I am going to gloss over the 4th Round of the FA Cup with Liverpool as this was not a great game to watch. With a depleted Liverpool side, we should have beaten even with a not too full strength side. A nil-nil means a replay, and I wonder if we will field a weakened side……..
And today’s game against Villa was looking like pretty much the same result, For the first half, it really was a laborious affair – despite Ayew’s needless sending off for a ridiculous elbow on Cresswell for no good reason. We did not look the part at all for the first 45 mins…..in which we should have advantage of getting good goal or two against a side that has hit rock bottom in the Premier League. It was not good to watch and very frustrating. The first 5 mins were quite frantic, but it tailed off after that. Annoying.
But then came the second half. And once more the Hammers woke up and decided to play football. We were all over Villa and the man advantage was telling. I have to say that Payet was a little quiet for his standards this game, but nevertheless put a shift in. As did all of the rest of the midfield, Mark Noble being particularly impressive with his endeavour and the beautifully weighted pass that set up the first goal for Antonio to score. Noble gets Man of the Match.
Since capturing a regular starting berth, he can now see the man we paid £7m for,. His work rate is impressive to say the least and this gives me great confidence when Moses returns to Chelsea as he is an instant replacement.
From what I saw and recall on BT Sport, Villa hardly had a touch of the ball – did nothing for virtually almost the entire game apart from the odd save here and there. And it was their push up front which lead to a huge break by the Hammers with Valencia surging forward and turning provider to Kouyate who got the second.
And with that second goal, you could see it was game over. Villa’s heads dropped and Remi Garde cut a very sorry figure. Contrast that with the delight on our bench with Bilic, Jurcevic and Terzic all in delight. It could have easily gone the wrong way with a draw against the bottom side, but thankfully we got past this test.
Now 6th in the league and just a point behind Utd in 5th, this is still a great season so far. Europe beckons?
In Slaven We Trust.