To me it has felt like a very short season; seems like only a couple of months ago I was excitedly tuning in to see us buckle under the pressure and lose to Cardiff on the opening day of the season. There’s no denying that we’ve had a good campaign under Sam Allardyce – cast your mind back and remember the the weak excuse for a club we were when he took over and we are a much improved team right now.
But the problems haven’t been completely eradicated. The opening day loss to Cardiff was the first of too many matches this season where we showed enough quality but still had the fragility to slip up and drop points. I’ve enjoyed this season but after attending the Reading home game I was so annoyed I found myself incapable of blogging my thoughts.
Even the mercurial form of Ricardo Vaz Te couldn’t pull me back in! At the price he was he just has to be considered one of the signings of the season – imagine if we’d had him ALL season!
I also bring up the Reading game because of something we were talking about in the Boleyn before kick off: we have had a tendency to buckle under the pressure and that game summed it up perfectly for me! Sam is making us a stronger unit but even with a lead and playing the other team off the field, it is truly never over until it’s over! Had we been able to see out games we would have won the division easily.
With that in mind I hope one of two things happens in this evening’s first leg. The preferred outcome is that we destroy Cardiff and leave with a multiple-goal lead for the second leg; the second outcome is that we do well tonight, but not well enough.
It sounds crazy and I’m sure only a West Ham could feel this way but, if we can’t score a handful tonight, then I hope it’s still a close game going into the second leg. We’ve often proven incapable of protecting a narrow lead and we if we go in to the home game trying to protect a one or two goal advantage then I can see it being too nervy and too much to ask of the team. If we go into the home game needing goals then I’d feel more confident that Allardyce would put out a do-or-die squad that can do the job!
I’ve got my tickets for the home leg but must settle for watching it in the pub tonight. I’ve roped two old friends into watching the match in Hammersmith and, with a day off tomorrow, I’m hoping for a good enough reason to have a couple of celebratory drinks after the match instead of rushing home. Wherever you’re watching – enjoy it!
Come On You Irons!