The Thursday Preview: West Ham Vs Nottingham Forest

Posted by on Jan 27, 2011 in The Thursday Preview | 10 Comments
If I still have the hump of a stegosaurus from the very suggestion that the current QPR side rank alongside the best this league has seen, then I’ll confess it, but that raptor of a Ranger Adel Taarabt apart, the employers of those brontosauri Peter Ramage and Clint Hill still don’t convince me as I’ll happily stand by my prehistoric banter that had Nottingham Forest as the team to finish in front of.

Having lost only four times this season, the Tricky Trees have never been out of touch, but recent weeks have seen a honing of the strategy — five wins have been rolled off including a lairily celebrated double over Derby and a first ever win at the PP arena, an efficient 2-0 triumph at the Cardiff City Stadium and the kind of breathy, last gasp turnaround against Pompey that most promotion bids are fuelled with.

A central midfield axis of Chris Cohen and Guy “The Moose” Moussi has shone this January and Lewis McGugan has thrown off the attentions of his putative replacement David McGoldrick with a dazzling six months — ten times opposing custodians have been beaten.

In Lee Camp and Chris Gunter, Forest possess perhaps the best players in the division in their respective positions and their loss of the East Midlands unofficial Championship in November has done nothing but inspire them. A rattling good team last season, the stats are mounting up this, and underline that this is certainly no sudden rise. For Forest have now gone 32 matches unvanquished at the City Ground, provoking memories of a more famous campaign-straddling run more than 30 years ago now.

So the Trentsiders will be relishing the trip to West Ham, a club who, on the face of it, are experiencing a winter of discontent.

If the platitude that “Scotty” (it’s never simply “Scott”) Parker has become ubiquitous enough to provoke a little minor Bill Grundy action, the East Londoners have been a shadow of themselves since inexplicably deciding that Gianfranco Zola didn’t cut it. League Cup respectability notwithstanding, their EPL times have been scattered with performances abject, including maulings at Newcastle and Liverpool and at home to the Arsenal.

If the Olympic Stadium farrago has painted the Hammers as the good guys (aside from the blogosphere, where Orient are the afficionado’s choice), even this has been mired in controversy centring on an agreed upon £40 million loan from Newham Council and their charming owners upsetting the new tenants of their erstwhile base up the M40. On the pitch, Gary O’Neil has come in for Valon Behrami — a back to basics move that does little to assuage the embarrassment that Victor Obinna has scored just the once and Freddie Sears has been recalled out of desperation, despite doing diddly squat at three Championship clubs.

This Sunday’s FA Cup meeting will bring to mind a semi final encounter in 1991 – the now newly boss-less Tony Gale receiving his marching orders despite the softness of his challenge on Gary Crosby. Forest went on to win four to zero although the sympathetic media love in for West Ham was matched only by that afforded to Spurs in a final that saw Gazza practise a little taekwondo. Two decades on, this one will be a draw.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 50 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.


  1. Lanterne Rouge
    January 27, 2011

    Thanks guys – it's likely that Chambers will be the subject of our Monday profile so look out for that one – we were keeping our powder dry a little as far as he is concerned.

    Very sporting comments too Andrew – I was most impressed with QPR on the telly on Sunday – immensely strong. I think Taarabt will stay if you go up.

  2. Ben
    January 27, 2011

    Interesting that Paul McKenna isn't getting a game – his absence through injury is the reason I felt they fell apart during last season's run-in. Guy Moussi was being hailed as a potential superstar by bloggers and Forest-supporting friends alike who'd seen him in pre-season friendlies shortly after his arrival, but only now does he seem to be coming good in competitive Championship action.

    Here's one for the Forest fans: how's Paul Anderson doing? I noticed a while back he wasn't starting regularly. A bit of a surprise, as he was one of the trickiest players we faced last season.

    And as for Ramage – yes LR, an A-grade clogger just about good enough for life at a lower-level Championship side.

  3. Danny Brothers
    January 27, 2011

    With the run Forest are on and the uncertainty at the Hammers, I can see Forest getting a result here…momentum is a big thing and it's strange to think that it wouldn't be considered a major upset should they progress at West Ham's expense.

    I watched Chambers develop at my club, Northampton Town, and it's great to see him on the brink of the Premier League.

    Here's hoping the Football league gives the EPL a kicking this weekend in the cup!

  4. Richard
    January 27, 2011

    Hi Ben,

    Anderson has been in and out of the side this year. He suffered quiet a lot from injury last season, but just hasn't done quiet enough this season to get a regular first team starting place.
    I am a big fan of his, he gives 100% and has superb skill on the ball and a great turn of pace. He is fairly easily knocked off the ball however and unfortunately doesn't shoot enough to get on the scoresheet regularly. He also plays in a position where we have many other options, including, Nathan Tyson and Gareth McCleary. Nevertheless, he's well liked at the City Ground, tries his heart out and occasionally produces flashes of brilliance.

  5. Richard
    January 27, 2011

    oops just re-read, should read quite, not quiet


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