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West Ham United
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/16/2011

About an hour into this non-event of a game, a look around at the crowd told the whole story. People sat with chin on hand, rubbing eyes, scratching heads - one Gentleman looked to be asleep - and barely anyone said a word. If it was a summation of Avram Grant's tenancy of the Upton Park hot-seat then it said much; if it was a ploy to lull Arsenal into a false sense of comfort then - like Grant's other tactics - it failed lamentably.

This then was abysmal. No fight, no clue. no interest. This club is either in such a state that we can't even manage to string together a team capable of just chasing Arsenal and annoying them or, as I suspect, this was one match too many for a Manager who looks beaten before the game starts.

Wayne Bridge made his debut for the club and, as you might expect, looked all-at-sea as a slick Arsenal side passed their way around where he and the Hammer's defence weren't, enabling Van Persie to slot home from well inside the box after only 13 minutes. Thirty minutes later it was 2-0 as van Persie found acres of space to cross for Walcott to leave Bridge and volley into the roof of the net.

It was over as a contest and the rest of the game was just mind-numbing tedium as Arsenal flicked the ball back and forth and West Ham watched them. Sir Trevor Brooking was sittiing in the stand and must have squirmed as he remembered how, as a Second Division club, West Ham had once embarrassed the Gunners at Wembley by attempting to play them at their own game. Now? Ah. let 'em have the ball - they weave nicer patterns with it than we do!

Bridge again clattered Walcott as he sprinted past him - it reminded me of the type of tackle a small boy might make on the sand at the seaside as his competitive father shows him how the game is played - and van Persie scored from the resulting penalty after 76 minutes.

And that was about it! Grant threw his 'lucky scarf' into the crowd - hopefully whoever collected it can make more use of it - and that was it. I hate to see a Manager sacked but if this was Avram's last throw of the dice then I'm afraid the dice ended up under the sideboard and the cat ate 'em. Absolutely woeful!

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Posted by tony wood on 01/15/2011

No god can help us now

Posted by bigo1723 on 01/15/2011

When owners dismiss a manager they they think someone else can make the club better. Did Zola's dismissal make the club better? Hah! Will Grant's dismissal make the club better? Do Sullivan, Gold and Brady know what they are doing? Hah! Good luck Hammers.

Posted by Gerald from Singapore on 01/16/2011

Horrible display from the Hammers!

The midfield was non existent though I should have seen it coming, with Kovac playing. Granted things might have been different if the Parker -Noble pairing was available; their absence really showed that West Ham is really over-reliant on Parker, with no one ready to step into their shoes.

From what I saw, the gameplan was to pump long balls to trouble Arsenal's depleted backline. Though it almost produced a goal(almost, thanks to Cole and Hines), Arsenal intercepted almost all the long balls to start their own counter attacks. It was scary to see how easily Arsenal could cut through the West Ham midfield.

No one deserves praise in this game though I though Green put in a decent performance. Spector and Kovac were poor - half hearted tackles, misplaced passes and unwillingness to chase after the ball. Am also baffled at why we are paying $90k per week for Bridge. Out of breath, slow, poor in tackling and obviously rusty!

Posted by Graham Stanbridge on 01/16/2011

Horrendous performance to even consider that West Ham have the players to play a passing game is suicidal.Results over Xmas have come by playing longer balls and taking no chances at the back.Seems too many players lack sufficient work ethic for this level .A miracle is needed and Grant doesnt look capable of providing it.

Posted by olowojoba james iramofu on 01/16/2011

Westham is cash strapped. There is little or nothing any World Manager can do now, least Avram Grant. He should be allowed till the end of the season. Surely, Westham will escape the drop zone at the end of the season.

Posted by mr ericsson peter ifem on 01/16/2011

hammers are good team i love their display,but their defence and attackers were not interestingly okay to even secore a goal.hammers try and win next match,i dont wnt grant avram to go.gunners played well.keep it up.i love soccer

Blagg: Sometimes I wonder what the hell I am doing here...

Posted by Peter on 01/16/2011

Billy, you're an idiot. How can you say Grant "failed lamentably" when he lost 3-0 to a side that beat Chelsea by almost the same score with a hopeless group of players? If you think Grant should be sacked, alright. But how retarded can you be to use this match as a reason?

