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Ironside: Winter woes starting to show for the Hammers

West Ham United's James Collins challenges Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (right) during the 1-0 defeat. Photo credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire West Ham United's James Collins challenges Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (right) during the 1-0 defeat. Photo credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Friday, November 30, 2012
1:00 PM

It has not been the greatest week to be a West Ham fan. Defeated by Tottenham, vilified by some media as having racist fans - after a minority made anti-Semitic chants - and now another defeat at Old Trafford has reminded us how difficult our winter schedule is.

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About our blogger

Name: Chris Wilkerson

Twitter handle: @The_Wilkerson

Regular Attendee

Favourite player: Mark Noble or Winston Reid

Most memorable game: Playoff Final

Predicted finish: 12th

Next up are the Champions of Europe, and while Chelsea have looked less than impressive and their recent form is awful, it is still the case that anything more than a loss would be a huge positive.

It is frustrating to come away from a trip to Manchester United after keeping a clean sheet for 92 minutes, yet still losing to the fastest goal of this Premier League season – Robin Van Persie’s ludicrously lucky strike after 32 seconds.

The Spurs game before that had only one positive with the first goal in claret and blue for loan striker Andy Carroll.

Up in Manchester on Wednesday we could reflect on a very solid defensive performance, some more minutes in the legs of James Collins, Guy Demel and Matt Jarvis, and the performance of keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

"I think injuries are a huge restriction right now. Ricardo Vaz Te is proving a bigger miss with each passing game"

Chris Wilkerson

Jussi still has to prove some doubters wrong, and although I am still wary of his command of the area and the amount of balls he parries, his shot-stopping in general has been very good. I think he has settled into the squad well, and if the defence manages his limitations and protects him under crosses then it is far less of a concern.

Winston Reid again showed himself to be our best defender, and I really hope no one outside of West Ham has noticed how fantastic a season he is having so the cheque books stay well away from our commanding Kiwi.

The negative from the game was that we seemed content to just remain a hard working outfit with little ambition. We didn’t chased the game hard enough. I would have loved to have seen Carlton Cole join Carroll up top, or Modibo Maiga played centrally with Cole, given the on-loan England international may have taken a knock.

It seemed a little too rigid at times, and while 1-0 is a respectable defeat away to United, zero points is still zero points and nothing ventured, in the end, is nothing gained.

In reality, I think injuries are a huge restriction right now. Ricardo Vaz Te is proving a bigger miss with each passing game as his ability to link wing play with supporting the lone front man is a skill he alone seems to possess in our squad.

When the likes of Vaz Te, Yossi Benayoun and even Alou Diarra return to fitness we will have an array of options again.

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