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West Ham Utd 0 Blackpool 0

Filed: Saturday, 13th November 2010
By: Staff Writer

West Ham are in deep trouble after failing to see off newly-promoted Blackpool at the Boleyn this afternoon.

The Seasiders became the third Premier League newcomers to leave the Boleyn with a result this season following Newcastle's 2-1 win and West Brom's 2-2 draw in midweek - all of which places massive pressure on Avram Grant who, despite the club's appalling start to the season, insisted tonight that he will not step down.

The Hammers have won just one of their opening 13 Premier League games - meaning that in order to avoid relegation they probably need a minimum of nine wins from their last 25 games, something that will already require a huge change in fortune and form.

Although there can be some sympathy for Grant's insistence that the team are playing capably, there can be no excuse for the failure to convert chances into goals. Victor Obinna, for all his effort remains the Premier League's worst striker in terms of opportunities spurned (37 shots this season, 0 goals) whilst Carlton Cole remains a shadow of the player whom Grant's predecessor, Gianfranco Zola, managed to get so much from.

Whilst Frederic Piquonne remains a threat (the Frenchman is currently the club's joint top scorer with five goals), he is the only one of the clubs numerous summer signings to have made an impact on the first team thus far this season.

4m signing Winston Reid was cast aside after just one game whilst Tal Ben Haim has barely featured. Tomas Hitzlsperger remains out for the forseeable future whilst Pablo Barrera, another 4m capture, continues to frustrate - as does Benni McCarthy, the only one of Sullivan and Gold's pre-summer signings to remain.

Whilst it remains unclear just how much input Grant had into the club's summer transfer business it remains evident that he is failing to get the best out of not just the new arrivals, but the entire squad - and with a third of the season already through, it must be asked whether he is capable of doing so.

The Hammers certainly showed glimpses of what they are capable of today and, but for a little more luck and assistance from the referee, could have won comfortably. But for every chance created there was another at the opposite end; in truth, Blackpool probably had the better - and none more so that when Craig Cathcart forced Rob Green to make another one of those world-class saves he produces so regularly in the closing stages.

It's no secret that West Ham's recent games have been affected - mostly negatively - by the match officials, and yet again the man in the middle - in this occasion, Kevin Friend - raised the ire of the majority of the 33,000 crowd.

Crainey's untimely lunge at Barrera 20 minutes in should have resulted in a spot kick - as should Cathcart's obvious hand-ball from an Obinna shot eight minutes later. However it wasn't all one-way traffic in terms of poor decisions; Scott Parker was fortunate to escape censure for an accidental - but clear - first-half hand-ball whilst Marlon Harewood's 67th minute strike was ruled out incorrectly for offside.

Despite this both sides created a number of goalscoring opportunities, with sub Carlton Cole going closest for West Ham when his 67th-minute effort rebounded off the post. At the other end, former Hammer Harewood - who recieved a warm welcome from the home supporters - missed the kind of late chance from inside the six-yard box that made him so frustrating to watch during his time at the Boleyn.

Having completed their run of 'easier' home games, West Ham's next match is the trip to Liverpool where Avram Grant will attempt to become the first Hammers boss since Ron Greenwood to win at Anfield. Today's point leaves United bottom of the Premier League, behind Wolves on goal difference but four points adrift of 17th-placed Wigan.

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by Henk Wijers
06:46PM 15th Nov 2010
''Why not bring in Di Canio? He knows his attacking football and is an old West Ham star. I think he would be a great asset to the team once again.''

by Barry Smith
11:12AM 15th Nov 2010
''I was there - It was horrible, we just aren't good enough. I wish the crowd would get off of Boa Morte's back though. It is not going to help.

