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Collins at heart of Hammers dogged defence at Stamford Bridge

12:30 30 January 2014

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19th century football – whatever that is? Thirty nine shots to one, 72 per cent possession and one team apparently playing 19th century football, there was certainly plenty to talk about after this Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge, but the only thing that really mattered was the score – 0-0!

James Collins keeps a watchful eye from the heart of Hammers defence Pictures by Isabel InfantesJames Collins keeps a watchful eye from the heart of Hammers defence Pictures by Isabel Infantes

Thirty nine shots to one, 72 per cent possession and one team apparently playing 19th century football, there was certainly plenty to talk about after this Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge, but the only thing that really mattered was the score – 0-0!

It was a point earned by a committed, stubborn and dogged performance from the Hammers, with the defence and goalkeeper Adrian in superb form as they kept wave after wave of Chelsea attacks at bay.

Defender James Collins was at the heart of that rearguard action and he was suitably delighted with the result.

“It is the first time we have come away with a fully-fit squad and I think that it showed,” said the 30-year-old Wales international.

“We knew it was going to be tough with all the attacking players they have got, but you have to do your job.

“It is never going to be an easy night coming to Stamford Bridge, you have to put your body on the line, and on another night, we could have nicked it.”

When the defence was not blocking the ball or making last-ditch tackles, goalkeeper Adrian came to the rescue with some superb saves, particularly from Samuel Eto’o in the first half and Frank Lampard in the second.

“When he got called upon he was magnificent,” said Collins. “Some of his saves were top drawer, but we restricted them to a lot of long shots but stopping those little short passes.

“Sometimes you have to let them shoot from long range and if one goes in the top corner, you can only hold your hands up.”

So what about the time wasting and the so-called 19th century football, whatever that is?

“I don’t know what they expect,” smiled the centre back. “What do they want us to do, come here and attack every minute? It is not going to happen.

“We knew what we had to do and it worked a treat. If we had scored that goal in the first half then we would have won it, but I guess they are always going to find something to moan about.”

There was no moaning among the West Ham fans on Wednesday night and after all the injury misery and heavy defeats, there seems to be a feeling that this team is finally over the worst.

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