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WHAM! Review

(No, I haven’t been to see the band…)

Just like the weekend before, it was a good game where I was annoyed we didn’t win. West Ham certainly had their fair share of the chances but so did we and a draw is arguably the right result. That said, 1-0 up with five minutes to go, you always have to be disappointed when you don’t go on to win. It was obviously disappointing that Rob Styles, who is THE worst ref in the Premiership, failed to give us a penalty. But the defending and failure to take chances of both teams meant that on this day, Aston Villa and West Ham were both their own worst enemies.

Neither side are great at the back, neither side could take their chances (barring on each, obviously) and both sides play some nice stuff. Both teams are also in what is probably their ‘right’ position for the season and may well still be there come game 38. That said, going on current form, Tottenham are probably the favourites to take the 7th spot, but with them still facing trips to Anfield and Old Trafford, I am sure the Spammers fans will be hopeful. Personally, I hope Fulham get there though, as I think Roy Hodgson has done a fantastic job. That said, I would like any of the London clubs to get it ahead of Man City. It just seems like footballing justice every time they lose a game of football.

Given the circumstances, we needed the three points. I genuinely felt that if we could take 19 points from our last 21, that Arsenal may slip up enough to give us a fighting chance of regaining 4th spot. Now, that is simply too much to ask. Obviously we must keep going until it is mathematically impossible but, much like our neighbours from West Bromwich, the painful defeat is now not just staring us in the face, it is giving us a big sloppy kiss!

When you consider our home form, the one thing it has to do is give us hope for next season; rectify it, and CL football in 2010-2011 will be a very real, distinct possibility. Maybe we will not be able to sustain the away form, but I don’t see why we should not and even if we don’t, turning these home draws into wins is likely to more than counteract any slip in points obtained away. I’m sure Arsenal will also point to games where they should have won, but the difference is, each of the last three seasons we have been progressively getting better, whereas Arsenal have progressively been getting worse. In addition, Chelsea will not have Guus Hiddink and consequently could face a downturn in form. Plus as we all now, Liverpool are one serious injury to Steven Gerrard away from slipping out of the top 4 themselves.

The top 4 are the top 4 and that is how it is. That is how it will finish this season, and they will – rightfully so – be considered the favourites to finish that way again next season. But in my opinion, the only guaranteed certs are Manchester United. After that, while the other three WILL be the most likely, I am sure that the likes of ourselves and Everton – and probably Citeh & Spuds – will be putting up an even tougher fight next season.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Football, Soccer | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

West Ham Preview

Well, to have ANY chance of Champions League football next season, we need to win 6 out of 6 & hope Arsenal lose 3 out of 6. No bother then! Er…

On the injury front news, Gabriel Agbonlahor is likely to be out, but Emile Heskey is expected to return. Carlos Cuellar is looking good for a return too, although nothing confirmed yet. Martin Laursen and Wilfred Bouma remain on the injured list. I would imagine that if the former is all the case then I’d expect Heskey and Cuellar to come in for Agbonlahor and Knight.

Personally I thought Nathaniel Delfounso did well enough against Everton – and has looked good whenever he has been involved this season – to push for a starting place and I believe that it is a better combination up top;  for me it should be Carew/Heskey with Agbonlahor/Delfounso. Plus of course 4-5-1/4-3-3 is still an option, but I expect us to play 4-4-2.

West Ham have Dean Ashton and Carlton Cole both injured, but if we don’t improve our defending tomorrow then they are still likely to grab a goal or two!

They are no mugs at West Ham but our bad run has gone on too long now and the law of averages alone suggests it will end soon… the last two performances have also been much better and therefore I am feeling confident that we can get the win. If we don’t, we need to start looking down rather than up…

Prediction: Villa 3-1 West Ham

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Football, Soccer | , | Leave a comment