Talking Point

Petric Signs but Sam Allardyce Still needs to Adapt his Style of Play!

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So, West Ham have, indeed, signed Mladen Petric on a Bosman deal. He was released by Fulham this summer after making 24 appearances for the cottagers last season (starting in 10 matches) and scoring 5 goals. He is a decent player, perhaps not with the pace he once had, but his skill and technique hopefully remain undiminished. Indeed, from what I can determine, Petric is nippy and skilful striker, with the capacity to score spectacular goals. At 32 years of age, his very best years are probably behind him, but hopefully he will come in and do a reasonable job for us. We may be unhappy with the business transacted in the summer window and, in all honesty, we would probably have preferred to have signed a number of other strikers. But he is a Hammers player now and we should give him every chance and 100% support.

You know, fate some times throws the dice up in the air and we expect ‘snake eyes’ and it turns out to be a double six. If Petric has a last hurrah at West Ham that would be excellent, although admittedly it is said more in hope than expectation. But if he can help steer us through to January, keeping clear of relegation danger and within realistic striking distance of 10th place, then the deal will have been justified. I am not expecting 15-20 goals from him this season, but if he can pitch in with 8-10 then that will be a positive contribution. While anything more would be a nice bonus.

This signing does beg another question though. Petric is not a large target man, able to lead the line in Carroll’s absence and get on the end of crosses in to the box. He seems to me to be a more mobile striker, who uses his pace and technique to get in to goal scoring positions. There is nothing to suggest that Petric possesses a pronounced aerial ability or can capitalise effectively on high balls. So, how does this signing help Allardyce to replace the injured Carroll or adopt his preferred style of play? The answer is that it does not assist him at all in that respect. Petric is another striker, akin to Vaz Te and Maiga, who is prefer the ball played on the floor and to feet. So, unless the plan is to bring in Carlton Cole or another more traditional type of centre forward, Sam Allardyce will still have to adapt the team’s playing style to get the best out of the three strikers currently at his disposal. That means adopting an approach, such as that seen in the recent friendly win over Espanyol, with more emphasis upon passing and movement.

It will be fascinating to see how Sam Allardyce actually sets up his team at Southampton. Is he likely to put out a conservative 4-5-1 and play it tight, looking to convert from corners and set pieces? Or might he draw on the experiment conducted against Espanyol and adopt a more expansion approach? Most supporters would bet on the former rather than the latter scenario. Southampton are a much improved team and have some good individual players. However, this is a fixture that we should be looking to take at least a point from and perhaps all three. We need a good result to stem the tide of pessimism that has naturally arisen in the aftermath of the club’s botched transfer window, the sudden spate of first team injuries (to Cole, Downing and Diarra) and then latterly the shock of Carroll’s new ankle injury.

I think it is true to say that there are more questions then answers at the moment. For instance, it will be interesting to see if Rat comes in to the side at left-back. Arguably, we will need to draw upon his Champions League and international experience at this difficult juncture. Will they stick with Collins-Reid or might Tomkins come in to the frame, based upon his impressive performance against Espanyol? Will Morrison start in midfield or on the bench? Will Petric start in attack and what formation will he fit in to? Will some of the U-21 prospects like Elliott Lee challenge for a place on the bench?

Personally, I hope that the solidarity of our defence and strength in midfield will see us achieve a good result. It is difficult to make a prediction with so many questions outstanding. But I am going for a 1-1 draw and a useful away point. COYI!

SJ. Chandos.


Player News

Mladen Petric - He's a 1 in 3 Striker Who Could Save Our Season

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OK, this has to be quick as I am on air in an hour. Petric has signed and has been unveiled in his Hammers kit. He might not have been prolific at Fulham (5 in 23) but someone pointed out on the last thread that he only got 10 starts. His scoring record elsewhere has been pretty decent. He scored 38 in 99 for Hamburg, 13 in 29 for Borussia Dortmund and 38 in 72 for Basel. Internationally, he’s scored 13 in 45 for Croatia, so he’s basically a slightly better than 1 in 3 striker. This is what he told the club website…

I’m very happy, excited and looking forward to training with the team and to the first game," Petric said. "I know [the Premier League] and I’m happy to be back in the Premier League, because it’s a fantastic league and I’m really looking forward to being part of this team and this Club. There are a lot of good players here and I’m happy to be part of such a good team and I hope we can all celebrate my first goal for West Ham as soon as possible. I didn’t speak to Sam [Allardyce] until today but I’ve heard a lot about him and I spoke to Guy Demel, who I know from my time at Hamburg and I’m sure I’ll have a good time here. I remember playing at West Ham last year and it was a very tough game for us at Fulham. I think we lost 3-0! It’s not easy to come here [as the away side] and take points away.

