Swansea City 3 West Ham United 0
Saturday, 25th August 2012
by Tom Kilbey
Two individual defensive errors and a Danny Graham strike were enough to condemn West Ham to their first defeat of the season in the early kick-off at the Liberty Stadium.Jaaskaleinen was responsible for conceding a soft goal after he could only parry a Rangel shot into the back of the net and less than ten minutes later, James Collins was the culprit, woefully scuffing his backpass gifting Michu the chance to score his third goal in two games.
West Ham rallied, and had numerous half chances to score, but midway through the second half, Danny Graham rounded off an excellent passing move after good work from Leon Britton and the impressive Wayne Routledge.
The victory maintained Michael Laudrup's 100 per cent start in English football and surely left Allardyce pondering the strength of his squad with less than a week until the transfer window closes.
West Ham clearly set out with the intention of ensuring Swansea could not settle into their passing game and at first found success with this. A few uncharacteristic passes allowed Matt Jarvis to contribute his first of many dangerous crosses this season, which Nolan was inches away from connecting.
However, after a positive first ten minutes, the Swans settled into their rhythm and began to force the issue. Rangel and Dyer were linking up well down the right hand side, and sure enough, the goal came down this area of the pitch. Rangel ghosted in untracked and fired a shot across goal from a tight angle which went through Jussi and into the back of the net.
West Ham responded well, and began to look dangerous from set pieces. Two excellent Mark Noble free kicks forced the Swansea defence into some work as the Hammers went in search of an equaliser. However, this momentum was destroyed by another catastrophic error just minutes later.
With acres of space, and seemingly plenty of time, Collins attempted a backpass to Jaaskaleinen. He horribly scuffed the ball into the floor, and an alert Michu capitalised, calmly stroking the ball past the advancing goalkeeper.
Once again, West Ham attemped to force a fightback. Nothing of note was created from open play, but grew more threatening from set pieces. Another Mark Noble free kick was headed down to Jarvis. However the debutant could not adjust his feet and the ball hit him and went harmlessly out of play.
Two minutes later, another free kick found Jarvis with his back to goal, and his effort from ten yards was met by an excellent one handed save by Michel Vorm. A string of corners just before half time suggested the Hammers could go in with a single goal deficit, but were denied by a mixture of unfortunate deflections and an excellent clearance off the line by Leon Britton.
Tomkins was sacrificed at the break and was replaced by Vaz Te in a system that allowed Kevin Nolan to move into his preferred position in the middle of the park, and for the first five minutes, the away side continued in a similarly positive fashion. Vaz Te attempted an athletic effort after a Jarvis cross, and Cole attempted a similarly ambitious effort from a good cross from the Portugese substitute.
However, in our efforts to get back into the game, our high defensive line was looking frail. Michu was played through, and was unluckily denied by the offside flag after replays showed James Collins was playing him onside. Five minutes later, in a similar fashion, Michu found himself one on one, and despite the flag staying down, he could not apply the finish.
These defensive scares helped take the wind out of the Hammer's sails and Swansea continued to create chances. And just after the hour mark, Swansea got the crucial goal that their spell of pressure warranted.
Routledge got to the byline after some slick passing down the right, and pulled the back for Graham who applied the finish at the back post. Any hope that existed in the West Ham camp had been extinguished, and there were no further chances of note for the away side.
Swansea looked ever more comfortable in possession and their techical ability shone through against a side hardly known for their creative ability. The home side had a few chances to extend their lead further, but were more than happy to settle for a 3-0 victory, and provided a reality check for the Hammers who will be keen to eliminate the defensive errors that led to their downfall.
But more disappointing than that, the second half performance was very poor, especially after a decent first half performance. Allardyce will undoubtedly turn his attention back to the transfer window, and the next home game against Fulham where he will want a vastly improved performance. But if BFS needed an indication that his squad still needed strengthening, surely, this is it.
Tom Kilbey may also be found on Twitter at twitter.com/tom29whu.
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Player RatingsJussi Jaaskelainen
Apart from the aforementioned mistake, he looked low on confidence; a shadow of the commanding goalkeeper he once was. He will be looking for a far improved performance next time out, especially with Stephen Henderson waiting in the wings.
Largely built on his first game, looking strong and quick. When Jarvis was on the right, he would do well to get forward more and help Jarvis to deliver crosses from wide areas.
An average performance from McCartney today. Faced a tough test with much of Swansea's attacking efforts coming down his side. His lack of composure on the ball was apparent against a hard-working Swansea side who gave little time on the ball.
Looked a different player from the one who was a class above everyone else last week. As well as making an error for the goal, he struggled against the Swansea style of play and generally looked uncomfortable. It seems safe to conclude that aerially, he can deal with most players, but when teams try through the defense, he looks nowhere near as comfortable.
Not too much to write home about for Winston today. Didn't make the errors that some of his teammates did, and looked relatively assured at times, but did not look quite as comfortable as he did last week against Villa.
Still adjusting to life in his Central Defensive Midfield role. He is showing signs that he could be effective in this position, but it's strange that he is asked to play this role despite us having a player in this position on the bench who has Champions League experience. Occassionally gave the ball away, but made his presence felt.
Probably the most effective West Ham player on the pitch. His delivery from free kicks were excellent, and caused all sorts of problems and was responsible for creating our only real chances in the match. Passed the ball well and showed some nice touches.
First half performance was surprisingly good given he was asked to play on the right wing. He drifted inside when Jarvis had the ball and tried to get on the end of crosses. Drifted out the game in the second half.
Didn't really build on a good debut, and was average throughout. Worked hard to pick the ball up in space to create chances for other players but found it difficult to do so.
Had a decent debut. Switched wings to try and make things happen. Delivered a few quality crosses, particularly in the first half, and if he can continue doing this, then he will have a successful season.
Was not in the game at all mainly due to a lack of service. Crosses from wide areas were decent, but balls into him with his back to goal were far short of what would be expected for a side who rely on a target man as a lone striker.
Ricardo Vaz Te
(Replaced Tomkins, 46)
Had limited success in wide areas, and he gave us width down both sides when he come on. Won the odd free kick, and caused the defense a few problems, but couldn't use his direct runs to any real effect against a solid Swansea defence.
(Replaced Cole, 62)
Similar story to that of Carlton Cole. Was a spectator upfront, and the lack of service to our front men is something that definitely needs to be worked on so that we have an effective outlet when playing away from home.
(Replaced Cole, 81)
Like for like swap with Diame to go with a like for like performance. Did not really figure.
Did not play.
Joey O Brien
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Guy Demel, George McCartney, James Collins, Winston Reid, James Tomkins, Mark Noble, Kevin Nolan, Mo Diame, Matt Jarvis, Carlton Cole.
Booked: Carlton Cole 38 Kevin Nolan 53 James Collins 58 Winston Reid 83 .
Sent off: None.
Swansea City: Michel Vorm, Angel Rangel, Chico, Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor, Leon Britton, Jonathan de Guzman, Miguel Michu, Nathan Dyer, Wayne Routledge, Danny Graham.
Subs not used: Gerhard Tremmel, Alan Tate, Stephen Dobbie, Mark Gower.
Goals: Angel Rangel (20), Miguel Michu (29), Danny Graham (64).
Booked: Angel Rangel (31), Chico (68).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Martin Atkinson.
Man of the Match: Mark Noble.