The HamburgHammer Column

All around shambles - the circus is still in town, but the clowns are no longer funny

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I have to apologise to you all before I begin. This column will be neither original nor amusing, the pun quota will be non existent and the number of wise remarks low because, frankly, I’m running out of clever things to say fast here.

I am shell-shocked, dumbfounded, bemused and frustrated. But to a certain degree I feel quite indifferent too. Or maybe just numb. The slump for our club continues regardless. Our team can no longer play football. They look like complete strangers on the pitch.

We concede goals galore and the reason for that is partly our shaky backup goalkeeper. But make no mistake, Roberto is a problem, not the problem.
We don’t defend well as a team which means lack of pressing, chasing, covering the opposition players and it doesn’t apply solely to our defenders, the entire team is guilty in that respect.

As bad as we are at defending we are not much better at attacking. Or even at stringing a few passes together. Crosses are either five metres short or ten metres too long. We cover less distance than any other team in the league.
We have plenty of the ball, but appear to be clueless about what to do with it when we have it.

When you’re already down, being outplayed and outclassed in the pouring rain, at West Ham that is usually the signal for Lady Luck to casually stroll by, raise a knee and take a swing, kicking us in the teeth while giggling like a maniac. In this case both Noble and Lanzini had to leave the game with what looked like serious injuries.

And as fantastic a goalkeeper as Fabianski is, he alone couldn’t have saved us in this slump. Unless he has learned by now how to score goals upfront as well as preventing them down the other end. West Ham are the black mamba of Premier League football, lethally toxic once again. And very grumpy with it.

At least a black mamba knows how to defend itself and strike out at its opponent…we are currently more like a black rabbit with a bad limp, caught in the headlights of a speeding car on a wet road in the middle of the night.

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I don’t remember another West Ham game in the last ten years when I watched proceedings with so little interest and expectation levels at minus 7. The game was on my custard alright, but I was only glancing up occasionally, basically whenever the commentator got a bit excited about something, raising his voice.

I browsed the internet on my tablet. Flicking through the pages of the newspaper. I also was on the phone to my brother for half an hour, during halftime and the first 20 minutes of the second half. I had no shred of hope left in my mind that we might at least score a consolation goal, even if we had played on for an additional two hours. Would it even have mattered ?

Would it bowlocks!

And it began to dawn on me that once again a Burnley game could prove to be a turning point for us. Every West Ham fan for sure remembers THAT game at the London Stadium, on the day of “the march that wasn’t“ with several fans invading the pitch and a corner flag ending up in the center circle.

It might be argued that it was this game that made our board step up their efforts to sign Pellegrini and finally pipe down in terms of rabbiting to the media 24/7. Could Saturday’s horror show prove to be the beginning of the end for Pellegrini already ?

But what, or rather, who next ?

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I wish I could put my finger on what exactly it is that is wrong with our club at the moment. But I now have to concede that Pellegrini is indeed part of the wider problem. Can he still be part of the solution as well though ? I honestly don’t know.

It seems to be the most convenient and common option to follow for a club in freefall to simply change the manager. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. Let’s also not forget how incredibly tight the league still is, with merely four points separating 16th place (us) from 5th (Sheffield United) as things stand.

However, judging on our recent performances, getting any more points on the board at all will be a tall order for our team in its momentary predicament.
A team which actually is still made up of various very decent footballers on paper. Shame we still have to play on grass…

Should any of you good people have any suggestions as to how to get the club back on track, feel free to leave your masterplan in the comments below.

Or if you have anything else in your locker, however random, to cheer up your fellow supporters on this cold and miserable Monday morning (as it is here in Hamburg), please come forward and put a smile back on our collective faces because the team is failing spectacularly to do so at the moment. But still: COYI!!! (What else can we do ?)

I can’t be arsed to post the Hamburg football update this week, most of you aren’t bothered anyway and should I feel better about it later on, I might post the results in the comments in the afternoon or later this evening.

It’s no pleasure cruise being a West Ham fan in November 2019…


The HamburgHammer Column

Magpies mash West Ham - liquor won't help after that sorry performance

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I am almost lost for words. Which is rare. This was like watching a massive pile-up-style car crash on the M4, only with fewer injured people and less actual car body damage at the end of it.

But as with a car crash, I couldn’t just go past the scene, averting my eyes and minding my own business.

I had to watch it all unfold until the bitter end when we briefly looked as if we might create the mother of all comebacks.

