After two wins in a week, everyone can certainly see the shape Slaven wants the side to have, keeping possession where possible, defend deep and to hit on the break with pace and when it works like it did so well against Newcastle it is good on the eye. However, the one down side to our high-profile away form is the opposition are going to be wary about committing numbers forward against
The City performance stood out like a beacon for me, not just for the result but for the fact that the players worked so hard. Sakho, for a man who was carrying a knock put in a supersonic shift, as did Payet and the defence stood up really well. I much prefer to see Reid playing on the left hand side of a defensive pairing as he seems to give Cresswell an added bit of confidence that was lacking against both his performances against Leicester and Bournemouth.
The summer transfer window has certainly given us a squad with options and Bilic has already had his first big decision to make in bringing back Adrian after his suspension, there are going to be plenty more ahead, when incorporating Song and even Carroll back into the starting XI.
I think how well Slaven manages our players workloads is going to be key to how well we go this year, Payet is inevitably going to have a lean patch in the coming weeks or months I just really hope the fans remember how good he is, when he does have a couple of shocking games on the bounce and his flicks and dragbacks don’t come off. I can already hear the moans and groans when they don’t come off!! Physically as well, is he going to be able to keep up with the level of performance he has put in so far? He does seem to be built like Tevez with an arse the size of Trevor Sinclair’s so he may well last the pace better than I’m giving him credit for.
Antonio also looks like an interesting proposition, I will admit to not knowing an awful lot about him apart from his name coming up quite a bit last season on Soccer Saturday, but I thought he looked like he had a touch of the Wanchope’s and Kanoute’s about him when he came on at the Emirates, a little bit ragged but it was quite a hard game to pick up the tempo quickly, especially on debut. As I signing I quite like this approach, £7m may seem like an awful lot of money for a club like us, but if he doesn’t manage to make the step up he’ll have a half decent resale value and I’m sure there will plenty of takers amongst newly promoted sides or back in the Championship. I remember when Everton signed Stones from Barnsley for just under £3m and thinking the same, the worst they are going to do is lose a million on a player with potential. The thing that links these two signings together is Tony Henry who I think has done a very under the radar job for us so far as Head of Recruitment despite our higher profile in the market this year.
Anyway, I’m enjoying the West Ham way so far this season, some good football, some stellar performances and some comical defending mixed into the pot at times. Long may it continue!!