I’m glad that match wasn’t ten minutes longer. It was a classic Boleyn Ground performance, cruising ahead but letting the opposition back in.
The match was a fairly weird one. Although I think we deserved our three points, neither team was carving out many threats on goal but both teams took their chances clinically when they arrived. Leicester’s second wasn’t really a clear-cut chance, it was just a real blast.
Baldock and Carew were excellent once again and it’s a joy to watch them play at the top of a 4-4-2. Baldock is fully deserving of his praise; a hungry, quick, natural finisher who is starting to really make an impact on this team, and this league. Four goals in his last two Boleyn starts says to me that he might be something special.
Alongside him, Carew is still proving he has more skill than I ever gave him credit for before. His touch and awareness is brilliant, as is his determination, although it’s his sheer desire to win each ball that referees seem to dislike. His booking was farcical, though I’m relieved to read that Allardyce took him off to null the chances of seeing a second yellow and not down to injury.
Julien Faubert had another good game and it was great to see him acknowledge our chants of his name after a good run. He’s had a weird old career at West Ham so far but I hope we keep hold of him. I know he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I hope he knows that some West Ham fans appreciate him. A few more games in the advanced-right position and he will only get better.
I think the strength of our squad was proven today. With Bouba Diop on the bench, Nolan and Noble did well in midfield, with Noble in particular showing some real class once again. His commitment has never been in doubt, but his prowess in the pass and tireless chasing of the ball has been second to none in the last two matches. Amazingly, I heard someone on the tube home saying he had a bad game… probably the sort of person that thinks Piquionne is a super star, but I guess that’s the good thing about opinion and different interpretation.
Piquionne actually did OK today, I’m no fan of his really but he looked better than he has done for a while. He is still way off the levels I would expect from a professional footballer at our club though.
In defence Winston Reid was great again, with some more work on his forward distribution he will be a good player for seasons to come. As will Tomkins who, when he came on, was pure class. McCartney was solid and is looking fit again, and O’Brien likewise.
Finally a word for Rob Green. Great to see him back in action and even better to see him give the fists to the Leicester fans as the final whistle sounded. To anyone who didn’t see it, he looped from the goal to the away fans and then to the Chicken Run, pumping his fists the whole way. Of course, the Leicester fans got really wound up but they can thank their own for Green’s over-enthusiastic display. A couple of idiots in their support thought it was OK to throw objects at Green as he took a goal kick… Needless to say he had the last laugh, and deservedly so.
Today was closer than it should have been but we played some really good stuff. We passed the ball accurately and intelligently and were too much for the Leicester defence to deal with. There’s still work to do though as this match should have been far more comfortable than it was. I mean, we were playing against a team whose big summer signing was David Nugent…
Unfortunately Saints won again today so we’re still three points shy of the top spot. Next up is Bristol City at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday evening and, hopefully, another three points.