Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

Just Like My Dreams They Fade and Die Part 2

This is the second part of my series on our last season at Upton Park. Looking through my photos from that amazing season I realised that I had actually taken a few from the last match, but also I went on a stadium tour with one of my sons and have a few images of the old Boleyn ground empty. I’ve decided to post those in a separate thread for part 3. My photos needed a bit of work on them as the quality wasn’t so good especially for the final match at home against Man Utd. What a match to have as a lasting memory from a season that was filled with so many emotions, both highs and lows and the sadness of finally leaving the old ground. It was hard to let go. There’s no doubt about it and for many of us the memories will linger through our stories, photos, shirts, programmes and memorabilia the brought an end to many fans match day traditions. Traditions that were passed on to each generation. Anyway, hope you all enjoy these photos and I’ll post my final part in the series sometime next week.

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David Hautzig's Match Report

West Ham 1, Chelsea 0. Much, Much Better.

I was non stop yesterday. Two school concerts, one in the afternoon and then one in the evening. Work and other life requirements were squeezed in between those two lovely events, so I was easily able to keep my promise from last week not to let West Ham take up unnecessary space in my brain. So I was blissfully unaware of Jacob Steinberg’s interview with David Sullivan in The Guardian until this morning. I was amazed, almost awed, by the abject stupidity I read. To start, admitting you had said things and made promises you should not have made in the very forum you should avoid for the rest of your life was irony personified. But the bit that left my mouth open almost long enough to dribble like an infant was his bragging about always coming straight back up when relegated. Uhhhhh, sir. Were you so out of touch with reality that you didn’t realize you were bragging about your many failures as football owners? Having to constantly fix repeated screw ups is not a measure of success. It’s a measure of neurological malfunctions. I’m guessing Steinberg used a lot of energy not to throw up on his laptop.

If there has been one positive about the Moyes reign thus far it has been the running. There has been a lot more of it. More pressing, more questions of the opposition. That was on display from the opening kick, but unlike recent matches there was an end product to go with it. In the sixth minute, Antonio and Lanzini combined near the top of the Chelsea eighteen yard box. Arnautovic broke into the center of the box and Lanzini rolled a pass perfectly into his path. The Austrian cut to his left and curled a shot around Courtois. I won’t lie, but my joy at the goal was tempered by the yellow shown for his Tevez like celebration. He’s not what we would call a level headed dude, know what I mean? What he has been is a changed player since Moyes arrival. Why? Don’t know, don’t care.

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West Ham 1
Chelsea 0

The goal did not lead to West Ham complacency. The home side kept the pressure on, but that pressure did not lead to another attempt on goal. The next goal scoring opportunity fell, quite literally, to Hazard in the 20th minute when a high deflection fell to him ten yards in front of Adrian. He tried to volley it but didn’t quite connect and his shot went wide. Chelsea dominated possession and tested Adrian in the 28th minute when Kante sent a hard low shot that Adrian had to dive to his left to push out for a corner. It continued to be all Chelsea, but West Ham showed impressive resilience and shape and kept the Blue wave at bay. But if you wondered how long they could keep that up, I doubt you were in the minority. West Ham dropped deeper and deeper, and that sense of inevitability grew.

West Ham won three corners in the final minutes of the half, and Masuaku played a direct part in two of them. It might not be a stretch to say it was the best 45 minutes of his West Ham career. Conversely, and I know I will be accused of bias here, Noble felt like the weakest link. More than a few bad passes that led directly to Chelsea counters, and generally looked a half step behind everyone else. Hey. I’m 52. Doing laundry takes energy now. Age happens

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West Ham 1
Chelsea 0

Chelsea began the second half with one change that anyone with a computer welcomed. Pedro on for Bakayoko, the latter of which was a typo waiting to happen. I would have liked to see one change in the midfield for West Ham, but I won’t belabor the point.

In the 50th minute, Cresswell made the kind of play he made every few minutes in his first year when he cleared a Fabregas pass from the byline back into the box. Without that touch the match would have been level. Minutes later, West Ham had a shout for a penalty when Arnautovic cut into the box and tried to get the ball around a charging Christensen. The ball clearly hit the defenders hand, but Anthony Taylor judged it to be accidental and waved play on.

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The Hammers had a few mini opportunities that they wasted. Arnautovic and Antonio broke on a counter but the pass to Arnautovic was a second late and put the lone goal scorer offside. Masuaku showed more endeavor and won another corner, but Lanzini wasted it. The fight was there. The quality was not.

Cresswell made his first mistake of the match in the 68th minute when he allowed Willian to beat him on the edge of the area. Cresswell had to bring him down just outside the box, which gave Chelsea a great opportunity from a set piece. But Reid got a crucial block in West Ham weathered yet another storm.

Moyes made his first change in the 69th minute, and while I welcomed the addition of Sakho I did not like the removal of Arnautovic. Antonio looked utterly gassed, and a few minutes later when he completely ignored a pass from Noble while talking to Moyes on the sideline it was clear his time was done and Ayew’s began. Although it didn’t take him long to look like a mistake when he wasted a precious opportunity to at least run some clock by sending a truly useless pass attempt into the lower atmosphere. He also grabbed his hamstring, which brought back terrifying memories of Kieron Dyer.

Chelsea had a glorious chance in the 83rd minute when Kante found Morata in front of Adrian. Morata tried to one time it but sent his point blank shot wide. Moments later Hazard an opportunity but sent his curling attempt over the bar.

“It’s coming” said a text from my best mate, Jon.

I agreed. I could not see a way for us to hold on. But Cresswell blocked shots. Reid blocked passes. Ogbonna cleared the area. Zabaleta ran his socks off. Noble left everything on a few blades of grass. Even Ayew tracked back and made a good touch. It all topped off with Willian being so flustered he was whistled for an illegal throw, effectively ending the match.

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Final Score
West Ham 1
Chelsea 0

Even if we had given up a late equalizer, it would have been another spirited performance from the squad. They did things I don’t think we had seen in quite a long time, such as close out a match. The three points may be the most impressive of the season if we do in fact survive. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We are still in the bottom three, and I have no illusions that our board will ever learn from past mistakes. But today was a day to feel good again about our club.

Yeah, our club. Not theirs.

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Match Report

Ten Talking Points From West Ham 1 Chelsea 0

So proud. It’s the first time for ages, and going back to last season, that we have put in a performance that lasted ninety minutes. Credit to every player. They were a team, not just a team of individuals. Let’s crack on from this!

1. Cracking Man of the Match performance from Arthur Masuaku.
2. Arnautovic finally broke his duck and played superbly.
3. Brilliant, rocking atmosphere for the second Chelsea home game in a row!
4. Excellent midfield performance in the first half especially.
5. Excellent defensive performance throughout the game with the back three looking solid throughout.
6. Great return for Winston Reid.
7. Andre Ayew put in a real defensive shift when he came on to replace the tired out Antonio.
8. David Moyes set the team up perfectly to frustrate Chelsea. Credit to him.
9. Adrian did everything that was asked of him and must now retain his place for Arsenal on Wednesday.
10. Let’s hope this sets up th rest of our season and isn’t a flash in the pan.

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Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v Chelsea

West Ham v Chelsea
FA Premier League
London Stadium
KO 12.30pm
TV: Sky Sports
Radio: BBC Radio 5 Live

Please use this thread to comment on the game as it progresses.

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Book Review

Some Christmas Reading For You...

All available from Biteback Publishing for 50% off throughout the whole of December, with free postage for orders over £30. Click HERE

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