Game 31: Monday 30 March 1998
West Ham United 3 - 0 Leeds United
(Half-time: 2 - 0)
Referee: A B Wilkie (Chester-le-Street)
|« Derby County
|Martyn, Kelly, Haaland, Hasselbaink, Ribeiro, Bowyer (Wetherall 75), Halle, Harte, Hiden, Maybury (Wallace 75), Molenaar
|Beeney, McPhail, Matthews
|West Ham United
|Lama, Unsworth, Pearce, Ferdinand, Lazaridis, Moncur, Berkovic (Mean, 79), Abou (Omoyinmi, 87), Potts, Hartson, Sinclair
|Forrest, Hodges, Coyne
|Harry Kewell missed this game due to some petulant toy-throwing by Soccer Australia
|West Ham United
|Hartson 8, Abou 23, Pearce 68
|Ribeiro, Kelly, Haaland
|West Ham United
|Lazaridis, Moncur, Sinclair
|West Ham United
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers
|There but for the grace of God!
|View from the Royal Hotel Office Suite!!
|v W Ham
|Hammers aren't hapless
|hammers aren't hapless
|Hammers have Europe in sights
|West Ham keep an eye on Europe
|The Electronic Telegraph
|West Ham punish Leeds for defensive blunders
|Links to Reports on the net
|Soccernet match report
|Carlingnet match report
And the game - well ever since Martyn was called up for Ingerland he's played like Lukic whenever he strays from his line. His judgement and kicking on the run have been shakey to say the least, and sadly he and Hiden conspired twice to f*** up, effectively finishing the contest. I thought the blame for the first was more Hidens, what with that perfect flick on, but why Martyn was out there I don't know? I also don't know why Hartson was swanning around in the 6 yd box all alone. The 2nd was plain daft - Hiden should have whacked the thing, but Martyn made a right arse of the clearance. The third, and I have to disagree a little bit Martyn re Harte - a couple of crosses and a goal-line block apart - I thought he was very average, and made a central defender look like Giggs, with Pearce skinning him quite often - anyway, the 3rd I'd put down to Harte's poor challenge.
Bowyer was, as reported, absolutely crap, and I lost count of the number of stray passes that both he, Halle and Haaland made.
It's difficult to be positive sometimes, but at least Jimmy and Molenaaro tried! I found the team structure quite baffling, especially the inability to change it, and the change made when we did so. Wallace was absolute s*ite as per usual - what was the point in that? Should have brought Matthews on! And bringing Weatherall on to free Hiden in the middle? Why not play him in the Radebe role from the start, play Kelly at right-back if he must (and yes, Maybury was poor). Ribiero is in a wierd bit of form too - almost trying too hard, and he gets involved with far too much silliness as well, as does Haaland! Interesting to see that Unsworths(?) goading of Jimmy to headbut him was ignored (thank God!) - maybe Jimmys learning???
Anyway, it's only 1 game, it's Barnsley on Satdi, and we can beat those Chelsea wankers next week so all's not lost! I still maintain that we need skill in the middle, and last nights passing proved a point.
Martyn 4 (for the couple of excellent
Molenaaro 7 (for a header alone in the 2nd half when he was about 30 feet off the ground - astonishing!)
Kelly 4 (just)
Jimmy 7 (just)
Wallace 0 (can't beat a man, can't pass a ball! - not alone last night maybe, but we know he's consistenly crap!) Weatherall 6
GG 3 - got it wrong this time, apart from the comments about Australian football and the Harry situation, which were spot on!
At least it was only 3 points, and not 20 funerals!
1. Without Wetherall and Radebe the defence looks shaky and communication is poor. Just before kick off Kelly was imploring Martyn and the defenders to talk - would that they had listened to him. Also, without Lucas the number of saving tackles dwindled. Whenever one of West Ham's quick wide players got away from his man (more often down our right than our left) a CB was drawn out of position but didn't stop the run. Lucas and Kelly do cover well in this way.
2. Kelly was lost as a holding player. Positionally he was weak and when he got the ball he could only play the way he was facing - defenders are taught to do that. Midfielders are told to look up and sometimes try to switch the play. Kelly is a defender who can play as a wing back, not a central midfielder. Without Kelly's pace and with Maybury visibly lacking in confidence we were poor going forward down the right.