Our very own Toddyhammer had made the long way to the London Stadium from Prague, so even season-ticketless Iron Liddy set foot inside the bowl once more for this occasion, but I have an inkling that this performance will not have enhanced her desire to return anytime soon. I wouldn’t blame her.

I cannot give you any meticulous analysis here, nevermind conclusive answers in terms of what went wrong and what can be done to fix it.
Actually, I do have a tiny bit of analysis to deliver.

We shouldn’t have started Zabaleta against a very pacy Newcastle attacking front. Fredericks should have played from the start.
And I have to say that, despite making several good saves, our backup keeper Roberto doesn’t fill me with confidence after the way he was oozing uncertainty for long stretches of the game.
When you’re going to claim a ball as goalkeeper you need to come out all the way and try to get there first, you don’t stop halfway through your run like Roberto did just before conceding the second goal.

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There was only one player in our squad who could leave the pitch with his head held high and his conscience intact after 90 minutes:

Robert Snodgrass. Covering every blade of grass on the pitch, whipping in dangerous crosses and set pieces all game, unfortunately without his teammates making the most of those efforts. And his goal was a masterful strike, worthy of earning any team a point or three. But let’s be honest, we didn’t deserve to get ANYTHING from the game after a shambolic afternoon of lackluster and inept football.

Before this game, Newcastle had never scored more than one goal in any competitive game all season. In this one they could and maybe should have scored five or six. That’s how terrible we were. But it’s nothing new.

All too often we make teams going through a rough spell look like Barcelona as soon as they step out onto the same pitch as us. I have no idea why that is. We all know our players are better than this, most of them can actually pick a good pass, they can all run, tackle, find the top corner with a curler or belter from 25 yards out on any given day.

I know plenty of fans are beginning to feel sick and tired about Pellegrini’s role in all this. Somehow still, maybe foolishly, I am not prepared to blame him.

Yes, maybe he got the Zabaleta decision wrong. But the entire team were off the pace (again) and as a consequence all over the pitch. Conceding from two set pieces in quick succession ?

What the hell are these guys doing at Rush Green all week between Monday and Friday ? When you go into games with that low a level of application, desire and ability to carry out the footballing basics of defending, you won’t get many points in this league.

It’s a measly 2 points from a possible 15 we earned from our past five league fixtures. That’s relegation form and we can only praise the Lord that there are a number of other teams in the Premier League who have performed even worse than us. I know that ultimately the buck stops with the gaffer, however, I’m actually more angry with the players than the manager.

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Where do we go from here ? The games aren’t getting any easier, that’s for sure! I don’t know if maybe some sort of team bonding exercise is required: A visit to Alton Towers maybe. Or wild water rafting although I’d be too worried our players might lose the paddle and end up down a certain creek where the smell is apparently not very nice.

The thing is that we have pretty much everything in place to play good football. Pellegrini is a vastly experienced manager, we have a good mix of seasoned and young players, some with pace, others with tackling skills, tricks and flicks or even the ability to hold up the ball. But the chemistry just isn’t there, at all! Which is also true for confidence which is by now gone completely, maybe it is hiding in the same place where fortune is still lying in wait, in some dark and dodgy corner of Britain. Who knows ?

Or is there the need for a player or two in the dressing room getting really loud while delivering some uncomfortable home truths here ? Surely Mark Noble as the skipper would be the automatic choice for that particular task. But he had a stinker against Newcastle like the rest of the team. So any “must do better”-speech from him might sound a bit hollow and ironic at this point.

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As fans all we can do is take defeats like this on the chin and carry on supporting the team, watching the games, trying to stay positive – as irrational as that may sound after such a terrible performance.

But then again, we’ve been here before with this club. West Ham practically invented bad runs of form in football. We have also in the past gone down with a team full of quality players who were deemed, well, too good to go down.

This club can do weird and wonderful things, but also those of the weird and painful variety. Somehow we need to find the formula for a bit more wonderful again…and fast! COYI!!!

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Hamburg football update: Another shocking surrender from St.Pauli who only managed a 2:2 draw against Karlsruhe (Bilic’s former club), after conceding two goals in the last 15 minutes. They remain stuck in no-man’s land of the table. Hamburg SV were away at bottom club Wiesbaden, with a perfect chance to put some more daylight between themselves and the chasing pack at the top of the table. They only drew 1:1 and remain in first place for now, however, with both Stuttgart and Bielefeld in hot pursuit after winning their games respectively.
As for Concordia, the first team won a midweek encounter on Halloween/Reformation Day by a 1:0 scoreline at home against Osdorf, but the score doesn’t tell the whole story as the Cordi lads hit the woodwork SIX (!!!) times. Still, three points. Then on Sunday it was an away fixture at unbeatable table toppers Dassendorf. A 1:2 defeat didn’t come unexpected and was a decent enough result, all things considered (the Cordi keeper had to leave the pitch after fracturing his hand after colliding with an opponent).

