Thursday, February 12

Jussi in time to save point for Hammers

Southampton 0 West Ham 0

Never thought we'd see the day when Big Sam would play three strikers, but with Nolan and Noble out, The Sophisticated One opts to play Carlton Cole alongside Sakho and Valencia. Thought it was all over when Adrian was sent off after 62 minutes. The keeper tries to do a silly dribble round Mane and gets caught out when he should have cleared instantly. Mane might have had his arms around the keeper in the melee but Adrian then panics and dives on the ball outside his box. Looking at the highlights on Match of the Day the first half seems to have been notable only for a Mane shot cleared off the line by Jenkinson and another superbly disciplined performance at the back from Tomkins, Kouyate, Cresswell and Jenkinson.

After Adrian's dismissal the 39-yesr-old Jussi Jaaskelainen comes on for Cole and we're down to ten men and then effectively nine, with substitute Carroll limping up front and all three subs used. But our defence remains resilient and Jussi makes two fine saves, diving to deny first Fonte and right at the end Tadic. Not easy to come into your first PL game for a year, so credit the flying Finn. Not a great game or attacking performance by WHU, but a point with nine men is a great result at a top four club. The bad news is Carroll has aggravated his injury and might be out for several weeks. We've also missed out on free agent Lassana Diarra because of "FIFA paperwork" and there's probably still a jam on the A13 from that fleet of juggernauts delivering Mr Van Gaal's dodgy dossier.

We're not winning too many games, but Man United and Southampton were two we could easily have lost, so I'm happy to have got two points, even if we should have beaten the longballers (Fact!). In the remaining 13 games West Ham now play eight of the bottom ten — including successive games against QPR, Burnley and Villa — and there must surely be plenty of points to be taken from these matches that will shape our season.

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