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FIVE things we learnt about West Ham against Arsenal

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Arsenal1. That even against a notably weakened and tired Gunners side, we came off second best in a game we could and should have done better in.

With lots of the young guns missing, fielded a more experienced and less energetic team, but it was a case of old heads doing the business as Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud made our highly regarded defence look decidedly average.

Having played an exhausting 120 minutes in the weekend’s FA Cup semi-final, a decidedly average looking were put on the back foot by a Hammers side fresh from a long matchless break. If ever a team needed to keep their foot on the gas, especially after going in front, it was West Ham, but as ever, we were simply incapable of holding onto a lead and ended up well beaten.

2. That in my opinion, the partnership of James Tomkins and Winston Reid looks less able and solid at the moment than that comprising Tomkins and James Collins.

Reid has just not looked the same since his injury and I think it will take a while longer before we see him back to his sharp and decisive best. The clean-sheet warriors from earlier in the season look a million miles away, and its just as well we seem to be safe and out of the real dog-fight at the bottom.

3. That any team that puts the shackles on has virtually done the job in terms of nullifying the West Ham attack threat. The defenders were far more effective than most against the Hammers striker, who won 12 of his 21 aerial duels, less than his normal success rate.

made a point of stopping the crosses and marking tightly, and his approach paid dividends. This shows the problem with having one line of attack.

4. That players making strange and poor decisions can turn a game in the opposition favour, and the decision of Stewart Downing to mis-kick the ball inside to a waiting and grateful player was a major blow, especially coming just before half-time and costing us a psychologically important lead at the break.

His right foot is just for standing on, and he should be aware of that! A tired and losing Arsenal, under intense pressure to make the for European qualification would have had it all to do, whilst West Ham would have been buoyed and upbeat about keeping the lead and picking up the pace for the second 45.

Instead the tide turned in their favour, and we looked like the side that had it all to do. The clever players would have been aware of the time, and simply tapped the ball against the player’s leg which was almost on the touchline for a throw in, slowed the game down, and waited for the whistle. On such small margins are games lost and won. That said, the defending until the ball was rifled in the net was hopeless.

5. That we should simply be thankful that an awful season, and it has been just that, is nearly at an end, and god willing we will be playing football come August.

We learnt from the defeat, and from many sub-standard performances throughout the season, that we are simply low in quality in vital departments, and unless influential hands are thrust deep  into expensive tailored, velvet lined pockets, then we can look forward to more of the same I fear.

There are least six players who have done their time, and need to be replaced with better class guys with better qualities in terms of pace, technique, guile and savvy. No more Nolans, Taylors, Diames, Coles (both) to slow the game down, lose possession cheaply, or fail to contribute to the degree that is expected at this demanding level.

We have got away this time with fielding an average team, and the time is right for Sam Allardyce (he will get another season now) to up HIS game, buy better technical players and start to shy away from this defensive nightmare that so many of us have endured for so long.

Show us you are a real manager Sam and start to build a side that can go forward as well as back!

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Plaistow born Spencer is a lifelong Hammer and having spent half-a century plus, enduring this lifelong obsession, along with every other West Ham supporter, knows exactly what it takes and what it means to wrap that Claret & Blue scarf round your neck every other Saturday and head off for the Boleyn !

A Chartered Surveyor by profession, Spencer, now 58, has played, coached and managed at semi-pro level within Essex for a number of clubs, and, simply unable to give up playing, currently turns out for the Iron Maiden Over 35’s side when he is not watching the Hammers, playing guitar in his Classic Rock covers band Gunrunner, or more probably, injured yet again!

15 comments

  • Pubteam says:

    As soon as we get the 3 points to stay up, the board should pay BFS off & employ Michael Ladrup.

    NOTHING can be worse than another season playing the BFS way.

  • Westhamwag says:

    Is anyone else worried that we will be relegated with Palace beating Everton and Sunderland taking Man City to a draw tonight – the game on Saturday is massive again and I honestly don’t think we will get anything from it now, then we have WBA which won’t be easy, Spurs is the only game I think we can get a point from and don’t think we will get anything from Man City especially if we play like we did in the second half against Arsenal. It’s never easy being a West Ham fan.

