Few of West Ham United’s loyal fans would have expected their team to pick up anything from Chelsea on Wednesday evening but the fact they did made Saturdays home game with Swansea City a vital match.
Because if they came out on the losing side, it wouldn’t of made grabbing a point at Stamford Bridge so special. Thankfully, the Hammers picked up another decent result, as they beat the Swans 2-0.
The only downside from the match though which its certain most fans would agree with was the straight red card given to Andy Carroll for the apparent slap on Chico Flores. The majority inside the ground were booing Chico’s every touch from that point on.
The general consensus from the support was that the reaction from the Spaniard was what got the striker sent off. Certainly the commentary team on the BT Sport coverage of the match also said that Howard Webb’s decision seemed very harsh. However, Big Sam later confirmed in his post match news conference that the club would be launching an appeal and they hope to have the three-match ban overturned and the club have until lunchtime today to launch the appeal.
Who knows what the FA will decide with regards to the punishment, but everyone connected with the club will certainly hope it will be rescinded. Although he is not 100% match fit yet he is a real impact player and his presence will be crucial as the club now face a month of crucial fixtures away at Aston Villa and at home to both Norwich City and Southampton.
After the win away at Cardiff City there were discussions concerning the impact that Carroll made when Big Sam introduced him, not least when he set up Mark Noble’s winner to secure all three points and send the away support travelling back to the East End with, at last, a reason to cheer.
The impact of the former Newcastle United man has also had an effect on teammate and club captain Kevin Nolan. They worked so well as a partnership at St James’ Park and showed signs of the same on Saturday. Their deadly instincts should continue now they have reunited in East London as Carroll set up both goals for the skipper to take his tally to four goals for the season.
The opinion amongst both the management and playing staff seems to tie up with that of the home support as Allardyce, Nolan, Winston Reid, and Noble have all made their feelings known to West Ham TV and they certainly hope that the FA also see sense and rescind the card.
The one positive however, was the return to first-team action of defender Winston Reid, who has been out with a long-term ankle injury. He was named on the bench and came on to replace Matthew Taylor and he certainly typified what the team have been missing in his absence.
It seems that Allardyce made the correct call in not rushing the New Zealander back as he replaced the injured Joey O’Brien with George McCartney in the starting line-up.
From the performances the team have shown in the last few games, providing the manager can keep the nucleus of the side together, that team should have enough quality to retain the club’s Premier League status.