News

It's Cardiff City in the 3rd Round of the Capital One Cup and other musings!

West Ham have drawn Cardiff City at home in the 3rd Round of the Capital One Cup. It is a repeat of the opening day fixture, which the Hammers comfortably won 2-0. The tie will take place in the week commencing 23 September 2013 (exact date to be confirmed). Luck in the draw is necessary to help facilitate a good cup run and, it has to be admitted, that the draw could have been far worse. Having said that, the Blue Birds are not a push over (as Man City can testify!) and we will need to approach the match in the right manner to ensure further progress in the competition.

Roger Rojas

Elsewhere, there is a report on kumb that the proposed loan deal for Honduran striker, Roger Rojas has broken down. It is based on a tweet from the account attributed to Jack Sullivan, which states that the striker failed a fitness test and this has scuppered the deal. The kumb article claims that they have had confirmation of this from a ‘highly placed’ club source. So, apparently another potential striker deal ‘bites the dust.’ On the striker front, there are reports circulating that both Cardiff City and Notts Forest are to bid for Vaz Te before the window closes. At the time of writing there has been no confirmation of any such bids being received.

It was interesting that there were no West Ham Utd representatives in the recently announced full and U-21 England squads. At full England level, one would have thought the good early season form of Matt Jarvis, Joe Cole and Mark Noble might have been recognized. Its a fair bet that Andy Carroll would have been included but for his current injury absence. And Carroll may be the future key to England selection for his West Ham team mates, demonstrating how well they combine with the big centre forward. That is particularly true of Jarvis, Downing and Cole. At U-21 level, it is a similar story, with the claims of Morrison and Potts being overlooked. One could also ask why they have not recognised the potential of Elliott Lee, one of the top English striking prospects? At the end of the day, all the club’s English players can do is continue to play to the best of their ability in a West Ham shirt and give the Hodgson regime no option but to select them!

Finally, in some quarters questions have been asked about James Tomkin’s future at the club. The Collins-Reid central defensive partnership has been outstanding so far this season. That has left Tomkins on the substitutes bench in the PL so far this season. My view is that this is a squad game and it is crucial that we have strength in depth and competition in all positions. Talk of selling him is a nonsense, all that will do is weaken the squad and decrease competition for places. Tomkins must be ultra-professional, keep his focus and continue to work on his game. He played in the cup on Tuesday evening and his PL opportunity will come sooner, rather than later. When it does, Tomkins has to respond and make it difficult for Sam Allardyce to drop him again. Its all about competition and raising individual levels of performance. With Reid, Tomkins, Collins and Chambers we have real quality and strength in depth. Now they need to compete and strive for a starting spot!

In working on his game, Tomkins may wish to study Collins’ play in a number of key aspects. Tomkins is unquestionably the better technical player, but Collins does the straightforward defensive duties better. He also gives 100% on the pitch and is unafraid to put his body on the line to stop the opposition scoring. If Tomkins learns these lessons and adjusts his game accordingly then, with his greater natural ability, there is little doubt that he has a big future at the club.

SJ. Chandos.


Player Performance Results

Ravel Morrison the Clear Man of the Match

Well it’s not difficult to see who you were most impressed with last night. And a big pat on the back for Leo Chambers, who completed his first full first team game. By all reports he performed really well. It was also good to see one of my favourite players, James Tomkins, get a runout. I still think this boy will be an England regular one day. But how could you justify breaking up the Collins/Reid partnership?


Parish Notice

Is Ravel the old Joe Cole?

At the tender age of just 17, West Ham gave the much touted wonder kid Joe Cole his first team debut in 1999. Touted as the hottest property in English football it was reported that Manchester United had made a seven figure bid for him the previous year. The buzz around was that the Hammers had unearthed a new superstar. The kid had scored seven goals in one match against Spain in a youth match and the anticipation was growing as Hammers fans longed to see him play in the first team. Four years later he was captaining West Ham in a season where the club were relegated despite him being named “Hammer of the Year”. The inevitable happened and Joe was sold.

After a lengthy spell with Chelsea, followed by shorter stints at Liverpool and Lille, Joe returned to his football home last season, Upton Park. The return certainly seems to have had a positive effect on the player as he is visibly sleeker and fitter and playing well. There seems little doubt he is enjoying the sunset of his career back at West Ham. However, ten goals in 56 appearances for England is probably below what most of us expected of him back in 1999. Joe could only seem to fit into the Chelsea and England sides in a wide role where most people seem to think he is less effective? Back now at West Ham it seems that this is the only likely position he will hold down as well. Would Joe have been better served in a more central role? What else could have contributed to Joe not reaching his full potential? A good career should certainly have been a great one, or so we thought.

