Thursday, 31 October 2013

Reid to Arsenal for £6m? £26m more like!

Well I know we have been taken for mugs more than a few times in the past when selling players, but not even West Ham would consider letting Reid leave for anything less than £15m. And given Arsenal now have money to burn, if they really want Reid the bidding should begin around the £25m mark.

Dear God, how many years is it since we sold Rio for £18m to Leeds? The idea that Reid could go for a third of that sum is absolutely laughable.

Just look at our defensive record this season. Okay, Man City tore us apart, but leaving aside that game, we have looked wonderfully organised defensively, and Reid is the best player in that superbly performing back five.

It's probably a nonsense report, but it would be reassuring to hear Sullivan and Gold telling Wenger that he would need to beat the British transfer record for a defender if he wants to prise the New Zealander away from us!

Capital One delighted to keep Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham & Chelsea apart!

Well that was convenient wasn't it? Unless you support Leicester, West Ham, Stoke, Sunderland or  Southampton of course!

You sponsor a mean nothing cup so what's the best way to generate interest? Set up two 2-leg semi-finals between the three biggest teams in England and one of Spurs or West Ham - and as Spurs are the marginally bigger club (until West Ham occupy the Olympic Stadium), give the Cockyfools home advantage!

Meanwhile, given the hammering Tottenham took at White Hart Lane at the hands of West Ham, an executive from Capital One may well be on the phone to the FA this morning with an additional request: "We would very much like the game at White Hart Lane to be refereed by Kevin Friend".

Watch this space!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

West Ham's reserves and kids urinate in the Claret!

So Burnley are running away with the Championship. Interesting. And according to Leeds and QPR fans who respond to this blog, West Ham are heading for the drop. Interesting again. Well, on the basis of last night's game, there's not much point in any side winning promotion from this season's Championship then because the gulf to the Prem is patently huge!

West Ham took to the field just 48 hours after playing Swansea. A combination of reserves and kids were selected. The management had precious little time to prepare, with a journey from Swansea to London and London to Burnley involved in completing the back to back fixtures. The West Ham team included Potts, Chambers and Ruddock, three young kids. There were nine changes from the starting 11 against Swansea and both Diame and Tomkins, the two retained, were substituted to save their legs. And West Ham utterly dominated the second 45 minutes.

It's true that two penalties were required but both penalties were conceded to prevent goals being scored, and the referee was kind to the Clarets when producing only one red card. In the twenty minutes building to the first goal, poor Burnley could not get the ball, chasing shadows to such an extent that you would think West Ham's stiffs were Barcelona. So how the hell are Burnley top of the division?

From a West Ham perspective, it was all very pleasing. The three kids look good and may well have a future. Maiga didn't look out of his depth - perhaps THIS is his level. Collison and Downing combined well when brought on. Adrain looked our best understudy keeper for a few seasons now. And there's the consolation that if we were to go down, even selling the major wage earners, we should storm the Championship!

As for QPR, Leeds and co - God help them if they do get up! Because, like Burnley, they will then find out what the Premiership is really about!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Half Time: Swansea 0 West Ham 0 - Hammers should be leading!

Well, not for the first time this season, it is so far so good after 45 minutes. We have been the better team and have created the better chances, and with a goal scorer in the team would be ahead by now. Amazingly, we have been the better passing team and Swansea and it is Laudrup's team that have played more long balls. If this goes on for the next 45, Sam will be calling himself Allardrup!

In fact, Demel should have scored twice, clearing the crossbar on both occasions from inside the six yard box. Nolan has also put a chance wide after an excellent run and cross by Jarvis, and Downing has forced two saves from Vonn. At the other end, Jussi stopped a header with his shoulder and Tomkins put in a brilliant blocked interception to prevent a cross finding Michu deep into our area.

Defensively Tomkins, Reid, Rat and Demel have been excellent thus far, whilst the midfield have again harried and closed. The stand out man in the middle of the park has again been Noble, whilst Diame has been the doziest to date.

