Have West Ham United Turned the Corner Thanks to Demba Ba?
The convincing 5-1 win in the FA cup against Championship side Burnley Monday confirmed that West Ham might be turning a corner. A good thing too, as they would look an expensive joke in the Championship with a half full Olympic Stadium after 2012.
West Ham’s season so far has been one of inconsistency, lack of goals and more worryingly, the third worse goals against column in the league. It’s no wonder they have only won five games all season. Their last five home games have resulted in one win, one draw and three losses but surprisingly, their last five away games have resulted in two wins, two draws and one loss. It’s no wonder that the soccer odds on West Ham United staying up this season are in flux.
Their most recent Premier League game, away to West Brom was – to unashamedly use a real football cliché – a good old relegation six-pointer. The match ended all-square thanks to a herculean comeback by the Hammers. Three down at halftime, Demba Ba, an £8 million acquisition from German side Hoffenheim inspired the comeback, grabbing two goals.
Their two goal hero against West Brom may well turn out to be January’s shrewdest signing. Big, tall and strong, he showed in Germany that he possesses the talent to become a decent player and has all the attributes to succeed in England. The partnership with Carlton Cole and Robbie Keane may just be the catalyst for West Ham to save their season and the £8 million spent will prove a drop in the ocean.
It must also be said that West Ham still have some good players who will fight for the cause. In Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Scott Parker they have a spine of England internationals with immense experience and in the case of Scott Parker, a player who grabs the game by the scruff of the neck, puts his body on the line and never gives up. He’s the sort of player any manager would love to have in their team. Young Freddy Sears who came through the youth ranks at West Ham is an exciting player to watch. Quick and direct, he can play through the middle or wide right of a 4-3-3. His finishing is excellent (as shown in his goal against Burnley) and is always looking to bring others into play. The return of Thomas Hitzlsperger who has just come back from injury is another big plus for West Ham. In his first game for West Ham since signing in the summer, it was his goal that started the rout against Burnley and won him Man of the Match.
Premiership survival is paramount for West Ham. Having secured the rights to call Stratford their new home they need Premiership football to finance it and to fill it. Their most recent results though have shown a fight and resilience seldom seen in the team so far which bodes well for the rest of the campaign. If they can get Demba Ba firing and working well with Carlton Cole and Robbie Keane (after the Irishman recovers from injury expected to last 4-6 weeks) then maybe, just maybe West Ham can kick on from here and save a faltering season.