West Ham at the Boleyn Ground later and after last night’s annual Luvvies Gong Show what better way to mark the occasion than by taking a look at Hammers’ fan Danny Dyer’s latest celluloid release, Run For Your Wife. Taking no less than several pounds in its opening weekend, this gripping tale of a loveably monogamous cab driver who doesn’t much care for society’s rules, has been cruelly overlooked by The Academy this year; despite managing to nail at least six of the ten most relevant themes of our time; including what happens when you step on a garden rake and whether Christopher Biggins plus Lionel Blair (to the power of Neil Morrisey) really does equal box office gold.
(Hint: it does)
Once you’ve thanked the appropriate higher powers that you weren’t involved in that motorway pile-up, we move on to the soccerball. Tottenham are in the increasingly familiar position of being able to leap-frog Chelsea this evening, should three points land in their possession at the expense of Big Sam’s Hammers.
It’s been a somewhat confusing season for the disciples of West Ham, one in which the only constant is the unpredictably of the performances. Sitting in the relative comfort of 13th (level with La Resurgent Néwcastle) they’ve picked up points in the most improbable of places since breaking free of the Championship, but countered this with several disappointing malfunctions against League dross.
Only last week did they follow their impressive win against Europe’s Swansea City with a horrible performance at Villa Park; a fixture for the most part that football historians will remember as The Game That Was Worse Than Almost Everything. They’ve drawn with City, thumped Chelsea; but also lost to Reading and been schooled by Sunderland. To misquote Milhouse, you never know which way this crazy team’s going to go!
Statistic-hater, Andre Villas-Boas, has one or two selection dilemmas ahead of tonight’s trip across town. At centre-back there’s the choice to involve Michael Dawson, whom might be best suited to negate the aerial and physical prowess of Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan. Although Caulker and Vertonghen is the technically superior combination, they were a certified mess against the bigger boys of Leeds in the Cup and you’d imagine AVB would like to avoid a repeat of that.
West Ham walloped, then. You’d have forgiven Spurs for approaching this with some degree of caution. Having lost four of the last five in the league and facing that dangerous animal of a newly promoted side buoyed by good form and travelling support stricken with Cup Final Fever- amongst other, less savoury afflictions- this could’ve easily turned into one of those afternoons where things didn’t quite click into place. With the WHL inmates becoming increasingly tetchy with every goal-free minute.
Instead it was reassuring to have them get behind the team as they went merrily about the business of out-scoring the hapless Hammers and the 10th Most Expensive Player of All Time . All very nice indeed.
Defoe’s finest goal in Lilywhite? Not many can I think of which exhibited so many of his attributes in one go. Speed, power, tricky feet and a shot like a goddamn champion. The thwack against Arsenal in the 5-4er of a few years ago was rather fabulous, but I’d wager this one surpassed it. Ker-plunk!
Is that the Hugo/Brad debate put to rest, then? Preferably nailed shut in an air-tight casket and buried under thick concrete. Friedel has done little wrong in his time at the club, other than be closer to an expiry date than the competition. It’s no conspiracy, just a bit of forward planning. The circle of life and whatnot.
And it’s some keeper Lloris appears to be. A confident pair of hands who can snuffle out the air of potential threat much quicker than the average bear. He races from his line, flinging himself on danger like a war hero smothering a grenade. One of West Ham’s best moves, a two-on-one breakaway in the second half, was dealt with before anyone realised it was a thing.
Praise be, Clint Dempsey had a game. Far from the ponderous lunk we’d somewhat resigned ourselves to seeing each week, this was a performance of great encouragement. Decisive on the ball, tidy in possession and a recurrent goal-threat. This was retrograde Dempsey. Old School, to use a more fitting vernacular for a man of his talents. More please.
Liverpuddles tomorrow. Philosophy FC. If you’re terribly unlucky I might be live-blogging it.
Pray for Mojo.
Karl Pilkington once claimed that his eyes were capable of autonomous thought; regardless of his own wishes, he reckoned his peepers would somehow shut themselves if confronted with anything gruesome or particularly boring. If ever there was an occasion where a mental idea could have a legitimate practical use- ignoring all the so-called biology and whatnot- Tottenham’s visit to Stevenage at the weekend was that occasion.
I’d imagine most Spurs fans in residence would’ve been delighted if their eyes had not only closed of their own volition on Sunday, but detached at the optic nerve, rolled down the Stevenage high street and found a nice puddle to drown in.
Eyes have lungs, right?
The encouraging news is that we’re still in the Hat and should we inch past Boro in the replay, a favourable home draw with Bolton awaits us in the quarters. Nothing bad can come of this. Trust me, I’m a scientist.
Soggy-faced porn merchant, David Sullivan, has made some curious noises this week, regarding Scott Parker’s last days at the Boleyn Ground. I wouldn’t usually waste time with this sort of guff, but it does strike me as bad form to deride a player who essentially carried West Ham last season. Sure, where he carried them was straight into the Championship, but he did play jolly well whilst he was at it. Here’s what uncle David said:
“This might not please many people but look at Scott Parker’s performance in the first five games this season,” Sullivan told the ‘West Ham til I die’ website.
“To me it didn’t look like he was doing the tackling you’d normally expect him to do.
“He was running about, he was doing okay but he wasn’t doing the tackling we know he can do because he knew that the one thing that would stop a move, would be an injury.
“To me it looked like he didn’t want to be there. He told us he didn’t want to be there.
“He was protecting himself, either consciously or subconsciously. He’s gone to Spurs and he is back to his old self.”
Well, I suppose you can’t spell bitter without t-i-t.
Twitter. It’s all the rage.