Jarvis is on for the all too brittle Vaz Te. Let's hope we can keep this up and pinch a winner, especially after Sunderland's victory!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

West Ham set to continue with false number 9 at Swansea

Let's face it, whatever team Allardyce selects, we will be using a false number nine at Swansea. Analysts went way over the top after our win at Spurs, hailing the self proclaimed tactical guru for his genius in unveiling his new "False Number 9" formation, failing to understand that Alliadichi  had been employing the same tactic since the start of the season.

Be honest, you couldn't find a more "False Number 9" than Mogadon Maiga could you? In fact, the guy is a "False Footballer" based on everything I have seen so far. Brainless. Clueless. Gutless. Passionless. The big difference at White Hart Lane is that we started the game with 11 players on the pitch instead of the 10-players-plus-Mogadon formation employed by Allardyce up until that game.

Now, it seems, Carlton Cole may start. It is true that Carlton, unlike Mogadon, has a presence but he has been a "False Number 9" all his career, being a striker with an allergy to the back of the net! Carlton is an excellent footballer, just as long as he has his back to the goal. However, show him those terrifying white posts with that dizzying crossbar connecting them and the nauseous inducing netting behind, and the poor guy loses the ability to control his body: his eyes glaze over, his head spins and his legs turn to jelly.

And the final option, Petric, hasn't scored a goal since Christmas.

Poor Laudrup must have been having sleeping nights ever since that 4-0 thumping of Blunderland!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Will young Lee show Freddie Sears what might have been?

So another Academy product is out on loan and, based on recent history, that may be very bad news indeed. Yes Noble and Tomkins both had their loan stints - as did Rio and Judas Defoe of course - but more recently, when a kid is sent to the lower divisions, it generally means that he doesn't quite have what it takes to cut it at the top.

Whereas Spurs have sent young Carroll into the Championship, our youngsters tend to end up a rung or two lower on the ladder, and whilst they look good playing in amongst dross, they find playing with the bigger boys in the top division beyond them. There have been a few we have been excited about but Hines, Stanislas and Sears all proved to be duds and Potts may not be training on.

We had hopes about Lee when even Allardyce brought him on at Old Trafford and against Stoke, but if he is going to hack it, he needs to tear up the First Division and score stacks of goals. Freddie Sears has found his level at Colchester; the hope is that Lee will prove more than one cut above the man once hailed as the new Tony Cottee!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Allardichi 1 Pellegridyce 3 - But no disgrace in that.

Ok we lost and, if we are honest, we lost pretty heavily, but Man City were pretty bloody good and, our centre backs apart, we were decent. And to be fair to Tomkins and Reid, they were horribly exposed by Man City's quick passing football and excellent movement. Last game, Big Sam thought he was the dog's bollocks, now he understands that his claims to have revolutionised football with his 4-6-0 formation were pure bollocks.

First the goals. Agüero's opener was a bit tasty. True the ball travelled far too far through the middle of our midfield and defence, but the dummy by Negredo was breath-taking. The ball went so close to him that his decision to simply ignore it would have bemused Moore and Beckenbauer, never mind Tomkins and Reid. Agüero's run was perfectly timed and Reid was still on New Zealand time as the Argentinian ran in on Jussi and buried the chance superbly.

The second goal was not so easy to excuse. Reid was drawn out wide and was done all ends up by Negredo, who was then sandwiched as Demel joined the Kiwi in trying to close out the threat. The result was yet another stupid free kick conceded in a dangerous area. Over came the free kick and the only surprise was just how much space Agüero had on the edge of the six yard box as he rose to head home. Who was marking him? Nolan I think, but the entire West Ham team stood and watched as he scored - Jussi apart who valiantly tried to deflect the ball over and wide, simply pushing it into the top corner.

And that was that, we thought. It was now just a question of how many. And then up popped Vaz Te, who had been largely anonymous until then, with a deft overhead kick into the bottom corner. There were suspicions of offside in the build up - and I think Diame was off before  he crossed - but who cares. 1-2 and game on!

Briefly, very briefly, Man City creaked, but as we pushed forward, more and more gaps appeared in the middle of the park, and Jussi made save after save. So when the third City goal came, it was no surprise. Agüero ran at the heart of the defence, Reid missed the opportunity to put in a tackle, Tomkins prevented him getting in a shot but the ball was pulled back to Silva, whose finish was sublime. 1-3. Job done for Pellegridyce's men!