The U23s won 6:1 at home, scoring all seven goals on the day. Promotion looks unlikely at this point, but not impossible.
The women’s team won their crucial home tie against Scala 7:3. The cushion above the non-promotion places is seven points now. Nice one!


The HamburgHammer Column

Hammers unable to blunt the Blades - we have lost our way

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Well, I tried. I ditched almost all my matchday rituals this time. Didn’t wear a West Ham shirt. Didn’t drink out of a West Ham mug. I even missed the first eight minutes of the game as I was engulfed in conversation with my brother on the dog and bone. I didn’t even post COYI!!! on the matchday thread before kickoff. Still we could only get a 1:1 draw against Sheffield United.

The Blades looked a fairly decent side actually – and I doubt they will be anywhere near the relegation zone this season. They are a well organised team, well managed, well supported – I know that as a West Ham fan I probably should muster a modicum of vitriol and contempt against them, but honestly, I don’t. Not anymore, that is.

Before the game I thought the whole Tevezgate thing would impact not only our fanbase or the atmosphere inside the stadium, but especially my own view on the game. I have to confess, it didn’t. I just wanted us to get the win, not because it was Sheffield United but because we desperately needed a good performance and three points from this. Not such luck, me old china!

This time at least the effort was there. We played some neat football, we created numerous goalscoring opportunities – and wasted most of them appallingly in the process.
When Snodgrass finished a quick counter attack with a clinical shot to put us in front I thought this would set us up for the win. Wrong again!

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When, during the game, I was contemplating on what the focus in my article might be I briefly veered towards praising Roberto who indeed pulled off some wonderful saves in this game – until he let in the equaliser. I thought initially that a goalkeeper of his calibre could and should have easily saved that rather tame effort. The shot wasn’t that fierce, Roberto got down reasonably well, but suddenly appeared to be much shorter when he was stretching for the ball than what he looks like standing up. This is a tall bloke, after all. If he had saved it he would have earned himself plenty of praise for contributing massively to our win.

As it is so often the case with goalkeepers people will now focus on him letting in the equaliser. Rotten luck! As mentioned above, chances were there galore for us to keep the three points in London, but our decision making in front of goal is unconvincing. The chemistry isn’t quite there (yet), when it really matters in the opposition’s box.
Of course you can try and replicate those situations in training in the hope our conversion rate goes up when the next league fixtures come around.

On paper, the quality is there and while we are currently not in a position to field our best side we still should have won. 5 points from a possible 15 in our last five league fixtures is a disappointing yield, no doubt about it. I can’t put my finger on what exactly it is that’s wrong with our team, but Pellegrini and his staff better hurry up and find the problem and fix it. We all know how quickly the mood of a a fanbase can turn. Let’s hope for our next win lurking just around the next corner somewhere. COYI!!!

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Whenever as fans we are unhappy with a performance or a draw that should have been a win, let’s pause for a moment and think of those fans who are having the misfortune of seeing their club go out of business and get crossed off the fixture calendar in the middle of a season. This just happened to Wattenscheid 09, one of Germany’s most traditional clubs from a working-class background.

Wattenscheid is a borough of industrial town Bochum, located in the Ruhr Valley. Wattenscheid never oozed glory and glamour, neither the place nor the football club.
But it was good and honest football fare served for the local grafters, the miners, the dockers, the steelworkers. In the Nineties Wattenscheid were even playing in the Bundesliga top flight for four seasons in a row, after that they were a regular Bundesliga 2 side for many seasons before going on a downward spiral which led them to the German equivalent of League Two.

Now the club has run out of money, out of sponsors and out of luck. With a rather modest sum of €400K the club could have at least continued to play out the remainder of the season. Instead the club has now gone into administration, with all previous results of the season being eliminated accordingly. The club still have their youth team which may be their only hope now for the future, but their first team is gone and vanished for the time being. Sad.

Can you imagine, as a fan who maybe supported that club, not necessarily out of choice, but because it was the family thing to do, because your uncle or granddad took you there for your first game, to see your club disappear at short notice ? Their games that used to be a fixture of your weekend activities for years and decades, rain or shine, hail or snow, the matches you took for granted like the sun coming up every morning. And suddenly…NOTHING!

