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Lessons need to be learned when Hammers take on Stoke

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I hate to say I told you so but on Friday I warned West Ham to watch out for Andy Carroll and make sure that they stop the crosses from out wide before they get into the box.

Now I don’t expect Avram Grant to have read my column, but if a mere mortal like me can spot Newcastle’s strengths or West Ham's weaknesses than I'm sure the coaching staff can as well.

I would not say this was a must-win game but if you expect to remain in the Premier League then you should look to pick up points against the teams around the same position as you. If the Hammers had won this game we would have moved above Newcastle, pushing them into the bottom three yet they now sit in ninth while we are rooted to the bottom.

With a gap beginning to appear between us and safety and Arsenal at the Emirates up next in the league we could be even further adrift before the so called run of easier teams appears in November. I always thought that you should not change a winning team, and I know we didn’t win our last game v Wolves but our five game unbeaten run coincided with a change of tactics from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 and yet for this game we went back to three up front, reinstating Carlton Cole to the attack.

While it looked to have been a wise move after the opening 15 minutes, for the rest of the game we lacked the man power in midfield - our three men against Newcastle’s five, with Shola Ameobi spending much of the game dropping back into midfield.

Once the equaliser came there was only one team in the running to score a winner, and it was not West Ham. Even when Andy Carroll headed in their second their was still enough time left to for us to press for an equaliser yet our only shot on target was the goal we scored, not very good from the team playing at home.

The one good thing is that we don’t have to wait long to put this defeat behind us as we have a midweek date with Stoke City in the League Cup.

Kenwyne Jones will be a bigger threat than Andy Carroll and former Hammer of the Year winner Matt Etherington is back to his best. Throw in, no pun intended, Rory Delap’s not so secret weapon and our backline will be in for a busy night.

I'm just hoping that Avram Grant's great cup record of two cup finals in his one season with Chelsea and the FA cup final in just seven months with Portsmouth continues and he can lead the Hammers to Wembley except this time instead of losing as he did with all three of his previous finals, Claret and Blue ribbons will adorn the trophy.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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Kenwyne Jones
Premier League

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