West Ham boss needed to make playing against 10-men count
10:08 17 August 2014
Our West Ham blogger says nobody should call for the manager’s head
There are three reasons why we didn’t take our sweet winning run against Spurs to a fourth in succession.
Firstly Mark Noble’s inexplicable penalty miss, secondly Sam Allardyce failing to make an attacking change whilst we had the man advantage and lastly James Collins’ sending off.
Last season when we beat Spurs at home Younes Kaboul was sent off and not long after we went 1-0 up and the game from that point on was easy, we took control and ended up winning very comfortably. This time, however, we didn’t take our chance when Mr dependable himself Mark Noble missed his first pen in God knows how many years. If Noble had tucked it away it would’ve been a totally different game; one we would’ve won comfortably in my view.
Lord only knows what Sam was thinking by delaying making any kind of tactical change to exploit our man advantage; I’m sure with hindsight our much maligned manager wishes he’d thrown on Zarate or Diame earlier, but by not forcing the issue we let Spurs off the hook and allowed them back into the game.
One could even prophesise that with more of an attacking intent shown by the home side James Collins wouldn’t have had to body check Adebayor and we wouldn’t have wound up down to 10 men; I think we all realised when it was 10 a piece if any side were gonna win it, it was going to be them.
The last of the aforementioned reasons we lost the game was James Collins’ sending off, Sam lacked the guts to go for the jugular, however had Collins not got sent off on 60 odd minutes I’m sure we would’ve finally seen the attacking changes we craved whilst we still had our numerical advantage, and who knows maybe they would’ve come off.
Unfortunately these three factors all blended into a cocktail of frustration and bitter defeat; there were some positives though: Aaron Cresswell and Cheikhou Kouyate had excellent debuts and Stewart Downing was a constant threat.
Last season after our hat-trick of wins over Spurs I don’t recall anyone requesting Sam be handed an extension to his contract, so by the same token I think no-one should be calling for his head after our first defeat in four to a side that spent over 100 million on their squad only 12 months ago.
We won our opening day game last season and went on to endure rather than enjoy the season, so similarly just because we lost our opening fixture doesn’t by any means mean we’re in for another season of struggle.
When we can add a fully fit Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho to this team I’m sure we’ll see a marked improvement.