Parker Key To Hammers Recovery
West Ham were on course to move out of the relegation zone about an hour into their clash with Manchester United. But four goals and a Wayne Rooney obscenity later, those hopes were emphatically crushed.
As we’ve seen so many times before, United eat two-goal deficits for breakfast so it was no surprise to see Mark Noble’s penalty brace wiped out by the league leaders.
As a result, the Hammers remain in the bottom three. They would have jumped to 13th if they had held on against.
It shows how tight things are and although they are bound to feel despondent after squandering a glorious chance of claiming three vital points, West Ham’s form looks good enough to give them every chance of staying up.
Aside from the second half at Upton Park against United, the performances of Avram Grant’s side in recent weeks have been reasonably good and they won’t come up against title-chasing opponents every week.
At the heart of their improved form is Scott Parker, a player who is finally reaching the potential he showed earlier in his career.
The central midfielder’s approach to the game always appeared to be too negative in the past, with tentative displays characterised with slow, laboured passing that was often sideways or backwards.
He didn’t always take the initiative and have the confidence to look forward and play a progressive ball, while his inability to take the game to the opposition held him back during his spells at Chelsea and Newcastle.
Now it seems the shackles are off. Parker has struck the right balance between playing it simple and driving forward and plays with a determination and purpose that was lacking earlier in his career.
His vastly improved form has been rewarded with a new lease of life at international level and he certainly can’t do any worse than some of the midfielders that have lined up for England in major tournaments in recent years.
The former Charlton player was powerless to stop wave after wave of United attacks in their 4-2 defeat, but his overall contribution could well be enough to guide West Ham to safety.
Tags: West Ham, Hammers, Avram Grant, Scott Parker