I started my day of football watching one of the best adverts for the Barclays Premier League that i can remember for a long time in Manchester City’s 6-3 win over Arsenal.
I’ve just ended it watching one of the worst, West Ham’s 0-0 home draw with Sunderland.
You will go a long way to see two worse teams this season in the most popular league in the world and based on that display and not even including other woeful ones from both sides through this first half of the season, both sides look destined for the drop.
The game started with both sides looking very edgy and the home side especially looking nervous.
The visitors settled into the game the better side and Gus Poyet, although failing to get the game’s opening goal, would have been much the more pleased manager at HT.
West Ham were toothless in the first half.
5 attempts at goal with not a single effort on target.
Sunderland were marginally better in front of goal, from their 10 attempts they managed 3 shots on target but they were most certainly the more dangerous of the two sides creating 6 chances to West Ham’s 4 at the break.
With Kevin Nolan suspended, this game gave the chance to see what many fans seem to think was West Ham’s most balanced and creative midfield option.
The trio of Noble ( Created 3 Chances and had a below season average of 83% Pass Completion ), Diame ( Completed only 20 Passes and created only the 1 chance ) and Morrison ( Completed only 26 passes, only 11 in the attacking third and failed to create a single chance ) centrally and the two wider outlets of Joe Cole and Matt Jarvis are players that can make things happen in attacking areas on a football pitch, we’ve seen it on occasion but nowhere near enough this season.
In the first half, Cole and Jarvis completed just 16 passes between them with only 6 of those being in the attacking third of the pitch, created only a single chance and had 1 shot at goal, that being off target.
That is an awful return for two players that allegedly have aspirations to play in a World Cup for their country in 6 months time and the most worrying thing, it isn’t the first time either or both are massively under performed when given a start by Sam Allardyce, against a Sunderland side at home who are/were firmly rooted to the bottom of the table.
The closest we came to a goal in the first half, and actually the entire game, was Phil Bardsley’s thumping effort from 25 yards that crashed back off the West Ham bar.
The second half, most certainly from a West Ham perspective, just seemed to get worse.
A double change ( one enforced ) in the 55th minute saw Collison and O’Brien replacing Jarvis and Guy Demel respectively but that change in the midfield never really worked and the Sunderland midfield of Cattermole ( 56/61 Passes Completed and won possession of the ball a total of 20 times ) and especially Ki ( 46/51 Passes Completed and an 89.4% completion in the attacking third ) still controlled the ball for much of the game.
I felt that this game could have still been playing and we wouldn’t have seen a goal from either side.
West Ham created a measly 9 chances in the entire game, a season low so far, and had only 2 shots on target in 90 mins.
Sunderland just edged the game but I highly doubt even the most ardent Sunderland fan would call that a decent display, or at least not one that if repeated, would win them enough points to stay in the Premier League and likewise for West Ham.
On this display, as well as previous this season, both of these sides are going to find it difficult to stay in the Barclays Premier League this season.
The only positives to come out of the match for each side will be the clean sheets, but neither will probably play against such toothless attacks again this season, that is of course until they meet at the SOL later in the season.
MOTM for West Ham – Jozy Altidore.
The Managers View :
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce:
“We have got eight clean sheets so far this season. That is a brilliant return as we only got 11 last season.
“We all know that the [scoring] goal factor that has not made the difference for us and had that been better we would be higher up the league.
“The only thing that we are not doing consistently, at the moment, is scoring goals and that is why we are where we are.”
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet:
“Today is probably one of few games this season that I can say we deserved to win.
“There are moments in the game when you have to take your chances, especially in the first half when we really on top of the game.
“I need to look at performance, what we have worked on in the last two months and how good the team is playing.
“I would like to go into every game with this feeling that I am going to see my team on the pitch.