Blagg: I think you need to re-read what I wrote. Or not. Your choice.

Posted by neil on 01/16/2011

The back bone of the club is broken the PL is a place for over paid players with no pride in there clubs ,its all about the money where do we go from here the CL i suppose

Posted by Ontheroadagain on 01/17/2011

I awoke at 1.30am to watch this game live to see what the weather was like in East London. It looked blacker than here and it was night. As to sacking, a manager needs to motivate and support , from the touchline it doesn’t seem to happen maybe behind the scenes?.Too many times this season I have watched from afar seeing a group of players with no passion and seemingly no clue perhaps they are not good enough. All though the cup run has been good to say the least. I just don’t know ,I madly want the hammers to stay up so I can still watch then in Asia but if this continues I’ll stay watching the moon and the mountains and my local team who seem to run around more .Arsenal were good ,Newcastle a blip is there an excuse bin? Too many draws so far will probably cost us but here’s praying for a mini revival. I enjoyed the footage of the sleeping crowd, what are they putting in the pies these days.?

Posted by Alvin on 01/17/2011

Arsenal had to win this as much as the Hammers, so I don't see why anyone should question Hammer's ability using this match as an example. If so, Arsenal would have been a Division 3 team if u see their last 2 games.

And, Hammers vs Gunners. Which weapon would u use? Period.

Blagg: Nice way to decide a football match... and it should see off Tottenham and their cockerel, I guess

Posted by roshan on 01/17/2011

the reason you hammers are losing the plot is because your board is not giving ANY support whatsoever that avram grant requires. you fans are toothless. admit it, you have a depthless squad, there's not much with it that grant can do. GIVE HIM THE TIME, LOOK AT HIS RUN AFTER THE CHRISTMAS!

It's shocking how much West Ham, er, "supporters", have surrendered to the sack the manager media mentality.

Posted by Rob Lewis on 01/17/2011

Bill, it was a disgraceful performance, and left me profoundly depressed. Comparing the valiant 1-0 defeat at the Emirates earlier in the season, you are absolutely right to bemoan the absence of the fighting spirit of super-Scott. But after all the shenanigans surrounding the Grant dismissal, it is not that surprising that we played so badly. Poor Wayne Bridge looked well off the pace, and I wonder what we can expect from him. Oddly enough, the swings in form we have seen lately may benefit us - fewer draws, but more 3-pointers - and it could all boil down to whichever striker we bring in in the window, plus the results of certain key games against close rivals. But then I have been a supporter since 1962, so my brain is a bit soft.

Posted by Andrew Lewin on 01/17/2011

This was a dismal display lacking in any passion or flair. To me, this reflects Avram Grant. I neither like or dislike him, but he would never have been my choice.
Other than Robert Green there were no positives and whilst I am an eternal optimist and will often expect (without any good reason) a change in fortune during a game, at no stage in this mis-match did I ever hold any hope. To see the supporters with so little life and enthusiasm and the lack of atmosphere must tell Messrs Gold and Sullivan something! It made me feel very sad......

Posted by Kyle on 01/17/2011

It was painful to watch and Noble coming off so early was injury to insult. It's amazing how promising we looked with his return and now seem to be riddled with injuries again just a few days after brum.

As appalling as it sounds, Grant may have written this one off before picking the roster in an effort to get Bridge assimilated more quickly and conceding we didn't have the needed quality. that's the best I can surmise but his selections have been mind numbing for some time

Posted by scott wakerley on 01/17/2011

Take the money and run Avram.The board are twats!
Too much money not enough between their ears.

Blagg: Gold, Sullivan and Brady - nothing between the ears? Shurely shome mistake?

Posted by Kevin on 01/17/2011

It just comes down to the players being lazy. Cole wouldn't close down any of our defenders on Saturday. When he did, it caused issues (See Djourou clumsily running around, making errant back passes, etc.).

Posted by Michael on 01/17/2011

Grant must go, I have been a hammers fan for a long time and this is the worse it's been for years. yes, he has issues with injuries but thats not the issue. The tactics are woeful at best, and even the players we use are bad decisions. Then spending money for a defender who we don't really need. Please Grant needs to go, who can save us, who knows.

