Filed: Thursday, 10th February 2011
By: Paul Walker
They say that itís the hope that kills you in the end, and supporting West Ham is beginning to feel like that.
Those of us who were at Bloomfield Road last week witnessed an outstanding West Ham display against a Blackpool side who never stop going forward.
The Irons were impressive all over the pitch. High tempo, attacking variety, new players gelling immediately and the long sought after ability to defend under pressure in the second-half.
At times almost hard to believe it was West Ham we were watching after so many lack lustre displays this season.
The long-suffering travelling support enjoyed the moment, they deserved to. It was the first time Iíd seen West Ham win an away game since the 1-0 success at Stoke in May 2009. Iíve even stopped going to my nearest Premier League ground--Old Trafford--because itís just too expensive there to see us get rolled over so often.
So there was plenty of hope in the air on Sunday ahead of the crunch game with Birmingham. Almost 33,000 turned up..there was only a few hundred from Brum. Sadly half our team didnít turn up, and the other half got themselves injured.
Birmingham are horrible to watch. No football, no flare, few shots, and itís been like that in all four games against them this term. But they get results against us by exploiting our weakness in the air time and time again.
We have conceded more headed goals this season than any other side in the top flight, and it showed. In the end they even abandoned the trojan work of Cameron Jerome and just waited for us to make a mistake, concede one too may free-kicks and watch as Larsson hung one up at the far post for Zigic to head home.
Everyone could see it coming, but we kept giving away daft free-kicks. You could see Mark Nobleís push on Bentley from the Bobby Moore stand end, it was so obvious.
We need to stop the supply route into the box from the flanks, clearly we canít handle it when the ball gets into the area. Against Blackpool we did just that. The ball was hunted down at pace by Parker, Noble and OĎNeil. Possession was constantly won back quickly and attacks sprung from that.
Birmingham just mugged us. Messed up the game, broke the flow, wasted time and walked off all smiles.
It was not helped by a shocking performance from Chris Foy--how he didnít give that handball against Roger Johnson Iíll never know--but then we are used to rubbish displays from refs by now, it canít be used as an excuse.
And now weíve all had uncle Avramís latest email to the fans. We are told we donít handle set-pieces well, we keep giving away free-kicks in dangerous areas and we are not learning from our mistakes. Brilliant. We can all see that. Do something about it - you really couldnít make it up sometimes.
Now the task is even more difficult. We need six more wins to get beyond 40 points from 12 games(five against Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea)so itís really six wins from seven.
So we have to go to West Brom, after they sacked their manager, and win. West Ham have not won successive away league games since the end of the Great Escape season.
That was at Wigan and then, on the last day, the Tevez-inspired victory at Manchester United. Thatís what itís going to take now, another great escape. Hope, though, is such a killer.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
12:24PM 15th Feb 2011
''It is indeed. Spot on!''
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