By Goaty Gav!
Ok…so this article has been slightly dampened by Sunday’s match. I was expecting a more positive performance from the lads up in Manchester but it wasn’t to be. Despite this I’m going to try and keep it light and optimistic.
Lately I’ve found myself gazing at the league table like I used to when West Ham were near the top of the league when I was a kid. I think it’s a ‘savour the moment’ thing but I keep going back to it again and again. It’s been this way for much of this season but especially when we were in the top four.
From the full table I’ve also been drifting across to the form table. Until a couple of weeks ago we were sat, proudly, in second place in the table of the last six matches. At one point I managed to get the form table wrong by visiting it on the, incorrect at the time, transfermrkt.co.uk site. Their version somehow managed to ignore Chelsea’s draw with Southampton…placing them in a false second place when the mighty Hammers were really the closest team to Man City.
Sadly our heroes have dropped to sixth based on form now however, more happily, there’s still a stat that has us in second. This season’s home form table is lead by the blue half of Manchester on an impressive thirty eight points from a possible forty eight BUT having played two more games than West Ham. With eight wins, three draws and three defeats the Home table is providing ongoing happy reading for my latest obsession and has West Ham on twenty seven points. Although it feels like clutching at straws a little there is a table that we’re top of. The ‘Home Advantage’ table has us on +0.43 points for PPG home vs PPG away. In our case this is arrived at by a home PPG of 1.93 versus our PPG away being 1.5. Perhaps, however, this one, as I’ve hinted at above, shouldn’t be paid too much credence as Sheffield United sit third with a +0.38 points per game home vs away.
I honestly don’t think I’ve looked at so many league tables in a season since ’85-’86. Perhaps it’s a little sad and there’s something missing in my life (most likely any success to speak of from the team I support) but my computer, phone or tablet always seem to have a page open with one of the more flattering tables showing. Should we end the season near the top I think I’ll probably be taking some screen shots for prosperity…allowing me the odd sneaky-peek.
Some encouraging signs in the Women’s last game at home to Chelsea. The current league leaders played some fantastic football but there was tangible grit and determination from the West Ham team who managed to reduce the Blues to two goals. The lineup included lifelong West Ham fan and Icelandic International Dagny Brynjarsdottir for the first time. Early signs are that Dagny has brought with her a the fighting spirit that has earned her the caps and plaudits over an impressive career. Early on Emily van Egmond was imperious in the air to win a duel in midfield and set Kenza Dali in motion. A good ball in to Martha Thomas, who took a great touch, resulted in a shot after having drifted across the front of the Chelsea defence. A decent effort early on preceded a goal from the visitors that would have graced the Premier League. Chelsea have such quality in their side but two players really shone on the day. For their first goal Samantha Kerr headed home powerfully on seven minutes from a brilliant cross from Beth England. Absolute top drawer goal that would have been difficult to defend for any side.
West Ham continued to battle but the difference in the quality of passing was borne out by the stats with our completion of fifty five percent compared with the seventy two percent that Chelsea achieved. This enabled the West London side to dominate possession which ended up 60/40 and create the better chances of the game. Early on in the second half Chelsea showed their class again with a very similar goal to the first. Roles were reversed when, this time, Kerr put in a great cross, albeit under slightly less pressure than England’s in the first half, with England burying the header. With seven attempts at goal, versus thirteen from Chelsea, West Ham were, by no means, outclassed however. Some hugely encouraging signs ahead of the huge game at home to Birmingham City tomorrow night. Good luck ladies.
The Under twenty threes got a creditable draw away to Liverpool on Saturday with an eye catching display from the Brazilian Bernardo Rosa. On fourteen minutes Rosa played a superb through ball in to the path of Kai Corbett who, via a fortunate deflection, found the back of the net. Another great ball set up Dan Chesters who pulled his shot across the face of goal. Later on in the second half Conor Bradley found the far corner of the net across the face of the impressive Jo Anang. Keenan Appiah-Forson found the back of the net after being set up by Josh Okotcha but the goal was ruled out through off-side. At the other end of the pitch the boys were doing their job well. Jamal Baptiste, wearing number six, pulled off an impressive tackle, that the great Bobby Moore would have been proud of himself, to deny Liverpool an opportunity on fifty six minutes. On seventy two minutes Jayden Fevrier took a long ball under and set Emmanuel Longelo on his way. Longelo fed it back in to Fevrier in the middle of the box who worked an opportunity with great ball manipulation. The resulting shot flew across the face of goal. Late chances often occur in PL2 and, after the ball dropped centrally just outside the box from a corner on ninety seven Rosa struck a volley which, sadly, went high and wide.
Encouraging signs from Dimi Halajko’s young squad. Leicester at home up next on Friday evening. With both sides having identical recent form the squad will be hopeful of making it a fruitless visit for Halajko’s former club. Best of luck to the lads for that one.
Have a great week all.