Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Sunday November 28 2010
Wigan Athletic may have arrived in East London yesterday but the Latics simply didn`t turn up for this game against what must surely be the worst side in the Premier League this season.
Following on from a similar vein last season when Martinez`s side took a beating from the rubbing rags of last year Portsmouth, the feat was repeated as West Ham racked up only their second win of the campaign.
It should and could have been all so different though, starting with team selection, with the spine of the Latics first choice missing, Rodallega, McCarthy, Alcaraz and Gary Caldwell, surely some steel was needed and a bit of urgency, or as Martinez calls it high tempo.
Jordi Gomez, good season though he`s had this was never a game suited to his slow, slow, slow approach and I cant remember one pass, tackle or shot of note that the former Espanyol player did in his 60 minutes on the pitch, though it is unfair to single him out as there were five others who played in a similar fashion.
Ronnie Stam was at right back and after 5 minutes the marauding Dutchman flew up the Latics right and hit a delightful cross, low and hard into the West Ham 6 yard box, unfortunately no Latics player was within sight.
The problem with Stam though is he was playing right back not right wing and his defensive awareness and perhaps capability leave a lot to be desired, his bombing forward at every opportunity leave the back line very much exposed and I don`t think he has grasped the English expression `close him down Ronnie` yet.
Franco Di Santo played like he`s been out of the side, which he had, and it showed, his touch was off, he couldn`t hold onto what little ball he was receiving and both Upson and Tomkins had him in their pockets.
Charles N`Zogbia looked frustrated and with little or no support found himself running into three and four defenders each time he had the ball, Charlie appeared to give up, not one of his better performances.
West Ham scored a bit of a comical goal on 35 minutes, when ex Pompey striker Frédéric Piquionne headed down a cross in the Latics box, Hammers midfield man Valon Behrami had the ball passed onto him by a Latics defender and he stroked it home despite the attentions of Steven Caldwell.
It could have been two moments later but for an outstanding save by Ali Al-Habsi who somehow clawed away a Piquionne effort at point blank range.
Latics were getting over ran as the first half came to an end and a change was desperately needed to freshen up the team and also to try and cause the West Ham defence some problems, unfortunately there was no change made at half time and the second half carried on with the Hammers still in the ascendancy.
With the Latics fans screaming for a substitution to be made West Ham went 2-0 in front. Al-Habsi took a short goal kick to Gohouri who gave it back to his keeper who now found himself under pressure from a West Ham forward, he hoofed the ball with his left foot but found only Scott Parker who fed the ball into Piquionne, he laid the ball off to Victor Obbina who struck home with the outside of his boot across Al-Habsi into the far corner.
Latics made a double substitution, Gomez finally being spared and Di Santo joining him to be replaced with Victor Moses and Mauro Boselli. But within a minute West Ham should have made it 3-0
Piquionne, unmarked in the centre of the six yard box hit his snatched shot wide, it looked like West Ham would be made to pay for this miss as Tom Cleverley carried the ball up the other end of the ground and drove into the Hammers box only to be upended by a clumsy Danny Gabbidon challenge, penalty.
Up stepped Mauro Boselli, on the pitch for just 2 minutes on a freezing cold day, looking whiter than a Daz commercial and you couldn`t tell if he was shaking with the cold or with fear, the £6 million striker looking for his first Premier League goal of the season hit the tamest of tame penalties that West Ham keeper Robert Green nearly dove over.
If it could go wrong today it was going to. Scott Parker is a much maligned figure amongst Latics fans for various reasons and he rubbed salt in that festering wound when he followed up his own pass to Obbina to run unmarked into the Latics box to sidefoot home Obbina`s return, 3-0.
Tom Cleverley hit a stunning strike on 86 minutes to reduce the deficit and it was thoughts of what only over the penalty miss, Gohouri had a goal wrongly ruled out for off-side when he was a clear yard on side in the dying moments but overall Latics were very much second best to a poor West Ham side.
There is a long way to go yet and some of the performances this season have been excellent, we need to get our injured and suspended players back as soon as possible because games like this show we have a good first eleven only.
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Date:Sunday November 28 2010
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