I would get rid of Grant and bring in Curbishley.''

by Henk Wijers
06:55AM 15th Nov 2010
''I agree on Grant, he is not the right manager for West Ham at all. He doesn't even know how to properly use the players available to him, there's enough quality at West Ham, always have been the Premier league's full of them. But the defence, they have stuck with the same defensive line for a long time now maybe they should change it up a bit, they always concede one way or another. I think we aren't going to make it this year, it's a miracle if we do stay in the Premier League. ''

by Henk Wijers
03:52PM 14th Nov 2010
''Boa Morte was way under-par and in my eyes disturbed the game's rhythm. Cole not being on the pitch might have been a factor as well. It was a pretty good match, we created a few chances on the left flank and an offside goal, but off-side saved us in the end.

It was a bit dissapointing to come from the Netherlands to see a draw. I think Grant's goals should be focussing on staying in the Premier League and maybe take aim at the FA Cup.''

by keith cockayne
03:18PM 14th Nov 2010
''West Ham's main problem remains, where it always has been, with the defence. Ok, we didn't concede today, but the team's predicament is that when they do score they very soon after concede. Our defence can defend competently for a while, but then someone has a 'rush of blood to the head' - and not to mark the player they should be marking! There goes an equalising goal.

A mid-table team can carry this but not one which is rooted at the bottom. Every time that we lead and then get pegged back, the confidence level drops and we end up frantically defending and hanging on to salvage what we can get out of what should've been a victory.
To make the task more difficult, our strikers cannot score 'on demand' when required, although they, generally, are not the pressing problem. It is the defence. Until we sign two or three competent, no-nonsense centre backs, we are going to get nowhere - except the Championship.

Is Grant the man to rescue us? Who is? This is the West Ham way and has been ever since I can remember (1958). The other teams around us lose matches, but then they go on to beat the teams (like WBA, Birmingham, Stoke, Wolves, Wigan) which we should be able to beat - but can't. We are then left with the need to beat the Chelseas, Arsenals, Man Us and Man Cs; which we, again, can't do.

I'm afraid that with this realisation in mind, I find it very difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel.''

by craig
12:25PM 14th Nov 2010
''Another frustrating day at Upton Park. How much longer can Grant blame refereeing decisions for again failing to get the players up for the match? The only player up for the fight was Parker, Luis was poor and Cole continues to frustrate. In my opinion since Craig B and Dean A we have been without any significant goal threat. If I have to watch five more minutes of Cole making runs down blind alleys or his complete inability to hit a barn door I think I'll go mad.

Who can save us? Martin O'Neil anyone?''

by Karl
12:18PM 14th Nov 2010
''It's not looking good... Doomed!''

by Lewis Erentrauts
11:44AM 14th Nov 2010
''What a joke we really are! We have a passionless manager who hasn't got a clue on how to motivate his players. How can we be struggling against promoted teams? We roll over against the big teams and struggle against the others, this only means one thing, the dreaded 'R' word!

We shouldn't be reliant on two penalties today and one at Brum as we shouldnt have blown a two goal lead and then relied on them pens being given today. We should be beating these promoted sides if we want to remain in the Prem! We have an assistant manager who hasn't a clue about English football and the others (bar K Keen) were supposed to be highly regarded!

Avram's recent interviews would have you think we were mid-table, not adrift at the bottom. SUGO will not make a change as it'll be costly getting rid of a guy and his backroom staff, a guy who was given a ridiculous four year contract which, even if he done well this season, is still far too long a contract. Why chairmen give managers such long contracts is beyond me.

I believe that Martin O'Neill should be brought in to the end of the season and that will give time for SUGO to look for a proven manager. I think even most fans would take Curbs back, only if it means keeping us in this league! The mistake made was not giving Mark Hughes what he wanted to take over! A few extra quid for transfers, or millions in relegation, its a mistake they will regret. Grant was the easy choice as he was on a free and no compensation, a man who hasn't done anything in football as anyone could manage Chelsea with the team and millions they have!

Grant should do the decent thing like Chesney did at Middlesbrough and resign, but we know he won't! We will go the same way as Leeds, and be in the lower reaches for years to come. West Ham Utd R.I.P...''

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