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West Ham 0 United 4

London aways can be pretty poor sometimes, with all the hangers on and corporates getting tickets from the club. Somehow West Ham is not as fashionable to the staff at AIG etc, and so the tickets tend to stay in the hands of proper Reds who are more interested in getting behind the team than lunch on the Fulham Road beforehand. Perhaps that is a reflection of West Ham’s reputatation and that the trip to Newham is still seen as intimidating rather than corporate and a nice day out. That may not be too true anymore- there was not a hint of trouble and their atmosphere was pretty dire too- but for many Reds the bottles flying over from the upper tier and the rucks in the alleyways outside are not too distant a memory. We arrived at the ground an hour before kick off and headed to our seats behind the goal. We were amazed to hear the makeshift line up, firstly that Fletcher was at right back and Gary Neville was in central defence, and secondly that Rooney was once again up front by himself despite Berbatov being fit. The team did not seem balanced and yet again we appeared to have crowded the midfield but with few attacking options. After 44 minutes my concerns were justified- West Ham had created the best chance of the match and Robert Green had not made a save. However, the great teams always have great individuals, and the deadlock was broken on the stroke of half time when Scholesy made a mockery of accusations that he is past it by smashing home a stunning half volley.

The goal shattered West Ham and in the second half, as they tried to push forwards, their defence kept parting like the Red Sea. Time and time again United swept forward and opened them up, the 4-0 score line was not remotely flattering to United. When the third goal hit the net on 71 minutes the home fans poured to the exits. Whole blocks of seats were showing by the time Rooney got the forth on 73 minutes, and that will be a serious dent on West Ham’s proud reputation and self belief that they are better fans to other London clubs. Some of them, of course, left early to head around to the United end and look for trouble, but the numbers of police meant the most we got was shouts of “I bet there’s not one facking norvern accent comin out the manc end”. Yeh right, how intimidating.

In the ground it had been a great chance to start the Christmas songs, it is December now after all. The twelve days of Cantona had two decent airings and jingle bells got going towards the end. I was personally delighted to get them in as I will miss the Xmas fixtures to go on holiday so only really this and Fulham will be my away game opportunities. Some of West Ham’s fans tried their best to sing but it was a poor effort, with “There’s only five of you singing” being sung back by the Reds. Queue Munich references coming back at us, as usual.

So, another three away points at a tricky ground and I was delighted to see these all coming from open play. With Liverpool drawing and Chelsea losing this was a great weekend for us, and suddenly we are two points off the top of the table without having played that well all seaosn and with Chelsea in the best form they could have been in. That bodes very well for the new year, especially if our defence can get fit as soon as possible.

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