1)We Play On The Floor – The match begun with a very cagey and nervous playing style. Peterborough had a slick passing style and were pressing high. James Tomkins and Abdoulaye Faye looked uncomfortable and predictably began launching the ball up to Carlton Cole who struggled to keep hold of it while mobbed by opposition defenders. Once we regained our composure, the emphasis changed and we began spreading the ball to Vaz Te who looked dangerous and created chances. Unlucky to not go into the break with a goal, the second half showed us just how much potential this team has. Quick passing, over laps down each flank with Julien Faubert and George McCartney heavily involved in each attack. We are not equipped for the long ball, we have players who can play football.
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- Width Is Key – With the return of Ricardo Vaz Te out wide right and Matty Taylor wide left we looked dangerous every time they touched the ball. Over the last 10 games Sam Allardyce has persisted with a narrow and long playing style. This could be down to selection problems with either Taylor or Vaz Te injured regularly but we look a different team with them playing. Having pace and width means we have more space to play and can move the ball about quicker. It also meant players like Mark Noble and Gary O’Neill had more space to do damage through the middle.
- A Fantastic Crowd Dictates Play – Standing in the terraces I could/did not hear a Peterborough chant for the entirety of the game. 5000 West Ham fans taking up near on half the stadium sung their hearts out proving why they are some of the best fans in the world. The story doesn’t end there. The first half we heard negative chatter and jeers, anti Sam chants. Booing the initial playing style, needless to say we struggled to make an impression on the game. Cue the second half and the fans dictated with positivity, individual player support and we looked comfortable and in control. I believe player psychology can be a massive factor in how the game unfolds so it is imperative to continue that second half support into Saturday’s game with Reading.
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4) Big Sam Has Big Cahuna’s – Like him or not, Allardyce is showing why he has what it takes to manage at the top level. Lesser men would have buckled to the monumental pressure and played a 4-4-2 with a change in tactics. Sam did not, and he equalled our club record of 11 away wins in a season. His tactics and player selection were spot on to achieve 3 points at a ground where Reading failed to win just a week before hand. His decision to bring on two defenders at half time (all be it one like for like) caused murmurs amongst the fans but proved to be the turning point as Faubert became the straw that broke the camel’s back with his pace and pressure out wide. Sam will not listen to stick, he will speak with honesty in the media and he has shown that he will do whatever it takes to fight us out of this division.
- Stadium/Shmadium – In a week where the main talking point has been our rebid for the Olympic Stadium the fans showed what really matters, standing on a terrace 5,000 strong supporting their team. Football finances, stadiums, directors do not matter when we look at why we love West Ham United. We are a proud and traditional football team with the best fans in the country. No matter where we play our home football, nor away football for that matter, we will be there cheering on.
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Got some free time? Pop over to Richard’s blog http://www.claretsweatandtears.co.uk/home/2012/03/28/5-things-we-learned-from-peterborough/