Bellamy in awe of rivals
PUBLISHED: 16:26 30 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:44 05 October 2010
By NEIL TRAINIS HAVING seen his playing time curtailed by injury in recent months, Craig Bellamy has endured his share of frustration, but Arsenal gave the West Ham striker further reason to pull his hair out last weekend. If the nonchalant manner in whi
By NEIL TRAINIS
HAVING seen his playing time curtailed by injury in recent months, Craig Bellamy has endured his share of frustration, but Arsenal gave the West Ham striker further reason to pull his hair out last weekend.
If the nonchalant manner in which Arsene Wenger's players stroked the ball around Upton Park was not reason for exasperation to those in claret and blue, the 67th minute of the match encapsulated West Ham's predicament.
With the game still goalless, Bellamy, who is re-establishing himself in the side after groin and stomach operations and a hamstring injury, had spent much of his time charging back to assist Scott Parker, Hayden Mullins and Lee Bowyer in smothering the space for Arsenal to play in midfield. Then Emmanuel Adebayor entered the fray.
Gianfranco Zola's side had already negated the threat of English football's great new hope Theo Walcott, but as he trudged off West Ham were faced with the introduction of Togo international Adebayor, who went on to score once and force Julien Faubert to slide the ball into his own net.
"Sometimes you think you might be over the worst of it and then you look at Adebayor coming on and it's a different level," Bellamy said of the gulf in playing resources that exists between the two clubs.
"It's very difficult for a lot of teams in the Premier League, we're no different. A player like Adebayor coming on is not the greatest sight you want to see. But credit to him and to Arsenal, they got the three points."
Bellamy's post-match reflections were tinged with annoyance and the realisation that West Ham, like many clubs, can only dream of the pool of talent at Wenger's disposal.
While the Frenchman brought on Adebayor, Hammers boss Zola introduced the much-maligned Luis Boa Morte.
"They are an outstanding outfit, keep the ball very well and we had to work very hard," Bellamy added.
His manager did not hold back on the superlatives but conveyed a great deal more optimism than the striker, who showed signs of his blistering pace and was denied a goal by Manuel Almunia's fine first-half save.
"I know it might look crazy, but I am not worried at all, because we are going to get through this," Zola said, when confronted with the statistic that West Ham have now conceded 18 goals in their last 11 matches in all competitions.
"I know there is work to be done but you have to analyse the last three matches, forgetting about Arsenal because sometimes you need to concede against them. The other matches, the defensive part of the game wasn't that bad," the Italian insisted.
"We're going to be alright. I'm 100 per cent convinced about this. We know that we have a few problems but we will be soaking them up for sure.