Firstly without five first-team players, not squad players, not fringe players but five players who start week-in-week-out, we went to Goodison Park; a notoriously difficult place to go especially for West Ham, seeing as we haven’t won there for almost a decade and we can count ourselves incredibly unfortunate not to get a point out of the game, lord knows our 2nd half showing deserved some recompense.
Secondly the performance of Mauro Zarate; Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho have stolen all the headlines so far this season with their scintillating form and of course that has meant Zarate has had to play 2nd or even 3rd fiddle, however his cameo at Goodison showcased what a talent he is; his ability to create space, lead defenders a merry dance, his dribbling skills and of course his ability to finish; injected some much needed oomph into what had been till then a rather dry display from the away side . So impressive was his performance that he might just keep out one of Sakho/Valencia for the visit of Newcastle next Saturday, nice to have competition for places isn’t it?
Thirdly Andy Carroll got 90 minutes; now he didn’t have his finest performance and his influence on the game waned as the minutes ticked by, but considering he’s effectively having his preseason now getting 90 minutes in a game a game which did turn out to be rather intense, tetchy and somewhat controversial will have done our big no. 9 the world of good. In full flow he’s almost unplayable and it’ll be exciting to see how he links up with our other strikers.
What a foursome of forwards we now have and that’s not even mentioning Carlton Cole.
Newcastle United unbelievably are now above us in the league (I do wonder if sackpardew.com are still going strong?) They’re on a great run and will prove stern opposition however we can go into that fixture still confident despite a frustrating last couple of results.
We’re experiencing what might almost qualify as our first rough patch of the season, but with the players we have to come back and the goals we’ve always got in our locker there is still cause for optimism. 6th in the league and yet we’re frustrated, blimey we have come a long way.