I have a lot of time for people supporting their local, traditional club, especially if they are not overly successful on the pitch and have suffered several relegations already.
To see those clubs go under, hitting their community hard in the process, is a terrible thing to witness. You don’t wish that on any fan.

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So, whenever you’re in danger of frustration or anger getting the better of you after a poor West Ham performance, just spare a thought for those fans who literally no longer have a club. At all. There may be plenty of things at West Ham we are not happy about, the stadium, individual performances, the board, away ticket policy etc.
But we still have a club to watch, to support, to root for and cry over. I reckon the Wattenscheid fans would be quite happy now if they could still be disappointed about their team only drawing 1:1 at home actually. They can’t. Their club has been taken away…

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Hamburg football update: Starting with Hamburg SV who made quite a statement by beating promotion rivals Stuttgart by a 6:2 scoreline. Top of the table, solid points cushion already, things are looking good for them right now, with the mood among the fanbase being the best it’s been for quite a while.
St.Pauli lost 1:0 away to Heidenheim, losing momentum in the process.

Mixed results from my beloved Concordia. My brother and nephew joined me for the first team home game, it was a terrible performance and a 2:4 defeat. Earlier the U23s had won their away game 7:0 to maintain mathematical touching distance to the promotion places.

And the women’s team only scored once (which is unusual), but it was enough for a 1:0 home win in their cup fixture, so they go through to the next round.


The HamburgHammer Column

Toffees nick our stereos, but we we left the car doors open with the keys still inside

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I could have taken a lovely walk in the local park on a gloriously crisp and golden autumn day, on Saturday lunchtime. Or buy a new shower curtain maybe. Unfortunately I didn’t do either.

Instead I watched West Ham trying to play some football against an Everton side on a terrible run of results. So I foolishly settled down in my armchair in reasonably confident mood.

After the final whistle I had to confirm to myself that I had wasted away two hours of my life I shall never get back. Maybe I shouldn’t even try to act surprised anymore. Coming out of an international break. Check! Chance to show a marked reaction after disappointing defeat against Crystal Palace in the previous league fixture. Check! Everton on a nightmarish run of four successive defeats with their manager potentially facing the tin tack. Check! What could possibly go wrong ?

Answer: In West Ham’s case pretty much everything! We showed tentative glimpses of goalscoring intent with ten minutes left in the game.

Other than that we couldn’t string three passes together throughout. Everton were all over us all game. They surely didn’t look like an outfit that had lost four games on the trot. The Everton players wanted to win.
Our players wanted to be elsewhere, at least it seemed that way.

Our starting XI looked as if they had been introduced both to the sport and each other only half an hour before kickoff. If it hadn’t been for a very decent game by our GK Roberto pulling off several quality saves it could have oh so easily been a 0:5 defeat, rather than just 0:2. That’s how bad we were.

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To paraphrase a famous football chant, the Scousers did indeed get our stereos on this occasion, but they did so in broad daylight and we made it terribly easy for them to do the actual nicking by leaving the doors wide open, with the keys still inside and probably the car stereo wires already unplugged for even quicker removal from the motor. If this was an insurance claim the company in question would flat out decline to pay up due to sheer negligence of the most basic safety requirements on our part.

We were docile like a declawed elderly lion who had just finished a meal of an entire wildebeest all by itself, getting ready for a digestive nap.
Only to be then pestered for 90 minutes by a chasing and menacing pack of salivating hyenas snapping eagerly away at our tail and ankles. Brutal.

I am not even gonna blame our manager here because quite simply our players are all professionals and grown ups, they know what is expected of PL players and each and every one of them will be aware that this was a non-performance from us – with no plausible excuses in sight. If they need a motivational speech from the gaffer every weekend in order to perform on the pitch as professionals, they are probably not quite fit enough to play at this level.

Both of Everton’s goals were great individual efforts and as a football fan I can only applaud the skill involved in converting those chances, despite our defensive indifference helping a lot.

However, where was our own desire to play football, to use the ball creatively when we had possession ? What have we been doing on the training pitches last week and why did I get the impression our players didn’t really fancy the game from the first whistle onwards ?

West Ham could have done the decent thing for their carbon footprint and forfeited the game. At least it would have saved the team as well as the fans the need to burn copious gallons of petrol/aviation fuel.

