From Craven Cottage – We’re not mentioning the red card because it was a disgrace.
Every Football Manager player has been guilty of taking a quick holiday when they see a fixture in the calendar that makes them go ‘bleurgh’. For West Ham, their 0-0 draw at Fulham on Saturday evening had that feel about it.
To be fair to the Hammers, most of us can probably empathise with them – there has been a lot of football recently. While watching on as fans and media can only grow tiresome mentally, the players are the ones putting in the hard yards in a compressed season with an international tournament at the end of it. That’s the real slog.
There’ll be a few West Ham players with eyes on Euro 2020, for sure. In one of the club’s best Premier League seasons to date, there’s evidently a plethora of talent all over the pitch. Just, well, that wasn’t as evident today.
David Moyes’ side arrived at Craven Cottage as the highest ranked London team in the footballing pyramid, sitting in fifth place and a couple of points outside the Champions League spots.
And despite their recent form, there was very little for Hammers fans to shout about from home – just the eight shots in total, one on target.
Bobby Decordova-Reid skied a volley early in the second half, the first real chance of note for Fulham. Ivan Cavaleiro’s dink failed to find the net soon after. There were warning signs, but the sirens were hardly blaring.
Nevertheless, Moyes realised it was going to be a gritty battle to the end for his side, and threw on industrious pair Mark Noble and Andriy Yarmolenko for the flair of Said Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen.
Fulham threw all they had at West Ham to try and take a vital three points in their fight for Premier League survival, but were limited only to half chances. Efforts from Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek went agonisingly wide for the hosts, but you wouldn’t say West Ham were particularly fortunate to be level either.
It wasn’t the prettiest of games (being very generous with that) but in this season of all seasons, you’re going to have to just get on with it – the cream will rise to the top, and West Ham aren’t too far off that. Their European aspirations are real.
West Ham fans should take solace in the fact that their team is at the very least a likeable one – Noble and first team coach Kevin Nolan seemed to be the glue guys of a close-knit group pre-match. It’s a far cry from the shambolic Irons iterations that have preceded them.
It wasn’t a horrible Saturday for the Hammers, just one of the more forgettable ones in this heavy season. Spin it as ‘ten-man West Ham further their European hopes’, another point and another clean sheet. Things are good right now, you can’t take that for granted.
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