The consenus seems to be that Manuel Pellegrini is a bit stuck for players for the match against Birmingham. Far from it, I’d say. We certainly shouldn’t disrespect Birmingham City, as they lie 8th in the Champtionship. Gary Monk has done a great job in turning round a club that seemed to be in permanent decline. However, there are a couple of players I certainly wouldn’t risk in the starting line-up. They would be Marko Arnautovic and Felipe Anderson. They are the two key players in determining how far up the table we finish at the end of the season. Put them on the bench by all means, and bring them on if necessary, but protect them. I think Snodgrass deserves a rest too.
Adrian will surely get a run-out in goal. I’d keep the back four the same, with Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Diop and Cresswell starting. In midfield I’d play Rice and Noble centrally, with Antonio and Masuaku or Diangana playing wide, with Perez and Carroll up front.
Nasri could start, but I’d have thought is more likely to play the last twenty minutes from the bench. So here’s my lineup…
Subs: Fabianski, Coventry, Nasri, Arnautovic, Snodgrass, Anderson, Obiang
I didn’t buy a ticket for the game and now I really regret it. If you’re going, make some noise!
In my humble opinion Manuel Pellegrini will have learnt more from this match than any other that we’ve played this season.
He will have learnt…
1. That he picked the wrong starting line-up.
2. That Obiang is not Noble, and that partnering him with Rice doesn’t work.
3. That Carroll and Arnautovic should never, ever, ever appear in the same starting line-up again. Ever.
4. That for this team to be successful it has to be built around Arnautovic and play to his strengths.
5. That Antonio’s best position is wide right, and that he has more pace than he first thought.
6. That Zabaleta is perhaps nearer the end of his career than he first thought.
7. That the female lineswoman clearly had a grudge against Snodgrass.
8. That Felipe Anderson gets better as a game goes on. And he can actually win the odd tackle too.
9. That if we play with pace rather than amble around it brings goals.
10. That the crowd really can be our twelfth man.
The main thing supporters learned from this game is that we have a manager who knows when to make a substution and who to bring on for whom. I think most of th crowd agreed that Carroll needed to come off at half time. I was also willing him to bring Antonio on, although perhaps I might have brought on Diangana rather than Noble, and switched Snodgrass more centrally.
It’s highly unusual to come back and get a point from two goals down. I’m sure we’ve done it before but I can’t think when. And the crowd needs to learn from this too. The gound was incredibly quiet in the first half and its nervousness transmitted itself to the team. It was only when Arnautovic scored his first goal that there was any noise at all, and it kept going for the rest of the second half. Guys, we’re going to have 60,000 people in the stadium for the big games. At least that’s the plan. We ought to have the place rocking, but it also needs to rock when we’re not playing well. Because when the crowd rocks, it’s like shooting an electric surge through the whole team. Today Brighton visibly wilted when we got going and it wasn’t just because of what was happening on the pitch itself.
Yes, we may all feel angry at the pathetically lethargic first half performance. But let’s respect the point. Previous West Ham teams would have folded after losing two goals, and probably let in more. This one didn’t.
We’re tenth and only three points of seventh. And seventh is basically the best any of the teams below Manchester United can aspire to this season. Let’s face it, after the first few games this season, we’d all have given our eye teeth to be where we are now.
West Ham v Brighton
FA Premier League
Please use this thread to comment on the match as it progresses.
This post is copied from Claret & Hugh
Officers looking for a missing man in #Basildon are planning to drain a lake in Gloucester Park as the search continues.
We are releasing new CCTV footage of Jack Morrad, 28, who was last seen at around 2.30am on Dec 23.
Read more: https://t.co/wBFXEyzWCn pic.twitter.com/ZTfmwGc4eY
— Essex Police (@EssexPoliceUK) December 31, 2018
Essex Police have released CCTV footage of missing West Ham season ticket holder Jack Morrad this evening.
A statement on Facebook by Essex Police reads:
Officers looking for a missing man in Basildon are planning to drain a lake in Gloucester Park as the search continues. Jack Morrad, 28, was last seen in Broadhurst Place at around 2.30am on Sunday, December 23. We are releasing new CCTV footage of Jack, taken at a similar time on Blake Avenue, in an appeal for further information about his movements that morning. Throughout the festive period, our officers and Jack’s family and friends have been carried out an extensive search, including of Gloucester Park and other waterways in the town. Specialist search teams have carried out an extensive search of the park and all bodies of water within it at the weekend. Following the conclusion of those searches the main fishing lake will now be drained, which will begin on January 2, ready to be searched on January 4, 2019.
Detective Chief Inspector Alan Pitcher, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said:
After prolonged investigations over the past nine days, one of our main lines of enquiry remains that Jack’s movements led him to Gloucester Park. Officers from across the county, volunteers from Essex Search and Rescue, and specialist teams, have worked over Christmas and New Year to try and piece together what we believe are Jack’s last known movements. We will continue our search for Jack by draining the fishing lake. Night fisherman have stated they heard a man in the area of the lake at around 2am and, to further our enquiries, we need to do a thorough examination of the fishing lake. The draining will be led by the Environmental Agency, who will ensure that minimum disruption is caused to the nature in the lake and its surroundings. This is not a decision we have taken lightly and I cannot imagine the pain Jack’s family are feeling today. Their bravery and determination throughout this search has been commendable, and I hope that our ongoing enquiries will give them the answers they need. I would like to thank everyone in the local community for coming together to support our efforts during this difficult time. The public support in this case has been overwhelming. To everyone who has supported Jack’s family, made fliers, or taken part in searches around the town – thank you for your hard work, your hope and your dedication. Our investigation has identified a sighting of Jack in Blake Avenue around 2.30am. We are still keen to hear from anyone who lives or was driving in that area and has available CCTV or dashcam footage, which shows from 1am to 6am on December 23. Please also check your gardens and sheds for any signs that someone may have taken shelter there. I am also keen to hear from anyone who may have seen Jack in the town centre and may have information as to which direction he went. We would ask drivers in the town with dashcam to check your footage and get in touch with any believed sightings. Anyone with information or footage can send it into us via a portal HERE. I hope the ongoing search can provide us all with much-needed answers over the coming week.