From our first half performance, it could and probably should have been a comfortable win. Every time we went forward we looked like we could score. West Ham couldn’t keep up with the pace and movement of the French front four of Cabaye, Gouffran, Sissoko and Remy, who seemed to be in the mood for a rout. After a wonderful goal from Cabaye and a decent finish from Remy, that rout looked likely and we could all relax and enjoy a Newcastle game… for about ten minutes. It was a Steven Taylor mistake which opened the door for West Ham to come back at us. A poor missed header let Carlton Cole in, who unmarked from 6 yards was still unable to finish it without some unwitting help from Mike Williamson who was very unlucky, as the ball bounced off him after Krul had made a good save. That seems to happen a lot to Krul though doesn’t it?
Now sitting less than comfortably, a nervy second half was on the cards. We survived some close shaves with terrible misses from Cole and Carroll. After this initial onslaught, Williamson and Taylor did well to steady the ship. Dummett came on and did a better job than Santon had been doing at keeping Downing out of the game. Tiote had another good game and was even passing the ball well. Even more shocking was that he avoided getting booked! Our very own Carlton Cole, Shola, came on probably for his defensive heading ability rather than his attacking prowess. He did little other than pass the ball back to their keeper believing (incorrectly) that he was offside when presented with a decent chance from Remy.
Cabaye’s lovely free kick with 30 seconds left put the game to bed and I was finally able to relax. Cabaye’s creativity really makes us tick and the most worrying thing about his performance today is probably the date, 13 more days until the transfer window closes, back to sitting on the edge of my seat until then!
The boys played well, weathered the storm and won the game with three moments of class. Magnifique.
The only worry being that, due to bitter experience, the better we played this half, the more of a worry it was that the opposite would happen in the second. It riles me that we, as fans, have come to expect this sort of Jekyll and Hyde style performance from United and begs the question; what on earth is going on in the dressing room at half time? West Ham had a goal back from an Allardyce special, (a mistake and a goalmouth scramble).2nd half, we actually weren’t that bad if I’m honest. Pardew’s subsititions, again, I take issue with. Shola for Anita?? it changed the shape of the team, which was a shame and the last 30 mins or so were a bit scrappy as we no longer looked like carving their midfield apart with the ease of the first 45. We were up against a hoof-onslaught from a typical Allardyce team; a couple of hilarious misses from Smart-Price Shola and some lad from Gateshead before a talismanic Cabaye finished with an absoloute pêche of a free-kick to send that swollen egomaniac back into his paddock for another week to chew his cud. That was for Cacapa, Sam, that was for Rozehnal.
I don’t think there is a lot to talk about today. We are so far from being a shite Allardyce long ball hit and hope team that I was fully confident of an easy 3 points today. Okay, it wasn’t that simple but the result was in no way a surprise and I feel it was fully deserved 3 points. Hopefully ‘Big Sam’ will keep his job off the back of feisty losing performances like this and actually see out a successful relegation for a change instead of being relieved of his duties just in the nick of time.
First half we were excellent. One of the most fluid displays of attacking football all season resulting in 2 great goals which were very well taken. The second goal in particular involved 20-30 passes in a period where West Ham didn’t touch the ball for several minutes. We should have scored at least 2 more, Remy again missing a golden chance early on and Sissoko towards the end of the half clean through.
Their gag goal at the end of the first half, a combination of messy defending and good fortune on their part, really ruined the momentum of the game for us. Instead of them giving up and falling apart like they have done regularly in recent weeks, the goal gave them a lifeline and at 2-1 they had something to fight for. Carroll, sporting a hideous bushy beard, came on to increase the rate of balls being lumped in the air further. Thankfully they are terrible and could not give Tim Krul a save to make. Carroll missed a sitter and then generously fouled HBA outside the box allowing for Cabaye’s beautifully taken second. Six away wins so far. Whilst stuck firmly in eighth at the moment at least our fans are being given some decent away trips this season to make up for the last one!
Norwich are as poor as West Ham and have spent a lot of money this season. Another 3 points should be there for the taking. My only fear is their new signing, an Argentinian World Cup hero, giving us a hard time! 6 points in the run up to the mackems would be ideal though. Looking forward to the next few games and think we can really push on back into European contention. Have a great weekend!