I just found this video on Youtube. He seems to be quite emotional about leaving the club in this video, and judging from the goals shown he knows how to find the net!

He’s apparently fit and ready to play. So, my question to you is this. Should he play at Southampton?

UPDATE: He’s just tweeted…

Wie ihr bestimmt schon mitgekriegt habt habe ich heute bei West Ham unterschrieben! Ich freue mich riesig auf…

Translated, this means “As you have almost definitely heard, I have today signed for West Ham. I’m really looking forward to it.” Aren’t you glad I have a degree in German? You can follow him on Twitter @Mladen_Petric.


Player Analysis

A West Ham Crocks 11

How about this for a team for West Ham crocks! OK, I couldn’t think of a goalkeeping candidate, but there you go.

1. David Bentley
2. Rob Jones
3. Julian Dicks
4. Simon Webster
5. Matty Holmes
6. Alan Devonshire
7. Stewart Robson
8. Kieron Dyer
9. Andy Carroll
10. Dean Ashton
11. Benni McCarthy

Your nominations for the subs bench please.

UPDATE: Rumour is that we have signed Mladen Petric. He played for Fulham scoring 5 goals in 23 games, although his record for other clubs is slightly more prolific than that!

UPDATE 2: Confirmed on the club website


Player News

We Need to Play Vaz Te Up Front in a 4-4-2

OK, time to buckle down and avoid the temptation to panic. We’re all gutted that Andy Carroll is going to be out for a considerable period of time, but there’s no alternative but to think how we can get over this. Bear in mind too that Joe Cole and Stewart Downing are out for between three and six weeks. There’s no question we need to add at least one striker to our squad – now probably two. Carlton Cole needs to get himself fit as soon as he possibly can and we need to move heaven and earth to persuade Ciprian Marica to sign as soon as possible. Lee Clayton reports that Mladen Petric, who scored 5 in 23 for Fulham last season is also on our radar.

It seems to me that when the circumstances change, a manager has to adapt to them. I don’t know how we can continue to play Allardyce’s preferred formation. Surely now is the time to revert to 4-4-2. We don’t have the players now to play 4-3-3 or 4-5-1, but if he does stick to this formation he must surely drop Maiga in favour of Ricardo Vaz Te. Vaz Te has played as a centre forward for much of his career. The fact that Allardyce hasn’t played him there for the last season and a bit was ostensibly the reason for his untimely transfer request. That saga needs to be put behind them and Allardyce needs to put his arm around Vax Te’s neck and administer some inspirational TLC. And then he needs to play Elliot Lee alongside him. That would then mean a midfield four of Noble, Diame, Nolan and Morrison. We don’t need wingers for this formation. Alternatively Jarvis could play alongside Vaz Te as a second striker.

It’s a depressing evening, but let’s not all head to Beachy Head. We’ve been in worse scrapes than this.

UPDATE 22.39: The club website has just posted this statement…

West Ham United can confirm Andy Carroll suffered an injury to his right foot during his return to full training today. Although it is in the same part of his foot as his previous injury, it is a new injury and therefore there will be no prognosis until he has seen a specialist. whufc.com will provide a further update when the relevant information is available.


Talking Point

Please Let This Not Be True...

Several people have been saying that Andy Carroll was injured in training today, some even alleging that he left the training ground on crutches. I think we can all agree that this is one time we would all be very happy for an internet rumour not to be true.

UPDATE: More rumours. Hugh Southon at Claret & Hugh (a normally very reliable source) is speculating on an operation and Andy being out for four months. Bloody hell.

UPDATE 2: Latest from Claret & Hugh

Latest on Claret and Hugh:

CARROLL ‘INJURY’ UPDATE

Stories that Andy Carroll was seeen leaving the training ground on crutches were tonight described as “impossible” by West Ham club sources. Major rumours have emerged over the last few minutes that the big Geordie broke down and limped away from the club on crutches. But a source at Upton Park said: “If he did break down in such a way he wouldn’t have been seen by any members of the public. “He would have been taken inside the training headquarters and away for an X-ray by car – that story doesn’t add up.” He added that he hadn’t heard anything regarding an injury but is currently making inquiries and said: “It’s not impossible that I would have heard but I’d consider it unlikely.”

UPDATE 3: It does seem to be true. Jack Sullivan has tweeted…

AC is injured but we don’t know how badly. I will give you an update on him as soon as we know.

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