Fan's View: Hammers stalemates far from 'magnificent' (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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West Ham fan Neil Fairchild says Sam Allardyce too positive about stalemates and insists goals must come soon
There is something taboo about criticising a 0-0 draw.
A true football fan should be able to see beyond a lack of goals and appreciate the subtleties of the game. At least that’s what the purists will tell you.
Travelling West Ham fans who have this season witnessed four away games from five with no Hammers goal to celebrate will be feeling more than ready to break that taboo.
A point earned at Swansea City the weekend before last would be considered by most Premier League sides as a good result.
This is a team that only a few weeks ago went to Valencia and won 3-0. There is nothing wrong with hoping for back-to-back away victories at Tottenham and Swansea but the reality is that four points from six is an excellent return.
And yet there is something frustrating about this continued lack of goals which continued with another stalemate against Aston Villa on Saturday.
Paying fans want more than just to track points being notched up, otherwise they would stay at home and follow results on the internet.
Sam Allardyce is right to focus on the positives of a 0-0 draw but “another magnificent clean sheet” had an element of comedy about it.
Clean sheets can be many things: well earned, dogged, stubborn. But magnificent? Surely that should be saved for describing what happens at the other end of the pitch.
Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole, Stewart Downing and Joe Cole all had chances to steal the three points in both matches but the reality is we have now scored fewer goals than games played.
Counter-attacking football worked to devastating effect against Tottenham but now that the element of surprise has gone it has proved less effective in the following two matches.
Until the Christmas present that is Andy Carroll’s return arrives, goals need to come from somewhere.
There is reason for optimism.
Nolan hit double figures last season and his goal against Cardiff City on the opening day of this season suggests his scoring touch didn’t disappear during the summer.
Cole is now back and having proven himself at this level before, there is no excuse for him to not hit the ground running.
The reality is it matters not where the goals come from, they just need to come from somewhere.
November will prove a critical month with winnable games against Norwich City and Fulham still to come.
We don’t need to score a hatful of goals, we just need to score more than the opposition. You don’t have to be a purist to understand that.