As I write this, West Ham have overpowered Cardiff City over 2 legs to book their place in the Play-Off final at Wembley. First and foremost I want to congratulate the team on an extremely good set of games, they've made me proud to be a West Ham fan with their performances recently, even Allardyce has impressed me with his team selection and even his substitutes.
The 2 games in general, if I'm honest surprised me. Cardiff were extremely disappointing, Miller doesn't seem to know where the goal is and their main threat Whittingham didn't seem to show up for either game. The first leg was the closer of the 2, both teams had chances and looked dangerous, but overall we edged it and took our chances unlike Cardiff, which we don't get to say too often, as we are normally ruing wasted opportunities. We had a nice 2-0 lead going into the home leg, which was a good cushion to have for this game. In all honesty though, I think Cardiff were beaten before we even kicked off. The side straight from the off didn't look confident with 50-50 chances and let us control the game with no real attacking threat, we kept piling on the pressure and eventually made it 1-0 from a corner that was headed home by Nolan, another important goal to add to his tally to make the full score a comfortable 3-0, then we controlled the match even more, passing it around for fun and whenever they did try something, be it a long throw or a cross, Green was there to clean up every time and didn't have much to struggle with. Then later in the first half Vaz Te latched onto a good pass and smashed it home to make it 2-0 on the day and 4-0 overall, this pretty much killed the tie off. This showed in the second half, with Cardiff's players coming out very early, clearly showing they just wanted the next 45 minutes to be over and go home, our side continued with the dominance of possession, but we didn't create too much compared to the first half, Collison came off with an injury, which is a little worry as he just seems to have found form at the right time. Although the change I was most impressed with was Maynard on for Cole with about 5 or 6 minutes to go, he then showed exactly what he can do when played in the right position, he made a telling run and called for the ball which was passed through and he immediately brushed past the defender to latch on the ball and drive it home to make it 3-0, I really do hope from that goal alone that we get to see more of him as he is clearly a top quality finisher.
So 5-0 over both legs and 2 very confident performances from the Hammers, could this squad have suddenly gelled and found the confidence that we lacked earlier, with too many draws condemning us to finishing third in the table. Let us all hope so when we travel to Wembley on May 19th to face the victor of Blackpool and Birmingham, although Blackpool hold a current 1-0 lead, they know a trip to Birmingham is tough and will need to be at their best to get the result. Hopefully neither side will match us, but that is a story of ifs and buts. Enjoy the day West Ham fans and let's all hope we see a similar performance in our final game of the season and book a place back in the Premiership.
Come On You Irons!