West Ham behind the curtains, the methods of Allerdyce, Arsenal rotating


My dear friends, Merry Boxing Day and all that…

Now I hope, that unlike myself your enjoyment of the festive season does not hinge entirely on Arsenal’s success. Which, of course is a truly absurd way to live… a bit like clinging to a leisurely morphine addiction. Sometimes you enjoy it, but other times it ends worlds

Monday being the perfect example: we all knew there was no way we’d enjoy that game. Mourinho’s ability to ruin football matches is villainous and I’m convinced history will disregard him for it. The people retorting that dull but catchy line: “it’s not his job to entertain…” are missing the point, why does Football exist? The sound fact is that no one would like football, if everyone played the way he does.

The Story of Football is punctuated by losers’… glorious ones at that.

Now that rant is off my chest we can begin.

One of last year’s resolutions was to study to a fine detail the tactical decisions of Sam Allardyce. The answers I sought being:

  • What methods he used in getting his players kicking the ball so far?
  • How his teams turned from artistry to fighting with nothing in between
  • How 4-6-0 – a formation passed like a hallowed baton between great teams – was treating him.

Not very well it seems… West Ham are sitting in 17th with 14 points and with Carlton Cole re-signed on a short term deal.

Gambling the other day, I overheard a hilarious conversation with two old hammers. It finished with something along the lines of:

“if they were playing in my back garden, I’d draw the curtains…”

– which I loved.  You could describe in many paragraphs the sort of team they are; their tactical tendencies, line-up and form… but it would still offer a vastly inferior description.

Injury news is minimalist, minimalist to non-existent. Koscielny might be back, but that is just a guess. Jack Wilshere is still banned and for bloody good reason too. Leg breakers I can take, punching policeman (Tomkins)? That doesn’t bother me… but gesturing at fans who were abusing the player’s children!  Jack… it’s villainy of the Highest ORDER

I expect today’s team will look more offensive than the Chelsea one. Mainly because we’re wearing distasteful armbands, but also because Cazorla will probably replace Rosicky. I seem to remember the Spaniard playing like a man possessed at Upton Park last season.


Sagna      Per      Koscielny      Gibbs

Ramsey      Flamini

                      Cazorla      Ozil      Walcott                        



Nolan returns for them, I believe. Not good news, but it shouldn’t make a huge difference. I have every confidence we’ll win this game. Aside from Diame and Morrison, they are quite average. Most teams battling relegation have a unique aspect to their game that gets them results. A solid defence; intimidating home advantage, or in the rare case of Wigan/Fulham a mercurial attack. West Ham have none of these things.

But there is an alternative insight elsewhere.  The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Mesut Özil might be given his first rest since he joined Arsenal – and if not now then on Sunday against Newcastle United.  They also suggest Olivier Giroud might get a rest too – which probably means a start for Podolski (although the Telegraph goes for Bendtner).

Szczesny also gave an interview in which he said,”The mood around the club is much better than it was at the start of the season. People maybe didn’t believe in this team as much as they do know.

“Our confidence is still quite high and we believe that we can go and do it this year…. Two or three years ago we’d have lost this game against Chelsea. Sometimes if you can’t win it, you have to settle for a clean sheet and a point.

“There’s a little bit more experience in the team now and we’re a bit more physical, more direct. Maybe that has made the difference.

“We matched Chelsea physically. We tried to play football and keep the ball on the floor and create chances that way. But we know that they’re a bit more direct than us and I thought we dealt with that very well.”

Just one more snippet dredged up from the annals of Untold.   On 25 September 2006 Sam Allardyce, then manager of Bolton, announced he was going to sue the BBC after allegations of bung-taking on Panorama.  The threat of legal action was made in quite a dramatic statement, and we all waited agog.

We are still waiting.   Ah well.


44 Replies to “West Ham behind the curtains, the methods of Allerdyce, Arsenal rotating”

  1. Great stuff DSC
    I think you pretty much nailed those hammer’s tactics (if they have any).
    Nolan is yet another thug who will be indulged by the ref, because it is written into the Laws of the Game that it is OK to kick the Arsenal.

  2. Good read .

    ” Having Mourinho back is good for for the league and English football” was one of the prevailing opinions around the PL ( Wenger’s included) when the news of his return hit the presses, but in fact his return is only good for Chelsea fans who crave titles and media who hang on every bomb throwing interview he gives.

    Mourinhos benefits to football are in many ways is akin to the use of pesticides in crop farming. Sure they will increase your harvest and profits ,but soon enough your ground waters get poisoned ,your live stock mutates ,your kids become allergic and fish in rivers are dying.

    Is it any wonder that his tenure at any club never exceeded three years? I think not.
    Mourinho is good for Mourinho first and foremost and if he fails to win the league in the next two years , Abramovich will pay through his nose to send the “happy one” on his marry way ,again.

