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West Ham fan Jack Teague looks back at a rollercoaster week for the Hammers which ended with a victory
Whichever word best sums up last week for West Ham, it’s certainly not boring.
The Hammers have been plastered across the back pages since the FA Cup horror show at Championship high flyers Nottingham Forest, after manager Sam Allardyce’s decision to send out the Under-21 side like lambs to the slaughter backfired spectacularly with the young line-up lucky to only concede five without reply.
Currently beset by injuries to key players like Winston Reid, James Collins and James Tomkins as well as the seemingly perennially prone Andy Carroll, it was still to be a stronger line-up on Wednesday night.
The Hammers, also minus stupidly suspended captain Kevin Nolan, took on the arduous task of inflicting Manchester City’s first home defeat of the season in the league cup semi final.
The fact new signing Roger Johnson was thrown straight into the side, having most recently played on loan in the championship seemingly summed up our plight.
But any hope of restoration of a semblance of pride was swifltly blown away as the Irons' powder puff display gave a world class City side the kind of challenge faced by the Harlem globetrotters in their staged basketball games.
If Forest was men against boys this was men against cones.
West Ham were simply awful from start to finish, and the six goals without reply could have been even more embarrassing for the Hammers who still have to play what now becomes one of the most pointless games in history, the second leg at home on January 21.
So the visit to newly promoted Cardiff City on Saturday, with ex-Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the helm in his first home game, hardly filled me with hope and expectation.
The confirmation of Carroll in the squad only looked like a desperate ploy, surely you wouldn’t risk a bloke who’d been out for eight months without even kicking a ball in anger in so much as a practice match, would you?
But when the game kicked off things seemed a little different.
Matt Jarvis and Stewart Downing were deployed in their correct positions and with Carton Cole up front instead of the woefully ineffective Modibo Maiga the Hammers had a focal point.
Despite suffering the shock of an early injury to Guy Demel, which resulted in a ten-minute delay and a trip to hospital for the Ivorian with concussion, the Irons went one up through Cole's slick finish following good work from Matt Taylor and Jarvis.
After that a midfield masterclass from Mark Noble, coupled with a solid display, particularly from goalkeeper Adrian and the defence, West Ham just about held their luck and nerve to earn a massive three points.
Even the long-awaited return of Carroll bore fruit as he slipped in Mark Noble for the second goal at the end.
Who'd have predicted two goals away from home and a clean sheet to boot after the week West Ham had? And they weren’t even playing Tottenham.