Tony Cottee column: West Ham have the best midfield in the Championship

“I think that Sunday’s game was a great advert for Championship football and I’m sure for any neutrals it was a superb match to watch”

Another late goal once again cost West Ham valuable points at Upton Park in Sunday’s draw with Leeds.

And I hope that those dropped points don’t prove too costly for the Hammers come the end of the season.

I think that Sunday’s game was a great advert for Championship football and I’m sure for any neutrals it was a superb match to watch.

Both teams wanted to win the game and both sides wanted to play football, it is just unfortunate that West Ham couldn’t hold on for the win.

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We started the game really well once again and I must say that Carlton Cole took his goal extremely well.

It was a wonderful ball in from Matt Taylor, but Carlton had to show serious skill to volley whilst off-balance and reaching around the defender.

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I honestly don’t think you will see Carlton score a technically better goal all season.

I did find that our midfield five, with the exception of Scott Parker, were a little quiet on Sunday.

There is no doubt in my mind that we have the best midfield in the Championship, but Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble didn’t get as much of the ball as I would like to see, while Jack Collison and Taylor seemed to always want to cut in, and I thought that we lacked serious width.

The space was out wide, but we couldn’t exploit it as no-one was there.

I was impressed when Julien Faubert came on though as he played wide right as well as offering protection to Joey O’Brien, who was being attacked by Max Gradel.

It was the first time I had seen Gradel live and he really impressed me and was a constant danger all afternoon.

I was glad to see John Carew get his first outing for West Ham too, and although he isn’t yet 100 per cent match fit, he showed some intelligent touches and I think he could be a big player for the Hammers.

The draw isn’t the end of the world, but the pressure in now on West Ham as it will be all season.

The club is the arguably the biggest and most glamorous in the league and teams are going to want to up their games when they come to Upton Park.

But as long as the Hammers win their battles, then they will be okay.

Next up on Sunday is probably one of the toughest away days of the season.

Forest showed great character to rescue a draw from 2-0 down against Leicester City last weekend, and at the beginning of the season, I tipped them to be in the top three come next May.

They will have taken masses of confidence from their last result, and with Steve McClaren as boss they have some dangerous players, including Ishmael Miller and Matt Derbyshire, who will both score goals at this level.

A defeat would be disappointing, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world and I think the Hammers would take a draw.

Tony Cottee was talking to

Nathaniel John

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