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West Ham review

Perusing the press and blogs this morning, last nights victory over West Ham has in the main been described as a solid and functional victory - precisely the type of win that we should be putting together from our hour games, where three points should be the norm.

This view though both glosses over some of the inadequacies that were shown, but equally fails to offer praise where deserved.

At times - and whilst West Ham barely helped themselves in this regard with their marking for the first and third goals - we played some wonderful attacking football, swathes of blue shirts marauding forward outnumbering their opponents. As expected, Martin Petrov replaced the ill Stephen Ireland in a very attacking line-up and the fluidity and movement between the front men was certainly impressive.

Petrov appeared to be the focal point for our attacking outlet, and he really did play with a sense of purpose (note the goal celebration). The sight of him running with the ball directly at defenders is a majestic one, and he really does offer something no other player in the squad can, vindicating the decision to not allow him to move on transfer deadline day.

Craig Bellamy and Carlos Tevez linked well with one another in the more central positions, and Tevez scored twice, he was a little wasteful at times in front of goal yet was tireless in his effort and I don't subscribe to the view that too much of his work is done in areas where it doesn't count. Often last night he was the player who was launching our forays.

In midfield, Gareth Barry had another solid, unassuming evening whilst Nigel de Jong I thought was tireless and sharp in the tackle, and maintained his record of having not smiled during a match this season.

Where criticism could be laid was that at times we were far too open, allowing West Ham opportunities at 1-0 and 2-1 down to get back into the game. Individually, the defenders played well enough - Zabaleta certainly justifying his selection ahead of Richards, and Toure growing in stature with the captaincy.

Having taken such an early lead though, and then restored our lead there should be no way back into the game when we are at home. Better sides may well have exploited this to a greater degree, and equally, a return to keeping clean sheets would also add a more solid and stable feel.

It was pleasing to see both Roque santa Cruz and Michael Johnson afforded some playing time too, and the fact that our bench looked so strong, with Robinho, Adebayor, Onouha and Kompany on the sidelines shows the strength and quality in depth that we possess.

To some degree, we are still a work in progress as the new faces take time to fully gel and settle as a side but we really do look be in a position to mount a serious challenge on the top four.