The Blind Hammer Column
Blind Hammer reflects how our match winner is protecting us from an injury crisis.
I had low expectations for this game. This pessimism only increased when I heard Hernandez and Zabaleta added to our burgeoining list of absences.
At times this season West Ham has fielded possibly the strongest bench in their history. This could not describe the bench here. Only 6 players were named, including a still apparently unfit Carroll, alongside youngsters Silva and Coventry who have yet to make their Premier League debuts.
Yet despite these disadvantages the brilliance of Anderson allowed us to dig out another valuable 3 point. The pre-match narrative of West Ham reeling from injuries and a damaging home defeat by Watford was confounded.
Anderson was the eventual headline maker. Yet, right from the start, West Ham exceeded expectations on a literally wider front. They subdued a buoyant Southampton on a high after two recent victories.
Antonio and more surprisingly, Captain for the night, Cresswell both threatened from the wings. Cresswell actually set up the clearest chance which resulted in Perez missing a sitter.
Both Anderson and Diangana consistently added to the threat from the wings.
West Ham really should have been ahead at |Half time. We feared ruing missed opportunities. There were danger signs from Southampton’s ability to rake crosses across our box. This eventually delivered dividends when Redmond scrambled a goal. Antonio failure to preserve our offside line marring his otherwise excellent performance.
Yet within 2 minute Anderson showed why Pellegrini was so determined to invest £42 million in him. His thunderbolt transformed the game.
Anderson’s world class skills showed how he can make even a team stretched by horrendous injuries thrive. He is truly providing shelter for the Hammers from their current storm of injuries.
Further evidence of his value was provided by his clinical winner. Yet this is not a one man show. Anderson’s goal was born out of Pellegrini’s coaching transformation.
Southampton alongside Fulham and others have failed to catch up with West Ham’s new counter attacking threat.
Finally opposing teams must now fear a counter attacking riposte from West Ham when they win a corner against us.
Whatever the paucity of Southampton’s defensive organisation West Ham’s winner was born in the hours of coaching Pellegrini has wrought on this squad. A deep sitting defensive back five have been dispatched. Instead we have a pressing, counter attacking pacey outfit. Without this counter attacking coaching and attacking organisation Anderson would not have provided the clinical coup de grace. In this sense Rice is as important as Anderson.
It is beyond doubt that West Ham now have a match winner in Anderson who could potentially punish any team.
Can we dare to dream of cup glory?