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By Chris Wilkerson, London24 West Ham blogger
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Even if you go into a game expecting nothing, it is still a blow to lose a last-gasp goal.
Name: Chris Wilkerson
Twitter handle: @The_Wilkerson
Favourite player: Mark Noble or Winston Reid
Most memorable game: Playoff Final
Predicted finish: 12th
We matched Tottenham man-to-man, in some cases bettered them, but the one we struggled with all evening popped up with a scorcher. Like the Robin van Persie goal in the FA Cup earlier in the season, sometimes you just have to accept pure quality when it goes against you.
While Spurs can enjoy Gareth Bale, I think we must take a look at an academy boy in our team who is showing how much natural talent can impact a game.
The main positive of 2013 so far has got to have been the return of Joe Cole to east London.
The results may not have been spectacular lately, but there is something so wonderful about watching a very good player on the ball. He is instinctive and smart, not one to panic when the ball comes to his feet and has the vision to make things happen.
"Scoring a clever goal against Spurs won’t do him [Cole] any harm with the fans either! The passion in his celebration was fantastic and summed up how a boy who understands the club would feel"
Even in the performances against Aston Villa, a completely turgid affair, there was the sense that anything decent was going to come through Joey. He is completely calm in possession, somewhat of a contrast to our style at times, and does not rush into bad decisions on the ball.
The weight of his passing is a dream too. The pass through to Matty Taylor, when we had the chance to go 3-1 ahead against Spurs, was simple yet exquisite. The vision and execution was perfect as he needed to delay for the pass, but there was no rush, he kept the ball at his feet and guided it where it needed to go.
Scoring a clever goal against Spurs won’t do him [Cole] any harm with the fans either! The passion in his celebration was fantastic and summed up how a boy who understands the club would feel.
There is just the feeling of class around him. Much maligned at Liverpool, he has proven already how good a player he remains. No longer do we see flash but useless tricks, no longer does he run down blind alleys, his experience is keenly felt in a team that rushes a lot of what it does.
Performances this year will remain inconsistent; I do not think any fans will doubt that. However, there is still the time to sit and appreciate a level of quality that Joe has, and watching him may lift the gloom we will still face as the season continues.
We may have been dragged into the Premier League’s relegation dogfight, but with players like Joey we clearly have the talent to be not only a threat to other teams, but to find moments of inspiration too.
Some remnants of the West Ham way do live on.