I was at Everton last Sunday to witness another disappointing away defeat for West Ham that in truth could have been a lot more than just a 2-0 defeat.
It was very much an end of season performance from the Hammers, knowing we were already safe. Only really Jussi Jaaskelainen and James Collins came out of the game with any credit but it was the performance of Momo Diame that was particularly worrying, especially given the speculation regarding his future.
Momo was hauled off by Same Allardyce at half time, rightfully so in my opinion, following an abject first half showing. We have come to expect a typically powerhouse, all action performance from Diame in the heart of the West Ham midfield this season but last Sunday he simply wasn’t up for it. The Senegalese midfielder was out of the game for large parts of the first half, sloppy in possession and lost a number of physical battles, something that just doesn’t happen with Diame.
I think the West Ham fans on Merseyside last weekend may well have witnessed one of his last games for the club.
Players have bad games of course, but it is when the attitude of players is not quite right when the fans have a right to feel aggrieved. In my opinion Diame’s heart was not in it against Everton and that is not acceptable.
Don’t get me wrong I am a huge Momo Diame fan. Before his injury at home to Liverpool in December, Diame had been nothing short of immense. Having come in from Wigan on a free, he was being heralded as one of the signings of the season. His power, his energy and his ability to carry the ball 50 or 60 yards without being dispossessed was a joy to see and a major part of our early season success. Momo’s substitute performance at home to Chelsea where he almost single handedly changed the game to give us a 3-1 win was a performance that will live long in the memory. It was no coincidence that following his injury and subsequent spell on the sidelines, the team’s form dipped.
Following his return a month or so later, Diame didn’t quite have the same impact. To be fair it was always going to be hard to replicate his early season form because it really was that good. However barring the odd game, that incredible drive seemed to be lacking somewhat. Initially it appeared that Diame still hadn’t fully recovered from injury but as we moved on, it became apparent that it may have been interest from other clubs that was distracting Momo.
It was only natural that Diame was to attract interest from the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham after his sparkling displays before the turn of the year. There was talk about him leaving during the January transfer window, with QPR reportedly making an audacious bid for the midfielder.
Perhaps it’s the high interest from the clubs playing European football that has turned Diame’s head. If he was to go, it would be a huge loss for the club. Our midfield without Diame looks extremely lightweight and one paced. In the likes of Mark Noble, Gary O’Neill and Kevin Nolan, there is no pace, no drive. It will certainly be an area Big Sam would need to strengthen for us to improve on our position this season.
I do expect Momo to leave this summer and I will be sad to see him go. When his heart is in it, he is an exceptional midfield player as we have seen on numerous occasions this season. However after witnessing his display at Everton on Sunday, if he’s not up for the battle with West Ham then it’s time to go. The most important thing is having players who put on the claret and blue jersey and give it their all. Over to you Momo.