早晨 (Jóusàhn) Positivistas,
A most pleasant trip to Stratford last night I am sure we can all agree. The hosts, as has happened so often in the past 20 years, putting on a display that made the journey entirely worthwhile. How they manage it season after season I shall never know. New restaurant, same menu. To be fair our lads, confronted with such abundant generosity, did themselves proud.
Of our display I was particularly impressed that they we took command of midfield within seconds of the kick off, and never gave it up for the following 95 minutes. Even before the words “we’re missing Santi” ( banned sobbing face, banned sobbing face) could be posted on Twitter Le Coq and Granit were into gear, capturing the ball , pushing it forward for Theo, Ox and Ozil to twist their way toward the ‘Ammers goal.
On the odd occasion the ‘Ammers managed to get hold of the ball a swarm of yellow shirts was onto them, denying them time to look up or pick a pass, flicking the ball away before sweeping back towards Randolph’s goal, poor soul.
And having grasped the initiative in that opening few minutes I do not think that we ever let it go at any time in the evening. Two players who stood out in the first half were Ox and Monreal, both of whom have had a lot of criticism in recent weeks. They worked together as well as any full back/winger combination I can remember when attacking. If they did have a West Ham player against them on the wing to defend against I have no idea who he was because he never made any impression with or without the football.
The opening goal was as simple as it was inevitable. Ironically it was a recklessly misplaced pass out of defence from West Ham that Le Coq cut out that finally sank them. That it took 24 minutes to finally arrive was the result of some desperate defending and a weakness on our part to translate overwhelming control in the final third to a killer pass or clear shot on goal.
I sensed, and I am sure you did, that having got the first goal that the metaphorical floodgates would open and we would rattle in a few more by half time. As is the way of football however we did not translate our domination into that important second goal.
Half time slowed us down and afterward we had an occasional attach by the Ammers to deal. At just 1-0 there was that uncomfortable feeling that a silly error, a Payet free kick or even Mr Pawson might even the score unless we moved the scoreboard on.
I need not have worried and the best player on the pitch, probably the best player in the Premier League this past month, struck decisively on 70 minutes. Despite his size Sanchez used his strength to break tackles and make space in the West Ham box before steering the ball past Randolph. He brushed off two WH defenders like dust. It was exactly the same type of strength that Costa had used at the Etihad earlier in the day. I look forward to him applying the same physical rigour to Ottamendi, Stones and Kolarov in three weeks time.
Having scored the second there then followed the next three, each a peach in its own way. For the Ox he badly needed a goal, even a really good shot on target, and the goal he managed was both and perfect. Alexis’ final solo effort, with THAT STEPOVER brought the curtain down on our biggest win against the Ammers away from home in my life time, and perhaps ever. By that stage the London Stadium was more than half empty, the home supporters unable to bear the crushing humiliation.
Normally I am able to single out opposition players for praise, generous opponent that I am. It is difficult this week. Other than Randolph, and the ever so lonely Fletcher, they were collectively and individually rubbish. Fucking amateurs. At least the ball boys had the right idea.
So onwards to Basel and I anticipate a second string squad. I also expect a win. It is on Tuesday so we shall know soon enough.
Enjoy your Sunday.