Nolan/Valencia issues crystal clear


leroylogoThe Irons were poor yesterday – very poor and there were two reasons for that in my opinion.

Enner Valencia simply cannot play with Andy Carroll at the present time and Kevin Nolan can’t play in a diamond – he doesn’t have the legs to be getting up and down on the right side.

And if that’s the shape we are going to keep – which we should – I think he will have to be excluded from the team.

Chjeif Kouyate is the obvious candidate to play in that role when he returns because even Morgan Amafitano didn’t seem to understand it and wanted to stay out wide which I found surprising.

As for Enner – the boy had a shocker and was taking up ridiculous positions dropping off in midfield with seemingly not a clue how to work with Andy.

Ok, he is in his first season and settling into the club so let’s not talk about him getting fed up with his role. He has to adapt and learn the same lessons as Diafra Sakho.

That lad made an immediate difference on his arrival because he has such a great football brain and reads the game brilliantly – he really is the man and loves running off players!

Alex Song was right off his game because the way we played saw him swamped in midfield and he had to be taken off looking leggy and tired.

But at the end of it all we are through and a nice little home game against moderate opposition will do us fine from tonight’s draw.

But Sam has some hard thinking to do about Nolan if he is going to persist with the diamond because personally I really don’t believe he can hack it in there these days.

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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


  • Furboy says:

    This seems to be the general consensus, the only dissenter being BFS! Valencia has looked bereft of confidence without Sakho, but Caroll is undropable (fair enough). Nolan is also undropable (not fair enough….), and this is causing a massive imbalance in the side. Was it just pure luck that both were injured earlier in the season, which forced the Sakho/Valencia partnership along with the fluid, mobile midfield with Kouyate alongside Noble?
    Nolan looks cream-crackered, along with Song (still recovering from virus?) so I’d prefer to see Amalfitano getting a longer run in the side, and give the others a breather. As a WH fan exiled in Bristol, yesterday was teetering on the brink of personal humiliation for me!

  • bubs says:

    That was bit unfair Leyroy on Valencia,not once did he receive the passes Sakho got when he came on and if you noticed Carroll dropped reap leaving space behind foe Sakho leaving the space behind Valencia could only dream of and the whole of the first half Carroll never stopped giving Valencia instructions where he wanted him to be ( watch the repay and you will see it happening )and don’t compare a over muscled slow footed immobile goal sniffer with no vision ( but a good captain with a big heart ) to player like Amalfitano who is a winger if you were a manager and you wanted defensive midfielder you bring on Poyet and take off song and leaving Nolan at the back out of position is criminal unless you replace him with Demel to hang on at the end I know you were a good pro but say it how it is Nolan would not even get in the Bristol team when you are 1 down and your forwards are getting no where you bring Nolan on for the last 10 or 15 to try and buy a goal other wise you take him to one side and say SON how would you like to be player coach here or at our new club ?

  • rads45 says:

    Nolan is screwing the whole system up.When he is in the team Downing gets shifted from one wing to the other when we know he is at his best this season at the tip of he diamond.I have nothing against Nolan,he served us well bringing us back up,but eventually you have to say enough is enough.We will suffer long term in the league if he continually gets the call up every match.Everyone can see this apart from BFS.He doesnt have the legs anymore for sure,slow to the tackle,hence the fouls he is always giving away.He used to be great at getting onto carrolls knockdowns & flicks,now when he does get through he is invariably getting caught offside.Probably associated with his lack of pace he is setting off on these runs earlier & getting caught offside.If his legs were as fast as his mouth when complaining to refs all the time he would give Usain Bolt a run for his money.If he is still in the team when Kouyate comes back it will be laughable & pretty well sum up the blinkered thinking of Sam.Sorry Kevin but you dont warrant a first team place anymore,not at the expense of the teams weekly performances.It is getting a tiresome subject to be on about week in week out but it is one we all see apart from the manager & captain.Not a good combination for a team to have these two positions filled by men who cant see what is best for the good of West Ham United.

  • West Ham Fan No 32 says:

    I think the problem is that when they play the diamond with Downing on it he plays in the position that Amalfitano moves in, wide right… Nolan only looks happy playing slightly left of centre and although he provides a goal threat his legs aren’t there. Song is apparently recovering from a bug he picked up when he returned from Africa which might explain his Lethargy and he was rightly pulled off because he looked slow yesterday, somehow in that system with noble ahead of Song he also looks slow. I don’t know why the pundits on BBC put Downing at the centre of the Diamond in their formation because unless Amalfitano or Kouyate plays he always starts and finishes looking like a little boy lost on the right and we as a team look hopeless. With regards to Valencia what we cannot be certain of is whether he took it upon himself when watching the useless attempts by 3 of the midfielders to contain a good and spirited Bristol City midfield to help them out by closing players down, or more likely Sam told them to effectively play a 4 5 1 system with Enner getting forward when he could ? Either way it was a disaster and as soon as Amalfitano and Valencia came on the team had a better shape, Carroll dropped deeper and Sakho played in front of him causing their defence all sorts of problems. Amalfitano will always create something he is quick, thoughtful can finish and can unlock a defence he should start in front of Nolan every game. Why Sam brought Demel on was another mystery… that back 5 looked horrendous, we are through though lets hope we avoid all the big boys and Arsenal draw United !!! COYI !!!!

