So after what was predicted (by myself included) to be the start of something great and good at West Ham and the spend of £100m it’s been a bad start to the season to put it mildly. 4 PL games, 0 points, 10 goals conceded and 2 goals scored, including 1 pen, so not good reading or watching.
I was not expecting to be in the top echelons of the table but the manor of the defeats is alarming, of course we do have a tough start with 5 of the top 6 last year in the first 9 games, plus 3 of these are at home meaning less easy games at home if there is such a thing. Despite doing most of our business early the manager is a long way from knowing his best XI. But for me personally there is nothing worse than seeing players go through the motions and not trying which is the bare minimum, and very evident in the first half against Wolves. The worrying thing is that the malaise has been evident for a number of years under different managers and makes you wonder if something is wrong in the club behind the scenes.
To Wolves’ credit they played well and they did look a good team overall, I was impressed with them. As a team they know what they are doing and the players know their roles. They are well organised but what impressed me was the variety in their play, they do put the other team under pressure, in the first half they had a lot of possession, but varied their passing and routes forward using the space and width of the pitch assisted by the accuracy from longer passes, in the second half they were prepared to use the counter attack whilst causing problems and were clinical in front of goal when it mattered.
What is so bad (aside from results)?
- Players lack of effort and conviction in large part of games
- Stat on twitter showed we were the 3rd worst team for Distance covered
- Negative atmosphere and subsequent pressure building
- Poor results at home thus far
- Not that close to knowing what the best XI is yet
- Talk of Manager being given 2/3 games to save his job
- Could be on 0 points still by the end of September
Is there anything good?
- Fabianski has kept us in games so that will help I am sure
- Diop put in some good last-ditch tackles, seems to be settling
- In the cup still, a home game which can be won and hopefully bring some confidence
- There is quality in some of the signings, the squad is good enough to be in the PL and stronger than last year
- Despite results and evidence so far Pellegrini is a quality manager and does have PL experience of course.
Summary on the Hammers and prospects
It has been shockingly bad, the worst thing is when you have hope or increased expectations the fall is that much further and harder to take, but it’s 4 games, things are in danger of being overdone and of course it’s a story the media latch onto, the media are even more fickle than us fans so some perspective is required. Sky’s debate with Paul Merson and Craig Bellamy saying we have luxury signings that were only good in a team with 75% possession, yet these and other pundits were saying we had done great business before the season started. They’re not the only ones but just an obvious example, that said they are right in the fact we struggle to get the ball back and are probably easy to play against and Bellamy in particular made some valid points.
Right now we need a result first, then performance, either way more effort and passion is a must to give us fans something to get behind and get us out of this. I do not think they should get rid of Pellegrini, it was a 3 year project and its not even been 3 months, I don’t think we should go down and it’s disappointing to even have to mention relegation yet again.
I will be at the Man Utd game and possibly Chelsea the week before so will see if anything is improving, before that is Everton, we have a slight chance of getting a point I think, especially if they are without Walcott and of course Richardson is banned so will be less pace in their team.
For those of you fellow Hammers these are the best 2 accounts I have found on twitter for West Ham are @exWHUemployee a genuine and reliable ITK and @Westhamwaycouk, which also has a podcast worth a listen.
What about FPL?
At the moment there are only 2 assets for West Ham in Fabianski and Arnie, but because of fixtures and lack of team form only 1 is viable at the current time in Fabianski.
He catches the ball rather than just palming away many shots and will rack up save points, he proved this at Swansea, if a few CS get thrown he will get bonus points especially as the fixtures ease, he and Hart have the most saves at 21 and he got 5 points in a 3 -1 loss to Arsenal.
One thing to note in the last game was Balbuena got 25 BPS and missed bonus by 3BPS points to the Wolves players for the CS.
As for Wolves based on only seeing them live the once in FPL terms they are a good all-round well organised team but there was no one player that stood out on their own and that is not a criticism of them by any means quite the opposite but this is FPL and is about the points. The Wolves correspondent @parker_parker will have more insight but here is my view all the same.
If I had to pick any out it would be the defence, Boly is a giant at set pieces in the box (4.5m), Doherty played far forward at times getting in some good crosses (4.4), and Jonny at 4.4 at the time of writing, got forward regularly and got 3 BPS against West Ham.