Brilliant – a Hammers team built to last!

By new ClaretandHugh blogger

Paul Gregory

payet3Rarely are points so precious as when they are won from behind. West Ham proved that adage true today.

They probably should have won. Even before Andy Carroll’s masterclass in tormenting a defence Manuel Lanzini should have opened the scoring, turning home Carroll’s bicycle kick but being flagged for offside. Hector Bellerin was playing him on, and by some margin too.

Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez had put Arsenal in control; they were cruising, keeping the ball nicely and taking advantage of some uncharacteristically poor Hammers defending.

Yet there is a fight about this Hammers side, a desire to persevere, to snatch something from the jaws of nothing. Carroll was the focal point and he will rightly gain the plaudits for a performance that embodied everything Arsenal so fear; he was their nightmare made flesh, towering above defenders, harrying and hounding Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny with the ease of a seasoned Premier League target man. No one can accuse Carroll of being a flat-track bully, either; he has scored against Liverpool, Chelsea and now the Gunners.

Yet it is Dimitri Payet who pulled the strings, and who played with such composure and skill that one would think he was strolling about his garden, having a kickabout with his kids, Milan and Noa.

One dazzling show of skill sent Aaron Ramsey askew, his head spinning as Payet passed him, a blur of claret and blue. The France international – surely a shoo-in for Les Bleus’ Euro 2016 squad – was not given the chance to add another brilliant free-kick to his collection but his contribution was immense nonetheless; he has been the signing of the season.

That Koscielny would gain some measure of revenge on Carroll with a second-half equaliser is immaterial. Slaven Bilic was disappointed with a point, and that speaks volumes. West Ham no longer hope for a result against the top teams, they expect one.

After calling his side “spectacular” in his post-match press conference, Bilic presented a hypothesis; he feels his side deserve to be third, not sixth.

“I’m not happy with result, this is a blow, we’ve done enough. I’m first to raise my hand, I’m not objective when talking about West Ham, like my children, they’re mine, we deserve to be even third in the league, not even fourth, I’m very disappointed,” he said.

Bilic, as he says, finds it hard to separate the stone-cold facts from his claret-tinted spectacles, but he may well be right; West Ham haven’t lost since February and this result marked their 10th unbeaten.

It is rather unlucky that Leicester’s fairytale is playing out in the same season as the Hammers’ resurgence, or else Bilic’s men may well be hogging ALL the headlines.

Who does one trust now to finish in the top four? The Manchester clubs are flaky at best – City have a ridiculous habit of simply refusing to turn up to games while United must be the most pedestrian contenders for a Champions League spot in recent memory.

West Ham are the team who can be relied upon to get a result, time and time again. Much like the Foxes at the top the Irons show no signs of falling away any time soon.

This is a team built to last, and Champions League football would be the cherry on top of a breathless, brilliant season.


About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

6 comments on “Brilliant – a Hammers team built to last!

  1. Lanzini on-side
    Ozil off-side

    Yet again we’ve been done by the officials.

  2. What a great game today, had everything including the usual poor decision by the officials, the entertainment was fantastic and Arsenal played their part..

    The bloke behind me today rightly pointed out the number of times we were out of our seats as we launched dangerous attacks time and again. ‘How many times did that happen under Allardyce?’ he added.

    There were many dark days with SA in charge, none more so than the infamous Hull game when the team were booed off after winning, surely that has never happened before in the history of the Premier League and I can’t believe it will ever happen again.

    On behalf of all those disillusioned fans referred to by Allardyce on numerous occasions, I would like to say, ‘watch the box tonight Sam, that’s what we call the ‘West Ham way’.

  3. It was also lovely to see payet running at the gooners today , if he does that on a concistant
    Basis , and add to that lanzini’s trickery , we will definitely win something this year and next !
    Disregarding all the negatives today , I’m a happy hammer !! I don’t think I sat in my seat for more than 2 minutes all day , luvly Jubly !!! That’s my west ham .
    Bring the mancs on !!!! We already know we will be playing 14 of them?

  4. Last years West Ham team would have capitulated after going 2 – 0 down – but not this lot, a great game and West Ham showing real fight and character. Bilic has done a fantastic job!

  5. Best season in living memory. Exciting,entertaining and with the very real potential of silverware that our performances deserve. I feel that 4th has probably slipped away on us as 5 points is a big gap at this stage,unfortunate really as over the last three games we should justifiably have 6 more points which would have us well in the hunt. Hey but 5th and the FA Cup will do nicely to give the Boleyn a proper send off. COYI..

  6. Kouyate and Antonio were great today as well,the beating heart of the team add Carroll unplayable today and the real class of Payet and Lanzini,
    Emineke looked better today just needs that first goal,
    Very hard for Moses and Valencia to get in the side,
    How much will we get for Sakho when he is sold ? £15 million

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