Hammers let down in all areas against rampant Gunners
The defence has been held accountable for most of our defeats this season, but last night we were let down by our midfield and attack in addition to our back 4. Collins and Fonte endured another tough 90 minutes in just their second game together and the defence was not helped by the absence of Cresswell, all combined with the continuation of Sam Byram’s poor form at right back. Arthur Masuaku was partly responsible in failing to clear the ball leading to Arsenal’s first goal; the Frenchman struggled to cope with the pace of Theo Walcott and Hector Bellerin down the Gunners right flank. The midfield was not galvanised by the return of skipper Mark Noble, as the ball was given away time and time again by us in the middle of the park. The midfield managed to protect the back 4 well in the first half, but in the second it failed as both Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud were allowed to score from range. The attack was boosted by the inclusion of Michail Antonio and Diafra Sakho, both returning from injury. We failed to test Arsenals third choice keeper, only forcing him into one real save, when Lanzini burst through the defence late on but could only shoot straight at the Argentine. Antonio posed our biggest threat of the game, making some positive runs and winning free kicks in good areas, but was subbed at half-time prompting many fans to question whether he was fit enough to even start the game. Sakho was introduced as a second-half substitute for Andy Carroll, but by then the game was already lost and the Senegalese international would have no impact on the impact on the game. Carroll himself would fail to score for a fifth Premier League away game in a row. We will need to step up our performance for our relegation six-pointer against Paul Clements’s Swansea City on Saturday.
Hammers plunged deeper into trouble
At the blowing of the full-time whistle yesterday, we achieved a feat that we haven’t achieved since the 2010/11 season, that was 5 League defeats in a row and that season we were relegated. Yesterdays dismal display leaves us in 15th place, just 5 points above the relegation zone and with 3 teams below us having games in hand over us. Many Hammers fans were left celebrating Spurs late win at Swansea that means there is a little more breathing space than there would have been between us and 18th place, but not much. We are now also without a win in seven League games, a run that takes us back to the start of February. Saturdays Premier League clash with the Swans now becomes a real relegation six pointer and now almost undeniably the biggest game of our season so far.
Fans left bemused by strange Bilic tactics
Many fans were delighted to see the inclusion of Michail Antonio back in the starting line-up last night. When Antonio was taken off at half-time many fans proclaimed that if Antonio was only fit enough to play one half then he should have started on the bench and used as an impact sub later on. Bilic’s strange tactics didn’t end there as danger man Andy Carroll was taken off in only the 64th minute for the returning Diafra Sakho. Our game plan from then on seemed to be more direct with many criticising the decision to take off our tallest striker and best header of the ball and then play long balls forward up to the smaller and more versatile Sakho.
Is it time for Adrian to return?
Pressure is growing on out of form goalkeeper Darren Randolph after another poor game last night. Randolph has made two very similar mistakes in successive weeks, first from Riyad Mahrez against Leicester and then from Mesut Ozil at the Emirates, last night. Both goals were efforts from outside the box that slipped under the hands of the Irishman. Randolph was given his first team chance when Adrian made a win costing mistake against Stoke City, the Spaniard ran out of his goal for a loose ball leaving Bojan to finish into an empty net. Now fans are calling for the former fan favourite to be recalled, so which keeper will line up against the Swans on Saturday? The decision is almost as hard to predict as the result of the relegation six-pointer.
Bilic – “We only need one win to change everything”
Our under pressure boss Slaven Bilic has reassured fans that things can easily be turned around as we move just three places above the drop zone. The Croat ad this to say in his post-match press conference “I told the guys,OK, forget tonight, we have a few massive games in front of us . We need one win and it will change everything for us”. Bilic has come under huge fire in recent weeks as we continued our seven game winless run with our fifth defeat in a row. The gaffer received the full backing of the board on Sunday, but his future with the club still remains uncertain. One thing is certain however; our next Premier League game is an absolute must-win.
Here is how each featuring player rated out of 10 in our 3-0 defeat at the Emirates last night.
Randolph:4, Byram:5, Fonte:6, Collins:5, Masuaku:6, Fernandes:5, Snodgrass:5, Noble:6, Kouyate:5, Ayew:4, Lanzini:7, Carroll:5, Sakho:5, Antonio:6