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We keep wasting opportunities like these galore, especially against teams in a very acute crisis. And unfortunately we don’t seem to learn from past defeats either. I think it’s down to application and mindset of our players.

For whatever reason, they seem to think they can beat any PL opposition below them in the table with minimal effort because our individual quality is so utterly brilliant to conquer all and prevail. It doesn’t quite work like that. Football is a team sport and you need to play together as a unit, you know, run, fight, chase and tackle for each other and I didn’t see that at all against the Toffees.

Funnily enough, prior to the game, I had even bought a family bag of assorted German toffees (Storck brand) from Aldi as I thought it might give us some sort of weird advantage, based on my silly superstition, if I was noshing some toffee while West Ham were playing against The Toffees. Treat or food psychology if you will. It did work just as our gameplan did, NOT!

Also on Friday evening, at halftime during a bitter 3:4 away game loss of the Concordia first team against the third string of Hamburg SV they even had “London Calling” by The Clash blasting out over the tannoy at halftime which transported me briefly to a matchday at London Stadium – and I took it as another good omen for our game. Fool that I was…

Alas, it was yet another wrong turn leading down False Hope Lane into a cul-de-sac, unfortunately.

The calm and moderate football fan which still lives somewhere deep inside me would probably look at the Everton defeat and say “Look, mucker! Games like these can happen. There are no easy games in the PL. You know this, don’t ya ? We will rebound from this, cheer up, you old drama queen!”.

Then again, this kind of defeat still happens too often at West Ham and with the squad we have at our disposal now we could and should be showing that regularly mentioned winning mentality more consistently, not just when it suits the players and they feel like putting a shift in. We need to move on from lying at our backs, letting teams tickle our tummy.

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It’s not even a misplaced sense of entitlement on my part, I believe. I am not necessarily moaning about the fact we have lost away to Everton, far from it. Losing away games is not uncommon in the PL, not to mention West Ham, and Goodison Park is always a tricky venue to go and get a result from but it’s always a question of HOW you actually present yourself in adversity and defeat. And we simply weren’t at the races on Saturday.

I shudder when I now think ahead towards next weekend when we will be meeting our “friends and neighbours from Yorkshire“ (as Boris Johnson might be putting it), Sheffield United. Yet another golden opportunity to make amends, to put things right, to show the footballing quality we all know our team is capable of producing.

We are all fully aware, of course, of the context affecting this fixture what with Tevezgate, independent tribunals, millions of £ wasted due to administrative blunders on our part and ineptitude of our legal team at the time.

Let’s face facts: There is still, even after all those years, a bit of bad blood between The Hammers and The Blades, to put it mildly. I am done looking for omens though. In fact I will actually be ditching my matchday routines for our next game altogether, they don’t seem to work anymore, if they ever did in the first place.

The famous screwdriver will be confined to the messy drawer.
I will be wearing a random shirt or sweater, no West Ham top. I shall drink my cup of Rosie from a brown FC St.Pauli themed mug or maybe a black and gold Pittsburgh Penguins one (that’s an Ice Hockey team by the way).

I won’t be bothering too much about the starting XI, our formation or any sophisticated gameplan. All of that is pretty much irrelevant if the players’ application ain’t there. I will still try and watch the game of course.

But I won’t be approaching it with any meaningful degree of expectation, anticipation or excitement this time. That may come back to me sometime during the game, if we’re lucky, should our lads be providing us with some blood, sweat and effort (rather than tears) again, proving to the fans that actually the players do care about their performances and are aware of their responsibilities as professional athletes playing in the PL. As fans we cannot and don’t expect victory and points all the time, especially not at West Ham, we all know that.

But surely we can expect the players to bust their bloody guts for 90 minutes every weekend. Or is that too much to ask ?

Hamburg football update: Starting with FC St.Pauli who missed a great opportunity as well by losing their home game against Darmstadt on Saturday lunchtime.

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Top of the table clash coming up later this evening, with league leaders Hamburg SV facing third-placed Arminia Bielefeld away at 7.30pm UK time (live on BT Sport 1). Should be a good one!

The Concordia first team, as already alluded to, lost a thriller at Hamburg SV’s third string by a 3:4 scoreline, mainly due to shambolic defensive efforts from both sides. Still, a thoroughly entertaining encounter for the 170 fans braving the cold and windy conditions on Friday evening. The Cordi lads are now the best team among a midtable group of clubs in the league, nothing more.

The U23s only drew 1:1 at home, so they can pretty much kiss any lingering promotion hopes goodbye now.

