The HamburgHammer Column
WHAT. A. PERFORMANCE!!!
Vardy who ??? (The Leicester striker had fewer touches in the game than our goalkeeper, quite a telling stat.)
You could have hit me over the head with a blunt instrument or spiked my cup of Rosie with bleach, never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted that level of performance from our lads and that kind of result against Leicester of all teams.
We usually don’t do well against Leicester. Vardy tends to enjoy playing through and past our defenders. And the Foxes had started the season really well. But this is why we all love the game so much.
We may THINK we know what’s gonna happen. Every once in a while we simply don’t. Who would have predicted the Hammers to go jolly fox hunting like this on Sunday lunchtime ?
And who could have guessed that even Czech, Italian, French and Paraguayan nationals would be so adept at hunting down good old Vulpes vulpes ?
Due to watching the Concordia U23s earlier I actually missed the first 20 minutes of the game. When I hurried up the staircase to reach Casa HH, I was just hoping the scoreline wouldn’t read as 2:0 to Leicester already, thank God it didn’t. Antonio had given us the lead. New boy Coufal was playing and apparently we were employing the wing back formation again that had worked so well for us before.
Once more it simply was a complete team performance. I could name you 7 players deserving of MotM credentials (I’ll pick one later anyway). We looked well drilled, perfectly organised, so that Fabianski hardly had any save to make. Leicester had a late effort chalked off by VAR which was brilliant for West Ham obviously, but the neutral fan would have admired the pinball machine style exchange of passes which, frankly, would have deserved a goal.
But we deserved that clean sheet as our fivesome of Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell and Masuaku was absolutely fantastic. Cresswell and Masuaku look very comfortable together on the left. Balbuena has slotted back into proceedings nicely again, Ogbonna did his usual impression of a rock with wave upon wave of Leicester rolling towards him to not much avail really. And Coufal ? Apart from the fact the pundits pronounced his name wrong all game (I suppose they didn’t read the instructions posted on here by our own Toddy) he looked as if he was playing his 85th game for West Ham, not his first. And he can even launch a decent long throw which may come in handy this season.
My MotM ? It could have been any of our defenders. It could have been Rice or Soucek. It could have been Antonio. Bowen finished his goal brilliantly too. But I will give the prize to Pablo “Fournails“ Fornals.
I liked our Spanish chico from the start really. All the while he has been played in a role that’s not his best position really. But he kept on carrying on regardless, running and tackling his calcetines off, always playing with a smile on his face. Always happy like an Iberian pig wallowing in Extremaduran mud when a teammate scores. And here he was, providing excellent passes again. And also scored a Miss Andalucia of a goal himself, controlling the ball well and tucking it away with a cheeky little touch of his left boot. Of course I cheer every single goal we score. This one though was a bit special and I was so happy for Fournails.
He really deserved that one. And his passes seem to find Jarrod Bowen a lot lately, so we got a nice little bit of chemistry going there apparently. Long may it continue.
The only changes we made late on were for the sake of eating up a bit of time really as our starting XI were such a well-oiled machine on the day that substitutions weren’t really necessary. We are now finding ourselves in slighty unfamiliar territory: 10th place in the table, 6 points out of a possible 12 to start the season. Goal difference of +4.
It’s weird, but oh so wonderful to see. Whatever it is Moyes is doing with these players (with a little help from Irvine, Nolan, Pearce and Nevin), it is working out pretty well so far.
The next three games after the international break are still a big ask (Spurs away, Manchester City at home, Liverpool away).
Normally I would predict us to get a big fat ZILCH from this. After our performances against Wolves and Leicester though I will say we will probably win one of those.
Monday of course is Transfer Deadline Day which is why this article will be superseded by our rolling WHTID transfer business coverage soon enough. At this point it’s hard to predict what’s gonna happen. Apparently we will let Josh Cullen go to Anderlecht. Which personally I feel sad about as I have always been roting for the lad. But for some reason he has never got a shot to properly work himself into the gaffer’s plans at West Ham.
So it’s only fair to allow him to join a club where he can actually play and forge a career for himself. I had the pleasure to meet him briefly during West Ham’s preseason in Germany a few years ago and he was a lovely fella to have a chinwag with. So I can only wish Josh all the best at his new club, I hope you find happiness there, mate.
While getting plenty of minutes on the pitch. You show ’em, Josh!
There’s also word that Robert Snodgrass may be allowed to join boyhood club Celtic in this transfer window. Which would seem strange to me as he is the kind of player Moyes likes to have in a squad. Snodgrass has been the type of midfielder I have always admired at West Ham, the hard grafters who are also genuinely good and funny characters to have around the club. He obviously didn’t play as often recently as he would have liked, but whenever he put on the shirt he gave us 100%.
If indeed he does leave, I wish him every success at his next destination. Thanks Rob, you will be remembered and missed…
As for other business we may or may not do during the day, I am dubious.
I haven’t got a Scooby what’ll happen. We could surely do with some incomings, considering the number of players we let go and the way Moyes seems to want to play these days. We certainly could use another quality CB at least, plus a halfway decent striker (after getting rid of Hugill, Ajeti and potentially Xande Silva going out to Greece on loan).
But I won’t be taking anything for granted.
And of course it’s merely the international window that’s closing later on Monday, we can still do domestic deals with Championship clubs or lower until October 16th. We’ll see.
So I do expect nothing in terms of further arrivals at West Ham in order to preempt disappointment on my part. I shall still happily join the transfer debate throughout the day. COYI!!!
Hamburg football update: Starting with a very unfortunate 0:1 loss for FC St.Pauli away to Sandhausen on Friday. Sandhausen are very much a nondescript plain Jane outfit in Bundesliga 2, but they are a solid team all around and especially strong at home which showed on the night. Hamburg SV on the other hand had their home game against Erzgebirge Aue virused out after several players and staff members from the east German team tested positive for Covid earlier.
The Concordia first team netted a late 2:1 winner in injury time under the lights on Friday night to keep their perfect record of the young season, two wins in two games, six goals scored, three conceded. Good start to the season. The Cordi Under 23s played out a very entertaining 0:0 away draw Sunday against local rivals Billstedt-Horn on a hard and dry cinder pitch which is very rare at that level, it’s usually 3G artificial pitches throughout the league.
The Cordi Women’s team continued their on-pitch crash course at the top amateur level at home against the girls from Victoria, losing 0:5.
Challenging season ahead for them…