And the bits in between? Well Noble was superb, putting in three fantastic tackles and recycling the ball superbly. Diame ran around a lot but looked uncomfortable in the formation much of the time. Nolan did ok, but he is wasted sitting deep and when he moved forward, he hardly got a sniff of the ball apart from deflecting wide after Hart had saved from Diame. Morrison was ordinary and received a timely reality check. Vaz Te was largely anonymous apart from his goal but the decision to withdraw him was still odd after he had scored. Downing was decent but never devastating.

Sadly, defensively, we were poor. Demel did well until he went off injured but O'Brien was far too easily bypassed after he came on. Boomtown was poor. And Tomkins and Reid had their worst games for some considerable time. Jussi, however, was excellent.

But let's not be too glum. Sunderland were thumped. So were Norwich and Cardiff. Palace will go down. So even without Carroll, we should have enough to stay up. Shouldn't we?

Player ratings: Jussi 10; Demel 7, Tomkins 4, Reid 3, Rat 4; Nolan 5 Noble 9; Morrison 5, Diame 6, Vaz Te 5, Downing 6  Subs: O'Brien 3, Jarvis 6, Petric (not on long enough to rate).

Collins and Maiga don't make the bench!

No surprise that Allardyce has stuck with the eleven that beat Spurs, but the absence of Collins and Maiga from the bench is perhaps a little strange.

So, Carlton Cole has already proved himself better than Maiga! It makes you wonder why he was released and rumoured suitors for Mogodon were rebuffed. Now we will struggle to give him away!

And what happens if Tomkins or Reid are injured? O'Brien, Rat or Demel at centre back I suppose.

No surprise value this time around, of course. And Man City are better than Spurs! So, let's hope but not expect too much!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

El Apache Clarke sends Sheffield United to bottom of old Third Division!

Sacking David Weir didn't do much good then did it? But then, nothing will save Shafting United until the curse of Tevez is removed; and that will only happen when McScab and his Dusty Bin Arab co-owner repay the £25m blood money extorted from West Ham.

Tevez was at it again today, disguised this time as journeyman Coventry striker Leon Clarke, who single-handedly scored two goals, thereby beating the Blunted Blades on his own and sending the Full Monties to the foot of the Old Third Division.

In front of a gate of just 2,078, Sheffield United lost 3-2 and took another decisive step towards utter and total humiliation; and how we West Ham fans are loving it!

Allardyce shows the world of football how to play the game!

Ok, it was only one game and ok he only employed the tactic because Carroll was injured and we don't have another striker worthy of the name, but that's not stopped the English Jose from claiming that his 4-6-0 formation has changed the game! The silly old sod genuinely seems to believe that the "false number 9" tactic was his own invention, crystallised in his own mighty footballing brain, fashioned on the West Ham training ground, and executed for the very first time as West Ham wiped the floor with Tottenham.

Now, it might be a little rude to mention Spain and Barcelona as Allardyce waxes lyrical about his own tactical brilliance, so perhaps we shouldn't at this stage.

And it might be cruel to pour a little cold water on Sam's ego by pointing out that the tactic only worked brilliantly for 13 minutes of the game - during which time all three goals were scored.

And it might be deemed wicked to say that one of the three goals came via a centre back at a set piece, a more traditional Allardyce approach to the game.

It would also be very unfair to mention the opening two minutes of the second half when Spurs ripped us to shreds twice. Had Defoe netted when clean through, you can bet your life that Petric would have been on the pitch before Spurs had the chance to score a second and move out of sight. Except he might not have had time to get stripped off before that second goal went in!

Based on the first 45 minutes, what was there to suggest that we would score three goals? Nolan had a great chance, but from a set piece. And Nolan had a half chance, from a header following a very traditional looking cross. Does anybody remember a brilliant diagonal pass releasing Vaz Te to run in unchallenged on the keeper? Or of Morrison running at the heart of the Spurs defence, released by the "false number 9" Diame? I can't! Nope, the first 45 was all about closing, chasing and harrying - pretty much like the tactics employed at Southampton and Newcastle, but without the liability that is Maiga! And, let's not forget that the half finished 0-0 and I can't recall a shot on target!

