Before anyone criticizes me for this article, if there was a competition for the best defense in the league, I would certainly argue that West Ham have a strong case. The stats certainly suggest so. We have conceded 34 goals this season, which is by no means bad. In fact it is the 9th best conceded total in the league. However our whole defense have been injured this year, so much so we have been reduced to having Roger Johnson as a centre back. We have had to play four full backs in defense against West Brom. So there is obviously reasons to point out that the 34 goals conceded is not the true figure that would reflect our defensive solidarity. However when you are playing with 1 centre back or alternating between a different defense every week, it is very difficult to form partnerships and understand each others roles. Not to mention having the passenger of Razvan Rat at full back for the first half of the season. To any non WHUFC reader, he was a by passer, often lacked the final ball and was never focused on the match. Also to add, Jaaskelainen was a liability for West Ham in the first half of the season, often being hesitant and on his knees as he watched the ball fly in his net. The reinforcement of Adrian has enforced more clean sheets.
However enough of the excuses. Collins would head a brick wall for us and uses his body like a barrack to save any shots going towards the keeper. He is reliable in the air and malicious in the tackle. With the accompaniment of Reid and Tomkins, who provide excellent positioning and pace, which Collins lacks. You only have to watch the stalemate at Chelsea to see what our defense can do. It is a surprise that we have the most clean sheets in the league so far. In addition to our clean sheet total, I would say at least 10 goals conceded this year have came from set pieces and penalties. I have often thought our full backs have lacked that bit of talent. Many have questioned Demel, however I argue that he gets forward very well and does little wrong at the back. So much so that Guy Demel is the only defender to have started in every single one of our 13 clean sheets this year. Joey O’Brien this year, has fallen in his performances from last year. I often find him losing his man, and lacking that yard of pace, his positioning is poor as well. However George McCartney has proven thus far that he was worth re-signing him.
On the flip side of the coin, others may argue, Southampton, Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, etc? I believe Liverpool have lacked the connection across their back four. Often giving away silly goals, or giving away stupid fouls. Their defensive errors were exposed by Swansea, a team we managed to keep at bay. Southampton’s full backs, go far too far forward and leave them exposed at the back. Which Downing and Jarvis took full advantage of. You could say this is the modern day full back, but I am talking in terms of being a defensive unit. Man City I believe have a good case however without Kompany they look fragile, understandable as without a focal point at the back you can be exposed. Chelsea are another team, I believe have a good defense, Mourinho has them trained well. Everton another well drilled defense.
In conclusion, as a defensive unit at the back, they play for each other, they know their positions and when they need cover. There is a good mix of experience and younger defenders. We have a balanced back four, some say we need more pace, yet the inclusion of Armero could be the answer to that problem. Like a typical Allardyce team, we have a strong defense. It makes a nice change, from the likes from Zola’s era. Feel free, to add any more points or argue any points, I am up for a debate.