West Ham’s tactics and attitude were spot on at Blackpool
West Ham bring home a deserved three points
Right team, right tactics, right attitude. Last night it all fell into place for West Ham and the optimism bred from last night’s 3-1 win over Blackpool will stand the Hammers in good stead for the fight to stay up.
All season Avram Grant has struggled to find the right blend, but last night he was spot on.
Victor Obinna repaid his faith with two goals, while Robbie Keane’s predatory finish for the second goal gave a glimpse of what he will bring to the club.
Choosing a front three of Keane, Frederic Piquionne and Victor Obinna worked a charm, while the presence on the bench of Demba Ba and Carlton Cole, clearly had a positive effect on Piquionne. For the first time this season, he will have to fight for his place.
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At time accused of being lazy, the French forward was superb and embodied the pressing and hassling of Blackpool, a key tactic in beating the hosts, while the intelligent play of Keane pulled defenders out of position allowing runners from midfield to take up positions unmarked in the opposition area.
The team were full of energy and any one of Scott Parker, Mark Noble or Gary O’Neil in the centre of midfield negated the threat of Blackpool’s biggest threat Charlie Adam.
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Given time on the ball the much sought after playmaker is deadly, but West Ham did not let him get into his stride and set pieces aside, he had little impact.
In truth no Blackpool player did, because West Ham beat the hosts at their own game.
Everybody knows the Tangerines play all out attack and West Ham realised man for man they had the better side, so why not try it themselves?
It worked and after 24 minutes they were rewarded when Obinna’s effort somehow beat Richard Kingson at his near post.
Unlike previous matches, West Ham refused to freeze when taking a leadand searched out a second, which arrived after 37 minutes when Obinna was twice denied by Kingson, but Keane was on hand to prod home from close range.
Keane said he didn’t come to West ham to be a hero, but if he continues to show the same commitment and predatory instinct in front of goal, he may not have a choice.
There was a setback when Adam scored just before the break from a corner. Piquionne’s air kick hardly helped, but Robert Green will take most of the blame, seemingly diving over the ball, as it rolled into the net.
Before panic could set in Obinna restored the Hammers two-goal advantage with a wonder strike from 25 yards which flew into the top corner, giving Kingson no chance.
Ian Holloway brought on Marlon Harewood and James Beattie, but neither forward caused any real problems and aside from a Neal Eardley free-kick which smacked the cross bar, the Hammers rarely looked troubled.
Relegation rivals Birmingham await this Sunday and although West Ham will be keen for revenge after their Carling Cup elimination, a repeat performance from last night will be their first priority.