FIVE things we learnt about West Ham against Aston Villa


Kevin Nolan’s 40th minute goal meant West Ham sealed their return to the Premier League with a win over Aston Villa on Saturday.

With West Ham lining up with three debutants in Mohamed Diame, Jussi Jaaskelainen and the returning James Collins the Hammers faithful were hoping these experienced Premier League pros would make the difference. So just what did we learn from our first game back in the big time?

1. Diame makes our midfield stronger: In a recent interview for I stated that I believed that Diame would be a key player for us this season, so I looked on with interest on his debut for the east end club. As expected he had a debut to remember, he bossed the midfield battle, breaking down Villa moves, as well showing sign of attacking intent with darting runs. If Diame carries on in this fashion he may well be that key man and quickly get legend status at Upton Park. He has already made a quick impression much to my amusement as I looked at Twitter last night to see #Diamefacts trending worldwide.

2. Sam Allardyce’s formation gives us the perfect blend of attack and defence: Ok maybe I’m getting a little carried away, but yesterday we saw signs of how this formation could be quite effective in this league. With Diame acting as defensive cover for the back four it allows the likes of Nolan and Noble to push further forward to support the front 3. This allows the Hammers to counter at pace and we saw when Villa pushed forward space was there and we could have stretched our lead further.

3. The defence looked more solid with Collins at the back: When Collins left to join Villa in 2007 it led to the departure of angry manager Alan Curbishley who knew what a vital player Collins was to the club. Not the most technically gifted player, but he more than makes up for it with bottle and heart. Collins got fans on their feet with a heroic double block in the first half, and was rightly voted man of the match. His calmness and no nonsense defending meant the rest of the defence Winston Reid, George McCartney and Guy Demel could relax and they looked solid and nullified every Villa attack.


4. For the Villa fans reading this, it’ll take time to get used to the new ideas that Paul Lambert brings: One of my closest friends at university is a Villa fan, and he banged on about the negative play of Alex McLeish last year. Having watched yesterday, as always when a new man comes in and takes to the helm with new ideas and a new style it will take time to get going, but I have no worries that you’ll be okay. Nothing fancy, but safe enough, the only worry for me is going forward at times Villa looked clueless, maybe that’s because of our defence which limited them to long distance shooting and ironically it was the impressive centre half Vlaar who looked the most likely to score. There’s no doubting Darren Bent will bang the goals in if he gets the supply and with Gabriel Agbonlahor out, you can probably put this down to a bad day at the office.

5. We need speed on the left wing: On the right hand side I would say we are okay, with Vaz Te’s pace we can utilise that wing and with Demel getting forward the right hand side looks solid enough. For me when we attack down the left just as we get momentum the move seems to slow down, whether is Matty Taylor no keeping up with the pace or McCartney (who I thought had a good game yesterday) slowing play down waiting for the perfect pass.


It is good to see the Hammers linked Matt Jarvis and Adam Johnson, if we get pace down both wings we could be very dangerous on the counter this year something that will be vital this season.

Come on you Irons!

It’s good to be back!

Tweet me @Bowdenwhu

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  • David Bowden says:

    I realise Collins left in 2009. Typo.

  • Gossy says:

    “The defence looked more solid with Collins at the back: When Collins left to join Villa in 2007 it led to the departure of angry manager Alan Curbishley who knew what a vital player Collins was to the club.”

    It was actually Mcartney’s transfer to Sunderland that saw Curbs off.

  • Phil the iron says:

    Yeah, just a couple of things. I think we are splitting hairs over Curbs, he left on a matter if principle after the board undermined him. As for Saturday it was a solid and most encouraging win! Defence was almost airtight. Collins was imence. A real mistake to let him leave. Midfield was solid, once they grew into the game. Diame diff class! It was only up front where we struggled. Cole did a great shift but was on his own most of the time but it was out wide where we really struggled. If we can strengthen in these areas then we will be more than all right this season.

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