Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Blues Sink Hammers

Lively West Ham could not overcome a rampant Chelsea side overnight as their rivals eased to a 3-1 scoreline.

I've been a bit crook the last few days so apologies for the lack of posts, and the briefness of this one! I'll just make a few comments on the side.

West Ham looked much better in this match than against Charlton. In that match, the side lacked imagination and a first touch. However, the team improved for the Chelsea match, although there is still a lot of work to do.

The defence were in trouble. Crespo is a hugely dangerous opponent (much classier than Dogbreath) and you can't really blame them for conceding but they do need to work on their teamwork and positioning. Several times they were caught ball-watching, and it's frustrating to see 3 players stationary with their arms in the air appealing for offside when a Chelsea striker is one-on-one with Carroll. This happened twice in the match, to the detriment of a goal. This will not do. The defence as a whole needs to sort out their positioning and marking; mostly when to move across and switch players, and to be less reliant on the offside trap.

Having said that, the mistakes they made were partly to do with Chelsea's movement off the ball, which was superb. They were an extremely well organised side going forward and it just looked as though West Ham's defence was playing at a level lower. Robben was receiving some cracking long passes from Gudjonsen, too. But they will learn from this, I hope - Pardew should make sure of it.

Anyway, player ratings.

Carroll 9: not at fault for any of the goals, but made some brilliant saves and was reliable. Did as well as he could have, and except for one or two sliced clearances did very little wrong.

Konchesky 6: Not a good day for Konchy, defended quite well generally but passing and vision was poor. Definitely needs work on his distribution. Free kicks weren't the best too.

Collins 6: Fabulous sliding tackle near the end to deny Drogba but otherwise struggled against Chelsea's excellent movement.

Ferdinand 6: Overall did better than Collins but slightly shaky. Against a lesser side, should be comfortable and will improve.

Dailly 7: Did very well. Really solid defending, and also dribbled past one or two Chelsea players on occasion. Seems to be learning about his new position. Well done Chris, keep it up. Try to pass it sooner though.

Etherington 6: Mostly anonymous apart from some attacking moves early on.

Mullins 7: I was surprised he came off instead of Fletcher, he put in a lot of good grafting work. Not the best distribution though.

Fletcher 7: Combative, as you'd have seen. Good passing mostly. Will be challenging Mullins for his place.

Reo-Coker 8: He was everywhere and linked dangerously with Harewood. Top stuff. Lucky not to be carded for his early challenge on Essien.

Benayoun 5: Was always a moment too slow to release or dribble the ball. Tried hard but wasn't effective, and, like against Charlton, missed a great chance to score. Needs to link with Dailly more. Also there was that suicidal header to Lampard that led to the goal...

Harewood 7: Difficult to rate him in this one. He battled hard and did some fantastic build-up work but his end product was disappointing to say the least - at least once passing it directly to a Chelsea player. Took the goal very well. Definitely a threat.

Bellion 6: Didn't do much.

Zamora 6: Did his best up front, and is owed a goal by Yossi after the Israeli scuffed Zamora's unselfish pass.

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