By JAMES CLARK
Sunday, January 18, 2009
8th Place in The Prem, and Round 5 Beckons ...
By JAMES CLARK
A Sunday match with Fulham at Upton Park was on the cards -- and, more importantly, on the telly here in New Jersey. The Hammers entered the game in good form, with the Zola regime seemingly taking root. Continental, cultured and easy on the eye. The color commentator on the broadcast even made the allusion that Hammers, under Gianfranco, are playing with a similar tactical nous as did Arsenal in their heydey. He mentioned that Valon Behrami and Jack Collison are mirroring the positioning taken up by Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg, respectively, with the Gunners a few seasons ago. Namely, playing wide but pinching in and narrowing the midfield. Those players had Theirry Henry running rampant up front, but Hammers are quickly finding out what a striker we have in the ranks in one Carlton Cole. With his goal today, Coley became the first Hammer to score in 5 consecutive matches since Teddy Sheringham in 2004. He really is in England form at the moment, and Fabio Capello was in the stands. But Coley's goal came from a perfectly weighted pass from Italian striker Davide Di Michele, who also scored Hammers' opener. You dozens of pardewsguardian readers who check in regularly will know I have been calling for Di Michele's inclusion, at the expense of Welshman Craig Bellamy. With recent developments -- the petulant Bellamy seems headed to Manchester City after refusing to train and play for our side -- that seems a bit prescient, doesn't it? Sunday's 3-1 win puts us 8th with 29 points, and with 16 league matches left we seem to be rising above the relegation mire. Next up? A tricky 5th-round FA Cup tie at Hartlepool United. Most importantly? The match is live on the telly this Saturday, 7:30 a.m. East Coast time on Setanta. Come on, you Irons !!!