3. The tactics and selection were dubious. Wetherall is at his best against big dirty bastards of the sort so admired by KLKOT - perhaps 3 CBs would have helped us be effectively defensive. We lined up to play on the break, but only Jimmy and Bowyer were quick enough to do it, and Ribeiro drifted inside, narrowing the play and cramping Haaland's room to make runs. Compare with Derby - Kewell gave us pace _and_ stretched their defence by going wide on the left. The tactics and the personnel didn't fit with each other. This means that I am not inclined to be too down on Haaland and Bowyer. They and Jimmy worked extremely hard but got poor support. In addition I lost count of the times whe their 'bad' passes were not their fault. Either runs weren't made (Halle, Maybury) or runs came infield (Bruno) and left them too few options. Once WH closed down Jimmy or Bowyer the other was too often left with nothing obvious on. Under such circumstances it is not fair only to blame the passer. Something similar happened with corners, I think. We spent 70 minutes taking bad ones. Then finally delivered one that threatened a goal. It was probably not a coincidence that Wetherall made it into a good corner, having only just come on.
On specifics - Hiden should be absolved from much blame on either first half goal. Maybury had the chance to see the ball out of play rather than give away the corner that led to the first. No-one (Martyn was close) told him that he was between the ball and the attacker, so he hoofed it needlessly into Row Z. On the second, Hiden was about to clear and Martyn got in his way.
We also missed chances - Ribeiro in particular should have done better. He didn't make Lama save when he had chances.
As to those who say the Plonker should have come on sooner, all I can say is that his first three touches either gave the ball away or put passes behind runners. He did wriggle behind their defence once, but delivered a weak cross. No, the problems last night were more than he could have done anything about.
Martyn - OK after half time, one save in particular was top class. But two costly errors before the break. He must learn to communicate better with his defenders.
Maybury - Poor lad, he looked out of his depth and terribly nervous.
Harte - Looked solid enough in a rickety side. I begin to think that our left back problems this season may come from further forward.
Hiden - Our best defender on the night. But not a perfect game by any means. Seemed to lack Wetherall's ability to mix it with Hartson and took too long to suss out Abou.
Molenaar - Some touches are great, some tackles are crunchingly excellent, but I never get the feeling of a defence of unyielding, error free strength from him. He lacks the pace to cover effectively into wide areas.
Halle - Crap. He is the sort of player who does nothing to help the team when it is struggling. Fine when things are going well but very poor in games like last night's. He seemed to have put on Rodney's old boots and spent too much time falling over. Couldn't cope with their wingback at all.
Kelly - Out of position. We missed his pace out wide and at the back. A waste of his talent to keep him in the unfamiliar role in midfield.
Haaland - Like Bowyer and Jimmy he ran and worked tirelessly. The lack of width going forward and the absence of Kewell and Radebe took something away from his game that meant he wasn't the force he had been in the previous two games.
Bowyer - Of all our players I felt sorry for him last night. He was made to look a poor passer by those around him once the Hammers tightened up on his linking with Jimmy.
Ribeiro - He doesn't look like a wide midfield player to me. Very one-footed, he cuts in much more than he should and is slow to regain his position when caught out. Cramped our style, looked too slow and passed as badly as anyone. The worst game I've seen him play. With his return our left back looked weak again. Down the right Kelly, Halle, even Bowyer, have always worked back to support their full back. Maybe Robbo and Harte are exposed by the fact that Bruno doesn't give the same sort of help and is slow. Halle is too, but has positional discipline.
Jimmy - Our MOTM by a street. He was obviously frustrated by the others' inability to match his commitment and work rate as well as his skill. His first touch under pressure was excellent and he tried hard to bring others into the game.
Wetherall gave us options at corners and looked effective at the back (for the brief time he was on the field) and Wallace did nothing to suggest that he should be offered a new contract.
Still, you can't win 'em all and, given the games we had, 6 points from the last 9 available isn't actually a bad return.
Martyn - I assume Mrs Martyn has already booked the summer 98 holiday in the Carribean; the last three weeks in June and the first in July would be my bet!!
Maybury - Return to Lord Eddie ASAP and leave him there for the foreseeable future. Let's give the boy some time, unlike.......
Harte - Absolute shite!!! And don't accuse me of just starting my anti-Harte campaign. Even those with accute hearing difficulties on Row W, will have heard my less than complimentary opinions about this tosser. Sell for Christs sake, while Mick Macarthy is still dumb enough to put him in the Irish side.
Hiden - not at fault for either goal, given that our former England keeper didn't shout on either occasion. A very good prospect, but as somebody else said (The Rev possibly) not the finished article, and shouldn't be one of our first choice centre backs. Neither should.......