    “Sam Allardyce is a good manager because he lasts ” said Wenger when forced by a journalist to give his opinion on big Sam, which is like saying “it’s a great performance car ,because it’s dependable and always starts up”. Never mind that it’s top speed is only 55 miles per hour and it clogs up the interstate while in the fast lane , and it’s steel bumpers are hazardous to pedestrians and other road users alike.

    If those two decided to retire from football the game would be better for it.

  3. Regardless as to whether or not Wilshere deserved his punishment, the abuse from the Man City fans involving his children was an absolute disgrace. It emphasises the depths to which attenders at football matches have descended and NO club escapes guilt at having morons like these at its ground.
    Good camera surveillance should be able to identify the culprits and a life-time ban could be the answer.

  4. Tom
    Absolutely agree with your comments. Mourinho had the cheek to label us boring, as reported in the telegraph today. This guy is so up his backside it’s unbelievable. He says he remembers cech making zero saves, when in fact the vest save of the match was made by his goalie. And he says we failed to test his keeper so that makes us boring instead of his team that is being accused of turning up at the ems with one thing on mind, to defend. Well, he’s actually confirming that his team is the boring one as he had 10 men behind the ball at any time, aka parking the bus. I have no doubt Wenger’s comment that his coming back to the premiership was forced on him by the media, he couldn’t have expressed his true feelings without being charged with bringing the game into disrepute. What I find unfair of the media is whenever something happens in the football world, eg, match fixing,goal line technology, etc,they run to seek Wenger’s opinion. But when he also comments on how negative some team was he’s labelled a clueless this or that. T**ts.

  5. Tom, I guess if you add tony pulis to that list of Maureen-whore and allardyce, the game will be much much better without these men. Maureen is the worst though as with the other two they usually only affect you when you play them, but with this tw*t from Portugal it doesn’t end there; he’s always courting the media, giving interviews laced with poisonous comments about other people, he’s such a vile human being. No wonder Pellegrini refused to shake his hand. Unfortunately the media didn’t make a big issue out of it, unlike they would have undoubtedly done had it been Wenger.

  6. Al
    Yea, you’re right about Pulis. Did you see Pulis and Mourinho come out of the tunnel before the game at the Bridge? I’ve never seen so much hugging and back slapping between two men . For a second it looked like they might forgo the game and get a room instead 🙂 douchebags!

  7. maureen was probably thanking Pulis for some advice on how to break legs, for their upcoming fixture against Arsenal. Conversation probably went something like:
    TP: Hey maureen, I hear you’re playing Arsenal soon.
    JM: Yup, they’re gonna wipe the floor with us 🙁
    TP: No no no, haven’t you been watching their games? The ref’s ain’t giving them sh!t lately. If you park the bus and mix in a bit of rugby, you might, just might come away with a point! You’ve got Mike Dean for that game, you lucky bastard!
    JM: Oh sweet, you might have a point…
    TP: Yeah, plus check out the video of Shawcross on Ramsey, and get Ramires, Mikel and Lampard to study it. I assume you’ll use those 3 in midfield for an effective rugby team bus, right? And by midfield, I don’t mean ask them to play in the middle of the pitch! They should be a lot closer to your goal unless they’ve just fouled an Arsenal player to gain the ball and are on the break…
    JM: Wow, you’re right! I should have been doing this all season, what’s wrong with me? Instead I’ve had the boys running all the way to the opposition penalty box to dive. Jeez, thanks TP, I seem to have lost my true self there for a bit. Gimme a hug, you ol’ rascal!
    TP: I’ll be watching the game, break a leg!

  8. You wouldn’t see someone like Pellegrini hug tp or Maureen like that, because he has integrity. T*ssers

  9. C4
    I don’t know what those two talked about but I’m fairly certain what Mourinho told his defenders about Ozill before our game. “He’s a nice kid and a great player but you can rattle him easily if you foul him hard and get in his face ”

    I’ve watched every Chelsea game for some years now and I’ve never seen Ivanovic foul somebody and get in their face about it afterwards. Coincident? I think not.

    Ozill better grow up fast and wise up to the premier league and it’s tactics because he’s never had to face this kind of “football” before
    Maybe he should rethink his friendship with Mourinho and ask for his jersey back .

  10. BTsprout Pundit(who?)
    “…for West Ham to get a result, they need to come out kicking Arsenal. Closing down quickly and coming in hard….”

  11. C4
    Not word for word. But that was basically what he was saying.
    I believe it was Steve McManaman talking during the BTsport build-up to the game, just before kick-off.
    Maybe someone else heard it and can remember it?

    Well done Gunners!!

  12. @Gunz Wow, that’s quite something. How come I’ve never head a pundit say something like that about any other team before a match? With Arsenal, I’ve heard it a few times now, and it’s often classified as “tactics”. Truth is, it’s actually cheating and wouldn’t work in any other league. maureen tried it in Spain against Barca and finished the match with 10 men. 🙂
    Anyway, final score: Fat Sam + Fat ref 1 – 3 Arsenal
    I’m cracking a cold one… 🙂

  13. It feels great to win again. The third from Podolski has got be shared with Giroud. What a great hold up play, with the German smashing it with aplomb.

