Four Unexpected Points
(But ITV Won't Give Us Credit)
couple of weeks ago, with our form looking dodgy again after those three
consecutive wins, I fully expected a nil return from the games against
Manchester United and Arsenal. and probably several goals more conceded.
However, two excellent performances have given us four points from these two
If ever there's been a "good" time to visit Old Trafford, then last Saturday was
probably it. The Mancers form of late has been inconsistent, and their defence
has looked decidedly dodgy, conceding almost as many goals as our own - and
that's going some! I fancied our chances of scoring a goal, but also feared that
we would concede three or four in the process. I listened to the game on the
radio, and it sounded like we fully deserved the result we got, with an
outstanding all-round team performance, in which we had a good share of the
ball. This was also the opinion of various TV reporters. O.K. so James had to
make some very good saves, but that's what we bought him for.
Yet watching the highlights on ITV that evening, you'd have thought that there
was only one team in it, and that we'd pinched a fluke win. The failure also in
the post-match analysis to even mention the three occasions on which Keane
should have been sent off (one of which should also have been a penalty to us)
showed how biased ITV seem to have become in their obsession with the Mancers.
It was much the same this week, when I was sure that the cameras had recorded a
different game to the one I'd seen earlier in the day. Again, the footage seemed
to have been edited to make our opponents look better than they were. It was
only in the post-match analysis, which featured Joe Cole's skills, that you
could see that West Ham had also played some really good football.
Following on from the previous week's showing, West Ham again performed well.
The new midfield layout has given Cole the licence to show us that he can become
the player we all hoped he could. In this match, he took everything Vieira could
give him, and still came back for more. One of the afternoon's highlights was
when one of Joe's turns and shimmies left Vieira on his arse.
The commitment from the team was again excellent, and Dailly and particularly
Repka hardly gave Henry a look-in all afternoon. In midfield, Carrick had an
excellent first half, but seemed to fade a bit in the second. At times, he and
Cole did not pick up Arsenal midfield players coming through, which nearly cost
us dear when Grimandi hit the bar, but they are both only twenty years old, and
hopefully this side of their games will improve with experience.
One sour note from the game - Paolo was rightly booked for diving, and this is
one aspect of his game we could really do without. This booking was his fifth of
the season, and he now faces a suspension, with crucial games coming up over the
Christmas period. What's worse is that it seems to have a knock-on effect on
other more genuine penalty claims. We had one ignored at Old Trafford when Keane
smacked Cole in the face, and another against Arsenal when Vieira clearly
handled. I'm sure refs. are loathe to give us penalties if they can possibly
find an excuse not to, because of Paolo's antics.