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Premier League
Sunday, 27th October 2013

Swansea City 0
West Ham United 0

by Trevor Twohig


West Ham started this game with the Premier League’s worst shot accuracy this season - and that statistic will not have been improved by this trip to the Liberty Stadium.

A lively first half, where West Ham dominated and had a number of excellent chances, ended 0-0; how the Hammers would rue not putting at least one opportunity into the onion bag.

Starting the game again, with the ‘false 9,’ the Hammers were energetic and looked certain to open the scoring. One of the best chances fell to Guy Demel who stretched out a toe but couldn’t get any contact and poke the ball home.

But West Ham did not stop there; the ever-present Ravel Morrison had a shot cleared off the line, Demel had another good chance saved and Stewart Downing a shot blocked also. In total, West Ham had eleven attempts in the first half as opposed to Swansea City’s two.

The second half was a different affair with the Swans getting a stronger foothold in the game. West Ham’s stout defence limited their chances and what started as a cracker of a game, petered out into a dour draw.

Swansea dominated possession but could not break down Big Sam’s defensive system. Incidentally, West Ham have still only conceded one away goal this season - and that was Robbie Brady’s controversial penalty at Hull City.

The second half saw the long awaited return of Carlton Cole to the West Ham side. More importantly, it saw us playing with a striker which is more than pleasing to see. However, his impact was minimal, making a few important defensive headers but nothing really at the business end of the pitch.

Joe Cole came on and made a late appearance for Ravel Morrison and it was disappointing not to see more of him earlier on. The manager’s continual support of Kevin Nolan despite poor form and a plethora of midfield opportunities at his disposal, is not helping the goal scoring situation.

Despite a dominant first half, Nolan was conspicuous by his absence, the only incident of note, where he took the ball off the feet of in-form Ravel Morrison, preventing the young man from pulling the trigger.

So pleasing to see another clean sheet away from home, yet concern once again at our inability to finish chances. Had you have offered most West Ham fans a draw before the game, they probably would have taken it. But after our completely dominant first half, it was a different story, highlighting in glorious technicolor our need for an effective back up striker.

It is important to mention the performance of Mark Noble, who was magnificent. Hammers fans have known of his ability for years now and I only hope tongues start to wag outside of East London as he continues to impress week in, week out.

We once again mixed it against a very good side and we continue to show great promise. The defensive frailties of yesteryear are long gone (think Reading’s 6 – 0 demolition in 2007), however the presiding feeling is that Big Sam’s inability to capture a big name striker in the summer has once again come back to haunt us.

God only knows where we would be if Romelu Lukaku had moved to the Boleyn Ground; it doesn’t even bear thinking about.

Next week we entertain Aston Villa at the Boleyn Ground where nothing but three points will suffice for Big Sam’s men, who remain just a point off the drop zone despite today's draw.



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Player Ratings

Jussi Jaskeleinen
Solid once again.


Guy Demel
Had a good game but should perhaps have scored with a heder from a corner.


Razvan Rat
Looking solid at the back and good going forward.


Winston Reid
Dominant in defence. Turning into a world class player.


James Tomkins
Couldn't be faulted.


Mark Noble
A flawless display. Does not get the credit he deserves.


Mo Diame
Not his best game in claret and blue.


Ravel Morrison
Had one effort cleared off the line, but not his best game.


Stewart Downing
Looking more effective with more games.


Kevin Nolan
Poor – surely on borrowed time now.


Ricardo Vaz Te
Forced off with a worrying wrist injury.


Substitutes


Matt Jarvis
Some good balls into the box.


Carlton Cole
Good defensively – not many chances up top .


Joe Cole
A couple of lively bursts and rightly not penalised for a ridiculous penalty appeal in injury time.


Adrian
Did not play.


Matt Taylor
Did not play.


Joey O'Brien
Did not play.


Modibo Maiga
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee: Phil Dowd.

Attendance: 20,455.

Man of the Match: Mark Noble.

West Ham United

Jussi Jaskeleinen, Guy Demel, Razvan Rat, Winston Reid, James Tomkins, Mark Noble, Mo Diame, Ravel Morrison, Stewart Downing, Kevin Nolan, Ricardo Vaz Te.

Goals: None.

Booked: Guy Demel 24 Ravel Morrison 43 Joe Cole 87      .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Swansea City

.

Substitutes: .

Subs not used: .

Goals: .

Booked: None booked..

Sent Off: None sent off..

 
Trevor Twohig's Man of the Match: Mark Noble


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