Sunday 24 November 2019

Julien's Faux Pas #15

Or should it be Roberto's Faux Pas? After another torrid day at the London Stadium we are left almost speechless - only art can capture the madness of the current circus antics! Above all else, the sentiment of the day was come back Fabianski.

In our series of Coldwar Steve-style mock ups we give you Julien's Faux Pas number 15...

Saturday 23 November 2019

Reveal: Crucial Information for Hammers Fans

Ok, so we made a gallant comeback which will undoubtedly provoke calls of 'why do we have to go 3 down to start playing?' But in reality, West ham looked lacking in confidence and bereft of ideas for the first hour of Today's game. Noble and Rice were trying to get us going with some passionate tackling, but the rest of the team looked strangely sedate for what is our big derby game of the season.

And then there was the Alan McKnightmare-esque performance of Roberto. Enough said.

We are without a win in 8 games and sliding down the might even say we are in freefall.

One fellow fan joked as we were leaving the stadium today that at least we won't have a boring run in this year. He's sadly right - we are almost certainly going to be at least up to our waist in relegation troubles.

And with that in mind, many fans are already nervously checking our run in - the good news is that  it looks relatively 'kind':

Newcastle (away) 11/04
Burnley (home) 18/04
Norwich (away) 25/04
Watford (home) 02/05
Man Utd (away) 09/05
Aston Villa (home) 17/ 05

It's hard to see us turning things around until January opens the door to new recruits as we have Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, along with Palace and Wolves away, such that the Southampton game looks like a relegation six pointer already!!!

Top Marks to the bloke giving it socks with Karaoke to lift the spirits as we left the ground. Right now we are truly singing the Claret n Blues...


Friday 22 November 2019

Hope and Expectation...This Will Be A Special One!

If ever there was a game that was hard to call then Today's clash with our nearest rivals is just that! Two squads who have been hopelessly underperforming face into a derby that will surely throw the form book in the bin. Add to that the Mourinho factor and not even Nostradamus could predict this one. 

Right now there seems to be a civil war playing out at Tottenham and, whatever else, Mourinho is hardly the peacemaking type they sorely need right now. With a squad who in many cases seem to be looking to move on, Mourinho's arrival may well accelerate that process but just how that impacts upon the team performance remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, any player lacking full commitment will struggle today in what will be a cauldron-like atmosphere!

As for us, in terms of what has gone wrong - quite simply (1) we are missing Fabianski both as a shot stopper but also as a defensive captain, (2) the defensive half of our midfield is not protecting the centre backs enough and, yes, I am saying that Declan Rice needs to step up! (3) we look feeble at set pieces. With two small full backs, Anderson, Noble, Lanzini and Fornals is it any wonder we look fragile when the ball is floated into our box? Thankfully, Antonio's return will surely add presence for those corners and free kicks that we have been struggling at (4) as a result of the above we keep falling behind. In the current Premiership most teams are more than capable of punishing a team that is chasing a game. Hence the recent drubbings to modest opposition.

My head and my heart both tell me this will be a cracker!!! However, its hard to call who will be happier come the final whistle - Warren Mitchell (quietly a Spurs fan) or his TV character the infamous Alf Garnett? Mystic Mark Lawrenson reckons it'll be a draw so we can exclude that as a possibility. Meanwhile, the considerably more accurate Rory Nostradamus sadly can' t make it today but reckons it'll be 3-2 to the Hammers, with Antonio coming on as a super sub to grab the winner!


Monday 11 November 2019

What is actually wrong with West Ham?

By guest journo James Meagher.
Many a West Ham fan must be puzzled by our failure to win in the last 6 games, especially after a bright start to the season ( ignoring a drubbing by the defending champions). Now all hope seems lost after a horrendous result against Burnley where we were barely in the game and created little of note. Many are screaming and shouting about tactics and the personnel on the pitch (yes, you - Roberto). While these are valid complaints there is a much longer standing issue that the club has had that we have been concealing for some time before it reared it’s filthy head. 
West Ham have had defensive frailties for a while now with very brief periods of competency, all while having decent if not down right sensational personnel at time. As an individual, Issa Diop is an man mountain of a defender while Fabian Balbuena has had a difficult season - he was sensational last year as the 'Generalx of our defence. In the past we’ve been blessed with Winston Reid and Ginger Pele (James Collins). While they haven’t been world beaters, they have certainly been above average centre backs. Cresswell’s form may have been up and down but there is no doubting the defensive quality the man has demonstrated over his tenure at the club. The right back position is a hot debate in my household so we shall not go there other then to say that we are fans of Ryan Fredericks and believe that the Michail Antonio experiment there should have ended before it started. 
So why have we conceded so many goals?? Last season we conceded 55 goals, the season before 68, and in the 16/17 season 64. In all bar last season we conceded more than teams that were relegated. So why?

We’ve all seen the ads on TV that tell you driving too fast will cause accidents and deaths on the road. What is left out is that driving too slow is even more dangerous as it infuriates drivers around you and causes rash decision making. Here lies our problem. West ham have a slow team. To start with the less-problematic positions - Haller and Yarmolenko are not the quickest duo, especially for a front man and winger. Many people here will point to Zabaleta starting against Newcastle and the horror that ensued but, this is only the most recent case. Where out beloved hammers have really lacked pace is in the defensive midfielder role. Long has Noble patrolled this region for the Irons with Declan Rice more recently taking the role, neither of which have pace to burn. The last time we had any pace in the middle of the park was Cheikhou Kouyate who was ousted from the club due to long periods of poor form. 
If we look at this position popularised by Makelele it requires a tactical awareness second to none on the pitch. While certainly Noble has this is spades and Rice is developing, there is a pace required to mitigate any mistake made. Think N’golo Kante. He’s like a rash. He’s everywhere and reads the game like most read a children’s book however, he also is quick across the pitch to cover any mistakes that may have occurred. This ability is a large part of the reason he won the premier league with Leicester City and then Chelsea in back to back years. This combination is rare but it can be found. Liverpool have players like Fabinho and Wijnaldum who may not be sprinters but are no slouches either. Man City have Fernandinho and now Rodri. Ndidi at Leicester. Man united have sought a player for this position for years, hence signing Nemanja Matic in the hopes he could replicate his previous form. There are few players who can play this role without pace. Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso to name a few but they are both players far beyond what West Ham currently have in our midfield. This lack of pace and ability to cover ground means our defence is left exposed and the goals fly in. Then as all teams do chasing a game, we push up to try and create pressure and chances but this further exposes our defence, especially to counter attack. This cycle continues and is evident in so many game we lose. The games we win we usually score first and dominate the ball because we don’t have to pile men forward seeking an equaliser.
I fear that until we solve this pace issue in the middle of the park we are destined to forever be on a rollercoaster with our beloved club. We can sit and debate the tactics and why is no one close to Haller (does he smell funny) but until we solve the fact we regularly get overrun in midfield not due to a lack of commitment or passion from the men who fill this roles but due to a lack of pace and quickness.
The January transfer window requires us to acquire something better than Carlos Sanchez!