Written by @farehamhammer
These views are of the author and not necessarily those of the site.
Make no error about it, the 2-3 score line flattered us. Till Spurs had a man sent off and took their foot off the gas, we were comprehensively outplayed. The North Londoners sliced through our midfield like a knife through butter. The shot on target ratio target was something like 10-2 in Tottenham’s favour. We started well enough, and we were giving as good, as we got in a feisty opening 20 minutes. However, all went pear shaped when the only man with real pace in our team, Michael Antonio, had to be taken off through injury. I was ABSOLUTELY STUNNED when Bilic brought Carroll on as the replacement for Antonio. It was a game crying out for Sakho. Pressing from the front, getting amongst them but the manager defied all conventional wisdom to bring on a virtual statue.
On paper we have a squad that should finish between 10th-7th, however that means nothing if they are not delivering on the pitch. Somebody has got to grab the squad by the scruff of the neck, and turn things round and quickly… otherwise we are on our way to The Championship. It is as simple as that. Fear not we have that man amongst us! He was man of the match against Spurs, in fact he has been the stand out performer this season by a long way. That man is Pablo Zabaleta. Having spent nine years at Manchester City, Zabaleta knows what it takes to be a winner, having won his fair amount of trophies with Manchester City. By his very conduct on and off the pitch, it is clear that Zabaleta wants to be a winner again. He has not come to wind down, he has come to us because he believes in time, West Ham United are going places. We are a work in progress! Keep your eyes on the prize!
No doubt that won’t be popular, with the Mark Noble for sainthood brigade, as this will mean Noble is no longer Captain. Noble should no longer be in the team, I will come back to that in a moment. The Zabaleta/Noble captaincy issue reminds me so much of The Parker/Nolan Captaincy situation. Big Sam came in with The Club on the bones of its arse, and decided that Nolan was going to be his lieutenant and enforcer in chief on and off the pitch. Scott Parker, put in a transfer request and soon afterwards joined Spurs. Yes I know it is not exactly the same as the Noble/Zabaleta situation, but it has its similarities. With Nolan as Club Captain, there was no way Parker was going to hang around anyway. Too many cooks spoil the broth as they say. Now we get to the kid from Canning Town, who so happens to be Captain of West Ham. There has been so much sentimental hogwash spouted, as why Mark Noble, should be in the team and many have been out and about beating the Noble drum.
We’ve been told that he is “upset” at the criticism he has faced. Yes, wishing him injury is vile and uncalled for, but valid criticism? What do you want Mark? The manager to give you a free pass into the team because you’re ‘West Ham’? And then expect supporters to say nothing, when you cost us in match after match? Brilliant that would be for team morale then Mark. Do you really think your teammates would respect you, if selected on that basis? Yet that is EXACTLY what some of the Noble patriots are demanding. Why should he be in the team? “Because you can see he is really up for it!!” But performance wise he should not be in the team. “Did I say he is good enough??! But he is really up for it and should be in the team!” ok. Another: “Mark bleeds Claret and blue and hates The Spuds. He deserves to be in the team!” You point out Noble’s short comings, and the response? “Still Mark bleeds claret and blue and should be in the team!” FFS! Talk about One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest!
Other Noble patriots, have adopted the tactic of rubbishing any West Ham player who has ONE bad game, as justification that Noble should be in the team. Forgetting how many stinkers, Noble has had on the trot. I wonder how Obiang felt, when he spent match after match on the bench just so that Noble could keep his place in the team. Despite being different class to Noble. Others kid themselves that Kouyate and Obiang don’t work. Given time they will develop into a good partnership, with Obiang holding and Kouyate driving forward. Even if we signed Messi and it meant Noble would lose his place in the team. The Noble patriots would rather Messi be on the bench than Noble lose his place, which is barmy!! Let’s say it as it is: Noble has no pace, offers nothing going forward, no goal threat, master at passing the ball anywhere but forward. When closed down quickly, the ball is passed straight to the opposition, “Like he does it on purpose” or he gets dispossessed allowing the opposition a free run at goal. He gives away free kicks in dangerous positions. Christ how many times has he hacked away at the opposition and been fortunate not to be sent off?
When he does venture forward and gets near the opposition penalty area, once more he gets dispossessed, and is too slow to get back as a result our defence has no protection. Funny that in the previous three games without Noble, we had three clean sheets. Yet as soon as he is back we start conceding again. Some thought he was great yesterday, others share my viewpoint that he was once again poor and that standard everyone expects from a premier league footballer diminished. He then started charging about, that lasted about twenty minutes, after that slow and cumbersome, especially on the turn. Even against Bolton he looked poor. A great guy is The Boy from Canning Town but selecting players on sentimentality cost you matches. Something that West Ham cannot afford. We have not got a bad squad time to ditch the sentimental hogwash, and do the right thing for West Ham! It must be Captain Pablo Zavier Zabaleta. Do that and we most certainly will have more good days than bad days. Over to you Slaven!
We are more than a football club, we’re a way of life!
(Edited By Danny Twigg)