How West Ham can get Michail Antonio back on track

You enjoyed Michail Antonio’s Valentine’s Day video, no doubt. In case you missed his Umbro ad, featuring a neat orange tie, some of his famous goal celebrations and a lovely pair of … football boots, here it is.

But do you think West Ham are seeing his best form, and is his role up front proving as disastrous as his spell at right back?

West Ham will only get the best from him when he’s playing in front of the right-back (when we are able to play one), helping to make the midfield more solid and storming through to support the strikers (again, when we are able to play one) from deeper positions – arriving late on the scene and making it harder for defenders to pick him up.

Up front he looks lost and without a clearly defined role. He’s at his best with the ball at his feet and when running at defenders, or storming on after a through ball – not when he’s already the furthest player forward.

I love him for his wholehearted effort and he’s a genuine player, but I fear a loss of form through no fault of his own.

Sofiane Feghouli’s disallowed goal at home to West Bromwich Albion was due to Antonio’s positioning and interference with Ben Foster, and he came perilously close to having Feghouli’s legitimate goal being disallowed due to his close proximity to the action in an offside position.

Admittedly, if it hadn’t been for a foul in the six-yard box that went unpenalised he would have had a goal, but let’s get him back in his best position where he can once again cause chaos and uncertainty to the opposition.

 

  • Guesty

    Lol now that is funny. The man is a cool dude. I agree with what to say and personally I think he has room for improvement. Another 5% and he will be some player tho granted Billic playing him in every position doesn’t help. After Randy’s shocker last weekend I expect to see him in goal vrs Watford. I expect Adrian back in all seriousness.

    • Antonio’s great, isn’t he. I love him (not that I want to go out and choose curtains with him, or anything like that).

      • Guesty

        Oh but I think you do Graybo!

        Hart or Bergovic in would signal huge intent by the club. It’s the sort of decision the big clubs and big managers make but will West Ham and Slaven make that bold call? I really hope so. I’ve never been sure about Randolph and the fact I liked Adrian so much probably over shadowed his failings so I live in hope that one of those 2 comes in. Hart would be my preference simply because he is english.

        • Philtheiron

          Hi mate,
          Yeah it’s hart for me all day long. Simply because he is a top quality keeper, undisputed England No1 and by signing him it would send out a real statement of intent not only at home but abroad as well.

          However, there can be no doubt that Begovicis himself a top quality keeper although not quite in the same class as hart.

          But still a substantial upgrade on anything we currently have.

          Randolph makes too many mistakes for my liking and I get the feeling that Adrian’s golden season last year was more of a one off and that he has struggled to consistently reach those heights since.

          However, that is not to say that he isn’t a decent keeper and his possible leaving will have more to do with the fact that his contract is about to end rather than professional ability.

          Like I have said I hope we sign Hart and although he won’t come cheap I don’t believe we should break the bank to do so.

          As begovic although not quite in the same class is a bloody good keeper and would come at a fraction of the price.
          Thus allowing our longstanding aims of quality striker(s) and rightback to be relatively unaffected by the funds that would be needed to sign Hart.

          But whatever happens the summer looks likely to be a very interesting one indeed.

          And one that most certainly will be affected by where we finish this season.
          For the higher we finish the better our chances will be of attracting players of the right quality to the club.

          Dare I mention the dreaded “Europa” word again?!

          • Guesty

            For me Phil it’s the statement of intent that is important. I’d compare it with the signing of Phil Parkes back in the day. As you say Joe Hart to West Ham would send signals far and wide. I see West Ham are going to take Adrian up on the one year extension option on his contract. I hope I’m wrong but maybe that sounds more like our true intent! Oh dear I’m sounding like Head now lol

          • Write it out a hundred times, Guesty …

            I must not sound like Headmaster
            I must not sound like Headmaster
            I must not sound like Headmaster …

          • Philtheiron

            Phil parkes! Now there’s a player!

            For me got to be the best West Ham keeper of them all, and my all time favourite to boot!

            As for Adrian and the triggering of the extra year option well (I’m hoping), it’s a similar situation as to that with hull and snodgrass before they sold him?

