Sunday, March 19, 2006


Hammers slip to 10th

Fielding a weakened side in preparation for the FA Cup match in two days' time, Alan Pardew suffered another 4-goal drubbing but this time at the hands of a relegation candidate.

As any West Ham fan will tell you, the Bolton and Portsmouth league games were lost before kickoff. "In war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory," said Sun Tzu.

I didn't see the match but from all accounts the scoreline reflected the superiority of the southern side on the day. It seems that Pardew is sacrificing league position for a shot at the trophy.

Well, as far as the former is concerned it's worked so far. From 6th to 10th, in fact, helped by the fact that every team above us won their fixture. We do have a game in hand, but that's by no means points in the bag.

It is becoming apparent that Pardew, perhaps not expecting a good Cup run or failing to appreciate the rigours of the Premiership, has stuck with the same team too long and they are tired. Rather than introduce fresh players piecemeal to help them gel, he has made wholesale changes and they have not worked.

We have a small squad, yes. It perhaps wasn't possible to bolster the numbers further during either of the transfer windows but it certainly was possibleto introduce bit-part players in order to give the first team some rest to last out the season.

If I may quote Sun Tzu one more: "If you order your men to roll up their buff-coats, and make forced marches without halting day or night, covering double the usual distance at a stretch, doing a hundred LI in order to wrest an advantage, the leaders of all your three divisions will fall into the hands of the enemy. The stronger men will be in front, the jaded ones will fall behind, and on this plan only one-tenth of your army will reach its destination."

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