5 West Ham Things from Week One

Looking back calmly now the dust has settled.

5 Things WHUThe growth of the angry fan-base continues unchecked.

West Ham have long been known as a loyal and passionate set of supporters. They travel home and away in their numbers, get behind the team, develop a long suffering gallows humour and recognise good performances by the opposition when they see it. More recently with growth of social media a far more fickle element have attached themselves to the club – and are happy to shout about it. Their resting start is angry and knee jerking and they seem to hate almost everything that happens at the club. Perhaps this is not the game or club for you.

Square Pegs do not fit into Round Holes.

For as long as I can remember West Ham managers have taken pleasure in playing players out of position. The logic seem to be that if one of my best 11 players got injured I will put the 12th best player in regardless of his skill set. It is the type of thing that we would do in our Sunday morning football teams where the worst players were put out of harms way at full back. It seems that the same can happen in the modern multi-million pound era. It may be that Slav does not rate Michail Antonio as a winger and so has bought 3 more players to play in his position. For me, Antonio’s raw energy, power and unpredictability make him a very difficult attacking opponent – like Carlton Cole but with pace, mobility and goal scoring ability. He is no full-back though. Nearly all the supporters can see this.

The referees still have it in for us.

It is well documented how many points we were denied last year by incorrect decisions by the men in black/ blue/ yellow or whatever they are wearing this season. Step forward Anthony Taylor who saw fit to give Adrian a straight red against Leicester last year for accidentally kicking Vardy. On this occasion he allowed the eventual match-winner, well known thug Diego Costa, to go completely unpunished after raking his studs down our keeper’s shin. Now maybe (just maybe) it was not intentional but a high proportion of fouls are like that. It was late, mistimed and rash. Had Costa not already been booked he would most certainly have received (at least) a yellow. The referee absolutely bottled it. No doubt. I see that Chelsea manager, Conte, had a touch of the Wengers and didn’t see the incident but somehow concluded that Taylor had been right in taking no action.

Our forward players do not suit the style we tried to play.

Before the game Slav had talked of Plan A and Plan B for the game. Plan A was almost certainly a reprise of the games at Arsenal and Manchester City last year. This relied on containment and hitting the opposition on the break. The containment part probably worked quite well aside from individual mistakes leading to the two goals. However, we did not have the personnel on the pitch for the quick counter. If you are going to successfully utilise Andy Carroll you have to play his strength which is crosses into the box – a set piece ploy rather than the break where you are relying on mobility and pace. Although Valencia tries his best his close control is too weak to be effective in the English game. The inability to freshen up our attacking options (so far) is our Achilles heel (or is it Andy’s heel).

Beware the injury curse has moved with us.

Ever since Arnold Hills refused to buy lucky heather from the wife of a Millwall docker in the early 1900s West Ham have lived in the shadow of an injury curse. Often new signings are injured in pre-season never to re-appear so at least Andre Ayew went one better in lasting 34 minutes before going lame. Optimistic reports are that the injury will not keep him out too long and that he may even return for the Bournemouth game. I hope the club are acting on our dire injury situation and have made sure that there are sufficient beds in the new treatment room at Rush Green.