West Ham United 2-0 Liverpool F.C.
West Ham went into this game having recorder their first league win in several games against Southampton in which was our final game of 2015. Having already beaten Liverpool at Anfield earlier in the season there was a quiet confidence around for today’s game.
Bilic kept faith with the inform players, as Collins, Antonio and Carroll all remained in the team despite the returns from injury of Payet and Lanzini. This faith from the manager was well and truly repaid as Antonio and Carroll scored a goal each to give us the win.
We are now seeing why we spent the money that we did on the pair, Antonio still needs to adjust a bit to the BPL but his attitude and desire will certainly help him with that. As for Andy Carroll, if he stays fit and inform then he can be unplayable at time as he was today against his former employers, Something that he will have to work on if he wants to be a part of the England Euro 2016 squad that goes to France in the summer.
The last 2 games have been a good step in the right direction, and I really think Bilic deserves a lot of credit for this. He has managed his squad well with the games coming within just days of each other over the Christmas time, and his recent tactics and substitutions have been perfect on both occasions. A little thing like having a player o the post for corners can go a long way, as it did today where Noble cleared off the line from a Lucas header and stopped them from getting back into the game. Never easy for a manager to come into the Premier League and do as well as Slaven has done, so he deserves the applause for that.
The one and only bad thing to come from the game today is the injury to Lanzini, he seemed to pick up another muscular injury towards the end of the first half, hopefully he’ll be back soon to join the squad as we push up the table.
The game itself had many eye catching performances from the West Ham players, Cresswell was fantastic at left back stopping the wingers from supplying Benteke with the service he needs to cause problems. Pedro Obiang who came on for Lanzini late in the first half put in a very impressive display once given the chance, he retained the ball well and proved an annoyance to the Liverpool creative players.
Dimitri Payet made his very eagerly awaited return from injury about a month ahead of schedule, he received a great cheer as he made his way onto the pitch. Payet played around 30 minutes and looked fit and ready to go, and even showed us a bit of skill against the LFC players to remind us of what he can do.
One player that got so close to my man of the match pick today was our inspirational captain Mark Noble, today we saw a pure display of what this all means to him. A proper captain’s performance with leadership, tough tackling and even an assist to his name. Not all fans favourite has to be the best player, and that’s part of the reason I and so many others are delighted for him being granted a testimonial game this season.
Every single one of the players today have 100%, didn’t stop running and put their bodies on the line whenever needed. A fine team performance filled with energy, ambition and good ability to attack and defend. The bench again looked very strong with Zarate and Song being unused subs, two players of which could very well start themselves, and a lot of credit has to go to David Gold and David Sullivan for that.
Adrian 8/10 A few catches and a save is all he had to deal with.
Tomkins 8/10 Another solid game at right back.
Collins 10/10 Impressive, full hearted display from the Welshmen.
Ogbonna 8/10 Starting to look more comfortable at the back.
Cresswell 9/10 Up and down the wing all game, fantastic crosses throughout.
Kouyate 8/10 Huge amounts of energy, ran with the ball and brought players into play.
Noble 9/10 True example of a captain’s performance.
Lanzini 7/10 Good until the injury. Obiang 8/10 Broke up the play and held the ball well.
Antonio 8/10 Never stopped running, goal came from desire and ambition to score.
Valencia 7/10 Never fully got into the game, but not bad by any means.
Carroll 8/10 Couldn’t be stopped today, pressed well and was always in the right position.
Man of the match
As you can see by the match ratings, the only player to get a perfect 10/10 rating for today’s game is James Collins. Apart from an early slip, he didn’t put a foot wrong, accurate and aggressive tackling all game, throwing his body in front of the ball to block any efforts at our
goal and somehow managed to get his head to almost all balls into our penalty area, and used his strength and experience to stop Benteke from becoming a threat. He may be 32 years old now but he’s playing as well as ever before, definitely deserving of his recent two year contract extension.
This win means we have now completed the double, home and away wins against the Famous reds of Liverpool F.C. for the first time since the 1963-64 season. West Ham now have a week’s break from Premier League action as they begin their FA Cup campaign, in what will be the last at the Boleyn Ground. Let’s hope we can make it far into the tournament and dream of a cup in our farewell Boleyn season. What a way to say goodbye that would be.