Green’s ghastly disaster!
Bolton Wanderers 3 West Ham United 1 IT IS tough when you are missing your star men through injury, but when you can t rely on the top performers who are actually still in the team, then you know you are deep in trouble, writes DAVBE EVANS. So it is for
Bolton Wanderers 3 West Ham United 1
IT IS tough when you are missing your star men through injury, but when you can't rely on the top performers who are actually still in the team, then you know you are deep in trouble, writes DAVBE EVANS.
So it is for a West Ham team who are fast becoming a disorganised, shellshocked rabble.
There was no cohesion in this side, very little game plan it would seem and no Plan B when things inevitably began to go wrong.
When you have a bench made up largely of kids, you know that unless the players on the park do the business, there is very little chance of turning a match with some fresh blood, and those on from the start are not doing the job.
If West Ham's management put as much effort into tactics on the field, rather than deflecting criticism off it, then the club would be in a much better place.
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On Saturday, manager Gianfranco Zola decided to castigate a referee for the first time since his arrival at Upton Park; on Tuesday night at the Reebok, it was assistant boss Steve Clarke who came out to face the press and attempt to carry the blame for West Ham's plight.
At least he did not say that all is well in the camp.
"The feeling in the dressing room is that we know we're in a bad position, we know we haven't got enough points," said a downhearted Clarke.
"We're not stupid. We understand the situation and we're working as hard as we can to rectify it and at the moment it's not easy.
"We have confidence in the players, we have confidence in ourselves and we're sure we can get out of the bottom three."
That confidence is rapidly fading from the West Ham supporters. They know that the team is missing key players in Matty Upson and Carlton Cole, but it seems mystifying that the loss of two men can turn the team from a useful outfit into what is looking like something akin to a shambles.
They do not seem to be able to find the best position for their most creative player in Alessandro Diamanti; they continue to play Guillermo Franco up front on his own, and when they do throw on an extra attacker to try and get back into the game, they choose centre half Manuel Da Costa, instead of centre forward Frank Nouble.
Added to that, the continued use of Radoslav Kovac in the middle of the park and playing a midfielder at full back and it is little wonder that West Ham are struggling at the foot of the Premier League, with little prospect at the moment of pulling away from danger.
On Tuesday night, it was Robert Green's howler, that turned the game Bolton's way.
Diamanti had levelled Chung-Yong Lee's opener, as he finished off a delightful move between Herita Ilunga, Franco and Jack Collison, with a crisp shot with his right foot.
But just as West Ham were looking to take control of the game, prompted by the excellent Scott Parker, they gifted Bolton the lead once more.
Gary Cahill's shot looked like more of a back-pass, but as Green grabbed it, he allowed it to bounce and Ivan Klasnic nipped in to steal the ball and put it into the empty net.
Green had a disaster at home against Bolton last season, and this was every bit as bad.
"Football's all about mistakes," said Clarke. "Rob will deal with it and recover. The best thing he can do is to go out against Chelsea on Sunday and have the game of his life."
With a shaky defence in front of him that looks to be unlikely, though he will undoubtedly have plenty to do.
Cahill nodded in number three to rub salt into the West Ham wounds, and the evening was made complete when it was confirmed that Kieron Dyer had damaged his hamstring once again.
Zola had stressed that the midfielder was not up to starting a match, but he selected him anyway and confirmed his own opinion when he was forced off after just 22 minutes.
"Unfortunately, he felt a tightening of his hamstring. He said it wasn't a tear, just another small pull," said Clarke.
When you have to gamble on playing someone so fragile, it shows what a precarious position West Ham are in at the moment.
Clarke insisted that people should blame him for the problems rather than novice manager Zola, and yes, he must take some of the responsibility for this, but so should the boss as well as the players, who simply do not look good enough for the job in hand.
"I think the Chelsea game is a great one for us," said Clarke. "Nobody expects us to get anything and they have to go there and work as hard as they can - in football you never know."
I think we do.
West Ham: Green 5, Faubert 5, Ilunga 5, Tomkins 6, Gabbidon 6, Kovac 6, Parker 8*, Collison 6, (Da Costa 87), Diamanti 7, Dyer 7 (Stanislas 6, 21), Franco 7. Unused subs: Kurucz, Spector, Daprela, Payne, Nouble.
Referee: Andre Marriner.