It is rare that when you go to the Boleyn, you can come away disappointed to have lost the game, but feeling scintillated from seeing an opposition player in world-class form. This happened to West Ham United recently where Gareth Bale, tormented the fans. His impact to the game is unquestionable, and he scored one of the best goals that I’ve ever seen at Upton Park. This cannot be denied, no matter how much our nemesis are despised. Bale’s strike and Van Persie’s calm slot have been the best goals at Upton Park this year, with out a doubt, but I’d like to reflect on a game in 2005 with Newcastle United. One player, who already had an impressive goal scoring record against West Ham United increased that, and proved that he was, in his pomp, destructible.
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A much-maligned career has ruined the impact that Michael Owen will have and has had on English football. Though his impact on this game and the form he was in will be a performance that I’ll remember for a very long time. My memory of that day begins as I arrived in East London, sitting in a parked car just off of Khartoum Road, in my West Ham shirt hearing that the game had been delayed half an hour to 3:30 due to an accident on the A13. An auspicious start to a game, which had remarkable performance.
West Ham was bright throughout the game, and was unfortunate to be behind, to the first of Michael Owen’s goals. This was a well-taken finish past the flailing arms of Roy Carroll. West Ham’s early intensity continued and we were rewarded with a fortuitous goal. Nevertheless, Owen stuck again before half time and restored the lead of Newcastle, a lead that wouldn’t cease, even though as Marlon Harewood scored a penalty to take the games to 3-2, the equalizer wouldn’t come. West Ham threatened the Newcastle goal, and the side came unstuck many times as Shay Given was in the form of his career. Though the moment of the game came when Owen finished his remarkable performance in the 93rd minute to score his well-deserved and well-taken hat trick.
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Since then team that West Ham have faced have seen some superb individual games, and the one that strikes in my mind most clearly is the Steven Gerrard performance in the Cup Final of 2006, but none have capped Owen’s heroics against a very in form West Ham United.
Owen was flawless, caused multiple problems for our defense and proved that he was well worth the previous summers spending of £16 million on the striker. Owen hasn’t yet retired, still playing his remaining days with Stoke City, which is being seen as his last big pay day after leaving Manchester United in the summer. His critics will remember Owen for his injuries and his days of bench warming during the later stages of his career. Although I will always remember Owen for this day. The day that I first saw a world-class performance from a remarkably talented striker.
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