Saturday, 17 March 2018

Five changes that can save West Ham from relegation

After three onfield batterings on the trot, Moyes and his army find themselves in deep deep relegation doh-dah! While the off field problems are undoubtedly an unwelcome distraction, central to our recent difficulties has been the loss of a functioning formation that can deliver goals while keeping it tight at the back.

Here are five changes that can get the team back on track and save Moyes' men from relegation disaster:

1. Bring Masuaku straight back into the side. After serving a harshly prolonged six week ban, Arthur has served his punishment and will be chomping at the bit. Its hard not to notice hoe Arnie has lost his form since Arthur went missing.

2. Drop Joao Mario. We might dream of he and Lanzini pairing up as the Mario brothers but in reality we dont have room for two defensively lightweight players in midfield.

3. Its time to promote Declan Rice to a regular starting berth in midfield. I am a big fan of Kouyate but he is horribly out of form and our midfield lacks a bite that Rice's energy can bring.

4. Use Chico more. We would really benefit from some of the cheaper goals that a predator like Hernandez brings. With some tense and likely close encounters looming against Southampton and Stoke, he can be the difference.

5. Bring back Payet. Just kidding! We need players with true grit, warriors who will put bodies on the line etc etc...thank God Ginge is back at centre back. We'll be needing him.

Its incredibly tight in the bottom half this year. The smalkest of things might tilt things in the right or wrong direction. Whatever your thought on all the off field goings on, we need to heed Sir Trev and shelve the issue until we are safe. Let's all get right in behind the team and give them that boost that might make all the difference.

That's what 'real' fans do.


Monday, 12 March 2018

And finally....some good news for a change!

WOW! West Ham really are in a total and complete mess right now. With fan unrest bringing all manner of bad media upon the club while on the pitch our defence has lost its way totally, Hammers faithful really need some good news right now.

Given our atrocious away record this season, the home games against Southampton and Stoke will be crucial. The return of Arthur Masuaku - after a severe six game ban for spitting - can kick start a team that needs a boost both in defence and in attack. Masuaku can bring both and will be desperate to prove his worth. With Patrice Evra filling in with modest success, David Moyes must be tempted to bring Masuaku straight back into the side.

Otherwise, the team will benefit from a break and take the opportunity to rebuilt confidence. Whatever about what is going on off the field, the club need to get behind our underperforming team if we want to avoid dropping back to the dreaded Chumpionship! 



Monday, 5 March 2018

Cheer up: at least its not boring!

Towards the end of the Allardyce era things had reached a very dull plateau at West Ham with lower-midtable obscurity a pretty sure bet the longer it went on. Then we had the nearly period with SuperSlav where with a bit of luck we could have broken into Europe before the wheels came off and we lost faith.

Now its David Moyes and what a frantic period for the club! With fans seriously unsettled with the board and divided into marchers and non-marchers, coupled with the realisation that we are in a thrilling (?) Relegation battle that will likely keep us on the edge of our seats until the last kick of the season! Is it really all that bad?

Oh, and Andy Carroll has been snapped having a few beers in his local, no doubt unwinding after a week of heavy fitness training in an effort to get back before the season ends...

Chaos, madness,, comedy, as usual then i guess! Did anybody else feel a bit miffed at a group of fans hijacking the notion of being 'real'...does that make everybody else not real if they don't agree with every sentiment or action of the group? Respectfully (and the real group did start a campaign that is energising fans to have more say in our club and how it develops) but calling anything 'real' can only end in division.

Interesting times - real fans will see them through and focus on getting behind a team that really needs our support right now.


Friday, 2 March 2018

Judean Popular Peoples Front Consider Their Position

However divided West Ham seemed as a club a few weeks ago, the unilateral decision by the 'Real' supporters group to cancel the planned March has left supporters in a state of disunited disarray. With so many different groups involved, perhaps such a split was inevitable but its worth revisiting why the movement gathered momentum so quickly - and that was primarily because of a lack of confidence in the board delivering on a raft of promises. At present, for many fans looking on there is no real reason to believe that anything has actually changed - apart from a few more promises!

Let's hope that we don't descend into chaos and recriminations - early signs amongst the West Ham media are that this is likely as there are already a series of articles expressing a thinly veiled sense of annoyance with the march cancellation occuring in this way.

As a first step it will be good to hear more clearly what was so positive about the meetings with Lady Brady that has placated the march organisers? Given the background to this movement - where words like 'betrayal' have been bandied about, its hard to see how things have suddenly all reached a happy resolution.

For example, does anybody really believe that David Sullivan will relinquish ultimate control over transfers? We may well install a director of transfer activity but they will undoubtedly be answerable to the board. It also seems a big ask that such an opinionated force keep his thoughts out of the media. Leopard and spots comes to mind!

At this point it would be better to focus upon visibly achievable changes. The stated demands of the march were always a bit vague. One thing that is truly tangible is that the stadium design needs rethinking to make it more football-friendly.

Also, the club need to stop urging folk to join the hopelessly long season ticket waiting list - either its 20,000+ long or not. If it is, really what is the point of joining it apart from making a donation to West Ham Inc?

It seems unlikely that this story is over just yet! Let's stick together, whatever else this episode has created a sense of unity and purpose. The challenge is to keep that positivity focused where it needs to be on the bigger picture of making fans connected with and proud of our club. 