Come on Your Irons

Posted by John on 01/17/2011

Firstly to watch Arsemal players waltz around the ground with no pressure applied was woefull. 2nd how can Upson be our captain captains are supposed to be leaders he should show some cajolies and sign for half of what he is getting now to prove he wants to fight for his club. And if he is only worth $500000 i shudder to think what the others will sell for. And what does Grant think supporters feel when they see a goal scored buy us only to wath the manager turn his back to the players and not smile how deflating to the players. I still think we can get out of trouble but not with Grant. I watched the Man U V Tott game and to see a defenders Vidic chase and harrass Modric from the penalty area back to the midway line was fantastic that what we need not ohh my opponent has gone passed me i can stop chasing to see that happen time after time to allow Arsenal players free run was a disgrace .I can only hope that if we do go down we can at least keep the young players.

Blagg: Dream on John. Like Johnson last time they will be the first sold.

Posted by JoeUSA on 01/18/2011

I agree with you completely. I was going to disagree, in that the result is not surprising, but the utter lack of fight about West Ham was crushing.

Well done to point out Bridge's culpability in the Arsenal goals. The cross for the first came from his flank; he played RvP onside and then lost Walcott on the second; and he slid in unnecessarily on the third. I would point out, in Grant's defense, that were it not for Bridge, perhaps the Hammers could have frustrated Arsenal. West Ham did not have a plan B when they went behind, but it's hard to attack the Gunners except from the odd set piece. While it's harsh to bash Bridge so much on his debut against a top side, it just makes his ridiculous wage even more laughable.

Posted by steve walsh on 01/18/2011

Avram Grant was never the right manager for West Ham, he did not save Portsmouth from relegation and he is not going to save West Ham. It is obvious that he lacks the tactical nous to fix things when they are going wrong. There is no structure to West Ham's game and pumping long balls all the time is not the answer. He should be working on the team and their structure to ensure the team plays to their strengths and also negates the opposition game. He needs to get more out of the players. I have watched numerous games this year and the players appear to lack interest, as there is no chasing and no presure specially when a West Ham player looses the ball. I think Sam Alladyce would be a good choice. He is a no nonsense manager and gets results when they are needed. West Ham Management make a decision now instead of letting things become drawn out.

Posted by Jay on 01/18/2011

Some posters blame Grant, some blame the players, nobody gives Arsenal credit for being on their game. I doubt any team would have beat them on that day, and certainly not a poor team like West Ham. Parker would have made no difference- he's good, but his technique and vision are probably on par with Fabregas at age 16. Twice in the first half Arsenal brain-farts gifted West Ham a goal- first the too-soft Djourou back pass that somebody (sorry, forget the name) latched onto and Chesney saved, and then the cross that Cole headed way wide. Those two score and it's 2-1 irons going into the break. or 2-2. But luck and form have a funny way of deserting you at the same time. I do not think I have ever seen a worse performance by a club at this level. Even Derby, who set the record for least points in a Premier League season, never played that poorly.

Posted by Joseph on 01/18/2011

West Ham is really a poor team, obviously, but they were a poor team at the end of last season just the same. I personally disagree with the assessment on Grant and wonder why there is so much focus on him and not on the rest of the bottom team clubs which are all within a couple of points of each other.

The amount of attention on WH and Grant seems over enthusiastic with negativity similar to when he took over Chelsea and it smells of bias at the very least.

Mr. Blagg - your comment " Grant's other tactics - it failed lamentably." implies that Grant has poor tactics and it was proven once again. Do you have some examples to back that up? Sounds like a pretty strong bias to me.

How much time was Sir Alex given to turn around ManU when he first took over? The least we can all do is give Grant a fair shot. After all, it takes some time to turn a team this poor around.

Blagg: Sorry Joseph but lack of space doesn't permit.

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Billy Blagg Born at an early age a mere defenders' spit from the Boleyn ground, Billy Blagg has seen every West Ham game from 1898 onwards. Blagg was mentioned by Kenneth Wolstenholme in 1966 as one of the people on the pitch during the famous Hammers win over West Germany that lifted the World Cup and he returned to the pitch again for the 1975 FA Cup Final but stayed on the terrace for 1980 FA Cup victory. Blagg, 26, now lives with his eighth wife and innumerable children in a small semi-detached with chintz curtains in Dagenham, Essex and still attends every Hammers match and training session.

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