Rapid Hammer

has been moved to new address


Sorry for inconvenience...

RAPIDHAMMER: Liverpool v West Ham United 0-0

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Liverpool v West Ham United 0-0

Monday 1 December, Liverpool Anfield Road
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Dossena, Benayoun, Gerrard, Alonso, Riera (Babel 78), Kuyt, Keane (Ngog 66).
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Agger, Mascherano, Leiva Lucas, Insua.
Booked: Alonso.
West Ham: Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Faubert (Boa Morte 86), Parker, Mullins, Behrami, Bellamy, Cole.
Subs Not Used: Noble, Lastuvka, Tristan, Davenport, Collison, Di Michele.
Booked: Mullins.
Att: 41,169
Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).

Man of the Match:
Robert Green (West Ham United)
Gianfranco Zola:
"Best performance since I became manager" (KUMB)
Post from Times Online, December 02, 2008:

West Ham: All right at the back
All the press about the Liverpool v West Ham game on Monday was bound to focus on Liverpool, and their failure to press home their advantage at the top of the league by beating weaker opponents at Anfield. Fair enough, really, given that this is the third time they've frozen like a perpetual virgin presented with a drunk and willing
conquest. But I wasn't watching Liverpool throw away a golden opportunity; I was
watching a completely different story unfold. A story with an unlikely hero.
So who was responsible for West Ham's result at Liverpool? Rob Green made several great saves - one, from Benayoun, was absolutely thrilling - while Upson and Collins were heroic and Ilunga looked like a proper full back for the first time this season. But the man who gets the credit for the clean sheet, and for the previous two against Sunderland and Portsmouth, is Steve Clarke, the first team coach.
When Gianfranco Zola became West Ham's manager, I was worried about his lack of experience, and about what effect the leadership of an attack-minded cavalier might have on a set of players who already regarded defending as an unwelcome chore. The arrival of Steve Clarke was a real relief, then. This man is surely one of the best defensive coaches in the British game. He was right-hand man to Jose Mourinho while Chelsea were grinding their way to two titles, and retained his position, and reputation, through the arrival and departure of Avram Grant.
What Clarke brings to West Ham is something they haven't had since... well, since ever, probably: a sound, organised defence that doesn't panic and offers a secure platform to the forward players. It's early days yet, but the last time we kept three clean sheets in a row in the Premiership was in 2002/03, when Christian Dailly and Gary Breen were at the heart of our defence. (Now that was a miracle.)
And the improvement in the back line isn't necessarily at the expense of the club's tradition of open and attacking football. A secure and competent defence gives our forwards the confidence to play proper football on the break instead of desperately
trying to clear their lines and buy time for the team. In time, I think we'll
see a better balance between Clarke and Zola's divergent influences, and I'm
just a tiny bit optimistic that we're going to be OK.
Which all means that my brilliant post about a relegation scrap is going on the spike - for a few weeks at least.
Douglas Carter

No comments: