Matchday: West Ham host Hull Tigers

Sexy football, six on the bounce and the ghost of Pottsy.

West Ham HullIf a restaurant told you that they weren’t too bothered about the food that they served up as all they were interested in was getting their hygiene licence renewed would you still be tempted to go along?  I don’t think I would and so was surprised to hear so many at the club extolling the win ugly approach after the Burnley game and telling us that there would be no ‘sexy’ football for the time being.  Possibly the comments were taken out of context as we seem to be a favourite target in the press for negative stories right now, but even so as a message to give it is an injudicious one.  I am not even sure that is ‘sexy’ that we are looking for but neither is it grandma’s bloomers; most fans would, I believe, happily settle for organisation, passion, commitment, effort and decisiveness.  Press home the advantage don’t retreat and attempt to defend it.

A former corpulent, ear-cupping manager once stated that league position was directly related to the amount of money that was available to a football club.  For once, there was probably a lot of truth in what he said and, as such, should see us in a regular battle for 7th or 8th place with Everton.  Anything less then the club and management are relatively under-performing.  Floundering outside the top 10 must certainly be regarded as failure.

That would be brilliant of course. We spoke about this couple of games in the period when we played against Spurs, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. It was an extremely difficult schedule. That period came and we started with three points and we have a really good chance (on Saturday). Nothing can give you confidence better than victories.

– Slaven Bilic on the chance of back to back victories

Still onwards and upwards and today we have an opportunity to create a little daylight between the basement sides by seeing off the visit of Hull City Tigers.  Hull’s owners seem to be doing everything in their power to get the club relegated and hopefully we can contribute to the cause.  Six points from their first two games followed by six from the next fourteen is less than impressive.    They have lost six away games on the bounce and have failed to score in any of the last four.  What could possibly go wrong today?

Head to Head

West Ham have a 100% record in the last 6 home matches against Hull scoring 19 goals in the process and conceding just 3.  The first game in that sequence was, of course, the 7-1 thrashing in October 1990 which included Steve Potts solitary Hammer’s goal in 463 appearances.  Maybe even Simone Zaza could tuck one away today!

P

W

D

L

F

A

Sequence

Home

21

11

8

2

44

18

WWWWWW

Away

21

4

10

7

22

30

DLWDLD

 

42

15

19

9

66

48

 

Team News

One major disappointment this season is that we don’t appear to have a definite style of play; the approach to any game gives the impression of being unplanned and arbitrary.

The website whoscored.com sums up our style as follows:

Very Strong: Attacking set pieces
Strong: Shooting from direct free kicks
Strong: Defending set pieces
Very Weak: Defending against through ball attacks
Very Weak: Defending against attacks down the wings
Very Weak: Protecting the lead
Weak: Avoiding individual errors
Weak: Defending against long shots

Add to this that a greater percentage of our goals have come from set pieces than any other team in the Premier League and it does not paint a rosy picture of sexy football at any time during the season.

We go there full of life. We’re on the front foot. Yes we’ve lost games but my players are putting everything into their chance in the Premier League. We just need to get a bit lucky if we can.

– Mike Phelan

With no changes in the injury situation it is probable that we will see the same starting XI that featured in midweek meaning perseverance with the flaky 3 at the back and seeking out Andy’s head up front.  Despite my misgivings I expect that we will finally record consecutive wins at the London Stadium.

There was good news about Reece Oxford signing a new contract and let’s hope that he gets some game time once he has recovered from injury.

The Man in the Middle

Lee Mason from Lancashire makes his first acquaintance with the Hammers this year but was in charge of two previous Hull defeats (including the 6-1 loss at Bournemouth). Last term he was in charge of our away draw to Swansea and the win at West Brom.  In 9 games this season Mason has issued 33 Yellow and 1 Red card.