4 Games to Save Our Season?


It is no secret to say that the pre-season form of our beloved West Ham United side, under the tutelage of Slaven Bilic, has uprooted few saplings, let alone trees. We have all consoled ourselves with discussion about the value and purpose of matches at this time of the year and it seems to me, when you are playing poorly, the rhetoric is all about fitness, game time and decent competitive action as opposed to the shape of things to come. Let’s hope that’s right because performances anywhere near as bad as those we have put together thus far will result in a season of struggle, without doubt.

Already the pundits are licking their lips at the prospect of lining up, in the post-Allardyce era, to say “I told you so” or “I said West Ham fans should be careful what they wished for…” as is evidenced by some of the recent idle speculation on outlets such as Talk Sport’s The Press Pass. (What they’ll never understand is that there are many of is who would rather be relegated playing the game in the right way rather than suffering any more of the turgid and prehistoric brand of football featured by Bilic’s predecessor, but that is perhaps a discussion for another day).

Hammers fail to trouble the scorer again!

Another blank this afternoon, this time at the home of Charlton Athletic.

By all accounts we looked organised enough and dominated spells of the play with possession, if not incision, football.

Am I right to be a little concerned that a starting line up boasting Payet, Valencia and Sakho failed to register?

Like I’ve said before, I don’t get too concerned about pre-season in terms of results but I would be lying if I didn’t say I am disappointed that so far, we look pretty unimpressive.

Spot the arsenal result anyone?


Bilic continues his education into the post-Allardyce mediocrity

I have no idea the extent to which Slaven Bilic values his side’s involvement in this Europa competition or whether he is simply intent on watching some of his fringe players in the heat of battle to confirm what he already suspected, that they’re not really very good but the evidence of the past few weeks suggests to me it is more likley to be the latter of my suggestions than the former.

In truth, we could and perhaps even should have gone out of the competition already. Whilst others eulogised their romantic notions about a last European hurrah at the Boleyn Ground, nights under the lights etc, I cautioned against any long term involvement in this competition. We are plainly nowhere near good enough to grace the European stage and our entry into the Europa, embarrassing enough in itself, is now beginning to reveal itself for reflecting the farcical criterion that it surely was based upon. Fair play? Won’t win you too many games I’ll wager.

So, what are we finding out this pre-season? Not a lot, in my book. That we have a squad post Allardyce that is not able to pass a football creatively and incisively? That, once you remove Allardyce’s plan A, B and C you expose the footballing limitations left by years of coaching to hit the diagonal long ball? That Bilic needs to continue to bring in quality footballers and skilfully evolve his brand of football over the coming weeks and months, utilising the undoubted residue of latent strengths that we do possess? I’d say ‘yes’ to most of those, wouldn’t you?