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Four Unexpected Points
(But ITV Won't Give Us Credit)


Kanoute bears down on goalA 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 games.


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.

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