More Points But………
There are no circumstances when I am not happy with a win. I want West Ham to win every game that they plan in; even if that meant that Spurs won the league or Millwall avoided relegation. Likewise I would never want my team to lose in order to oust an unpopular or under-performing manager. The six points earned gained against Burnley and Hull are a relief but the nature of the victories suggest that this might simply be a temporary respite; the underlying problems that afflict the team continue to exist. We cannot just rely on ‘Ask the Referee’ lifelines to keep us in the Premier League millionaires club. The penalties aside we hardly created any worthwhile scoring opportunities; at least not at our own end although we did our best to tee a couple up for Hull. It wasn’t so much a case of Hull being better than us, rather that we were worse than them. These two victories only serve to paper over the cracks in the wall as it is apparent that the wall is in a structure without a roof and with unsafe foundations. Some might say that wins will breed confidence but what I see is not a team short of confidence but of ideas. We may well scrape through courtesy of there being three poorer sides but our own team is definitely not heading in the right direction under the current regime.
Defining the Team Shape
- without a clearly defined shape or form.
- vague; ill-organised; unclassifiable.
- (of a group of people or an organisation) lacking a clear structure or focus.
Groundhog Day Report
There is a great deal of repetition in these weekly match observations much like that recurring nightmare where you are unable to perform even the most simple task. Compared to nearly every other team in the Premier League we look less organised, less fit and our abilities for passing and movement is decidedly second best. The favoured 3 at the back formation (at least the way that it is implemented) does not suit our players. It stifles the attacking threat of Antonio and Cresswell and creates congested central areas. There is not enough movement throughout the team; no-one is creating space and the man with the ball has few options but to go sideways and backwards. Players are waiting for the ball to arrive at their feet before deciding their next move rather than anticipating or making runs. The result is ponderous build-up that gives plenty of time for the opposition to re-group. How many positions can Antonio be expected to play in one game? Why was Carroll alternating between left wing and centre midfield? Why when we changed to 4 at the back didn’t Ayew play behind Carroll with Antonio out wide? Why have we abandoned the Antonio long throw as an occasional tactic; at least to mix things up? Why was Obiang withdrawn when he had been our most likely midfield player?
Last season saw some remarkable successes against top clubs, who we were able to hit on the break, while we often struggled against teams who were more defensive minded. Our better performances continue to be against the better sides but without the same level of success. Our struggles and lack of creativity in breaking down those teams that we are meant to dominate remains a huge problem.
We’ve Got/ Had Payet
It is possible to rely too much on one player. The same happened for large parts of Trevor Brooking’s career at West Ham (until Dev came along to share the load) when opponents always knew what West Ham would attempt to do and were able to counter it. Almost inevitably when our players now have the ball they will look to eventually feed it to Payet, which he will invariably receive in a static position wide on the left. Bilic believes (he said so during the Euros), and maybe Dimitri does too, that wide left is his best position as it provides him with the angles necessary to maximise his effectiveness. I can see some sense in that when your team carries threats right across the park but not when it is your only weapon; in those circumstances the opposition can easily crowd him out. Payet himself, for whatever reason, is not the same player as last year. One can only speculate whether his head has been turned by the attention of other clubs, whether the intensity of the Premier League has got too much for him or whether opposing defenders are secretly wearing red kryptonite shorts. It is unrealistic to expect him to carry the team and unnecessary to burden him with too much defensive duty. It will surprise me if he is still at the club come February.
Post Match Analysis
I became so disillusioned by our performance this weekend that I took to Twitter during the game (something I rarely do as I am usually 100% focused on the game). After about 70 minutes I tweeted that the Goalpost had been our man of the match so it was satisfying to see that others felt the same way at the end of the game.
For a change I thought I would give my own player ratings as I believe that usually these are far too generous. My criteria is that a ‘6’ means that a player was average and did the job expected.
Randolph 6, Kouyate 7, Reid 6, Ogbonna 5, Antonio 6, Lanzini 5 (Ayew 4), Obiang 6 (Fernandes 6), Payet 5, Noble 4, Cresswell 3, Carroll 5