So what really beat Spurs? A corner. Reid got his head to it and thumped home the rebound off of Nolan. And then Spurs panicked. They threw too many men forward. They left themselves vulnerable at the back. Then Noble played a brilliant pass and Vaz Te got lucky. And Morrison came over all Ravel and justified his hype.

I don't want to prick Allardyce's bubble, but he really does need to get a sense of perspective. He remains Allardyce, not Alliadiche, and had Carroll been fit, we would not have seen that formation in a million years.

I was awoken at 4.30 am last Sunday morning with my bed swaying  up and down as if I was aboard a ship in a swell. I thought the scientists were right, that it had been caused by an earthquake registering 4.6 on the Richter Scale,  but it seems I was simply feeling the tremors radiating out from Allardyce's tactical brain, warning of the "Big One" that would hit later that day as Big Sam released the earthquake that would change the game of football for ever.

Well until Petric or Andy Carroll are fit, anyway!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Hodgson Snubs West Ham again as Liverpool man is called up

Did Hodgson have a snooze through the Tottenham game one wonders? How else can you explain his decision to overlook Ravel in favour of Raheem Sterling?

Both are highly talented bad boys, of course, but surely Morrison has done more to justify a call up than the Liverpool man? His goal against Spurs was nothing short of sensational and his play has been consistently impressive since he came into the side. And given Cleverley is the man who has dropped out, Morrison looks the more natural replacement.

In fact, it is beginning to look as if Woy has a prejudice against West Ham men. He has, after all, consistently ignored the claims of Noble, Nolan, Joe Cole, Tomkins and Downing. Meanwhile, old nag Milner gets picked in every squad, even though he isn't good enough for his club team and he looks distinctly mediocre every time he pulls on an international shirt.

It's time for the Davids to speak out, challenging Woy to justify his policy of overlooking the claims of West Ham players in a World Cup year. Do you know who won the bloody World Cup in 1966 Hodgson?

Friday, 11 October 2013

Ravel uses Tottenham warm up to prepare for altogether tougher challenge

It's good to see that Ravel used the Tottenham game to warm up for the much more challenging match against San Marino U21's. Sadly, our new £19m Release Clause man couldn't get on the score sheet - a feet achieved with sublime ease against Tottenham's £100m team - but he did play a full part in helping England's next Golden Generation to overcome the might of the 61 kilometre squared giants of international football's kids.

Spurs manager AVB will, no doubt, take solace from the fact that even the Most Serene Republic of San Marino's budding super stars could not fully shackle the former Manchester United tearaway, whilst delighting in the news that  his very own superstar in the making, young Kane, put the mighty Italian opposition to the sword with a truly stunning hat-trick.

And with Andros Townsend netting for the full England team tonight, some might be wondering why AVB spent so much of the Bale money bringing in mercenary foreigners. Because as West Ham proved at White Hart Lane and England proved tonight, English players can play a bit if given their head!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Where now for Big Sam?

So, after the  stunning victory at Spurs, the big question is, 'What does Allardyce do now?' After decades of playing one way, he has suddenly discovered that you don't need to hit long balls forward to an immobile forward and that players can actually interchange positions over the course of a game. Talk about a conversion on the road to Green Lanescus!

The transformation on Sunday was so spectacular and the result so sensational that Doctor Evil may have painted himself into a corner. He was clearly loving the adulation post performance, and all that Alliardicci clap trap only confirmed what we already knew, that the English Jose really does think he is God's gift to football management.

So what does he do now? Does he revert to Plan A and court ridicule if Man City rip us to shreds as we pump long balls up to no one - alias Mogadon Maiga - or does he bid for immortality by turning the club into the Premiership's very own False Number Nine Barcelona?