            Adrian is still a decent keeper and as such it wouldn’t make very good business sense to let him go on a free transfer when we can extend his contract and sell him for decent money.

            So hopefully nothing has changed and we are still looking to make that big statement of intent?!

            And more Hopefully I’m not clutching at straws here!

    • Philtheiron

      Yes, while certainly Antonio has improved since joining us and is having a great season.
      I still believe he is not the finished item by a long chalk and he has much to improve on before he can be considered the finished article.

      But one thing I can say though, is that he is at exactly the right club with exactly the right coaches to ensure that he reaches this aim.

  • Tom

    I think it is a case of a ‘needs must’ scenario … his pace when he goes on one frightens defenders and he powers through them so easiliy but for me he has never had that great first touch … I think he will stay up top until season’s end now and we will posibly revert to a 4-3-3 next season … it may even be that if Andy Carol gets injured we revert to that sooner rather than later with Snodgrass – Ayew – Antonio in a front three … either way we are starting to assemble a decent starting xi and come the summer and we get a commanding GK, a sttrong RB with two decent strikers with pace I think an assault on the next level up is achieveable …

    Begovic from Chelski @ £12m
    Sagna from Citeh on a free
    Defoe from Sunderland on a free

    Just leaves us looking for a striker with pace and goals … do we need to hunt high and low across Europe or what rich picking will there be from those relegated or who has performed in the Championship … Tammy Abraham perhaps …

    • Philtheiron

      Hi mate,
      Some great shouts there!

      Much as would love hart I believe the monies needed to secure him could be better used elsewhere.

      And begovic is a class keeper in his own right.

      Not sure about sanga though, don’t get me wrong he is a decent player but I would be hoping for a younger more permanent rightback in the summer.

      Defoe?😂That’s a cheeky one!
      To be honest I thought we really could have done with him in January.
      But hey, there’s no doubt he will still do a job for us and I’m pretty sure the price he will go for in the relegation firesale will be nothing like the silly money that was quoted a couple of weeks ago

      I like your reasoning sir and I would love to see how Tammy Abraham would get on in a claret and blue shirt.

      Along with the exciting young talent we already have coming through, our future would indeed be very bright indeed.

  • Goatygav

    Over the whole of the season so far he’d be my HOTY. More recently others like Obiang are in a better vein of form.

    He’s not an out and out striker but he’s getting games there when AC is not available which just goes to show how short of, out and out, centre forwards that the sqaud really is IMO.

    Extremely effective player and all round good egg. Really glad to have him at the club but, as you say HM, needs to be utilised the right way and in the correct position.

    • Headmaster1

      That was Graybo posting mate 👍

      • Goatygav

        Doh! Soz GGmeister!

  • Philtheiron

    Yeah, but what happens if chelski come in with a £20million offer for him?😂

    Not that I think he would go but if offers of that nature were to come in, then it certainly would put the cat amongst the building for the next level pigeons!

    Although having said that I do think it’s great that the press can continue to sell off our best players for us!

    With Antonio being the latest to receive this courtesy. 😇

    • Tom

      I think the Chelski offer will be nearer £30m … and I would accept it too ..

      • Philtheiron

        Hi mate,
        Wow, I’m not too sure how too quite answer that one!
        Your reply can definitely be filed in the that will teach me to be so smart file! 😂

        The trouble is if chelski offered something like £30 million it would definitely be hard for the club to turn that sort of money down.

        Even though l believe there is still a lot more work to be done before he is the finished article.

        I suppose we will have to see whether David Sullivan is a better poker player with the blue Russian than he was against the deceitful French.

  • Headmaster1

    Cracking post Graybo; nothing to add methinks

  • AdeludedCoker

    We need to get professional and sort out our well documented problems with recruitment and stop playing Antonio out of position if we’re going to get him back on track and, crucially, keep hold of him. If Chelsea do come in for him it’s not going to be to cover with more enthusiasm than ability at right back or centre forward…

    The same goes for Kouyate. He and Antonio are two of our biggest assets (on the pitch and financially), yet we’ve wasted their talents to a large degree this season and I’m not sure that either of them are going to be happy putting up with that for much longer.

    I fear that Kouyate’s agent has just put a price tag on him by coming out and stating that he’s now worth £21m.