Noble: Set-play success could be vital at Manchester City
Mark Noble says set plays could be vital to West Ham United’s chances of extending their unbeaten run at Manchester City.
The Hammers have picked up five points from their previous three matches by drawing with Liverpool and Crystal Palace and beating Fulham, scoring four of their five goals in that span from set pieces.
With City expected to dominate possession at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening, Noble knows those situations will be important to the Irons’ chances of upsetting Pep Guardiola’s title-chasers.
We do [work on set plays] for every game because we know Snoddy has got a fantastic delivery and, in all honesty, we haven’t scored as many [set piece goals] as we should
“Not so much for this game in particular, but we do [work on set plays] for every game because we know Snoddy (Robert Snodgrass) has got a fantastic delivery and, in all honesty, we haven’t scored as many [set piece goals] as we should because we haven’t attacked the ball well enough,” he said.
“On Friday [at home to Fulham], Issa [Diop] has got his first Premier League goal. I thought he attacked the ball great and Mikey [Antonio] could have scored just after that.
“It looked like the set plays were causing them a lot of problems. We had five or six corners in the first half alone and we got two great goals.
“Then Marko [Arnautovic] and Manu [Lanzini] came on in the second half to change the game for us and get us another goal.
“All in all, we’ve had great form here in the last couple of months and Friday was another great win for us. I think our home form is getting more consistent. Especially against the really big teams, we’ve been really good at London Stadium. We drew with Liverpool and probably should have won that game, then went to Crystal Palace, which is a really difficult place to go, and got a really good point.
“We always said, if we got two points out of those, then a win on Friday, that would be a really good run of games for us.”
Reflecting on the win over Fulham, Noble hailed the spirit shown by Manuel Pellegrini’s side as they fought back to take the points after falling behind inside three minutes.
“To be honest, we started terribly and they should have probably scored three goals in the first ten minutes!” he said, matter of factly. “If you go one-nil down, you’ve got to deal with it and as soon as they scored we took control of the game.
“You’ve seen our second goal and it’s probably handball but we had an offside goal against us a couple of weeks ago and that’s what you get, the rub of the green, and we got that and afterwards we dominated the game.
“It’s massive because when you go one-nil down early and everyone came to the ground expecting to win because of the position Fulham are in, but they’re a really good side, create a lot of chances and probably don’t score as many goals as they should.
“But we really dug in and created a lot of chances ourselves in the first half and countered in the second and it worked out for us in the end.”