It was always likely to be the case. In years past, West Ham playing under the floodlights were an impenetrable team. Buoyed by a raging East End atmosphere, the team went almost two years without losing a home midweek game, and although that run may not quite repeat itself, there were certainly sings of a bygone era last night, with fans driving the team and a homegrown hero securing the points.
We’ve shown some fight in recent games, as well as persistence. Despite taunts from know-nothing Spurs fans, we’ve not looked like a team heading for the relegation scrap. There is too much pride and determination, coupled with some great players, for that to happen. Provided the January transfer window does not tear that spirit apart, we’ll be fine. There are the games this month that mean we can push up and onwards, not worry about the results of Portsmouth and Hull.
Whilst I was delighted with the result, there were a couple of worrying elements. Villa did have a period of total control, and other teams would have capitalised on that. I’m also confused as to why Zola brought on Jiminez when you just felt the spark of Diamanti could have replaced a much improved but clearly tired Noble. I felt it was the wrong decision by Zola but I guess he will feel vindicated by the result.
Anyway, onto the ratings:
Green – 7 – some great saves, including the penalty, might have done better on their goal?
Illunga -6 – not on long enough to have an effect
Upson – 7 – strong performance from Matty
Da Costa – 7 – distribution was poor but defensively he looked very capable against some tough Premier League strikers
Faubert – 6 – some poor crossing, saved only by a couple of well timed tackles
Collison – 7 – quietly getting back to some top form, never stopped running
Parker – 8 – talking of never stopped running, my man of the match, cracking performance
Noble – 7 – his best game for some time, good penalty and got involved throughout
Behrami – 6.5 – decent shift from Valon without being highly influential
Cole – 6 – hope his injury is not too serious
Franco – 7 – you can see some real quality from this guy and seems to be developing an understanding with Carlton
Spector – 6 – did okay considering he was on his wrong side
Hines – 7 – lovely performance from Zavon, gave Villa the run around from the moment he was on
Zola/Clarke – 7 – despite some questionable personnel decisions, they kept the lads going till the end.
In order to fully turn the corner, another 3 points against Everton on Sunday would be a real boost. But damn, it’s good to remember what a win feels like again, well done lads!