Things we learned in defeat by Gunners


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Match verdict

They tell me today’s game was a thriller and hugely enjoyable.

Well I watched it and didn’t enjoy it at all because we lost and didn’t manage to take a single point from the Christmas matches.

Nor is the prelude to a Sam Allardyce blast because I didn’t hear too many complaints about his team selection before the match.

However, the defeats by Chelsea and Arsenal has shown us one or two things quite clearly:

O that we are now in a position seemingly where our strike force will be Andy Carroll and one other;

O that Mauro Zarate is on his way;

O that Morgan Amalfitano may be a better option anyway

O that Winston Reid may not be a top four club player after all

O and that Adrian needs to be watched by the Spanish national coach.

Alex Song scored a great goal and the official who wouldn’t take his flag down deserved a ‘slap.’ That was a goal plain and simple.

It may or may not have been a different game after that but when that was ruled out and James Tomkins blasted over the top when he had time to spare in front of goal, an ominous feeling started to form in the pit of my stomach. You just knew didn’t you….!

We gave it everything and it wasn’t enough and now we look to West Brom in order to get back on the straight and narrow.

We will do but there’s one thing which continues to worry me more than any other – that Andy Carroll now gets played regardless of team and conditions.

No question this was a game for him against a dodgy Per Mertesacker but Chelsea with John Terry winning everything against him in the air was not.

Other players it seems – Song, Sakho for example – need rests after injury. The same rule clearly doesn’t apply to AC.

It’s obvious we played our best football earlier in the season when Sakho and Valencia caused mayhem. Will we ever see them together again? I think it’s very very doubtful and that is a terrible shame.

Having said all that and although I was desperately unhappy with the attitude and tactics at Chelsea, nobody can moan at the effort and no little skill at Upton Park today. It just didn’t go for us ….BUT onwards and upwards!

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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


  • celticredhawk says:

    I suspect that one reason why carroll plays every game these days is that his season only started six weeks ago. Most if the rest have been playing over four months. But maybe thats me putting my sense on something that is baffling. Allardyce has shown a stubburmess before so it should not be a big shock. I did say that in a post on an earlier article that we will see the real Sam when Carroll and Nolan are back, i still maintain that view that the Sam we all hated so much last year is like Dr. Jekyll , never far away.

    Having Said that, i thought we played well second half yesterday and on another day it might have been a better result with a bit more luck.

    Demel got himself in good positions but his crossing helped me realise how much better jenkinson is in that position.

    Three points from west brom will help us get back on track, yesterdays results meant that none if the teams ahead made a big jump away from us. It is tight behind us and we have to be concerned about the form of Spurs. But whether or not we end up in Europe is entirely in our own hands.

  • West Ham Fan No 32 says:

    Completey agree to be boring, one thing that was noteable yesterday is that normally if he plays Kevin Nolan sits on the keeper for corners and nobdy did that, had they done we might well have got greater rewards from the set plays. I think Song plays better alongside Noble than he does alongside Kouyate and yes the starting lineup seems to be AC and a n other. I like AC a lot he is World class at what he does and defensively he is a huge asset but especially the Chelsea game Terry is like treacle when he turns and is easilly exploited by pace, Cahill also doesn’t like running backwards so it was a no brainer to leave AC on the bench and start with your most productive paciest forwards. Allardyce has to learn fast, Everton are another team that you should play pace against then bring on AC in the second half if you need to defend a lead or lump the ball long.

  • eastendexile says:

    We learnt pretty much what we already should have known. Sam will always play AC regardless and no he is not world class at anything other than commitment. Yes he can rough up some defenders /keepers but playing Arsenal we should not have put corners or crosses in for him as their keeper won most of them. Did we learn from it? no not at bit -keep putting the crosses in lads says Sam!! Song and Noble are better together than either on their own. Demel better than O’Brian whose forward play was poor. Valencia and Sakho are individually looking more ordinary game by game as they are marginalised because AC wants the ball all of the time and his is not blessed with lighting speed or the best ball control in the team, and we are not exploiting the speed that those two gave us in the earlier WINNING games. Most teams now wait to pick the second ball up from our knock downs. Allardyce is slowly whittling away at the earlier success in stubborn belief that his way will be shown to be right and we are all wrong. Go back to playing football and use the long ball and Carroll more sparingly. It has a place when other methods haven’t worked but not as standard, We were most effective in the latter part of the second half against Chelsea. We battled well yesterday but I feel we are hamstrung by our tactics and the personnel selected.

  • Michael Miller says:

    Things I learnt – well firstly Carroll is a lot faster than I thought he was and secondly we’re in a false position.

    I don’t like to be a killjoy but I’ll be well pleased when we get to 38 points, if we finish tenth or better I’ll be over the moon!

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