Watford 1 West Ham United 1
Tuesday, 22nd August 2006
by East Stand Martin
It is now looking like a crash course in Arabic is on the agenda if I’m going to ensure that I get to see every West Ham match this season.
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Player RatingsRoy Carroll
A commanding performance - as it needed to be due to the sheer number of high balls Watford pumped into his six-yard area. Made one fantastic stop to avert Anton Ferdinand's backwards slice; had little chance with the goal.
Once again he looked fantastic driving forward down the right flank - and once again there are question marks over his ability to defend competently. Should Pardew's attempts to land a right-winger prove fruitless, and from what we've witnessed thus far this season, one suspects he could do worse than look at our favourite Ghanaian as a possible solution.
Konch enjoyed the freedom of the left-hand side when playing as a wing-back as he did for the first hour or so. The cross for Zamora's goal was inch-perfect, although he whould have been celebrating a goal for himself had he directed his second-half close-range header more accurately. Defensively? Like our entire back five, he had his wobbly moments.
Anton struggled tonight against Watford's big strikers, and had Roy Carroll to thank for saving his blushes when he made a hash of a clearance late on in the game. Had a hard time of it as a result of being continuously pressured by the opposition. "Worse than your brother" sang the home fans; not the biggest insult really, when you consider that Rio was one of only two England players to escape with any praise from England's recent World Cup debacle.
Danny missed the entire pre-season calender this year, and it shows. He looks a long way from the player we saw last year at present, and his fitness is clearly lacking. Rightly replaced when Pardew changed to a 4-4-2 formation midway through the second period.
Just about the pick of the three centre-halfs on show tonight, Collins - in for his first game of the season - increased his reputation further with a decent display. Earned the biggest (non goal-related) cheer of the night for a diving (and somewhat dramatic) headed clearance in the first-half.
Given little time and space on the ball, Mullins had a tough night as part of a three-man midfield. His distribution was poor at times and he struggled to impose himself on the game.
Like Danny Gabbidon, his lack of a pre-season has affected his early Premiership performances. With Matthew Etherington nearing fitness once again, it will be interesting to see how the captain fares, as he has been the weakest midfield link in the Hammers opening two fixtures.
He was exceptional on Saturday against Charlton but the game seemed to pass him by a little tonight. Like his two fellow midfielders he struggled to cope with the extra man and Watford's quick, incisive passing. Improved a fair bit after he moved to the right when Pardew went 4-4-2.
As on Saturday, if you discount his goal/s there wasn't any major contribution of which to speak. However a striker's job is to hit the back of the net, after all, and Bob has done so more than anyone else in the league so far.
The big man had one of his off nights, and was rarely involved to any great degree. Substituted late in the second half by Teddy Sheringham.
(Replaced Gabbidon, 66) Brought on to exploit the space on the left hand side, Yossi rarely found himself with the ball at his feet during his 25 minutes on the pitch. Made a couple of good runs and was involved in one or two moves but there was little to write home about.
(Replaced Harewood, 66) Played an effective role in several late Hammers attacks, although found himself waiting for the ball for long periods such was Watford's dominance.
(Replaced Zamora, 83) Alan Pardew was perhaps hoping that Cole would repeat his heroics of Saturday when he scored after being on the pitch for less than 30 seconds. Sadly it wasn't to be.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Roy Carroll, John Paintsil, Paul Konchesky, Anton Ferdinand, Danny Gabbidon, James Collins, Hayden Mullins, Nigel Reo-Coker, Lee Bowyer, Bobby Zamora, Marlon Harewood.
Goals: Bobby Zamora 65 .
Booked: None booked. .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Watford: Foster, Doyley, DeMerit, Shittu, Powell, Francis, Mahon, Bouazza, Young, King, Henderson.
Subs not used: Lee, Stewart, Mackay.
Goals: King (63).
Booked: None booked..
Sent off: None.
Man of the Match: Roy Carroll.