|Nolan- finding some time to catch up on some much needed rest and relaxation|
It’s a pretty rare occurrence when fans of a club are pleased to see a red card dished out to one of their key players, but there could be no doubting the collective sense of relief when Kevin Nolan was sent packing for an early bath and a three match ban. The game was already lost, and in reality, the incident represented the culmination of a few months of frustration for the surprisingly goal-shy Nolan. While Big Sam has expressed outrage regarding the dreadful tackle by Jon Flanagan on Stewart Downing, Nolan's challenge was downright nasty and not something any Hammer's fan could support - more Barton than Dicks methinks!
Big Sam may protest that we will miss him, but in truth Allardyce has been strangely slow to act upon a string of poor performances as Nolan has been frequently off the pace, misfiring in attack and with poor midfield distribution that has served to stutter our flow through midfield. If ever a player needed ‘rested. It’s our Kevin and so natural justice finally prevailed and he has a few weeks to sit it out and reflect on what’s gone wrong.
For Hammers fans, we now have the prospect of assessing just how good the midfield trio of Noble, Morrison and Diame can be. Surely Noble and Diame can fulfil the Captain’s role usually reserved for Nolan – both are experienced international level, albeit limited to Under 21 for Noble.
It’s a real pity that they will be denied the support of Stewart Downing on the left as he has been a shining light during the recent depressing run of games. However, his absence will provide Matt Jarvis, Joe Cole and Jack Collison a chance to show what they have to offer – as all three have something to prove right now ahead of the January transfer shuffling period.
Whatever happens, West Ham fans will hope that Kevin benefits from his self-imposed break and returns with his previous shooting boots. He’s never going to provide the midfield engine, but his usual poaching ability is an asset. We must also hope that he finds it hard to break back into the side due to the quality of performances from the Noble / Diame / Morrison trio. If so, it may be time for Big Sam to realise that Nolan’s best role for the Hammers moving forward might be as an impact substitute?
is this the beginning of the end for Nolan, or a chance to rejuvenate and return to his previous role? who should take on the Captain's role in his absence?