Warning Explicit content early on:
Another day, another hiding. This week we have lost 4-1 to Man U away and now 5-1 at home to Arsenal. Things are not good, and only the fact that 3 teams appear to be worse than us is keeping us from dropping into the relegation zone. And having watched these games, I’m struggling to believe they are actually “worse” than us.
Slaven has an issue, the board have an issue and we as fans have an issue.
Slaven needs to raise the team back to last seasons levels. This is becoming difficult if what he said in the post match interview is anything to go by. He is aware the players aren’t putting a shift in and basically stated they are the same in training. Now I’m not close enough to say whether he has lost the dressing room, but things don’t look good. Even Mark Noble looks resigned. Continue reading “WHUFC vs Arsenal 03/12/2016 EPL 2016-2017”
Really, really not a lot to say here that wasn’t summed up by Slaven, who stole my thunder with his “A draw was fair, as neither team deserved it”. Spot on big fella.
So let’s have a look why.
It’s often said in Boxing that styles make matches, and i think it’s fair to say that this was part of the issue yesterday. West Ham set themselves up in their new look 3-3-3-1. Stoke set up in a traditional 5-3-1. What this meant was as West Ham attacked they were swallowed up by the Stoke back 5, and Stoke’s natural defensive play with the ball was negated in the packed midfield. Continue reading “WHUFC vs Stoke City 05/11/2016 EPL 2016-2017”
I didn’t blog after our killer win against the might of Accrington Stanley (exactly !) on Wednesday because basically it was shit. But Slaven did put out all the new boys, and I thought had worked out that Antonio goes back on the right, Tore goes home and Zaza needs to knuckle down.
So we start today with no Tore or Feghouli, Antonio on the right, and Zaza up top with Payet and Lanzini for company. So far so good. But Arbeloa starts on the left and Nordveit on the right. Excuse me ? Arbeloa has won world cups playing right back, sure if we are going to play a midfielder as a full back, lets make sure the real right back is on the right side.
Anyway, Southampton played everything down their left to get inside of Nordveit, but we seemed to be weathering the attacks and were actually playing well, from a defending standpoint. Attacking was different though, Lanzini was shocking and both Payet and Kouyate looked like they had never met anyone on the team before.
Southampton kept plowing a furrow down their left and got their rewards when Austin broke the deadlock , just before half time.
Slaven tried to ring the changes at half time, swapping Lanzini for Feghouli, but it didn’t work, and in what is now becoming a rather worrying trait we shipped a further 2 goals in the second half to cement our position in the bottom 3.
Now, I’m not pushing the relegation button just yet, but we cannot ship 16 goals in 6 games (more than anyone else) and not be concerned. Reid, believe it or not played well. Slaven has to pick his best back four and get it done. For me, its Reid, Ogbonna, Arbeloa (RB) and for now with Masuaku injured, why not Sam Westley? He’s a defender, plays either side and has a squad number. He’s 22. If he is not good enough bin him.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and I hope the board stick with Slaven, but we don’t have many more games to lose before we lose touch with the rest of the league.
The one thing no one wants to talk about is Mark Noble. He has gone over one summer from someone who should be in the England squad no question, to someone who’s looking lost on the pitch. This needs sorting quickly, either drop him out, or let him play his game further up the pitch, because he slows our game down so much currently, the defending team get to reshape.
MOTM for WHU Winston Reid
After our small adventure in Europe and our last minute loss to Chelsea we start our home campaign in the new shed against Bournemouth hoping for no repeat of last season.
Last season saw us lose 4-3 in an end to end game (see here WHUFC vs AFC Bournemouth EPL 22/08/2015). Our team was missing Andy Carroll that time and it turns out he was absent again today, making it 3 for 3 for the Geordie with respect to injuries and first league home games ! As well as AC, we were also missing Ayew, which gave Valencia another chance to redeem himself as our main attacker. Slaven has obviously been listening to the critics and took Antonio out of the right back slot only to put him into left midfield. So we have to assume he fancies both Feghouli and Gore in front of the best attacking right winger we have had since Kevin Keen. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And Payet was missing. This made me think that maybe 0-0 wouldn’t be too bad.
It appeared that everyone else had the same thoughts as the game itself was dull as hell. Nobody really took it by the scruff of the neck. The first half flashed by in a series of mediocre football, only livened up by the standing West Ham fans bickering with the Stewards. How anyone thinks that 5 teenagers will make 200 fans sit down is beyond me, and so they just kept going backwards and forwards almost pleading to no avail.
As we all got an email regarding this last week, means something will happen and there will be a few empty seats for the next game I imagine.
I got to meet my new seat mate, and I think although nice enough there will be some interesting conversations as the season goes on. Hi Steve if you are reading this..
The goal came late on when Antonio was allowed to play on the right and made the run and got the cross in. Gore picked it up at the far post, put it back in and Antonio nods it in to keep our competitive 100% record at the OS. Food for thought Slaven.
Bournemouth looked a shadow of last season, although Ibe looked useful when he moved into the middle.
Key takeaway from today was that we need Lanzini and Payet back as soon as possible, and Calleri needs to start. He got a chance late on when Noble put him through , that I think will be bread and butter later on if he gets the game time
MOTM Antonio. And a big shout out to debutant Arthur Masuaku, who looks very comfortable at left back.
