It’s now time to sink our teeth into some of the main points of discussion from Friday night’s disappointing defeat to Bright & Hove Albion as we fell to the brink of the dreaded Relegation Zone.
“Shambolic” Defensive Errors Cost Thrashed Hammers
Yes, it’s back, back again, tell your friends. After several positive defensive performances in The League and Cup, a dreadful day at the back couldn’t be too far away, could it?
Lining up with the usual four at the back formation with Pablo Zabaleta, Jose Fonte, skipper Winston Reid and Arthur Masuaku in for Aaron Cresswell, the problems started early on.
A tenth minute free-kick delivery from Pascal Gross caused all manner of problems when Glenn Murray was left unmarked by a mixture of Winston Reid and Michail Antonio to head home for Brighton’s opener.
On the stroke of half-time, neither Pedro Obiang, Jose Fonte or Pablo Zabaleta could stop Albion’s record signing Jose Izquierdo from unleashing a flying shot that buried in the top corner via the palm of Joe Hart.
Similarly, the Argentine full-back Zabaleta, enduring what was surely his worst performance in Claret & Blue since joining in the summer, fouled Murray with an unnecessary lunge in the area for The seagulls’ third.
Additionally, England keeper Joe Hart didn’t cover himself in glory for any of the three goals.
But, poor defending is not something new to Hammers, by a long shot, as the issue has plagued us for several consecutive seasons.
Last season we possessed the sixth-worst defence in the Division and this season, we are currently worse than that in fifth, one of many disappointing defensive stats for Slaven Bilic, himself a defender back in his playing days.
However, it is not just him we haven’t defended well under, it seems like this problem has been continually hitting us year upon year, prompting many to pose the question, will West Ham United ever be able to defend consistently?
Time Up For “Super Slav”?
At the blowing of Martin Atkinson’s full-time whistle on Friday night, a fierce chorus of “boos” rang out, mostly aimed at our Croatian Boss Slaven Bilic, not for the first time this season.
Many Hammers are now calling for his dismissal, on a larger scale than ever seen before as an embarrassing home defeat leaves us lurking dangerously close to danger in 16th position, having made our worse start to a season since 2010.
Furthermore, rumours have swirled around various Media Outlets over the past 48 hours of Board meetings about Bilic’s future.
The reported outcome was that the Croat won’t be replaced until a suitable replacement is found, but just who else is there?
While names such as Carlo Ancelotti and Thomas Tuchel have been doing the rounds, such huge Managers are unlikely to be attracted to a move to The London stadium.
This factor and our impressive recovery from a similar position last season may hold “Super Slav” in good stead over the next few weeks, however, the question remain this afternoon, is he the right man to guide us away from a Footballing crisis yet again?
“Ordinary” Attack Struggles To Create Against Seagulls
Slaven Bilic himself was among the various pundits and Football “experts” to criticise our lack of attacking creativity on FNF as we failed to make anything out of 65% possession at The London Stadium.
Amongst other goal mitigating factors, the midfielders did not link well with the attackers at any point during the game, leaving Javier Hernandez isolated up-front.
On the wings, a poor flow of average crosses were easily dealt with by the Brighton defence and the ones that did manage to beast the visitors’ back four, would have been more suited to the absent Andy Carroll.
More worryingly, such an uninventive attacking performance was put in by one of our strongest possible attacking Xls, baaing the aforementioned absence, in addition to Diafra Sakho’s injury.
But, there will certainly be no offensive room for error at Wembley on Wednesday night when we face one of England’s strongest defences in Tottenham Hotspur’s, can our attackers deliver a Cup upset?
What Did The Managers Have To Say?
“We were really looking forward to this game, with the greatest respect to Brighton, of course. Unfortunately, we conceded two goals and that always affects a game and a performance”.
“They defended well, but we were a little bit too ordinary in front of the box, nothing special, we waited for the ball to drop for us instead of attacking it”.
“In the second period, we reshaped and was dominant without creating many chances and then the penalty, game over”.
“They (Brighton & Hove Albion), used the moments they had in the best possible way, we had a large quantity of attacks, but they weren’t good enough to score”.
“The first goal was important, for a team like ourselves it’s always going to be challenging and difficult away from home, the first goal settled any nerves”.
“We pushed on from there and it was a real perfect performance”.
“You always want to lift confidence away from home and goals lift confidence”.
“We had good control of the game, in the second period, we knew they had to go for it and that we would have chances, it turned out that way”.
So, now that we have covered all the main causes of discussion from Friday evening’s huge disappointment, attention will now turn to Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup clash at Wembley, what will there be to talk about after our Round Four London Derby?