Mark Tupper Or Alf Noble-Tough Of The Track?

The tragic events of the last few hours really do put things into perspective when it comes to lamenting the conceding of an injury time equaliser away to Leicester City, we had planned to do an article criticising the actions on the pitch of Hammers captain Mark Noble by comparing his approach and style of football to that of the old victor character Alf Tupper, the Tough of the Track.

After giving the situation a great deal of thought we thought we would go ahead with the article because no matter what, life does go on, even if our perspective is altered by tragedy. Saturday began with the disturbing news of Glen Hoddle's collapse and hospitalisation with a serious condition, then during the well contested and hard fought draw news began to emerge of the dreadful shootings in America, sadly a regular occurrence in that gun rich continent, then just as people were absorbing the events of the day came the terrible news and pictures of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's helicopter as it took off from the King Power Stadium around an hour after the match itself, we can only but try to offer our sympathies and condolences to all the family and friends of those affected by such a series of awful events.

The match was played out in atrocious conditions, the early rain was replaced by a bitter wind that must have had some of the newly arrived 'foreign' contingent of both teams wondering what they had let themselves in for as they experienced a bit of true British weather as opposed to the Halcyon Summer that greeted their arrivals. Leicester had the best of the early exchanges but after their initial forays were penned back by an industrious and inventive Hammers team who performed admirably especially given the absence of two out of three of the recognised strikers, talisman Marko Arnoutovic was unable to take to the field due to suffering from a similar virus to the one that put Chicharito on his back for several weeks!

Hammers efforts were rewarded by a smartly taken free kick, earned by the impressive Grady Diangana on his first Premier League start, Felipe Anderson's deft delivery arrived on the head of the outstanding Declan Rice who nodded the ball towards 'Rocky the General' Balbuena whose first effort hit the post but who followed the rebound in faster than the leaden Leicester could and neatly nudged the ball over the line to give Hammers a well deserved lead. Mention should also be made of the 'Herculean' effort put in by the once much maligned Robert Snodgrass who ran a greater distance than any other player on the pitch from either team, indeed on another day he could have had a brace of goals to celebrate.

Everything was going swimmingly until captain Mark Noble launched himself to an unwise tackle that was never going to escape sanction, initially the tackle just looked like one made by a player whose legs aren't quite what they once were, and Noble does have a history of giving away needless free kicks, but on closer analysis the tackle was seriously dangerous, a real ankle snapper which was not committed with malice aforethought but the outcome could have been catastrophic for the recipient. As it was referee 'Lord Oliv(i)er had little choice other than to issue a straight red card, the consequences of which were two fold, Manuel Pellegrini's careful preparations for the match were left in tatters as his game plan was completely turned on it's head by the totally unnecessary sending off.

Noble is a decent and honest man who is Mr West Ham, but he will know more than most that he cannot get away with tackles and actions that were acceptable in the past but have no place in the modern game, it is as if he is still stuck in the seventies when it comes to 'the Tackle', and whilst there is every sympathy for the fact that he tries hard there is also condemnation for the collateral effect of his dismissal. Apart from putting the rest of the team on the line and ensuring they had to put in a ridiculous amount of effort to fend off a Leicester City team that at one point had five strikers on the pitch.

As is now known unfortunately a fluke deflection off of 'Rocky' Balbuena's back left the superb Lukas Fabianski wrong footed as the ball snuck in off the post with just a couple of minutes remaining, Hammers could have 'nicked' the result in extra time had Angelo Ogbonna taken either of the two opportunities that presented themselves during the final frenzied minutes. Overall a draw was a fair result given the fact that Hammers were forced to play over half the game with ten men, the immediate implication of Noble's rush of blood means that Declan Rice is the only member left of the midfield trio that had shown so much promise, it also means that Manuel Pellegrini's options in midfield ahead of the important Carabao Cup match against Tottenham have become extremely limited given the injuries to Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere and Pedro Obiang.

It is highly unlikely that the club will try to appeal Oliv(i)er's decision, to do so would run the risk of further sanction by the FA for a tackle that even when viewed with Claret and Blue glasses on was inexcusable in this day and age, 'Marky' the fans love you, but is up to you to keep the 'love' by not getting yourself sent off so stupidly, it's not as if it hasn't happened before is it? - Ed



nevillenixon's picture

Strange that no one wanted to spring to the defence of Mark Noble , perhaps he IS Alf Tupper incarnate!

38 users have voted.
Woolly1's picture

I would defend him with my last breath, yes he can be reckless but I`m pretty sure that tackle wasn`t meant to be that high, his leg rolled off the top of the ball.
I`d rather have 11 of him than 11 poncy overpaid premadonnas who are afraid to get their hair messed up.

37 users have voted.

It doesnt take much to get sent off nowadays

73 users have voted.

Rather bitter sweet for me this result. Done my normal scorecast double with the first leg coming in Watford beating Huddersfield 3-0. Then waiting on West Ham to win 2-1 at Leicester only to notice in the 60th minute checking cash out that i had put the result as 1-1. Won £490 for a £5 stake!

67 users have voted.
Dartford Bhoy's picture

like you say, hes Mr West Ham, hes a good servant to the club and an honest bloke. The problem is he has no pace and goes to ground frequently and in the modern game thats just not allowed as the old slide tackle with studs showing is at best a yellow card. The problem we have is that we dont have a modern style enforcer for the midfield, Pedro is the closest we have but he needs a balance / partner. Its the role that Rice is maturing into but hes not the finished article yet.

38 users have voted.

I feel like that about the team as a whole.The framework is there,and you can see its taking shape,injuries are not helping,but the potential is there,get the injuries cleared up,giving more choice,and a few adjustments,and we have a strong team.

62 users have voted.
moore 6 legend's picture

In nobes defence,I don't think he expected Ndidi to still be there,usually the player is long gone ;)

42 users have voted.
La Vida Hammer's picture

You see these week in week out some are red some are yellow and some get sweet FA and as it was Mark you just knew it was going to be red.

63 users have voted.

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