West ham limp to an ignominious Europa exit – again.

If the first half performance against Bournemouth was a 3/10, this one against Astra merited a 1 – for turning up. Except we didn’t.

Looking at the team sheet before the game did not exactly set the pulse racing and, if any flicker of pulse was ignited pre-match, it was most certainly extinguished by 45 minutes. We were dreadful.

Tore started right with Antonio on the left. Why? This didn’t work on Saturday and by just past the 30 minute mark, Bilic had dispensed with the experiment on the European stage too. Frankly though, in the first period, neither approach resulted in a wide man getting to the bye-line and delivering anything into the box.

Calleri missed another sitter (for a supposed centre-forward) but in truth we created next to nothing against our resolute and entirely more canny Romanian opposition.

Håvard Nordtveit was allegedly in the starting 11 but I don’t recall a single worthwhile contribution from him in those first 45 minutes. Indeed, he was subbed at half time but replaced by Valencia. Again, the expectation with his arrival was not exactly soaring and so it came to pass. Another inept and ineffective display from the Ecuadorian whose days are surely numbered in the claret and blue.

West Ham v FC Astra; pre-match thoughts

West Ham host FC Astra Giurgiu tomorrow night in the European Cup and even though I have seen many comments from fans on various mediums expressing concern and even fear I honestly think that if we put a team out similar to the one who beat Bournemouth on Sunday we will end the night as convincing winners.

Astra aren’t anywhere near the team that won the won the Romanian 2015/16 Liga I and who were also runners up along with Cupa Romaniei (cup) winners in the 2013/14 season, I think that was evident last Thursday night when we played them in their backyard. It was us who made them look half decent to a certain extent and it was us who threw the lead away through a combination of lethargy, fitness and quite honestly we looked like a team who hadn’t ‘gelled’ 100% yet.

Even though we showed some similar symptoms on Sunday at the OS at times I think the win will have done us great deal of good and given us the confidence we seemed to be lacking in our last few games, both home and away.

I’m quietly confident that my prediction of us ending the night with a 4-1 win on aggregate (3-0 on the night) will be a successful one. Assuming Mr Bilic fields a side similar to that who played 3 days ago that is.

What do you guys think?


GoatyGav’s Bullets #1

Firstly a big welcome back to the site. That ‘gutted’ feeling was pretty unanimous by all the contributors back in May when Matt and Dave announced the site’s closure. Without doubt C&Bs provides something unique in the world of West Ham blogs and I’m delighted it’s back for the new season.

Secondly want to thank Matt and Dave for inviting me to join the C&Bs team. Hope I can make a valuable contribution.

Lastly, for the moment, I wanted to briefly explain that I’ll be posting two main kinds of pieces here. Some will be more concise and in bullet point format. Others will be ‘fleshed out’ providing more meat on the bone to help develop certain subject matter. So to kick off I’m going to post the first “GoatyGav’s Bullets” : –

* We’re in our new home – mixed feelings about how the promises made by the board (primarily Karren Brady) have been delivered.
* “Is this the Emirates?” Not what you want to hear.
* The success of the signings from last 2 closed seasons doesn’t seem to be happening again this time around.
* Please can we start to emulate some of what Leicester did last season to keep the squad fit and firin’ (Great Article here http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/36189778 )
* What danger of Astra doing a number on us again on Thursday?
* Stand up – if you love West Ham