West Ham gained a useful point in another 0-0 draw at the Liberty Stadium against manager-less Swansea City -- the Hammers' third scoreless game in a row. This latest draw extends the club's winless run to seven games but, with the injury list now including the inevitable name of Andy Carroll, there is a sense that these are well-earned points. When the players currently lining the treatment room become available again at least they won't return to a side in freefall.
The loss of Carroll against Swansea was crucial though. The striker loves to play against the Welsh side and there was little doubt Carroll's aerial power would have troubled a Swans side who look short of ideas and confidence. Once West Ham had seen out an frenetic opening 20 minutes, there were few chances and little goal-scoring opportunities but the home fans become noticeably more tense the longer the game went on. With a bit more presence up front, West Ham may have worried the home defence a bit more. As it was, Nikica Jelavic made little impact in his first Premier League start for the club.
Although the inability of the Hammers to win a game is slightly worrying, these matches show that Slaven Bilic's team are also difficult to beat. This however was a poor game with little entertainment value. Somewhere in the North-East, Sam Allardyce will having a quiet chuckle to himself.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Adrian, 7 -- Only needed to save two shots but the more the Spaniard plays behind this parsimonious back-four, the better he will like it. The Adrian's wall jokes start here.
DF James Tomkins, 7 -- Solid performance from Tomkins in a formation that is starting to look difficult to break down.
DF Angelo Ogbonna, 7 -- Still continuing to impress at the heart of the Hammers defence.
DF James Collins, 8 -- The type of game for which Collins has become noted. A typical old centre-half type display, threw himself in front of every ball when he couldn't head it away. Swansea had no one who was likely to expose any shortcomings of the former Cardiff defender and Collins even rode his luck with what might have been given as a handball in the area had the referee seen it. A vital squad man, West Ham should resist any attempt to prise him away from Upton Park in the transfer window.
DF Aaron Creswell, 7 -- Starting to look a little more like the player of last season.
MF Alex Song, 6 - Tried to get a few things going and one reverse ball showed what Song is capable of occasionally. Nothing quite come off for him generally though in a game where the home team had most of the possession but did little with it.
MF Mark Noble, 6 -- Worked tirelessly. Classic Noble match.
MF Cheikhou Kouyate, 6 -- Kouyate was unable to break from midfield as he likes to do. He is difficult to shrug off the ball though and maintained possession well on a number of occasions.
MF Michail Antonio, 7 -- A good defensive display but didn't have the opportunity to show much going forward. Bilic will be learning much about the player though and perhaps it might be worth trying Antonio further forward if the striker injury issue continues to plague the club.
FW Mauro Zarate, 6 -- One of the type of displays that seemed to have so infuriated his previous manager, Zarate wasn't interested in anything that didn't involve him trying his luck from distance. This was the type of game that didn't really suit the Argentine who only had one meaningful shot.
FW Nikica Jelavic, 3 -- It was a game of few chances but that only means that the few that do arrive need to be dealt with in a smart manner. Jelavic showed a poor touch for two good opportunities and you have to wonder if the Croatian is really up to Premier League standard nowadays.
Enner Valencia, 7 -- Livened the game up when he come on for Zarate on the hour mark. His trickery on the ball made Swansea wary and he looked a bigger threat than the man he replaced.
Pedro Obiang, 6 -- Came on for a tiring Alex Song after 73 minutes and helped keep things tight.
Carl Jenkinson, N/R -- On for Antonio on 85 minutes to shore up the defence.