West Ham musings by Pete May, author of Hammers in the Heart, West Ham:Irons in the Soul and Flying So High:West Ham's Cup Finals.
Wednesday, March 17
I don't want to go to Chelsea
Chelsea 4 West Ham 1
Matt’s text sums it up: “Great Scotty goal. But selection and tactics suspect and yet another nightmare for Spector — absolutely murdered by Malouda.”
At 1-1 the tension is too much so I leave Sky Sports News and retreat to the garden to feed the chickens and watch our terrier Vulcan run around yapping like John Terry in the WAG mating season. But the life of the urban farmer offers little solace. When I go back it’s 2-1 to Chelsea and there’s no hope.
The Match of the Day evidence proves Matt right. Poor Specs gives Malouda far too much space. He tries, but it’a an indictment of all at the club that we have no quality right back after Neill left.
Zola's selection is strange too. Why rest Carlton Cole? OK, he’s not fully fit yet, but surely we could have given him 60 minutes before subbing him? Presumably Zola had given up on the game before we’d kicked off and was saving him for the Wolves and Stoke games. Mido does well early on to cross for Ilan to miss an open goal. It’s definitely not like watching Brazil.
In midfield Kieron Dyer makes his first star since the opening of the season, but it’s a big ask against the Blues. It’s also odd to bring in Gabbidon after a long lay-off for such a testing game, even though Tomkins had a torrid time against Bolton.
Diamanti is out because he’s not a tracker-back, but then where’s the creativity in our side? The selection of Daprela is enforced by injury to Ilunga and Faubert and he makes a couple of tasty blocks on the tele. But our defence is nowhere for the headers by Alex and Drogba and Gabbidon slips before Malouda eludes two tackles to stroke the ball home.
It’s all too easy for Chelsea in the end. Let’s hope we pick a team to go out and win at the Emirates. Having watched The Wonders of the Solar System the next evening, Brian Cox (ex D:Ream pop star who still looks young enough to do a job for us in midfield) might observe that our rotation system is more Pluto (a dwarf planet) than Saturn.