    Well done guys!

    Onward to Newcastle.

  14. Don’t know who’s commenting on BTSport with that tw*t Owe, but just heard him say in that Arsenal game Arsenal had a go at City and might have got a little bit more out of the game had they been a little lucky. So, just how unlucky were we. Think they’re finally agreeing that we were robbed.

  15. The pre-match BT quote was even worse – specifically advocated committing fouls. Don’t think it was Owen though.

    Believe co-commentator was McAllister while studio pundits were McManaman (so probably him), David James and I think Owen Hargreaves. Of those 4, only James – with a brief association with West Ham a long time back – had anything to do with either club! Weak.

    From a refereeing perspective, thought it was reasonable EXCEPT that Dowd bottled sending off O’Brien for a yellow/red foul while already on a yellow. The fact that he was substituted minutes later gives things away I think…

  16. Great win !
    Showed a lot character after going a goal down. Arteta’s positioning at foult for the goal conceded . He dropped way to deep , leaving too much space around the area , exploited opportunistically by West Ham . Apart for one more chance – a header that went wide of the far post , West Ham were dominated and it was only a matter of time before the goals rained in.

    Great return from Podolski , who looked fresh and dangerous – just like a new signing 🙂
    His low placed , firmly struck shot on a ball played back to him by Giroud ,found its way into a far corner after Theo had already grabbed his brace.

    In the end it was another “boring ” 3-1 win over West Ham, unlike the “exciting ”
    1-0 win for Chelsea over Swansea and when I say exciting I really mean it ,especially for the home crowd who looked constipated while their beloved team dropped deep , frantically trying to defend the 1 goal advantage against the “mighty” Swans.

    But as we all know 1-0 score line is the “easiest ” thing in football according to Mou who was shaking hands with bemused Laudrup before the match ended. What a tosser!

    Rooney’s done it again for Man U against Hull. He kicked out at Huddleston and didn’t even get a yellow for it . Later on he dived blatantly in the middle of the park agains Huddlestone again winning a free kick , and finally got a booking for speaking out of turn .

    Conclusion- you can kick out at opponents after the ball had gone. You can dive and cheat but don’t talk back to the ref.
    Incidentally, this was a fifth game in a row where a Man U player has dived at least once per game and last week Januzaj did it twice. Ferguson’s teachings prove hard to eradicate but I’m sure Moyes is trying very hard 🙂

    It’s a barn burner at the Etihad where Refs blew a two yard off side call against Liverpool . It’s 2-1 to City and if the score holds , I’m sure City fans will say “nothing to see here, stop complaining and keep on walking” 🙂

  17. Bootoomee
    Curious to hear what the pundits make of that disallowed Sterling goal. So that’s 3 genuine goals against city disallowed at the etihad. Wow, if that is down to sheer luck then they must be the luckiest bastards in the whole world.

  18. Pete,

    If O’Brien was wearing Arsenal shirt he would have been sent off. The second offence was so obvious I screamed at my computer when I realised no was going to be given.

  19. AL,

    They agreed Sterling was on side. It was so obvious they’ll look like the world’s worst fools to say otherwise. I fully expect Liverpool to make a big deal of the incident as Sterling was one on one with Hart. It was a crystal clear goal scoring opportunity.

  20. Think the city fans will be saying just that wonder what the powers at Chelsea make of all these refs decisions going city’s way? Guess chelski may just have to pay up a bit more. Liverpool really getting a raw deal by the looks of things
    Good to see Poldi back think ox will prove useful in some games as well. Hope Rambo ok

  21. Yeah, saw that too Bootoomee, they had to comment on that one as it was too blatant. Let’s hope city will be made to pay back these generous decisions later on.

  22. commentator was screaming YES like he was on pleasure when the header from six yards was attempted by west ham, he then went . oh no it did not go in. I am sorry , aren’t commentators neutral or are they too like the refs .

  23. As a visitor to Kuwait, I watched the match on Al-Jazeeira, with the benefitof enlightened commentary from Stewart Robson. After tiring of constant references to Arsenal’s weak attack and fragile defence, plus Allardyce’s teams’ traditional “success” in employing tactics which upset Arsenal, I turned the sound off and enjoyed the spectacle of our demolition of WHU after Podolski’s arrival.

  24. John,
    Or put on the live Arsenal Player feed… That is what I do so to avoid listening to these morons.
    Here in the United States, the commentators are the usual anti-Arsenal c*nts, and I am happy to avoid them. Luckily, the post-match commentators include Robbie Earle, and he has been very appreciative of the Gunners and of Wengerball.

  25. Dominic

    Changing a win from 2 points to 3 points broke the idea that a win and a loss is the same as two ties. Which changed football for the better.

    We need get rid of the idea that if you don’t score goals, you can still get points. A 0-0 game should result in 0 points to both teams.

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