Big Sam returned yesterday and didn’t it show, with one of the worst games I’ve seen this season. The only plus point was we won by scoring the only goal of the game but I don’t think anyone left there thinking they had had a good time, home or away fans.
Dimitri Payet was Man of The Match vs Manchester City… Here’s a few reasons why 🔥 pic.twitter.com/HbGIpnZ2lu
— WHUFC_Daily (@WHUFC_Daily) January 24, 2016
The first Saturday of the year was a little busy as I had just flown in from Vegas / via Dallas. BA had lost a bag and I needed to get to the early kick off between the Hammers and Liverpool.
I took my seat just after Liverpool had gone close with a cross goal shot, and seemed to have come out of the gate pretty quickly. WHU, however seems to be shutting them down quickly and efficiently. About 30 seconds later Enner Valencia popped in a cross which was met by Michail Antonio to take lead for West Ham. Nice work Sir. The lad who couldn’t get in the team now has 2 in 2.
Liverpool as you would expect had the lions share of the possession, but no end product. Benteke had a one on one after Collins had misread a ball, but Tomkins came across from his right back birth to shepherd the ball out of danger. As mentioned earlier, WHU were harrying and closing down in numbers , so threats were kept to a minimum . Emre Can hit the bar just before half time, but apart from that , WHU were good for the half time lead.
In the second half West Ham played more forward, with Kouyate winning a lot of ball and bring it forward and the midfield were more fluid and interchangeable. In fact , it Was Mark Noble who popped up on the right flank to cross the ball which was met by Andy Carroll to double the lead, and promote some rather enthusiastic celebrations from the number 9, who was let go by Liverpool having been (and still is) their record signing. Liverpool were left to stream forward looking for something, and Klopp didn’t shirk by replacing defenders with midfielders, probably noting that even though we were 2 up, some lucky deflections and defending was contributing to the score. Not to mention the woeful shooting by Liverpool. I cannot remember the last time a team shot so many balls over the bar.
WHU managed to close out the game to win the first game in 2016 with the same scorers as the last game of 2015, and jumped to 5th being the early game.
Once again WHU win a game which will be reported as poor play by the opposition.
However, WHU played well and were all over the pitch. I think Slaven has realised that letting the opposition have the ball all day is not profitable and quicker teams (such as Liverpool) will cut through us (like Leicester did).
The reintroduction of Payet, was very much welcomed by the home faithful, and I get the feeling he only came on after we were 2 nil up, and his name started to ring around the ground. He played a bit of a cameo, but still managed to set up Carroll, and turn Lucas inside out. Hopefully we hold onto him throughout the transfer window. Other players who deserve a mention are James’ Collins and Tomkins. Both were strong in the tackle, and Tomkins seems to be relishing his right back spot (although some of his bombing down the wing needs some finesse !) . One player who really needs to be looked at and I have mentioned it before is Enner Valencia. We paid over 13m for this guy and he is knocked off the ball at the drop of a hat. Personally I don’t think he is EPL standard and would happily bin him this window.
MOTM today was the much maligned Andy Carroll, who battered Liverpool’s defence today, never gave up and got his desserts with a great goal to seal the game.
Not a lot to write home about for this game if I’m honest, hence why it’s been filed a few days late.
Ogbonna came in for Tomkins and Noble and Payet were replaced by Obiang and Zaurate.
West Ham started lively enough, but seemed to struggle breaking down a typical Pulis team. However that all changed when we got a free kick just after the quarter hour mark. Up stepped Zaurate who proceeded to bend the ball into a postage stamp space in the top corner. Mark Noble could have been out there forever and not scored a set play like that.
The Hammers proceeded to be on top for the rest of the half but had no clear cut chances to extend their lead.
At half time Pulis popped on the Liverpool failure, Ricky Lambert, who you always knew was going to be busy. Within 5 minutes he lashed a shot goalward, which hit Reid on the back, and deflected in for an own goal.
We then brought on our own Liverpool failure, Mr Carroll, as Obiang was struggling trying to cover the midfield. To be honest AC never looks comfortable with Sakho, which is a little bit of a worry. Not for Andy though, as Sakho was carted off with what could be a serious injury after a very promising attack from the Hammers ended up with his shot hitting the side netting. Antonio came on for a cameo appearance near the end, but we didn’t really get to see anything.
The game drew to its inevitable drawing conclusion, and West Brom went away happier I think. But after getting tonked by Spurs last week, we should take some comfort as well.
Points or order: Carl Jenkinson is going backward at a rate. Literally. He refuses to take on those runs he used to, and keeps passing backwards for no reason. Zaurate on the other hand, takes on too many runs and loses the ball too often, and holds on too long. Very selfish. No one else disgraced themselves, or played a blinder. MOTM to Adrian for his save late on, that kept the game at 1-1, and won us a point to go back up to 7th (for while).
Highlight of the game was the bags that invaded the pitch in the second half due to crazy wind. It made the game look more like a Sunday League game more than it already did.
Man U away this week, which I don’t expect much from, but the form book for both teams currently suggests a 0-0. After that we should be picking up points again heading into the new year, but we will have to do it with a skeleton front line. Did Carlton Cole go on loan to Celtic……….?