If anything, the return of Joe Cole makes the fluid formation even more tempting. Diame or Cole to alternate with Vaz Te? On paper it sounds like a non contest. Indeed, the prospect of  Nolan, Morrison, Cole, Vaz Te and Downing all interchanging positions, means that the attacking permutations could be very exciting.

There is a Plan P of course, with Petric expected to be fit, and to be fair, he is not a totem pole either. And with Morrison away on England duty, there's always a risk of Sod's Law striking and Ravel being injured.

What's great for now is that, for the first  time in a long time, we really don't know how Allardyce will play it. And if we don't know, what hope have the opposition of knowing? I admitted at half time that I was struggling to work out the formation, so just imagine what it was like for the Tottenham defenders who would have been drilled on how to deal with long balls up to a big number 9.

Fingers crossed that Allardyce decides to give it another go and that the players pull off another miracle against Unreal City. Because then we might actually have a chance of watching football at Upton Park for the first time in ages!

Monday, 7 October 2013

After the Tottenham Trouncing, Captain Kev Sounds Like Manager in Waiting

Nolan has his critics but I have always been a big fan, so much so that I nominated him as the Player of the Season the year Parker was stupidly given the award. And listening to his post match interview after Tottenham's tonking, you can see exactly why Sam Alliadichi loves him so much. The guy is captain, mentor, player and player manager rolled into one.

Of course, our Kevin knows which side his bread is buttered, so he astutely sings his manager's praises, but it is the way he talks about Morrison and his threat to kick RVT up the backside that is so impressive. This is no ordinary captain, this is a father figure on the field, somebody who marshals the troops, keeps the spirits up, and communicates the manager's wishes in a language the players can understand.

He even got it right with Maiga, acknowledging that the guy was on the bench, but indicating that the next two weeks were crucial because of the opportunity it gave to get Petric fit. Interestingly, Carlton was not mentioned, which may be a clue that we are not quite as desperate as we were a week ago.

So, he may not be the quickest, nor the most mobile, but Nolan promises to be a fixture in the team for a little while yet. And who would back against him finishing the season as our highest goal scorer and on him becoming assistant manager to Alliadichi in a couple of year's time?

Tottenham reaction to West Ham humiliation

They hath disgraced us and hindered us ninety eight million, laughed at our losses, mocked at our gains, scorned our new stadium, thwarted our bargains, cooled our friends, heated our enemies—and what’s their reason? We are Tottenham men. Hath not a Tottenham man eyes? Hath not a Tottenham man hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a West Ham man is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not crawl into the corner and complain about how unfair it all is? After the trip to Moscow, we needed a rest, we will dissemble now in that. If a Tottenham man wrongs a West Ham man, what is his humility? Revenge. If a West Ham man wrongs a Tottenham man, what should his sufferance be by previous example? Why, to complain. The villainy they have inflicted upon us has been executed—and it shall go hard on AVB as we will now have to spend another fifty million!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Tottenham 0 West Ham 3 - Were you watching Benjamin Netanyahu?

Were you watching Moses? Were you watching Shylock? Were you watching David Ben Gurion? Were you watching Golda Meir? Our lads gave your boys one hell of a beating!

Where to start? The first half performance was good, but the warning signs were there. Townsend had the beating of Boomtown and Tottenham were beginning to camp in our half. True we had fashioned the best two chances of the first 45, with Nolan heading wide from Downing's cross and then volleying wide from Noble's brilliant free kick, but there was a sense that with those opportunities spurned, the second 45 was going to follow a familiar course, with the best we could really hope for being another 0-0 draw.

And when Tottenham came out of the second half traps like Mick the Miller on anabolic steroids, the writing really did appear to be on the wall. Tomkins had a nightmare two minutes and with Jussi saving well from Defoe, it seemed for all the world as if we were going to cave in to a three or four goal defeat.

But then something remarkable happened. We regained our composure. We took hold of the ball. And miracle upon miracle, we passed the bloody thing to players in claret and blue.

