, Burton
Subs: Morris (Burton 80), Grant, Daino, Murray, Valakari
Booked: Hutchison, Dailly, Ravenelli, Burley, Riggott, Johnson, Burton
Referee: Clive Wilkes
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