Galey's View - Feb 7

Former Hammers defender Tony Gale provides his expert view every week, exclusively on

"WELCOME to my first contribution on the new official website, after what has been a superb week for West Ham United. Through to the fifth round of the FA Cup, a fantastic win at Arsenal, and victory over Sunderland to make it six wins on the spin - it's certainly been an enjoyable period for Hammers fans.

THE FA Cup clash between my two old clubs didn't get off to the best of starts for the Hammers, but the players showed yet again what fantastic character and team spirit they possess by coming back to produce a very good performance, and secure a very good result.
A well-drilled team like Blackburn often find it easier to shut out the opposition after taking the lead, but the Hammers responded superbly to turn it around before the break and always looked in control after Teddy Sheringham equalised from the spot.
I must single out Bobby Zamora, who I thought had an excellent game and has reacted perfectly to the recent arrival of Dean Ashton. Bobby has received some criticism in the past, but has proven this year that he is Premiership quality, and I believe he is the kind of player who will become even better as he gets older.
We all know he is capable of producing something a little bit special in front of goal, but there is room for improvement in his general awareness and hold-up play and it is clear he has been working hard on that recently.
I've always thought that a striker's awareness of what is around and how close a defender is to him doesn't really reach full potential until he is 26 or 27. It's only someone remarkable like Wayne Rooney who has it at a younger age.
So Bobby - and also Marlon Harewood for that matter - both have time to perfect that art. And of course the great thing is that they are learning from the master - Teddy, who is the greatest example of how a striker should play the game, as he proved against Blackburn.
After two months out of the team, he stepped back in as if he'd never been away - the timing of his passing, heading and movement was spot on - and he is certainly still a very important member of Alan Pardew's squad.
People said he was finished at Spurs a few years ago, but the problem there was simply that he didn't have any pace around him. The likes of Poyet and Acimovic weren't going to do the running for him, but at Upton Park he is surrounded by young, pacy players who will run all day and allow him to do what he is good at.
This team suits him perfectly, and I think it will be the same for Dean Ashton, who is another intelligent player and performs well with pace around him. Dean tends to play higher up the pitch than Teddy, who drops deep a lot of the time, but it's clear that Pards now possesses a group of strikers that will give him several different attacking options.

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THE highlight of the week for every Hammers fan, of course, was the fantastic victory that marked our final visit to Highbury on Wednesday.
Our results against the very top teams this year unfortunately haven't been that memorable - we've lost against Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool - so to turn up at Highbury and take three points off a team who are just about to face Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League was a tremendous achievement, and one that will push the confidence and morale among the players even higher.
We had to ride our luck a little, especially in the opening 20 minutes, but you need more than just luck to score three goals against Arsenal, and the team again showed how dangerous they are when they have a go and play on the front foot.
The third goal was crucial, and at the other end I thought Anton Ferdinand and Danny Gabbidon were again superb together, up against the threat of possibly the best striker in the world at the moment. That was a great experience for them, and those two have certainly been a major factor in our success this season.

THE week ended with our third win in the space of seven days, as Sunderland put up a tough resistance before Dean Ashton's goal on his home debut broke the deadlock and Paul Konchesky sealed the 2-0 victory.
It was a strange game, one that didn't really get going until the later stages of the second half. Early on, Sunderland matched us well and were clearly fired up - although Stephen Wright was obviously a bit too fired up, because his stupid sending-off ended any chance they had of winning the game.
After that, it was just a case of Hammers finding the breakthrough, but Sunderland defended well and it became a difficult afternoon for us. The fans were very quiet, and I think that was because most were expecting a comfortable win. I was in one of the lounges before the game and people were asking me if I thought we'd win by four or five. I said then that one or two would do, and that was how it turned out.
Looking at our game, I think we perhaps played a little bit too much football at times and it became slightly predictable. Sometimes, one pass can do the same damage as seven or eight, and I felt we could have hit Deano a little quicker in the angles. We started to do that in the second half and he won some decent headers.
You have to say, though, that it was Marlon who came on and changed the game. We were crying out for his pace up against 10 men and Sunderland just couldn't handle him. Teddy also showed some great touches after coming off the bench, and we had four strikers out there who all brought something different to the game. It's a lovely problem, to have, and I think they will all make important contributions in the last few months of the season."