It was about 10 minutes into the second half. Rat won the ball deep in our half and passed it sideways to Tomkins. The ball was played up to Noble, who played it back to Tomkins, who played it sideways to Rat. By this time I was apoplectic. "Get it out! Play it long" I found myself yelling, so conditioned to Allardyce football. Instead the ball went forward some five yards to Diame. Who played it back to Rat. Who played it sideways to Noble. Who dinked it forward to Nolan. Who.... But this was getting bloody silly! This was an Allardyce team playing the ball on the ground, making passing patterns and moving the ball forward in a controlled fashion. Against Spurs! Incredible!

And meanwhile, the movement was excellent. Diame was playing so high up the pitch, drifting infield, pulling wide. Vaz Te was dropping deep, then pulling wide. Morrison was looking to get ahead of the striker. Downing kept popping up here, then there. Noble was everywhere, collecting the ball and prompting another forward move. Rat was dashing forward. Demel was dashing even further forward. It wasn't quite total football, but it certainly wasn't the usual Allardyce bollocks! So when we scored, we bloody well deserved to!

True it was from a set piece, but who cares? Over came Downing's corner, Reid soared, headed goal-wards, Nolan did a Tevez by blocking the shot on the opposition's goal line, but the ball rebounded to the Kiwi who gleefully smashed it home! 1-0! And be honest, like me you thought, too bloody early, Spurs have time to score two or three in the time remaining!

But Spurs didn't score! We did. Noble played a sublime ball through to Vaz Te who, clean through on Lloris, played a one two off the keeper's body before deflecting the ball into the gaping net. True RVT was a little lucky, but you make your own luck in football, and Maiga wouldn't have made it into the box and wouldn't have hit his initial shot on target, so all credit to the man who Allardyce tried to freeze out.

But the best was yet to come. Diame flicked the ball on to Morrison who drove at the heart of the Spurs defence, riding two challenges before drawing Lloris and dinking the ball over him into the net. It was a sublime goal from a young man with a very special talent. He is raw, he is probably still a very flawed human being, but if he scores a few more like that, we may find a club or two triggering his £19m release clause!

Mind you, there were still eleven minutes to go, plus injury time, and there was still that dread of what might happen should Spurs score. How absurd! Not only didn't Spurs score, they didn't look like scoring! Collins came on and Reid seized the opportunity to step up into midfield and played a lovely ball out wide to Downing. Spurs huffed and puffed, but we controlled the game.

And whisper this quietly, but it could have been 5-0! Tomkins forced a superb save from Lloris and Diame was denied a penalty when definitely tripped in the box.

Amazing. This really was better than sex! In fact, apart from that Great Escape victory at Old Trafford, this has to be the most amazing West Ham result of the C21st! Truly, truly incredible. Who needs Andy Carroll?

Player ratings:
Jussi 6 (One decent save but was in no man's land under a Spurs free kick);
Demel 9 (He was immense, up and down the touchline all afternoon.)
Tomkins 7 (Excellent except for his 2 minute nightmare at the start of the second half)
Reid 10 (Superb all afternoon and scored!)
Rat 8 (Had a torrid time against Townsend but stuck to his job and came out on top in the end. One brilliant run into the Spurs box was the trigger for our revival);
Noble 9 (What a free kick and what a pass for Vaz Te. He was everywhere, linking the play, closing down Spurs players, stealing the ball away, tackling. Come on Sav and Stani, point out that one bad corner!)
Nolan 7 (He was selfless, plugging gaps, closing, chasing, challenging)
Diame 9 (Back to his best in this one. Lovely pass for Morrison's goal, and ate up the ground all afternoon)
Downing 8 (Looked like a good buy! So much more intelligent than Jarvis!)
Morrison 8 (Great, great, great goal. One very bad error when lost possession when running back towards his own goal, but so what?)
Vaz Te 8 (He scored! A forward bloody scored! And his movement forced Allardyce to find a Plan B!)

Subs: Collins 7, Cole 6, O'Brien 10 (For the bloody great big smile as he came on with a couple of minutes to play!)

Half Time Tottenham 0 West Ham 0 - Best chance to Nolan!

Well that was a lot better than I expected! To be fair to Maiga, Vaz Te has looked every bit as ineffective in the striker role, but the rest of the team have been huge. Tomkins and Reid have made countless crucial interceptions and well timed challenges and the midfield have been chasing and closing, but also breaking as well.

