Monday, 28 February 2011

Great Scott !!!!!!

Yesterday saw a struggling West Ham side host a rejuvenated Liverpool under the guidance of King Kenny at Upton Park, and it was not the visitors that were the reaping the benefits of their star performers.
On a day that the underdogs reigned supreme in all games in the English competitions one Scott Parker showed once again he is capable of world class performances that could single handily save the Hammers from the drop.
It seems to be this season that whenever Parker plays well, the London club directly benefit, and illustrates why they are so desperate to keep their talisman at all costs as Tottenham and I'm sure many others found out in the summer and January transfer windows.
Yesterday Parker put in the type of performance that will give him the plaudits and rightly so, he was truly immense in both commitment and influence. He rose to the occasion and over shadowed the likes of Steven Gerrard, Raul Meireles and even Luis Suarez in the Liverpool ranks.
He was at the heart of everything good that West Ham did, and his spirit seemingly rubbed off onto his team mates. His goal which opened the scoring was brilliant, a quick one-two on the edge of the box finishing with a toe-poke from 18 yards which seemed to pass Pepe Reina in super slow motion as it nestled in the corner and put an end to Liverpool's clean sheet run. I'm not sure if the Liverpool stopper should have reached it but it was brilliantly placed and they took a deserved lead.
Liverpool rallied and launched counter attacks but without really threatening the Hammers goal in all honesty.
All of the football was being played by the home side and minutes before the break they doubled their lead as Ba headed home from eight yards without a Red's defender in touching distance as their defensive record of late started to look like a fluke.
After the break the away side pushed and Suarez looked more and more dangerous, and on 84 Min's he turned the entire Hammers defense inside out and was left practically on his own at the by-line before smashing the ball across the six yard box and Glen Johnson was on hand to tap home against one of his old clubs.....the comeback kings at it again?????
The Red's pushed and pushed but West Ham hit them on a counter attack of their own to relieve pressure on the defence, and Carlton Cole rode a half hearted challenge and drove towards the Liverpool goal and unleashed a shot which skidded past Reina at the near post, possibly another mistake from Liverpool's number one, into the bottom corner and the game was over.
An unbelievable result and mostly thanks to their inspirational skipper. Parker will surely move on if the axe falls on the London club come May, he may even move if they escape the drop, but while he is in a Claret and Blue shirt, the loyal Hammers fans can have hope.
The frightening thing is that if he doesn't have an outstanding game EVERY week then they seem to struggle to get over the finish line in games, and this could be the reason they could go.

Across London was the Carling Cup final, Arsenal had the best chance within the last six years to get their hands on some silverware, against a Birmingham side who had not won a major tournament since the 60's.
The big plus for the Blue's on this occasion was in the shape of Zigic, the tall awkward front man who has taken the Premiership by storm since arriving at St Andrews.
Arsenal were missing Fabregas, Wallcott and probably another three or four names, one's that probably wouldn't cut it in our league anyways but they fielded their strongest side possible in order to concrete their first trophy in the first show piece of the year.
Although Arsenal had beaten Birmingham already this season, they had not faced Zigic, the big bulky and sometimes un-markable striker definitely gave the Arsenal back four an afternoon to remember.
He dominated in the air as you would imagine and the Gunners didn't know how to handle him, and he nodded the under dogs ahead following suspect defending.

The class of the favourites showed for much of the game but hit the brick wall in the shape of Ben Foster in the Blue's goal. Much similar to Fosters performance last time in a big final, although last time he wore the red of Manchester in that one, but here he showed he definitely has the quality to perform at the highest level.
Chance after chance, shot after shot he stood firm and his defence were on hand to deal with anything Arsenal threw at them. But as they struck the bar and the ball returned to an Arsenal player, the ball sent accurately across to meet the flying Dutchman Van Persie to volley home exquisitely, Arsenal looked like they had cracked it.
A barrage of attacks followed in the second half but all to no avail thanks to the inspiring Foster, shot after shot was beaten away by the stopper and Birmingham held on, then, 89 minutes showing on the Wembley clock, Foster himself launched the ball towards the Arsenal box, the target was inevitably Zigic, and has he flicked the ball on, the Gunners must have breathed a huge sigh as it trickled towards an area with a defender and keeper in it and all seemed calm, until a baffling mix up between the two saw the ball roll to Obafemi Martins, unmarked and surely in shock at the open goal that had presented before him.

Duly he rolled the ball into the empty net and bedlam ensued, celebrations were crazy and Birmingham upset the apple cart and walked away with the spoils, leaving Arsenal fans everywhere bewildered and still wondering where it all went wrong.....again.....

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