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West Ham continue to crash and burn against City, 2-0: Bullet point breakdown

By on April 19, 2015 in Match Report

  • Ahead of today’s game, Sky Sports broadcasted a four-man interview with West Ham teammates Carl Jenkinson, James Collins, Stewart Downing and Kevin Nolan. The quartet appeared relaxed, upbeat, and in generally good spirits as they discussed a multitude of issues from Sam Allardyce to the Man City game. Most notably, they gave the impression that the squad was very much focused as a unit, supportive of their manager, and determined to kick on in the twilight stages of the season.
  • You would almost be fooled into thinking, therefore, that West Ham might replicate that level of positivity and desire on the pitch. Indeed, against a desperate to win Man City side, the mental aspect of the game as well as the physical one would be crucial to achieving any kind of result. Sadly, the Hammers failed to deliver in either of those departments.
  • In the second half of the season, it’s fair to say Sam Allardyce’s side has drawn in just about every footballing criticism possible over the span of 15 or so games. Remarkably, today’s first half display was a culmination of all those errors, ranging from the initial tactical setup, all the way to individual mistakes being made on the pitch left, right and centre. West Ham invited excessive pressure from sitting back, showing a basic inability to keep hold of the ball, and were literally misplacing three yard passes. It was a nasty sight.
  • I know it’s Man City. I know we’re coming to the end of a tiring season. And I know our expectations were hugely raised by that great start. But when all that Mark Noble can do after chasing the ball for five minutes is hoof it up to an isolated Carlton Cole, the mind begins to numb.
  • The James Collins own goal was thus a fitting way to open Man City’s account for the afternoon. As I mentioned on Twitter, it was as if Ginger Pele channeling the great Brazilian striker himself there with such a masterful finish. Although a moment of pure footballing comedy, it should be noted that the Welsh defender recovered well and was back to his body-on-the-line enthusiasm for the rest of the game.
  • City’s second goal also came from an individual error, with Stewart Downing the culprit this time around. His pass left Alex Song short and allowed for a fast counter attack, finished in style by Sergio Aguero. Funnily enough, if you take out these two  isolated mistakes leading to goals, West Ham actually did OK keeping the home side at bay. That’s not to say a loss wasn’t exactly what was deserved, but the second half performance from the Hammers was effective defensively, and made those early slip-ups even more frustrating.
  • Enner Valencia continued to be utterly ineffective down the left wing, but can you blame him? It’s clear to see his best position is upfront, and even if he played on the right at times for previous clubs, the only way he’s going to succeed in the Premier League is as a striker.
  • Matt Jarvis and Kevin Nolan replaced Alex Song and Carlton Cole late in the second half. Scarily, they created two of our best chances of the match.
  • Cheikhou Kouyate came under fire for an elbow on David Silva, resulting in a suspected broken cheekbone, but it would be extremely harsh to suggest the midfielder committed the foul intentionally. Firstly, if you look at his face you can see he only has eyes for the ball, and consequently wouldn’t have any idea exactly where Silva was running. Secondly, Cheikhou Kouyate’s a pretty big bloke, especially compared to the 5 ft 7 in Spaniard. His arms aren’t in an unnatural position, and you have to conclude that it was just an unfortunate coming together.
  • Alex Song received the top WhoScored rating amongst West Ham players with a 7.1/10. He certainly didn’t look the part but still completed 75% of passes, including two key ones, and chipped in with two interceptions. Don’t get me wrong: he was anything other than average today, but still comparatively better to a lot of others. Downing was bottom with 5.2.
  • Sam Allardyce: “Today’s mistakes have ultimately cost us two goals which we could have avoided quite easily. Sometimes when you play Manchester City with the quality and talent they’ve bought here you have to hold your hands up because you can’t stop them. But certainly today makes it very disappointing because we gifted them two goals which we could have avoided quite easily.”
  • “My focus is still on the team trying to achieve five clean sheets in the last five games. Unless we do that we’re going to find it tough to win a game of football because it’s simple maths that at the moment we rarely score more than one. Because of that it’s simple for the team to understand that if they want to win a game of football, they’ve got to not concede a goal. They’ve got to focus on making sure they keep a clean sheet and who knows what would have happened if we hadn’t made those two mistakes today. We may well have come off here with a 0-0 from how well we defended. We may well have come away, with Man City getting nervous, nicking the game. But until we keep a clean sheet we’re going to find it difficult to win a game of football.”
  • The above comment is a fine example of why West Ham fans just can’t accept Allardye as manager anymore. To focus on cleans sheets rather than scoring more than one goal per game is infuriating to say the least. It’s the same reason that West Ham continue to let leads slip – the side is constantly told to sit back after going ahead. It’s simple maths, but it’s also simple lunacy: of course we’re only going to score one goal per game if that’s all the team is licenced to do.
  • Relax everyone, it’s nearly over.
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West Ham continue to crash and burn against City, 2-0: Bullet point breakdown

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