The formation is difficult to work out. Diame is playing incredibly high, Nolan is dropping deeper, Morrison is trying to run beyond Vaz Te when given the chance, and both Rat and Demel have been pushing very high when they have the opportunity to do so. It seems pretty fluid and, thus far has worked well.

The trouble is, can we keep it up for another 45 minutes given the energy already used up in the first 45? Spurs have had a couple of sniffs, but no clear cut chances yet, although Townsend is looking very dangerous. He is one hell of a prospect!

But the best chances of the half have both fallen to Nolan. The first came from a Downing cross but was headed tamely wide. The second was created by a superb Noble freekick, dinked over the wall into the path of Nolan who had peeled off the wall and ran in behind. Sadly his volley, on the stretch skidded a yard or two wide.

It's likely to be a heart stopping second 45. Spurs have some big guns on the bench and will be looking to exploit our tired legs in the last 20 minutes, and any sleepy brains in the first five minutes of the second half.

Jarvis, Maiga and O'Brien dropped!

Well it's not before time! At last Allardyce has woken up to the fact that Maiga is shit and grasped that Vaz Te, the man he wanted to offload, is a far better option up front. As for Jarvis, he has been on borrowed time all season so, with Downing fit and Cole on his way back, it is no surprise to see him parked on the bench. No assists all season says it all, sadly, and at £11m, he is looking a huge waste of money.

O'Brien, however, can count himself unlucky. True he was stupid to give away that penalty against Hull, but I think he has been one of our better players so far this season. Tomkins preferred ahead of Collins again, which is another interesting choice.

Can we get anything from the game? If we do, it will surely be on the basis of suffocating Tottenham's vastly superior players. But fingers crossed that Vaz Te, Downing and Morrison turn it on, proving you don't have to pay £25m on foreign imports! Mind you, it's worrying that AVB has called our bluff and selected Defoe, something we have been trying to provoke through Cole singing his former team mate's praises.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Into the bottom three

So, when was the last time we were in the bottom three of the Premiership? You have to go back to the time of Avram. Six or seven games into the season and the table is generally taking shape, and whilst we currently have a game in hand, it is hard to imagine us bringing anything back from Tottenham tomorrow, or indeed against Man City next week.

Captain Kev has been wheeled out to play the role of Corporal Jones, telling everybody "Don't panic!" but anybody with any sense knows that we now face one hell of a battle to avoid the drop. Remember, thirteen of the squad have slipped through the Premiership trap door before; and without Carroll, there is no fire power in the team. And personally I wouldn't be surprised if Carroll is the new Dean Ashton, extending his pay day on the basis of forever being a month or so away from fitness.

Now all we need is for the fans to disgrace the club at Tottenham tomorrow.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Letting Collison move to Bournemouth is madness!

Ok, so we all know the problem. We have a team that can't score goals. The strikers are useless, and the midfielders get a nose bleed if they get anywhere near the box - Nolan apart who is now so slow that even Faye could pick up his jogs.

True Morrison may be another exception but, if we are honest, he was pretty ineffective for the first 60 minutes against Hull and only came into his own following the introduction of Downing and Vaz Te.

And what does Collison offer? Precisely what nobody else offers, a hunger to get into the box and that useful knack of often being exactly where the ball ricochets to. He isn't Lampardesque, but he's probably the closest we have to it, as his 13 goals from 80 first team starts suggests.

So what does Allardyce do? He loans him out to bloody Bournemouth!

Now I'm not saying JC is our saviour as a starter, but I am a huge fan of using him for the last 20 minutes of a game, when defenders tire and their concentration is prone to lapsing. It's true he squanders a high percentage of his chances, but at least he gets into the box and gives opposition defenders something to think about.

But Allardyce doesn't fancy him it seems, unlike Maiga, Taylor and Jarvis! But then Allardyce didn't bring Collison to the club did he, so his ego isn't pricked by overlooking him. As for the others, Sullivan might reasonably demand of the English Jose, "So what idiot told me to invest £18m of the club's money on three players who aren't even good enough to make the first 16?"