Cottee Column: No doubt that Zarate could be West Ham number 10 at long last
09:00 29 August 2014
Hammers legend TC impressed with Mauro Zarate
Saturday’s win was a very, very good one, with three excellent goals from players who really needed to get on the scoresheet. But it certainly helped that Crystal Palace were without a manager still.
Teams without managers are often rudderless and I think that was the case with Palace. The players are all looking around and wondering what is happening and however good Keith Millen is as caretaker, his opinion may not matter much when the new boss comes in.
I remember when I was at Everton, Colin Harvey was sacked and Jimmy Gabriel came in as caretaker for one game. He said he was leaving out players who had let Colin down, but the only change he made was to drop me!
Mauro Zarate had a superb debut on Saturday and his goal was quite brilliant.
People don’t realise the technique it takes to score a goal like that. You have to keep your eye on the ball when you know players are rushing at you and you have to make sure you keep it down and get it on target and he did all of those to perfection.
Some people are suggesting that Zarate’s arrival may mean the end of Kevin Nolan as a regular and with him out for six weeks, Big Sam’s hand may be forced in any case.
Players getting injured give chances to someone else and if Zarate can keep up this sort of form, then the captain may take a long time to get back in again.
Stewart Downing scored a superb goal at Palace too and it is good to see him in such good form. To me, Downing is a confidence player and we have seen both sides of him so far at West Ham.
But there is a settling in period when a player moves down to London, almost as much for someone coming from the north as it is from a player who comes from abroad. Hopefully he is now bedded in and we are going to see a consistent Downing for the whole of the 2014/15 season.
Just as it was a good time to play Palace, I think it will be a good time to play Southampton this Saturday.
When you have lost four or five of your best players as well as your manager, I can see nothing but a season of struggle.
They have made a couple of good signings in Fraser Forster and Shane Long, but I can see a comfortable win for the Hammers, so I am going for a 2-0 victory.