West Ham 3 Arsenal 3

This post is dedicated to Don Coates, a lifelong Hammers fan and Essex cricket umpire who sadly lost his life last week – 1941-2016 – Rest In Peace Don

Having just got back from the ground, it’s worth reflecting on a pulsating game, fitting for the run in for the Boleyn.

First up, on Diafra Sakho, who posted a mysterious and angry message via social media, we still don’t know if this was aimed at someone in his personal or professional life but it’s very odd that he was omitted from the squad, even if Slaven put this down to a ‘minor injury’. What we do know, based on the experience of Morgan Amaltifano, is that no player will be allowed to disturb the karma of the team or club and no one is bigger.  It remains to be seen if we see Diafra again this season.

Onto bigger and better things, and like so many of you, at 0-2 down, I had already started to plan my early exit and wondered if we would keep it down to 4 or 5.  But this is such a different West Ham now, we do not lose any confidence, even when we go behind.  If anything we are energised by falling it, like a hare turning on the speed against a tortoise who has had the audacity to threaten our unbeaten at home since August record.  The lads, led by the superb Andy Carroll, revelled in the fight back and almost got us the three points.  The fight and spirit were quite incredible, though sometimes I wonder about our fitness.  Players such as Payet, Noble and Cresswell, who had all run their hearts out, looked gone by the end,m contrast with a team like Spurs who appear to go all guns blazing towards the end of matches.

Top performances go down to the three boys mentioned above, Big Andy of course and little Lanzini.  It’s very interesting with Manuel, as I and a few others think he will turn into more of an influence than Dimitri over time.  Having said that, DImi is jsut sublime on the ball, just a joy to watch.  A word though on the backs, I think Slav was very keen to have Antonio back in his best spot, and you could see why.  Antonio troubled them throughout with his runs.  Unfortunately, Arsenal were exploiting that weakness, with Tomkins not quite at the races and certainly not able to match the pace that Arsenal possess.  It was a sensible switch at half time, but I really can’t wait for the summer and us to buy a new, soldi right back whilst Byram cuts his teeth.  Winston Reid seems to be getting some stick of late, some of it a little deserved as we certainly looked more solid with Ginge at the back.  However, I think Winston is just looking a bit rusty following injury and will be back to his normal self soon.

Anyway, a great game that I actually feel privileged to have watched, that was what you call total football.

You may have read this and thought ‘what about the referee?’ – I don’t have the energy to get angry about them again, but it is something we must keep an eye on and ask the FA to review at the end of the season ,we’ve definitely had our share of bad decisions.