In 2002 I had a discussion with the late Eddie Baily, former chief scout at West Ham. I was drooling over the prospect of the young Joe Cole and I was surprised that Eddie was adamant that Michael Carrick would become the better player despite not being as gifted. At the time that seemed absurd. Even now trying to evaluate who has had the better career would bring different opinions to the table. However, without going into details, Eddie explained that Carrick had certain traits that would help him fulfil his true potential whilst Cole lacked some of the same characteristics and that would inhibit him from truly fulfilling his. In the end, Eddie was right (IMO).

So now again in 2013 do we have a new wonder kid in our realms? Sir Alex Ferguson believed Ravel was the “jewel in the crown” of his latest generation of starlets, but unloaded the youngster to West Ham as he became continually frustrated with the lad. Off field problems have been well documented and Sam sent Ravel off to Birmingham City for a loan spell. It is believed Kevin Nolan has taken the lad under his wing for some guidance and help. The question beckons – when Ravel does secure his first team place will he be used to his full potential, or will he be fitted into the side, and out of position, as Joe was for much of his career? Will this young prodigy make the most of his undoubted talent or will it be a case of “if only”?

Time will tell but one thing is for sure. The anticipation at West Ham is bubbling again.


Match Report

West Ham 2 - 1 Cheltenham: Will Morrison Start against Stoke City?

Ravel Morrison started his first competitive match for West Ham in yesterday evening’s Capital One Cup tie against League two side, Cheltenham Town. And he did not disappoint, with an impressive all round display and a very good strike to put West Ham 2-0 ahead. In the 46th minute, Morrison collected the ball, on the edge of the opposition penalty area, wrong footed the Cheltenham defence with a skilful piece of foot work and then sweetly curled a shot in to the net. That was the high point of a good display, in which Morrison demonstrated excellent technique, good passing ability, vision and a high work rate to boot.

Those fans expecting a torrent of goals were disappointed, but even if the quantity was absent, the quality was certainly there to be enjoyed. Prior to Morrison’s strike, Vaz Te opened the scoring, in the 42nd minute, with a very well taken, 25 yard free kick. Regardless of some lively and inventive approach play, two goals were the sum total of West Ham’s return on the night. Vaz Te’s free kick was won by Morrison, who was fouled by a clumsy challenge. Just prior to that, Morrison had been similarly fouled in the penalty box. Yet amazingly, not only was the penalty not given, but he was booked for supposedly throwing himself! The score line could still have been more heavily in West Ham’s favour, as Jack Collison went close with a drive tipped over the bar, George McCartney’s header hit the cross bar and Taylor had an effort cleared off the goal line. Cheltenham got a consolation goal in the 59th minute, when Richards converted a penalty kick. The penalty was awarded after Adrian was involved in a defensive misunderstanding and allegedly fouled McGlashan in an effort to retrieve the situation.

In terms of the starting line up, Sam Allardyce made eleven changes from the Newcastle Utd match. This saw Adrian, Razvan Rat and, promising young centre-back, Leo Chambers all making their first team debuts; plus McCartney, Tomkins, Collison, Taylor, Morrison, Diarra, Cole and Vaz Te all started. While Diame (in the 34th minute) and Downing (46th minute) were introduced from the bench. Worryingly, Diame’s introduction to the action was occasioned by an injury to Alou Diarra, who was stretched off the pitch. One can only hope that the injury is not as serious as it looked. A number of regular first teamers were rested for this match, including: Jussi, O’Brien, Demel, Collins, Reid, Noble, Jarvis and Maiga. it was perhaps disappointing that none of the U-21 trio of Ruddock, Lletget and Lee received a run out from the bench, but they will undoubtedly get their chance at some point this season. Both Nolan and Henderson were unused substitutes.

In conclusion, West Ham did just enough to ease past Cheltenham’s challenge and in to the draw for the 3rd round of the competition. There were a number of interesting aspects to the match, including McCartney’s return to fitness, the full debuts of Adrian, Rat & Chambers and Vaz Te getting a full 90 minutes. However, the overriding issue was undoubtedly the performance of Ravel Morrison; especially in light of the pre-match challenge issued to him by Sam Allardyce. Although facing League 2 opposition, Morrison did take the opportunity to reaffirm his claim to a first team place and scored a very well taken goal. The question is, will it be enough to guarantee him a starting place in the team for Saturday’s home Premier League match against Stoke City?

It should, but knowing Sam Allardyce’s past conservatism in team selection matters, it is more probable that he will be introduced from the bench. We shall see?

SJ. Chandos.


Player Performance - Vote

Vote: Player Performances: West Ham 2 Cheltenham 1

Please CLICK HERE to rate the performances of the West Ham players who played against Cheltenham.

I wasn’t there so I can’t write a match report, but I believe there were two cracking goals from Vaz Te and Ravel Morrison plus an inexplicable Cheltenham penalty. And apart from that we didn’t exactly cover ourselves in glory. Am I right?


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