What we have….and what we don’t

As the closing minutes of a terrible showing against Southampton wash away Twitter is, as usual, showing the rightly held frustration of Hammers everywhere. Frustration at Big Sam’s reliance on Carlton Cole and Ricardo Vaz Te are everywhere along with righteous anger at the general malaise that seems to take hold of the team. One can’t help but wonder, what does it all mean?

This is a team that is not short on talent, and even during this horrendous loss much of it shown through. The team has talent, old and new, that should be able to drive forward in the Premier League, even without Andy Carroll. So if we have talent, what are we lacking? Is it spirt? I think Mark Noble, Stewart Downing, and Kouyate would all dispute that. Is it creativity? I think Enner Valencia, Ravel Morrison, and Mauro Zarate would all dispute that.

It seems that West Ham United lack, at least at times, is freedom. As a team we rarely drive forward and usually only when it is too late. Much of the game one gets the feeling that the players are on a leash. Don’t pass too much, don’t push forward. Don’t take chances. Once the goal came, a goal typical  of this teams best and worst qualities simultaneously, all effort to move forward immediately stopped. The players looked unsure of what they should do. Movement was minimal and passing looked almost against the rules.

It was only in the closing minutes of the game, substitutions bringing on the kind of players Big Sam seems to hate, did West Ham look like a proper team. Suddenly Ravel Morrison was picking off passes and finding open players. Enner Valencia was winning headers, holding up the ball and at least trying to make something happen. As usual though it was too little too late.

Freedom is what this team lacks. Freedom to move forward, freedom to find the creative pass, and freedom to score goals. If the team lacks in effort it is at least partially because they are simply not allowed to play the game. It is time for Big Sam to go. The promise of attacking football will only prove to be a broken promise; sure we will see glimmers. But it will never be allowed consistently or when it counts. West Ham looks very much like a team that will wind up 11th-14th in my mind right now. But the talent exists to do so much more and we need a manager who will utilize that talent.