The Hammers unbeaten run came to an abrupt halt yesterday with a very disappointing defeat at home to Newcastle United. If you didn't see it, the performance can only be described as 'zola-esque' with failings and fragility throughout the team. Despite a promising start that saw the Hammers take the lead after 12 minutes through Carlton Cole, the rest of the game saw us mis-placing passes and conceding possession all too readily.
Avram Grant chose to shuffle the pack for this one, with the hitherto successful duo of Piquionne and Obinna reshuffled to make room for Carlton Cole. It seemed to pay off at the start but we were very quicky over-run by the Geordies. One thing Avram does seem to be able to do is learn from his mistakes and I'm hoping he will learn from this, which was easily for me our worst performance of the season.
As for individuals, there was very little to praise with everyone seemingly having a bad day at the office. The match served to illustrate our reliance on Scott Parker – if he doesn't perform, no one seems to. He's allowed an off day, but I hope it was an exception. Here are my ratings…
Green – 6 – not sure he could have done much for either goal
Gabbidon – 5 – his lack of pace was exposed at lift back and he was caught out of position when moved to centre back following Upson's departure
Upson – 6 – did okay but was removed with an injury
Da Costa – 5 – the week's events possibly caught up with Manuel who had a poor game
Jacobsen – 6 – even our reliable dane was pretty quiet
Behrami – 5 – never got going and contributed little
Parker – 6 – the first time in age Scotty must have scored less than a 7 from me, but he did not get going yesterday
Noble – 6 – plenty of running but again, no grip on midfield, but far from the worst of the bunch
Piquoinne – 6 – clearly affected by the move wide, not a great game
Cole – 6.5 – his best showing so far this season, but at what cost to the team display?
Obinna – 6 – strong as usual but some wayward passing and shooting let him down
Fortunately, we can bounce back quickly against a Stoke side hopefully tired after their exertions against Man United today, let's see the old Hammers for that one please!