This has been a wretched week. The defeat away to Spurs lingers in the memory like a protracted hangover. It will not have escaped Hammers that Allardyce’s Sunderland side scored an unlikely win on Monday, compounding our misery and giving vent to those football pundits who continue to make comparisons between West Ham United this season and last. Their rhetoric goes that, in terms of points, there is virtually no difference between the two seasons. I am not sure whether this is a concerted wind-up or whether in fact it is a genuinely felt observation, that is, that we are no better off playing under Bilic than under the much criticised Allardyce. I have no intention of defending our position on this here but have to concede that, for the first time since Slaven to go took over, I am a little concerned.
I can’t think of too much I want to say about the football match between Spurs and West Ham just witnessed. From a West Ham perspective it was dire.
- The team was poorly set up and the tactics were wrong right from the start. We allowed our hosts far too much time on the ball, we sat back far too deep and had no out ball, with a midfield pulled asunder to cover for defensive inadequacy and the incessant hungrier aggression of our opponents.
- Jenkinson looks a shadow of the player we admired so much last season.
- Getting bored of pointing out that Carroll does not suit our style and should categorically not be a starter.
- The errors just keep on coming. Tomkins’ clearance that led to their 3rd was a howler, compounded by Adrian allowing the ball to squirm under him.
- That said, Adrian is the only player to leave the field with any credit – we were that bad.
- We missed Payet but let’s face it, we’re going to be missing him for a while. We need to learn to deal with it.
- We appeared to lack desire, heart, even team spirit and that is a concern.
- Tottenham were much, much better than us today.
Noble’s enforced absence due to his latest display of petulance will be interesting. Song has his chance. If he can pick up his mojo quickly, ‘Mr West Ham’ and the club captain may be under some pressure to regain his place.
Before the break for the recent friendly internationals, it could be argued that Tottenham’s star was in the ascendency whilst our own rise was at least partially on the wane. The home draw against Everton, as well as the manner of the performance, was creditable enough but the boys from North London have been in pretty hot form of late. Indeed, they dominated the derby at The Emirates and were pretty unlucky not to have won it, in my view.
The break has also given a couple of players even longer to be readied for a comeback and the news coming from the club is positive today about the availability for selection of Diafra Sakho and Alex Song, in particular.
In Sakho’s case, it is excellent that he is back fit. We have missed his intelligent running, his pace, his link play and his threat on goal. His absence has exposed the shortcomings in terms of squad depth in this area and meant that our plan B (Carroll) has had to be a starter, a role to which he is ill-suited in the Bilic era, in my opinion. I am therefore hopeful and expectant in terms of Sakho’s starting berth on Sunday at The Lane.