Saturday, January 9, 2010
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.
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