Saturday 6 May 2017

This is what Bilic needs to do next

Perhaps Spurs are, as many pundits suggest, the best side in the Premiership at present, but there was no doubting that they came off second best against their 'friendly' neighbours last night. Put simply, an understrength West Ham outfought Mauricio Pochettino's men throughout the match and emerged deserved winners. In fact, including the previous tussle between these two earlier in the season, West Ham deserved more than the three points they acquired from the Hotspurs this season.

Undoubtedly, many fans will focus upon the suffocation of Spurs title aspirations, but the depth of team spirit was surely the most remarkable aspect of the match. With the injury situation as it is, West Ham were again forced to play without a noted striker and, Manny Lanzini apart, one wondered where our cutting edge might come from? In comparison, Spurs seemed to have all the likely gamechangers but, just like last season, they failed to show up and floundered. 

However, once the celebrations settle down - and yes, this was our best result this season, where to now for the Hammers? 

First up - Mr Bilic. SuperSlav has endured a frustrating season with wisdom and class. Underperforming recruits, tedious injuries, fan unrest, new home anxieties, and that man who shall not be mentioned by name. Quite a series of headaches yet Mr Bilic never lost his cool and kept focused upon surviving the season. We are currently ninth and in all honesty would be much higher if we had the composure and striking edge to put away the likes of Sunderland, Stoke et al. Last night's game surely puts an end to any rumours of Bilic being shown the door as another season at least makes sense. 

In goal, Adrian and Randy will battle it out and keep the pressure on eachother. We do NOT need Joe Hart! Randolph suffered a disappointing lack of form before being dropped after the Sunderland game, but all in all has been reliable in goal for most of his game time. No change needed here.

In defence, we suddenly look solid having reverted to three centre backs. However, there's no getting away from the fact that Collins and Fonte are well into their fourth decade and we need to think ahead. Angelo Ogbonna will be welcomed back next year and maybe its time we gave the Reece's their chance. An additional recruit at CB makes sense. We've said it before, but letting Tomkins go was silly - both in terms of CB cover as well as his ability to shore up the right back position if needed.

At full back we suddenly look half-healthy again. Cresswell played well last night against a Spurs side that has very decent wing backs. Prior to that, Masuaku's recent performances have been tremendous. At right back we clearly need to invest as Sam Byram is still developing. Acquiring a top class right back is surely a major priority for the Summer.  

In midfield, we need more pace and creativity. Pedro Obiang has made the transition to Premiership standard and will surely be looking forward to next season. Kouyate looks increasingly like the new Patrick Viera and can push on. Nobes has a fantastic footballing brain and, as long as he has a pacey partner in central midfield, remains our heartbeat. Nordtveit has not done enough to justify a starting place in a side with aspirations of top six status. Fernandes will surely push on next year and looks a real prospect. The continued development of his relationship with Lanzini has massive potential for next year. However, with the departure of 'that' person, we need another creative force in midfield. 

Out wide, Antonio needs to allowed to play on the right wing without all this being flexible for the team nonsense. Feghouli has failed to deliver and is on top wages. Most of us remain unsure where Andre Ayew actually plays and despite his recent improved form, his role is debatable. He has not been good value for £20 million.  

Up front we could very reasonably clear out the lot and start from scratch. Slav's decision to start with Calleri in recent games ahead of Fletcher makes little sense as he really doesn't look the part and lacks either pace, physicality or the poaching instinct that makes up for lack of the former two attributes. Andy is excellent when fit but that is an occasional occurrence. He will never be a dependable force and the board need to consider his true value to the club. Sakho seems crocked and has not really recovered from the injury he picked up on international duty two years ago.

So - a decent centre back, a top quality right back, an experienced and creative midfielder and three strikers. £70 million should sort it. With our stadium lease arrangements, increased TV money, massively increased attendances and expanding fan base - that should be no problem.  

Maybe the board should swear an oath of silence about all transfers until they are actually completed!



  1. i thought calleri had a good game,he is improving with every start that he gets,where did you watch the game last night,in balina?.

    1. Limerick - I was at a gig in Dolans. Great performance. Personally, I think Calleri is well short of the grade.

  2. The question to be asked is why has it taken 36 games to produce a decent performance this has got to be down to the manager and his staff not good enough

    1. Very true if I only performed my duties at work now and again Ide be sacked

  3. i went to the game last night,it was great,half of the crowd were sozzled after leaving work and going straight in the pub.i think they might keep caleri on for next season.

  4. Did great when played with Sakho, keep them both as back up to the youngsters we are about to sign and get rid of Carroll.

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