Swansea City 0-0 West Ham United
Both teams went into this game having not won in their last six games. The Swans had lost their previous 3 and the Hammers had drawn their last 3, so this game always had the suspicion of a nervous contest with both teams trying to get onto the right track going into the busy and tough Christmas period.
West Ham had to call upon Jelavic to start his first game after Carroll picked up a minor injury during the weeks training, and with the several crucial injured players and the Croatians lack of game time it was another player who could win us the game that wasn’t available.
The first half in my opinion was quite possible our worst of the season, we lacked energy, effort and ambition to go forward I felt. It wasn’t until 25 minutes in we saw the team start to press and get an occasional period on the ball, but even they didn’t last long with possession being lost in no time. The only player who seemed to have a bit of courage to go forward was Antonio but when he did there was no support to help the attack.
We didn’t have the ball often and as result of that couldn’t create many chances, when we did manage it the shots failed to force the Swansea goalkeeper into a more than easy and comfortable save.
Overall the half was controlled almost entirely by the Welsh side, with them having near to 200 more passes than us just in the first 45 minutes alone. Luckily for West Ham they as us are very low on confidence and don’t have that cutting edge to finish off a move as we’ve both showed we can do at the start of the season.
The second half need a huge change in the way we approached the game, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case at all. The pattern of the game continued very much the same until again around 25 minutes in West Ham started to have an impact all be it a small one but still something to grab onto.
Enner Valencia who was subbed on in the 60th minute of the game was a positive move by Bilic, but like most things at the moment we didn’t use him in the best way. He definitely gave us an extra spark in attack, but him alone couldn’t turn this result in our favour. I also don’t believe he was utilised in the correct way. For me the Ecuadorian is much more effective up front where he can be on the end of a cross/pass and not the other way round with him supplying the ball to another player when being deployed in the wing position.
There are a couple of other points to talk about from the game. Firstly, it was disappointing
to see Jenkinson again dropped and on the bench. Even though he hasn’t been playing as well as he was last season, he just like the others deserve to have a chance to put it right and I feel the team is losing out from him not starting. The two full back were brilliant for us last season and by not having Jenkinson on we lose what we have on the left side with Cresswell and at the moment with the players missing that attacking presence could be very valuable.
Another defensive player I’d like to mention is Angelo Ogbonna, whenever I see him play I can’t help but feel there’s a mistake to come any second from him, whether that from him being clumsy which we have seen this season, or a miscommunication as we saw with Zarate in the first half of the Swansea game.
Another point to make and is a general one, is I really think Bilic and the other staff need to work on set pieces, we seem to get a lot of corners throughout the game but almost none are made use of, the ones that do come off shows us why we need to improve because we can be a real threat from them.
The last point to make is that West Ham have now drawn 0-0 three times in a row, on one hand it shows that we have certainly improved on our defensive game. However we just can’t score at the moment, the game in Wales was through us not being as attacking as perhaps we shoulve been. But the games against Manchester United and Stole City it was a combination of bad luck and bad finishing from our players. With all this being said It’s always better to draw than lose and also shows how the team can dig in and play as an actual team which is a good trait to have for anyone.
Man of the match
There’s only one player that I feel deserves this week’s man of the match, Michail Antonio is the player I have chosen. He put in a very good performance today, due to the pattern of the game he had to sit back more than he’d wish to but he defended superbly and also gave us a route out from the back with his pace and power from time to time. A good couple of games from the young Englishman after being awarded two consecutive starts.
West Ham United’s second to last game of 2015 will take place on Boxing Day away to Aston Villa, this is a game we’ll need to be a bit more energised for because Villa are fighting for their Premier League survival and they need as many points as they can get especially when at home. The last game of 2015 for West Ham will be played at the Boleyn as Southampton pay us a visit in what will surely be another tough game over this busy period.