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Watford Game Crucial to Relegation Battle

In midweek David Moyes made the totally not-shocking revelation that 40 points is our target for Premiership safety. A quick glance at our remaining dozen games reveals that today's clash with Watford is therefore pretty crucial. With seven home games to come, we need another four wins (a simple logic dictates that if you get ten wins, the draws will sort themselves out!) but with five of our games against top six sides, we need to look to win four of the other seven games. With that in mind, Watford today is a massive game, If we win, we keep them in the relegation battle and take the pressure off ourselves. If we lose, we are right back into the mess as one of nine clubs that could realistically go down.

The good news is that our injury crisis is settling. Reid, Antonio and Arnautovic are all on the verge of returning and may all get to feature in some way today. Meanwhile, Joao Mario will continue with the Lanzini role while new recruit Patrice Evra looks likely to also join the bench. While many commentators (myself included) think Evra is past it, one observer made the interesting point that Stuart Pierce was 37 when he joined us and made Hammer of the year! Time will tell.

Up front, Chicharito is looking sharp again while we can throw on Jordan Hugill if we need a bit more physical presence. The Premiership is a big step up for the former Preston ace, but fingers crossed he could be another Dean Ashton in the making. Watford, meanwhile, are looking reasonably healthy and will be buoyant after thrashing Chelsea at the beginning of the week! Interestingly, they are not really a momentum side and have struggled to piece together any back to back wins all season.

All of this is happening against the backdrop of considerable fan unrest which is increasingly channelled through the Real West Ham Supporters Club. These are interesting times at the club as our efforts to deliver upon the dream of top six status in return for moving to the OS have stalled. Fans want the stadium to be made more football-friendly and also want a more effective transfer management policy. David Sullivan has moved to calm things with an interview on the club's website today but with a march planned for March 10th ahead of the Burnley game - another key fixture in our battle to ensure Premiership survival. Realistically, the board are unlikely to stand down but it would be good if these developments could be channelled into improving the club's fortunes. Time will tell.

We reckon we might just shade it today, 2-1. Paul Merson agrees, while Mystic Mark reckons it'll be a draw which would be a better result for the Hornets than us.

Predicted Starting XI: Adrian, Byram, Collins, Ogbonna, Rice, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Kouyate, Noble, Mario, Hernandez.

Arnie and Antonio to come off the bench as we push for a late winner...

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Time to Bring Back Carlton Cole

At 37 years young, Patrice Evra is hardly anything other than a stop gap for West Ham in their growing battle against relegation but the big question has to be why David Moyes is bringing in another left back???

The loss of Arthur Masuaku after the foolish spitting incident at Wigan was a blow but he has already served two of his six game ban and will be ready to return probably just as Evra reaches something like match fitness! Evra has been relatively idle since being sacked by Marseille for assaulting a fan!

Perhaps more importantly, although Arthur has been very naughty, he has also been one of the best players for us all season and should be welcomed back - where will that leave old man Evra?

The January transfer window really is no place to go looking for major solutions to squad issues as it is almost invariably a place where clubs squander cash on damaged goods in panic purchases. It's really hard to see what Evra will bring other than a distraction for the increasingly discontent fanbase.

More importantly, rather than a left back we need an attacking midfielder and a striker. With our flanks 'protected by Evra and Zabaleta we surely have the oldest defence in the Premiership?

Just a thought but 'long past it' Carlton Cole is actually 3 years younger than Evra! Similarly, Ex-Hammer and Sideshow-Bob lookalike, Alessandro Diamanti, is also a free agent and a mere 34 years old.

Hmmm. We really seem to be going backwards...

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Antonio Debacle Reveals A Stubborn Side of Moyes That May Cost West Ham Dearly

So here we are, fighting for Premiership survival just four points above the drop zone, with a severely depleted squad and no transfer window to bring in any further help. Amazingly, in the middle of this mess our manager (who you'd have to say has done a great job to date) gets embroiled in a needless spat with one of our key players over the (minor) issue of timekeeping. While many observers have applauded Moyes insistence upon a certain level of discipline, it's hard not to wonder whether he could have picked the timing a bit better.

Many fans were relatively satisfied with a point against Palace on Tuesday but for others you'd have to wonder if a win was what was really required? With very little up front we looked toothless and a draw was probably the best we might have hoped for. Antonio would have offered something extra and was surely missed. Although Moyes and Antonio have made up, Antonio is only on the bench as we look to new signing Joao Mario to provide an attacking spark - his record (17 goals in 156 games) suggests that his main strength is not in offence however!

Any seasoned observer knows that it takes ten wins per season to stay up. We currently have six, which raises the question as to where the other four will emerge from. With 13 games left, there are five against top six sides against whom the odds are against a win, we thus need to looking to win 50% of the other games. The home games against Burnley, Watford, Stoke and Southampton will be crucial. With a squad so thin that we have Zabaleta playing in midfield, we may struggle to get those results.  A time for flexibility and using the available resources to the best of their ability.

Brighton are without a win in six, while we are unbeaten in the league this year. My money is on Antonio to come off the bench and make a big difference against Brighton today!

Starting XI:  Adrian; Byram, Collins, Ogbonna, Rice, Cresswell; Zabaleta, Noble, Kouyate; Mario, Hernandez.