One of the things I wrote in my last blog was that we shouldn’t let Man City destroy us, both on the day and in the aftermath. I for one have found this far more difficult to see through in practice as the team was exposed, albeit by the best, but exposed quite badly as not being able to cope with powerful midfields. We saw this against Liverpool also early in the season and put it down to inexperience. Then many of us suggested bringing in some holding players who can tackle and chase might be an idea as our midfields, assembled mainly of wingers, continued to fold under scrutiny. This was finally achieved with the three of Obiang, Noble and Rice who have looked solid when playing together. Then injury problems for Obiang and disciplinary problems for Noble had left us short in the middle but with promising signs of team ability, which brings me to the point of this mini-rant, what was Pellegrini playing at on Saturday? Masuaku again at left back, unforgivable to the point I’m fed up even discussing it. Hernandez for Diangana, very questionable. The contribution of Perez, quite extraordinary, almost as extraordinary as bringing him on in the first place. At times it was almost as if the manager was just having a laugh.
It was clear Man City are class and we also have plenty to be optimistic about but this tendency of Pellegrini to make tactically naïve decisions and get rewarded with a spanking is starting to become statistically significant. With so much focussed towards a global reputation as a major team we are all too often seen not even making a game of it against the Man City’s and Liverpool’s and this makes talk of 66,000 super-crowds slightly pointless if are getting hammered by anyone decent. The following run of games is a season defining opportunity to really play well and build as a team and improve league position. After an encouraging couple of games at Leicester and at home to Burnley, avoiding a thrashing by Citeh really was a key priority and it was only partially achieved because they took their foot off the gas and in all fairness we didn’t play that badly.
Diangana was lively and I don’t know why he was taken off early. Declan Rice had another good game and is invaluable in midfield, the centre-backs and the keeper still look like a solid unit and one which would benefit from a decent left-back. Midfield options should be returning against Newcastle and I would really want to see Noble starting in a game like that to bring in a bit of solidity and purpose. I would disagree Antonio was man of the match for us but he did improve slightly and with Carrol and Wilshere to return maybe this will allow us to increase the number of chances provided to Arnie and others. Despite all of this we are still short in areas, our results show this.
Is the possible signing of Nasri really the sort of business we should be doing? If he was fully fit and playing I wouldn’t question it but this particular deal just reminds me of the day Gold and Sullivan took over, slating ‘Mr Egbertson’ for vanity signings and unrealistic wage payments for luxury players. Combined with the rumours over Chicharito’s true wage and the money we either are, are not or might pay Rice and Arnie we have to consider why such a deal for someone like Nasri is really necessary.
West Ham has always been and remains a club made great by its fans and its players, wouldn’t it be nice if the owners and the manager could just step up and take us up that one notch to where we deserve to be. One way or another it seems market forces will dictate that we are becoming a big club whether we like it or not, lets just keep hoping and campaigning that we become a big club based on quality and training not one cobbled together from superstar has-beens with no particular purpose. If we hit December and January right we can be in the top half with a couple of exciting new signings ready to push forward into 2019. Its what we deserve and for once lets hope the expectation of the fans is realised both on and off the pitch in the next couple of months. COYI
A bit of nostalgia to cheers us up
And for those who are interested in horse racing
Me and my mate Bob have been trying to create a website dedicated to finding winners to jumps races, its only a bit of fun and no guarantees but anyone who fancies an alternative website to the usual we are doing tips and analysis for all major Saturday races and festivals. Hope you have a winner! Also on twitter follow #bobandbaz.COYI