A reflection on the Chelsea game and can we make the top four?
Author: Brian Knox. Published: 27 March 2016 at 2:14pm
So West Ham fans with my debut article out of the way and all that boring talk about myself dealt with I thought it was time to get down to the real business of talking about current events at West Ham United. I had various thoughts about what my second article should entail but the one thing that has stuck in my mind more than anything this week was last Saturday’s performance against Chelsea.
I was lucky enough commentate on the game for Talksport that day and all I could say at the end was “what a game of football”. I don’t know what you guys think but for me this was the best game of football i have seen for a long time. In a season that has generally been lacking in quality this was a marvellous advert for anyone looking in on our league wandering what all the fuss is about.
The game had everything. You dare not look away for a second in fear of missing something! It was relentless end to end stuff for 90 minutes plus both teams constantly landing blows on each other searching for the knockout. If the bout had been judged at the end West Ham would have emerged worthy winners.
I can’t tell you how impressed I was with how West Ham went about their business. We were on the front foot from the word go never allowing Chelsea to get in their stride. The tempo and work rate of the players was phenomenal.
For 80 mins I thought Slaven Bilic tactically got it spot on again. By playing Kouyate as the lone Defensive midfielder and pushing Noble a bit further forward alongside Lanzini they were able to get on top of Chelsea’s midfield and stop them at source. This then allowed them to win the ball back higher up the pitch and attack a fragile Chelsea back line which has struggled to keep clean sheets this season especially at home.
West Ham really should have been a couple of goals to the good and I kept thinking to myself I can’t believe how much this league has changed over the years with regards to the mindsets and lack of respect the lesser teams now show the so called big boys. It’s great to see.
It’s difficult to look for any negativity in West Hams performance on the weekend but being an ex central defender I can always pick holes somewhere!! If you look at the two goals conceded they were certainly avoidable from a West Ham point of view. If Winston Reid could rewind the clock I’m sure he wouldn’t have tried to bring that ball down on his chest again. With the team 1-0 up and half time fast approaching the safety first option would have been the order of the day but let’s not take anything away from the execution from Fabregas it was a postage stamp free kick giving Adrian no chance.
The second goal conceded I can somewhat agree on with you fans… Never a penalty and the ref had a shocker! But a part of me helplessly finds myself studying the goal also from a players angle. As we all know Slaven Bilic was angry and disappointed with the penalty decision but I guarantee he will be just as livid with that fact that the goal came from a West Ham corner, which led to a Chelsea goal kick and six seconds later with West Ham stretched and out of shape they were up the other end equalising.
This was symptomatic of the game as a whole, open end to end attacking. It’s what made the game such a joy to watch but you just felt if West Ham eased off the gas a little and stayed a bit more compact in those final ten minutes they would have seen that game out no trouble.
Listen I’m probably being a bit harsh there because the performance had so many positives but what pleased me just as much as the performance was speaking to some West Ham fans on the train after the game and feeling their disappointment that we hadn’t come away with three points against the reigning Premier League champions.
This made me feel good inside because it shows the club is making great strides and the fans are well aware of that also. You definitely get a feeling that the team is on the cusp of doing something special and If they keep performing in this fashion adding just a tad bit more game management to their performances a top four finish is very much achievable.