The only bright spot, football-wise, for me this weekend once again were the Cordi women’s team’s efforts. They were away at posh side Komet Blankenese on Sunday afternoon, Blankenese being the Kensington of Hamburg, so to speak.
The girls won 3:2 on a rainswept artificial pitch, significantly widening the gap between Cordi and the chasing pack, boosting their promotion credentials further. Onwards and upwards!


The HamburgHammer Column

We didn't rattle the Palace gates enough - we aren't Top 4 material (yet)

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This will be a shorter article than usual, mainly because I was really disappointed with the defeat against Palace. We always do this, don’t we ? We get an opportunity to really push our way up the table, with a home win against a very beatable side, really making people and pundits sit up and take notice…and we blow it. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

I was actually very confident beforehand we would win…but at the very least secure a draw if things got a bit tricky maybe. Then reality got in the way…

I had sacrificed watching the second half of the Concordia Women’s team’s game in person, leaving the away ground at halftime, so that I could be in my armchair just in time for our kick-off, but, thinking back to that borefest which was the first half of West Ham vs. Crystal Palace, I needn’t have bothered.

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The first half is my main gripe in all this, we looked too pedestrian, didn’t press Palace enough, didn’t really ask their defenders many questions, bottom line: We made it very comfortable for Palace in the first 45 minutes when we as the home side should have put a strong marker on the game.

We didn’t and so the remainder of the game took its course with us taking the lead after a brilliant passing move involving half our team, only to concede twice later on, one from a penalty after an unfortunate but blatant handball by Rice and then a late winner when VAR overruled the referee on the pitch, deciding on a really close offside call. Close it was indeed, but I think VAR got the decision right, in Palace’s favour, unfortunately, allowing the Eagles to fly off back home into the London night, South of the River, with all three points in their lucky talons (thank you, Thesaurus!).

Yes, we created goalscoring opportunities galore, enough actually to comfortably win the game, but overall our effort and desire to take all three points wasn’t quite matching the significance of the circumstance that we could have made a very impressive jump in the league table with a home win. Maybe it was stage fright, who knows ?

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I was relieved that Roberto had a fairly safe if somewhat unspectacular evening – he certainly wasn’t to blame for the defeat. Make no mistake: The result wouldn’t have been much different with Fabianksi in goal. I know us football fans have a tendency to look for a scapegoat (or several), but it’s hard for me to find any individual players to blame here. As mentioned earlier, we could and maybe should have put our stamp on proceedings in the first half, probably the result might have been different.

But that would have involved more pressing, more running and the confident swagger of a home side, flying high in the league table. We didn’t rattle Palace enough, especially in the first 45 minutes, and wasted a golden opportunity. That doesn’t make us a bad team, far from it. But it means we are not quite the Top 4 side yet that some on here seem to think we are.
Top 4 sides have a knack to win games, even when not performing at the very top of their ability, those sides know how to win games regardless.

We don’t and we were struggling to break down Palace for long stretches in the game. Not the end of the world, but disappointing regardless. And now it’s another bloody international break. Did they always have this many ? I would prefer an opportunity for our lads to bounce back straight away next weekend, but alas, that ain’t possible.
But hopefully we will be back after the break, better, stronger, hungrier than we were against Palace. COYI!!!

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Hamburg football update: On Saturday Hamburg SV beat Fürth 2:0 at home and have now wrestled back the top spot in the table thanks to rivals Stuttgart losing to lowly Wehen Wiesbaden the day before. St.Pauli drew 1:1 away to Nuremberg on Sunday, a good result for them.
I skipped the game of the Concordia first team on Friday evening, my excuses ? Well, it was raining cats and dogs, it would have been a pretty long and late drive to the western outskirts of town and earlier I got a phone call that afternoon of a good mate asking me if I fancied an impromptu evening combining a relaxing couple of hours at a local sauna (a regular one, no naughty shenanigans involved!) with a visit to an American-style restaurant afterwards. I agreed and had a great time.
It was confirmed later that I had made the right choice as Concordia lost 1:0.

On Saturday I watched the Concordia Women’s team take a 2:0 halftime lead away to Wellingsbüttel, it had been a very accomplished performance until that point, so I felt encouraged enough to leave proceedings at that stage in order to watch the West Ham from start to finish.
At least the girls won comfortably: 5:0. They are now in 2nd place a mere three points behind the leaders. As a recently promoted side they are well ahead of schedule in their development. Looks like another promotion could be on the cards this season. Impressive!


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