Last time, somewhat prematurely and arguably inaccurately, I said that West Ham’s home form was somewhat of a myth, and that the Wigan game would be a telling one. Indeed, the three points were vital, but it wasn’t a dominant performance, and once again we won a home game despite having less possession of the ball.
That is a worrying fact about West Ham’s victory over Wigan: the lack of dominance and the increasing need to put in strong defensive performances that often provide lucky results: Liverpool, Southampton and then Wigan. That is not to belittle our defence, and it is welcome news that Winston Reid has signed a new contract. But it is evident we need more going forward, that is what is crucial for next season.
Still, Newcastle on Saturday will be another important game: one where the Irons will perhaps be more tested than against Wigan, as this is a Newcastle side desperately in need of three points, far more than West Ham. Pardew will have a score to settle.
Crucially tomorrow’s game is about keeping the lead. According to Opta, the Hammers have dropped the most points from winning positions in home games of any Premier League side this season. That is not surprising, and is something reminiscent of last season, when West Ham had a penchant for taking the lead early and then sitting back and getting defensive. That is a worrying trait.
Tomorrow, most Hammers fans would like a performance that shows creativity up front and strength at the back, and together that should maintain a dominant display and preserve an early lead.