I have just returned from another enjoyable Saturday at Upton Park(London to Dublin
). The game was enjoyable, and it was edge of the seat in the latter part of the game. However, I am suprised at the response by the Posh's fans. First, Peterborough are a peripheral team, who were outplayed by a West Ham team which was not at its best. Save for one inexplicable defensive howler from Reid and Faye(the parting of the waters which allowed the Peterborough striker to shoot wide), and the shot which Rob Green made a meal of, they were not at the races. They had no ability to turn the screw, their decision making was completely injudicious, and they struggled to come to terms with players like Landsbury,Carew, and Noble. Faye, and Reid were dominant in defence, and the reality is that the Hammers should have won this game by more than one goal. The goal, coming from a clear penalty, was deserved, and it ultimately proved to be the decisive goal.
From a West Ham perspective, i continue to worry about the system employed by Sam. I believe that his system gives rise to a midfield constipation, and a disconnect with the forward-line(which usually contains a large lug, with little speed). This prevents West Ham from racking up large scores(notwithstanding the 12 goals scored against Pompey, Watford, and Forest). While it is not a continuing trend, or a recurring theme, it has happened in the games against Cardiff City, Doncaster, and Leeds United, and it has cost the club at least three points, and an improvement in our goal difference.
Furthermore, there are one or two players in the team who are not at the races. Julian Faubert is a prime example. He had a very poor game, against a poor team yesterday. He also struggled against Milwall, and Pompey. While I have full faith in him, I notice that Joey O'Brien has certainly lost the yard of pace he once had. This prevents him being utilised in an attacking role as much as would be liked by management and fans. Kevin Nolan is a worry. He is failing to impose himself on games, and i would question whether he is doing the "work" which is done by unsung heroes. Henri Landsbury seems to be doing that work, while also showing a few flashs of brilliance.
Overall, I am fairly happy with what I have seen at my first game at UP in 10 months. There is a good squad assembled, and it did not need to be at its best yesterday to win, and win quite easily.
R.Green 7 One howler, but he made a fine save in the early exchanges. Notices the manner in which the Posh reset themselves for goal kicks, and he utilised that to the Hammers advantage
J.O'Brien 6 A fine defensive effort. Was rarely beaten by his man, and in spite of his pace, he occasionally offered Faubert an outlet.
G.McCartney 6 Competent throughout. No clangers of note
A.Faye 7 One mistake in conjunction with Reid. Made some telling tackles, and used his strength well.
W.Reid 7 One mistake in conjunction with Faye. Has the ability to cope with the Championship. Some good play on the ground and in the air
J.Faubert 5 A poor day. He was sluggish from the off, and his crosses and dead-ball play was ineffective.
H.Landsbury 7 This guy looks good. He has a hybrid mindset of defense and attack. Made himself a chance or two.
K.Nolan 5 Really quiet. Wasted a glourious chance when through on goal, and he failed to test the keeper.
M.Noble 7 Took his penalty well. He remians full of running, which troubled Peterborough several times
M.Taylor 7 Has good control, and played some decent balls into the box. Allardyce's failure to play two men up front makes his job harder
C.Cole 5 A frustrating day. Gave up early in the second half, after he stopped challanging for headers
J.Carew 6 Troubled Peterborough, and made chances for himself and others. He is simply not fit enough to act as a loan ranger striker
D.Bentley 6 Caused concern from his introduction.