Sunday 19 November 2017

White Walker Downs Hammers in Game of Groans

Hopes were high that a change of management could sort out the mess at West Ham and where better than a visit to a recently misfiring Watford? However, Watford were more than well prepared for anything West Ham had to offer and bossed a first half where Will Hughes opened their account with an ice-cool finish. In truth, the Hornets were unlucky to reach the break only a goal to the good. Apart from a late Kouyate effort, Moyes' men looked pretty clueless and spent large parts of the half chasing Watford.

The second half was a little less one sided and again Kouyate missed a great chance before Watford doubled their lead with a Richarlison strike that Joe Hart may well feel he could have done better with. After that it became a test of mental strength as the Hammers tried to chisel a way back. Lanzini teamed up well with Masuaku and went close, but most Hammers fans knew that if it stayed at 2-0 that would be as good as we could hope for and mercifully the game petered out, albeit with a seemingly endless period of pointless extra time.

Mr Moyes has much to do and after today he will have a sense of the magnitude of the task as we looked shapeless and low in confidence. In fact, lets call it as it really looked - for all intents and purposes we are playing like a relegation side right now. Leicester next at home, followed by away games at Goodison and then Man City....

Winter is coming.

What can we expect from the "Moyes' Method"

The departure of Slaven Bilic was a sad moment for many fans as he offered a clear connection with our past and understood the West Ham way. However, after two seasons that offered much hope, things fell apart and in the end it seemed a mercy to bring things to an end. We wish him well in his next adventure.

So today we get to experience the Moyes' "magic". Undoubtedly a good organiser, firm disciplinarian and with an ability to get more out of his teams than the sum of their parts, he is in many ways the right person to sort out our undoubtedly talented but underperforming squad. However, his preferred style could hardly be considered anything like the West Ham way such that from a strategic perspective this may be a step backwards towards a fancy version of Big Sam.

Currently stuck in the relegation zone and on a downward slide, perhaps this more pugnacious style of football is what we need and, in reality, maybe Moyes is what we most need right now. Today's game will tell a lot about how well the players are responding to his physically demanding methods but will also provide an interesting insight into what he makes of the squad. The absence of Chicharito is a disappointment as it would have been fascinating to see how he will use Carroll, Sakho, Chicharito and maybe even Martinez as an attacking resource.

At the back, the starting XI will tell a lot about what he thinks of the relative merits of our centre backs and also the Cresswell vs Masuaku face off. In midfield, Moyes likes an sensible head (Noble) but will be attracted to the mobility of Obiang and Kouyate. Marko Arnautovic will be wondering where he fits in the grand scheme of things having become the figurehead for the failed season to date and especially after Moyes' adverse  midweek comments. Young Declan Rice will surely be hoping that he can continue his ascent as Moyes has been a good developer of younger talent in the past.

For these reasons, there seems little point in trying to predict a starting XI but we can expect a tighter formation and a lot more metres covered than under Bilic. Moyes himself is under a lot of scrutiny after his mixed experiences since leaving Everton for what most recognise was a poisoned chalice at Old Trafford and then at Sunderland. He did OK in Spain but this is perhaps the first chance since Everton to work with a team that is better than it's billing. We should probably expect a conservative approach, a dull game and a tight scoreline - and probably not just for this game alone!!!


Saturday 4 November 2017

The Bookies Get it Spot On As Hammers Implode...again

The prematch odds for this evenings game at the London Stadium seemed a bit unfair placing West Ham at 4-1 against a win despite playing at home. However, once again the Hammers have looked listless and without a clear game plan. Conceding two poor goals to Liverpool in a first half that they will want to forget. For the first goal Edmilisen Fernandes half-hearted jog back to try to prevent a Liverpool break summed up the spirit in the camp.

Even the most ardent Bilic fans (and I count myself among them) must be starting to wonder if its time for a change. Our squad really isn't performing. Perhaps we over-rate the depth in quality, but Lanzini, Hernandez, Louyate and Reid are surely players that would improve most sides in the Premiership? The season is not beyond saving and if we want to hold on to our better players we need to buck up - and fast. Even worse, we are starting to look like a side that deserves to be caught up in the relegation battle.

As we slide towards another embarrassing defeat Antonio's error last week against Palace may prove a key element in accelerating Bilic's departure. After 75 minutes we are 4-1 down. The atmosphere is very sour indeed. The bookies called it right in terms of the odds of a home win, and had quoted Slaven Bilic as third favourite to be next sacked Premiership manager at 5-1 before tonight's game. You'd have to  wonder what the odds will be now?