This weekend, all Premier league games were tinted with a delicate skirting of snow around the pitches. The presence of snow throughout the UK is a reminder to all that, winter is here and christmas is just around the corner. This is the time of the year when clubs dwelling at the bottom of the table start to get itchy feet, the time when the race to avoid being bottom at Christmas starts.
In the Premier leagues 18 year history only one team has managed to avoid the drop after being bottom at Christmas (West Brom in 2005), this is why the trend has been dubbed as ‘the curse of christmas’.
So it was no surprise when West Ham manager Avram Grant referred to yesterday’s crunch match with Wigan, as the match to ‘Save Our Season’. With West Ham and Wigan joint favourites to be relegated the atmosphere around the game was a very much a ‘do or die’ feeling.
Fortunately for West Ham, they won the game quite comfortably, 3-1. Although still bottom the win kept them only 3 points behind Fulham in 17th and in touching distance of safety. More Importantly they managed to pull Wigan right back in to the scenario for bottom place, separating the two teams by just two points and two places.
At Upton Park there is one player blowing bubbles….Scott Parker. The ever inspiring vice captain was sensational on Saturday and he capped his fine performance with a well deserved goal. However looking around the rest of the squad there is real reason for concern. To me this season there appears to be a real lack of urgency and pride, traits that has been associated with West Ham teams of the past. Maybe due to a transfer policy that has involved buying to many ineffectual foreigners or maybe due to the up and coming players not being as good as home-grown talent of the past. -read on>