Thursday 19 September 2019

The sobering reality of West ham's visit to Villa Park

While many fans were happy after a taking a draw on Monday  at Aston Villa despite being reduced to 10 men by the truly awful Mike Dean, In reality the performance highlighted a whole host of shortcomings in our current squad.

Although the team rallied well after Arthur Masuaka's harsh dismissal with more than 20 minutes of the game remaining, the fact is that prior to that West ham had been well outplayed by the recently promoted villains.

Reviewing the highlights shows just how well Fabianski played to keep Aston Villa goal-less. It would be harsh to single out any of our defence as having had a poor game, we still conceded half a dozen very good chances that most premiership teams would have expected to convert at least 2 or 3 into goals.

Even worse upfront we looked sluggish and disorganised. Felipe Anderson in particular looked tired and almost disinterested as he  spurned a number of decent opportunities to make his trademark runs at goal. When he was substituted to reconfigure our defence after Masuaku's  dismissal he looked exhausted. 

On the other wing, Andriy Yarmolenko was off the pace and in reality has not yet regained his match sharpness since returning from his awful Achilles tendon injury last year. 

Manuel Lanzini was kept disappointingly quiet for most of the 1st half but thankfully did up his game when needed in the latter stages of the game. 

As for Sebastien Haller, although he has managed a decent haul of goals so far, it is also evident that he is not particularly pacey and for much of the time looked awkward in possession. The fact that we lack a decent replacement up top is a real worry as we face some season defining games. The possibility that he might get injured in the time until the January transfer window is a terrifying thought!

On the plus side, Issa Diop had an excellent game, while once again Captain  Claret Mark Noble provided the engine that kept our team taking over and his footballing brain was a major part of our handling those difficult last 25 minutes when we were a man down.

Fornal's performance was also a bright point as he looked sharp and surely has earned the right to have a chance with a starting berth in the coming series of games?

Declan Rice had a solid performance but in the battle of the 'plastic paddies' Young Grealish came out on top as the best player on show.  In fairness, Rice is a different kind of midfielder to Grealish, but it is clear that he is not yet by any means the finished article.

And so we move on to Man United at the London stadium on Sunday. They still look lacking in cohesiveness and tonight stumbled home with a 1-0 win against Kazakhstani giants Astani FC at Ye Olde Trafforde. Sunday's game provides a great opportunity to lay down a marker in our push for a top 6 position. 

Let's hope we can get our attacking game in order - can anyone forget that wonderful 120 seconds of keepball when we were 3-1 up against them last season?

1 comment:

  1. I only saw the game on tv but we appear to have been watching different games. Anderson worked hard defensively which will always affect a flair player's forward play. Which do we want (hav hard did Payet work without the ball?). Rice was immense with the beingpotentially valid criticism being his creative play but what about that diagonal 40/50 yard pass in 2nd half. I really want to be impressed by Fornals but am still waiting for him to deliver. Haller works hard and overall is the best striker WHU have had for years. Ridiculous 2nd yellow for Masuaku prevented any positive game changes MP may have planned such as 2 up with Ajeti, we shall nver know.


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