Bobby M - Has had some outstanding games recently, but gave Hartson the freedom of the six yard box for the first goal last night. A very, very good man to have in the squad, but he is not as good as Weatherall or Radebe. GG - NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER drop David Weatherall again, when he is available to play. He has been a rock this season, but not only that he is the natural captain of the side; another oft talked about subject on Row W. David and Lucas are the number one centre back pairing and should be played together there, unless there are exceptional mitigating circumstances.
The midfield unit - Kelly had a mare, Bruno played as bad as I can remember (should have made the french twat make a save from his free header), while Alfie and Bowyer huffed and puffed all night while achieving little of note. Halle is shit, and now that the light nights are coming, should be despatched for quiet evenings at the Shay Stadium in Halifax - as a bricklayer!!!
Jimmy - Worked his orchestra's off for the cause and is blameless for last nights debacle IMO. Will get better and better, and yes I did slag him off for being a lazy bastard earlier in the season. Wallace - WHO!!!!
Kelly played the 'Radebe' role just in front of the back 4. He's proved to be quite an adaptable lad, but it took him 20 minutes to settle there. Ribeiro is no Kewell, and was asked to play wider and further forward than he is comfortable doing.
Redknapp won the tactical battle. With practically no midfielders available he played Berkovic and Sinclair much deeper than expected, making Kelly's marking role redundant.
First Goal, I'd say Martyn's fault, Hiden was right to go for it even if he did end up flicking it on, you don't just let the ball go unless you get a call.
Second Goal, I'd put that down to Martyn too, he should have stayed back. Hiden was in control of the situation and could have knocked it out of play, or cleared it.
3rd goal had to be Harte's fault.
GG should have made changes earlier. Especially when Leeds ran out of ideas after not scoring during that spell of pressure after half-time.
Wallace should have been on earlier. However, once we were 3-0 down, he might as well have given Matthews and McPhail a chance.
I don't know about the relative merits of Maybury & Harte, but Maybury IMO is only the 4th best right-back in the club (behind Kelly, Halle and Hiden)
Harte IMO is better than Robertson and whilst not looking like another Dorigo, could easily develop into a left-sided Sterland.
Another good game for Molenaar, but he did lose some key challenges in the air which Wetherall would have won, and he does not have Wetherall's presence in the opponents' area.
I still think Wetherall and Radebe is our best partnership at the back. Although Molenaar has been really good lately.
Well they were rather good weren't they? Tons of movement which we failed to cope with from the off. While our system is fine if we're level or ahead it falls apart when we're behind. The prime example of this is Kelly. Against Arsenal and yesterday he was man-marking (Berkovic for those of you who didn't notice) and did a pretty good job. Once that role is abandoned he is exposed as definitley not a competent midfield distributor.
Quite how we were meant to get back into the game with Halle as our right-sided striker was beyond me. He certainly slipped nicely into the plonker role, falling over in some style. The best you could say for him was that he gave Maybury some (much-needed) protection. When Kelly went to r-b after the much-delayed subs Halle was superfluous. The need for a right-sided midfielder was never more evident.
Just as my friend was able to fill me on some excellent local knowledge - for all their Aboooo's - he pointed out the near-silence was he was one-on-one with Blind Nige in the first half. They knew he wasn't going to score. And he was most grateful for my tip Jimmy was never any good when he starts pointing and pouting - as so it proves.
As for the goals - shambles.
As for the chant 'Super Rod' - help. The sentiment - get someone on - was fine, the solution mistaken.
As for the summary - outplayed by a rather good side and no tactical genius on earth could plan for Pearce - a player I've always liked - performing like Carlos Alberto.
Martyn - lost us the game
Maybury - good enough for Rep of Ire, not good enough for us (yet)
Molenaar - "a big fucker" as my friend put it, and not bad
Hiden - one of those nights
Harte - Didn't go forward when he had loads of space in the first half, brillaint clearance off the line in the second. As a sponsor of the great DR I will say no more
Kelly - man-marker, yes; right-back, yes; midfield general, oh fucking no
Halle - shite
Haaland - should be fined for running 30 yards and shoving Berk (?) when it was no of his business
Bowyer - lost
Ribero - kept coming inside to much
Jimmy - not happy on his own, not happy with service (sic)
Plonker - rubbish
Wetherall - almost a brilliant, if only he could spell his name
A thrilling exhibition of direct, played-to-feet attacking football straight from the Academy handbook took West Ham into seventh spot and one step nearer a Uefa Cup place last night.
Leeds had scored nine goals in their previous two games in their search for a European spot but they just could not live with the London side's verve and vivacity as West Ham scored three and threatened more.
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