December 8 2013 Latest news:
By Steve Blowers, Recorder Reporter
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Premier League: Swansea City 0 West Ham United 0
The hurricanes may be on their way to England, but neither side could blow the other away in windy Wales, where West Ham United were left to rue a string of wasted first-half chances.
And although Swansea battled back after the break, a combination of resolute defending and assured handling from Jussi Jaaskelainen ensured that Sam Allardyce’s men returned to London with a valuable point.
Following last Saturday’s defeat against Manchester City, Big Sam, once again, named an unchanged side and with Mladen Petric (thigh) not travelling to South Wales, that meant his most potent strikers, Carlton Cole and Modibo Maiga, were on the bench.
That left the slightly advanced Stewart Downing to pose the early threat and, with just six minutes on the clock, the Hammers wide boy forced Michel Vorm to divert his low 18-yarder around the base of his left-hand upright.
And when Downing sent over the consequent corner, the ball fell kindly to Guy Demel, but under pressure from Jonathan de Guzman the falling defender could only hook his six-yard effort high over the bar.
Shortly afterwards, Downing sent another 18-yard effort skidding across the greasy, green grass of the Liberty Stadium, but this time the Swansea keeper gratefully held the shot.
Not surprisingly, Swansea - kicking off in 11th spot, two points and five places above the visitors- made seven changes from the side that had drawn with Russian outfit Kuban Krasnodar on Thursday evening.
Indeed, only Chico Flores, Neil Taylor, Nathan Dyer and Michu were called upon once more by Michael Laudrup and with the Hammers close-season target Wilfried Bony rested on the bench, it was left to replacement Alvaro Vazquez to force the Swans’ first effort of the afternoon with a stooping header that Jaaskelainen gratefully gathered.
Then with the rain tumbling from the dark Welsh skies, Flores met de Guzman’s corner with a thumping header that cannoned off Finn’s shoulder.
Having taken advantage of that let-off, West Ham should have taken the lead themselves, when Ricardo Vaz Te broke from half-way, but after unselfishly playing in the supporting Ravel Morrison, the travelling East Enders could only look on with dismay as the marauding midfielder drew Vorm before agonisingly sending his angled eight-yarder beyond the far post.
Midway through the half, Razvan Rat launched a free-kick from half-way and, with the soaring Kevin Nolan just getting the better of Vorm it was left to Angel Rangel to hook the loose ball off the line.
And after being booked for upending Michu in full flow, Demel then steered a header over the bar, before Morrison had a 15-yarder charged down, while Mohamed Diame sliced a hopeful long-ranger high into the crowd.
Ten minutes before the break, Vaz Te injured his left shoulder trying to clear another de Guzman corner and that saw Matt Jarvis step from the bench as Big Sam switched like-for-like in a bid to keep up the Hammers’ momentum.
As the half drew to a close, Morrison was booked following a collision with the breaking Michu before West Ham almost had the last word of the first period, but Diame headed over and Nolan stabbed wide to the annoyance of his manager, who knew that his side were simply squandering too many chances.
Just after the restart, the sliding Vazquez was just a stud away from meeting Nathan Dyer’s low right-wing cross into the six-yard box and then Michu let fly with a low 20-yarder that Jaaskelainen gratefully gathered at the second attempt.
At the other end, with his back to goal, Winston Reid hooked wide before both managers made switches as Pablo Hernandez and Bony replaced Wayne Routledge and Vazquez, while Carlton Cole made a welcome entrance as the disappointed and disappointing Diame retired.
By now, the Hammers had lost their initiative and, on 70 minutes it was left to Jaaskelainen to produce another stunning reflex stop to deny Bony before Mark Noble booted the follow-up header from Flores off the line.
Joe Cole then replaced Morrison for the final quarter-hour but, trying as hard as he could to turn the tide, the only mark that the subsequently cautioned Hammers sub made, was on Hernandez in a niggly finish that saw him survive a late penalty shout and namesake Carlton force Vorm into a last-gasp save to leave it all goalless.
SWANS: Vorm, Rangel, Taylor N, Chico, Williams, Routledge (Hernandez 60), Dyer, Britton, de Guzman, Michu, Vazquez (Bony 66). Unused subs: Tremmel, Amat, Tiendalli, Canas, Pozuelo.
HAMMERS: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Rat, Reid, Tomkins, Noble, Nolan, Diame (C. Cole 64) Morrison (J. Cole 77), Downing, Vaz Te (Jarvis 34). Unused subs: Adrian, Maiga, Taylor M. O’Brien.
Booked: Demel (24), Morrison (42), Rangel (65)
Referee: Phil Dowd
Hull City manager Steve Bruce believes that Arsenal have the ability to win the league this season.