Thursday 27 December 2018

Five Talking Points From Hammers Victory Over The Saints

1. It's all about the system: With so many injuries we had no right to boss this game away from home, yet such is the Pellegrini system that even without Arnie, The General, Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Zabaleta, Wilshere, Chicharito et al we still played like a tight unit and shrugged off the setback of an illegal goal to win with something to spare at a ground we have won only one of our previous nine visits.

2. Declan Rice is the real deal: Looking through the green-tinted spectacles of a Paddy, Decky really looks like the player that Mick McCarthy can build an Irish side around. An amazing abilty to read the game, fabulous link up play and always there to tidy up when his team mates mess up....err 'Roy Keane' anybody? Sort out a long contract and lets enjoy having a lynchpin who dictates games with his football nous. We used to see Rice as a Rio in the making but he's shown this year that he has what it takes to boss midfield play at the highest level. Anyone else loving this?

3. Michail Antonio is too nice for his own good: It's pretty obvious that Michail does not think like a full back but he never shirks the responsibility when asked to play in a position he is unsuited to. Just when he seemed unplayable on the right wing SuperSlav asked him to fill in at right back and to his detriment he obliged. Pelle needs to avoid wrecking his buzz just when he is back to form and fitness. Stop this right back nonsense NOW! The January window requires a new right back as a major priority and let Antonio rampage further forward.

4. Anderson is the new Payet: Right to the end most true Hammers hoped that we might salvage the Payet mess mostly because we knew he was a real talent and worth the admission price on his own. There is a certain level of technique that most players can only dream of and Filipe has that. Yes, he loses posession a lot but his high risk manoevres open up opposition defences in an era where mass defending has stifled open attacking football. Filipe is that rare thing - the locksmith who can open the tightest defensive systems. As we push to higher levels we will need his Brazilian genius to compete. Aside from being a brilliant finish, his second goal kept Southampton's back four honest in the crucial final quarter....did anyone think we would concede a silly scrappy backs to the wall goal in the final few minutes tonite? Thought not. Thank Filipe's incisive counterattacking for that.

5. Ogbonna's West Ham career is far from over: Breaking up the excellent Diop-Balbuena partnership was a real worry tonight, but in reality Angelo fitted in delightfully and bailed out the usually excellent Issa Diop on more than one occasion with his situational nous. Did anyone ever imagine that Winston Reid would be under so much pressure to get back into the game squad when he returned? We all applaud Pellegrini for his attacking style but the centre back arrangements right now aren't too bad are they!

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