We started with an unchanged team which was what i expected from David Moyes who likes a feeling of stability... and why not when the system is working so well. The early exchanges were promising for us after which the Hammers had a good spell themselves. There were moments of real fear for us:
- Howard came an uncharacteristically flapped at a ball leaving an open goal
- Ljungberg was through on goal and only managed to pick out Howard
- Ashton dinked the ball over Howard and it sailed just over
- ames Collins snatched at a great chance from a corner
- Parker headed just over from a good cross
The opener was part of a great move with Arteta floating the ball to the far post for Cahill who cleverly headed back across the face of goal where the Yak made the best of Robert Green's hesitancy to head in yet another goal. We went into the break buzzing!
The Hammers came out with Camara replacing the ineffective Cole... and later Noble replacing the dangerous Solano. We should have scored when Collins fell asleep and let Ossie in on goal with just Green to beat but Ossie shot over the bar... coulda have put good money on him scoring in that situation most times! Ossie missed again when teed up after a good move.
Our defence and midfield were rock solid in the latter stages when the Hammers threw the kitchen sink at us (and I don't mean the heavily beefed up Dean Ashton!). Then DM makes a change with the energizer bunny AJ coming on and running around like he always does... didnt look like it would come to much as we looked to have survived to hold on to the solitary goal. Then Neville cleared the ball from our half and Upson headed backwards (what is it with these Hammer defenders and their headers this week?) AJ latched onto it and looked up ?saw Green well out ? and scored with ease over him, making DM run along the touchline like I did in my house... although mine had a lot more screaming and singing "We Shall Not Be Moved".
This is what I felt about the gaffer and the lads:
Moyes: Called him the saviour for ages after he took over... now he seems to be something even better.
Howard: Flapped at a cross which was scary but redeemed himself with a few good saves, especially the Ljungberg one.
Neville: Was solid at the back and pretty good going forward too...at RB he deserves to be in the team.
Lescott: Rock is the word that comes to mind... his headers and timely challenges are a joy to watch. He will be a legend for us.
Yobo: Will be sorely missed in January, his speed and composure are improving with each game. Jagielka: Looks much better in defence than he ever did in that atrocious midfield role he had with Phil at the start of the season(Remember those days?). Ossie: Disappointing today; he shoulda scored easily when through on goal. Also missed a few other chances when he was well set-up.
Carsley: Does he have an off-game? I hope not. Strong challenges, great long-range shots, amazing team man.
Arteta: Seems a bit jaded at times but even when not at full flow, he is so dangerous like he showed with the set-up for the first goal.
Pienaar: Improving with every game and was brilliant today, unselfish as always
Cahill: Got fouled a lot today and headed well to get the goal for the Yak. I love his energy, specially when he has the energy to climb on AJ in 2nd half injury time!
Yakubu: The goal fest goes on. He seemed to be tiring at the end and was duly subbed but he is holding up the ball much better these days. Johnson: Levaing? Unhappy? I dont think that's AJ at all which was evident by him almost running onto the pitch when the Yak scored in the Carling Cup game. He is a team man ? good goal!
So we head into our Uefa Cup game with no pressure. I hope we can start with Vaughan and Anichebe or AJ, andmaybe give some of the Academy lads a taste of European football ? Mikky, Yak, Cahill, etc can have a day off. Then head back to the league to face the Mancs. I hope we can get at least a draw from that. Onwards and upwards we go!!COYB
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1 Posted 15/12/2007 at 20:01:23
Rest Yak, Cahill, Arteta, Pienaar, Carsley, Neville, Osman, Yobo, Lescott.
2 Posted 15/12/2007 at 21:57:30
According to Santosh, Parker was putting it about today. Is this the same Scott Parker that DM would have signed two years back? Didn’t he take the geordie gold and go north east? Didn’t he head back south when the curse of the bar codes struck him too?
Let’s give him a bit of Christmas charity. If he’d have come to us, he would probably by now have been a good player in a midfield which is the envy of the premier league. You would spit your dummy out of the pram, wouldn’t you?
3 Posted 16/12/2007 at 05:09:29
It really is great to be a blue now. Even the normally apathetic ESPN/Star commentators/experts are beginning to take notice.
Great performance from the team, I thought (even though Osman & Arteta had off-days in my opinion).
DM should definitely rest the key players for the Alkmaar game.
My team for Alkmaar:
Vaughan, Johnson, Mcfadden, Gravesen, VDM, Neville (holding mid-field), Hibbert, jagielka, Stubbs, Valente, Wessels.
Subs: Anichebe, Lescott, Carsley, Cahill, Turner.
4 Posted 16/12/2007 at 05:27:29
My team for the UEFA cup game is:
5 Posted 16/12/2007 at 07:18:46
6 Posted 16/12/2007 at 08:57:04
Without it, I think the result would?ve been really different.
Trust me. That?s why I vote for MotM goes to Tim Howard and not Yakubu.
7 Posted 16/12/2007 at 09:00:46
Probably due to fatigue
8 Posted 16/12/2007 at 09:19:41
In other words, we?re a stone?s throw away from them???
9 Posted 16/12/2007 at 10:23:26
Is this the four big teams that are currently split by Manchester Shitty, and have us breathing down their collective necks?
10 Posted 16/12/2007 at 11:21:55
It was good to see him score after coming off the bench and was a well taken goal even if Green was miles off his line.
I was a bit worried about the lad especially after the first Metalist game and worried that his confidence might not recover. But hes scored twice now in just over a fornight and he could do with a good run out - just don’t partner him with Fad, we saw that didn’t work against Zenit!
11 Posted 16/12/2007 at 18:52:48
12 Posted 16/12/2007 at 22:48:08
RM: Van Der Meyde
13 Posted 17/12/2007 at 02:13:31
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