  • rads45 says:

    Every match i have watched this season for the benefit of not just being total anti-Nolan i try to see how he contributed in the match,a great tackle,pass,goal.Generally i come away from the matches finding no positives,nothing i can say has made him a good inclusion in the team.It is just fact not a personal hate campaign against the guy.He is offering so little to the team & infact being a hinderance to our progression.If people are still about who think he should be in the team i would love to know what they think he offers us now,coz i can think of nothing,not even as a captain & leader on the pitch.The other players aint daft,they know they are carrying him through matches.

  • bubs says:

    I just asked my wife what BFS family are thinking when this is going on,she thought he must be more loyal to KN than his own family because if he looses his job here it’s likely the whole family will have to up routes and move and his income will be affected even though he must have plenty or he has a man thing about KN and plans to fly off into the sky together I said that is a terrible thought BFS AND KN walking hand in hand on a secluded island .

  • tony says:

    thanks for those two posts Rads – saved me a lot of typing.

  • Roman says:

    Agree with all that’s been said.Nolan’s lack of quality is obvious for all to see.The mouth is annoying to say the least.As for Valencia he is a top player not being played to his strengths.Gold & Sullivan will look back on this season and think of what could have been achieved under progressive management.They would be barking mad to give BFS another term at the helm.

  • PennsylvaniaHammer says:

    Hugh, this Nolan talk has, quite rightly, become something of an obsession among the fans. You must have some inside track on this. There must be more to it than him just being a favorite. I’m not suggesting anything sinister, but are we all blind to some aspect of Nolan’s game that only Sam can see? I’d just love to hear some justification from Sam on why this persists.

  • rads45 says:

    I feel really sorry for Amalifitano in this farcical situation.Whenever the lad comes on he delivers the goods,very rarely you see him have a bad match,when he gets the chance to start.But when he comes on as a sub he often ignites what has been a subdued team performance.We looked totally different when he came on against Chelsea & has regularly been an influence when coming on as sub.He must wonder what he has to do to get in the team sometimes.If he was to get dispirited i wouldnt blame him one bit.To know Nolan will be choosen infront of him no matter what he does in the match before or in training must be very difficult.If one guy has a reason to feel hard done by it is him.I just hope he doesnt do a Zarate & want out come the summer coz i believe he has alot to offer our team if managed properly & given a go more often.

  • tony says:

    it will be interesting to see what Sam does when Kouyate returns. I think most agree that Song, Downing, Noble and Kouyate is our perfect diamond – what will happen to Nolan then? Sam did leave him out a few times when that 4 were available earlier in the season – but Nolan was recovering from injury then?

  • West Ham Fan No 32 says:

    I want to get one thing straight I think Nolan has been the best captain we have had since Alvin Martin and Billy Bonds before him, I even think he has a part to play as an impact sub and still as club captain but he just isn’t suited to the game we are playing because he can’t adapt his game to the diamond and he often is just running around closing people down. Where he is of most use is on set plays where he makes life difficult for goalkeepers and his intelligent anticipation and movement mean that in the opponents 18 yard box he is always a danger, as such Sam has to face up to the fact that better plays are making way to accomodate him and arguably his best player this season Downing plays worse when he moves to the right. How long is Nolan’s contract ? I thought we signed him on a 4 year contract the same as Sam ? If so he would theoretically be out of contract this year so that would be an interesting dilemna for the David’s ?

  • philtheiron says:

    The only person who was worse than our entire midfield was the ref! Typical poor performance from probably the worse ref in the league!
    When officiating teams from different leagues you are supposed to hold them to a higher standard, not ref it like a non league game!
    Mason allowed some shocking tackles by city players and just stood by as they kicked valencia out of the game.
    To suggest that carroll can’t play with valencia is nonsense! You only had to watch the second half against hull to see that.
    Valencia was on the end of some unnecessary rough stuff but our midfield had no such excuse. We all knew they would be up for it and we would need to be ready for the fight.

    However we chose the occasion to display collectively the worse midfield performance I have seen from the Hammers in a long while.
    When Song was taken off it could have been any of them. Nolan was no better or worse than, noble, song, downing they were all terrible.

    I get why nolan started, it was going to be a battle and this should have been the game where his qualities of bottle and fighting no how should have come to the fore but he was as terrible as all the rest.

    I admire BS’s loyalty but personally I would have taken valencia off at halftime. Also I would have replaced nolan and song with amilfitano and poyet at the same Time as well. I know a triple substitution would have been a gamble but we were so poor in midfield something had to be done.

    At the end of the day we got lucky. Playing that poor against better teams the we would have been out of the cup. Instead one piece of class settled it.

    However we were endebted to our defence who all defended excellently. Reid and tonks were particularly good and imo it was a toss up between the pair of them for man of the match.
    But I can’t mention our defence without highlighting the horrendous tackle by their centre forward on Reid from behind as he watched the ball out in the first half. It cleared Winston out from behind was deliberate and very dangerous but never got any card for which it richly deserved.
    Also while I’m at it how the challange that flattened nolan from a corner wasn’t at least a yellow is beyound me! The lad made absolutely no attempt for the ball and clearly aimed to take nolan out.
    This player then proceeded to jump into defenders all match, constantly taking the man not the ball without the ref seeing anything wrong in it. Also how many times does their centre half have to push,nudge foul AC just before the ball arrives before it is a free Kick?

    There is no getting away from it, we were poor yesterday and were well off colour from where we normally are
    . But This is not meant to be making excuses for a poor display but simply highlighting a poor refereeing display from mason.
    When the teams were announced I said to my brother in law watch out for a bad display from a bad ref. unfortunately I wasn’t wrong!

    But at the end of the day we’re through! We played badly, rode our luck on occasions but didn’t allow all our hard work against the toffees to be undone. Job done! Move on! COYI!

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