West Ham 3-3 West Brom
A very entertaining match but one which we would have been incredibly fortunate to take 3 points from.
It’s very easy to blame the defence for the disappointing result. However, we have to take into account that we were playing with four full-backs across the back line, including Ivorian Guy Demel who was clearly not fully fit since the injury he picked up against Sunderland. The defence of Rat, O’Brien, McCartney and Demel certainly tried their hardest in unfortunate circumstances and I think that praise has to go to them for that. It is clear that if we had had our strongest defence out there that we would not have the conceded the goals in the very poor manner in which we did. In Typical Big Sam fashion he blamed the injuries to the back four as the reason for the defeat. This is one of reasons which could have been less prominent had the manager signed a fourth centre-back, as most other clubs do. It is key to have at least two centre-backs to cover the first choice pairing, something which we certainly do not have unless you count the inexperienced Leo Chambers who you would hope would not have to be required in the situation we find ourselves in. Hopefully the potential signing of Everton’s Jonny Heitinga we solve this issue.
One major positive which came out of the game for me was the new confidence which Matt Jarvis seems to have found. Since his signing for a then club-record fee, Jarvis has been evidently lacking confidence and has refused to even attempt to get passed his man. Yesterday however, he got past his man every time and got the ball into the box to create issues for the Baggies’ defence. He made a couple of runs from the halfway line and really showed his pace as he accelerated passed a couple of players before getting right to the byline and either getting in a dangerous ball, winning a corner or a free-kick. He certainly looked closer to the player we signed and is beginning to show the form which got him into the England squad.
Modibo Maiga showed just how much his goal meant to him by his teary celebration and showed the passion which few players have shown this season and is a player who the fans, myself included, are certainly beginning to warm towards.
I still fail to understand how people believe that Kevin Nolan played well in the game. Watching MOTD and seeing him with two assists and a tap in does not give you the right to comment on his performance as you did not see his laziness throughout the match. He gives nothing more to the team than you or I could. I am even beginning to doubt his leadership qualities. In the past he would be giving strong encouragement to the side, especially after going a goal down. I saw none of that at all yesterday.
Anyway, with the announcement that Andy Carroll should be back for the next home game against Newcastle, we can all begin to become slightly more optimistic.