    • Spence55 says:

      Ha ha….EASY !!!!! Its a life sentence but what can you do !!!! COYI>>>>>>>>>>

    • teddybard says:

      It’s never easy being a West Ham fan.

      Never has been, why change the habits of a lifetime?

    • JB says:

      The odds of Hull, Villa, Swansea & West Brom all going above West Ham are fair, but Fulham would have to win 3 out of their last 4 games to get past West Ham’s CURRENT TOTAL, as would Cardiff.
      Sunderland would have to win 4 games out of their last 5 games to get past West Ham’s CURRENT TOTAL, and with Norwich playing Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea & Arsenal, then I reckon that no one out of Cardiff, Norwich & Sunderland will get more than 35 pts. Fulham may win 2 games & get 36 pts & CAN SURVIVE, but I really can’t see West Ham finishing below 16th.
      Honestly, if we have another season like this one, I’ll feel like either topping myself or stopping watching football. This season was that bad. It is now quite clear that Tony Pulis is a brilliant manager. What a shame he wasn’t available after Grant’s sacking. I mean Sam knows his stuff, even though it is excruciating to watch sometimes, but Pulis gets results from WHO? who were Palace before he came along? nobodies, but if we can get one over on Pulis on Saturday it’ll be like winning the FA Cup in getting those 3 pts. As for next season, I’d like to start with Sam & Carroll gone & build a new team with someone else, but we’ve got a hope in hell of that happening eh?

  • Flamineo says:

    Firstly I think it’s harsh to criticise Downing. Yeah he had an off game, but in a dodgy season he’s been one of our most consistent players.

    Secondly (and this has been bugging me for ages), everybody constantly bangs on about Reid and Tomkins. Even here, Spencer hails them as ‘The clean sheet warriors’. Check the facts. Most of our best defensive performances have been when Collins has played. For me he has been fantastic for two seasons. Ok the trickiest and fastest players can get round him, but mostly he’s been like a rock in defence. The boot that blocks the shot, more often the entire body, and yeah he likes to hoof it forward but the big hoof relieves the pressure. He bothers strikers and has great instinct. I truly believe he’s an unsung hero in our team and should start getting the credit he’s due. I don’t believe I’ve seen a single game this season where we’ve looked stronger when he’s been absent. Also, both Tomkins and Reid have looked stronger and more adept when playing alongside him rather than each other. This is no coincidence. on matchdays he bosses the defence, organises them better, gives them backbone and his head never drops. You’re entitled to disagree with me and you’re entitled to be wrong.

    PS. I ain’t Welsh.

    • Spence55 says:

      Very strong argument Flamineo. Im a great Collins fan as long as there is someone alongside to mop up the odd error he makes. Great commitment and spirit and I think we miss him when hes not there.

  • south aussie ammer says:

    i know i am pointing out the bleedin obvious but the teams below us are lifting there game if we dont beat palace on saturday westart to rely on other teams losing i have been a hammers fan for 60 years i have watched alot of crap in my time ihate to think of the size of the bog roll you would need to clean this team upwould be enormous

  • south aussie ammer says:

    teddybard spot on

  • Dan says:

    Pub team spot on ,Laudrup please
    Can’t bear to watch another season of the brummie john Wayne’s team and for him to come out chewing and make excuses week after week. He’s not good enough to manage our team in the premiership. Tactically he is awful and he’s buying has been worse. How can you not have any attacking threat apart from Carroll who if you do your homework on can easily be kept quiet by 2 centre halves. First things are first lets stay up but if our chairman have a clue about football they have to sack him, I wouldn’t give him a penny to spend ! Remember the only reason he’s never taken a team down is the fact we had Roeder in charge when Bolton stayed up!

  • peter iron says:

    Yeh ,bring back Avram ,how we miss those times !

    • The Cat says:

      Spot on…. with Roeder as his No 2, we’d be unstoppable then!
      They weren’t clueless, just misunderstood and ahead of their time.

  • JB says:

    Look, I wouldn’t bother about giving any more feed-back. The club that we all used to love is now run by a bunch of idiots. Hijacked by the 3 stooges!

  • The Cat says:

    Maybe Eggy should still be in charge?……….. We wouldn’t have to argue about much because we simply wouldn’t exist.

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