Saturday, January 9, 2010

Three Ways To Three Points: What West Ham Must Do To Beat Wolves

With the heavy snowy conditions, most Premiership matches have been canceled. However the match that matters most, West Ham v. Wolves, looked, at the time of writing, to be going ahead. With so many fixtures canceled, this is the most opportune time for West Ham to steal a march on their relegation threatened rivals.

West Ham squad will be boosted with the returning Scott Parker and Mark Noble from injury. The smart thinking of Guillermo Franco to draw the yellow card (hence sitting out the FA Cup third round) means that the wily Mexican is eligible for this match. Bar Carlton Cole and Herita Ilunga, Gianfranco Zola have a pretty useful squad to choose from.

After encouraging performances against Chelsea, Portsmouth and Arsenal, there is a growing sense of optimism and confidence the the club can play itself out of relegation danger.

So while in anticipation for this match to take place, assuming that it does, I have thought of three ways in order for West Ham to beat Wolves and gain those valuable three points. Make no mistake about it, a massive three points here could lift the Hammers up to 13th spot, level points (21) with Blackburn Rovers.

Here are the three ways:

1. A first half blitz
West Ham's best performances this season have always come in the first half of each game. Therefore, Zola must ensure that the team comes out of the dressing room, fully charged up and ready to explode with all guns blazing against Wolves. The Hammers have scored 16 of their 28 goals in the first half, 13 of which came between the 16-45 mins period. We are most dangerous and play our best football in the first half. Hence a first half blitz with a couple of goals will get us past the finishing line on Sunday.

2. Setpiece excellence
West Ham have scored six goals from indirect freekicks, which is the highest in the Premiership to date. There is no denying that Alessandro Diamanti is the club's best deadball specialist. The Hammers must capitalize on the energetic Italian's excellent delivery and put Wolves under tremendous pressure. The height of Collison, Tomkins and Upson should cause problems for the Wolves defence. I will be rooting for a Diamanti freekick special!

3. Shackle Wolves' Matthew Jarvis and Nenad Milijas
Jarvis and Milijas are the two most creative players in the Wolves team. Together they have assisted in five of the 17 goals that Wolves have scored this season. They will need to be watched. If Kovac and Behrami put in the same performance as they did against Arsenal in the FA Cup then the Wolves' dangermen can be contained.

This should be a keenly contested affair, as Wolves will want to avenge their opening day home defeat to the Hammers. West Ham to lead by two goals by halftime on Sunday. The fact that Wolves are also struggling in the goalscoring department will fill Hammer fans with confidence that three valuable points can be expected.

Come on You Irons!


Anonymous said...

Franco now injured and looks set to miss the villa game.

The way to win our games is to play 4-4-2. We have to be more positive especially at home. However lack of strikers is preventing us from being able to do this. That is why Zola is looking for a striker this transfer window.

The players must be careful NOT to go all guns blazing in the first half... It is easy to play well in the first half when fresh.. but by pressing the ball and using too high a tempo the team tires to early.. often losing matches they were in a good position from. An example is Arsenal in the FA cup. 1-0 up at half time, tired in the 2nd and lost 2-1.

West Ham will not get relegated this season.. especially if a takeover is completed before the end of the January transfer window and we do not sell our best players. Our best players are Carlton Cole, Valon Behrami and Scott parker. If West Ham signed a good striker to partner Carlton Cole and our current squad can get fit and avoid further injuries we will be a very decent team.

Mike Szeder

TheFlatBackFour said...

That's a good point, Mike. What I am suggesting is that a good first half blitz may result in catching Wolves on the back foot and the Hammers will score a couple goals so that the players can then play a possession game.
Fully agreed that if a competent striker is signed West Ham will look a good team.

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