Time for Adrian to return?

Darren Randolph came under major fire, for not the first time this season, at the full-time whistle yesterday as pressure grows on Slaven Bilic to replace the Irishman in goal. There is no denying that Darren Randolph’s performances in goal have been poorer than the norm recently, the keeper was criticised for his performances against Leicester and at The Emirates, but yesterday many fans called for his exile from the fist team after making two goal costing mistakes. The 28-year-old was left with egg on his face as he was caught behind Victor Anichebe and was unable to get to a Wahbi Khazri corner which ended up going all the way into the back of the net off of the post. After making the goal costing error for the first Black Cats goal, Randolph was looking like he was going to leave the Stadium of Light as a relieved man, but in the 90th minute he came marauding out of his goal to claim a cross, fumbled the ball into the path of Fabio Borini and David Moyes’s men were level. Randolph’s main area of weakness seems to be crosses and it is not the first time the Irish international has failed to deal with them this season making game costing mistakes from crosses at home to Leicester, at Anfield and yesterday to name a few. Randolph also looked shaky from Swansea’s deliveries into the area in his first clean sheet since January last weekend, flapping at a number of the Swans crosses, but the Welsh side were unable to capitalize, unlike Sunderland yesterday. The Republic Of Ireland’s number 1 has only gained a regular first team spot this season, when Adrian was dropped in October for a similar mistake in the 1-1 home draw to Stoke City. One thing is for sure, if Slaven Bilic does decide to continue sticking by Randolph by starting him against the Toffees next Saturday, he will be going against the opinion of a large majority of West Ham fans.

Byram sees red in another shaky afternoon for the back four

Sam Byram put the cherry in the cake of his poor performance yesterday by being sent off for a second bookable offence for a foul on Sunderland’s Adnan Januzaj in the 95th minute yesterday. The young right back endured a tough afternoon, being beaten time and time again by the pace and power of Sunderland’s Victor Anichebe. The Black Cats attacking pair of Defoe and Anichebe caused our defensive line a number of problems at the Stadium of Light, as we leaked another two goals to add to our list of 59 goals conceded this season, the fourth-worst in the League. Byram’s forthcoming suspension will leave a selection headache for Slaven Bilic, with veteran Alvaro Arbeloa the only available right back in the squad. A number of midfielders and even an attacker in Michail Antonio have been played in the right back position this season. So who will Bilic play on the right flank against Everton next week? Kouyate? Nordtveit? It is almost as unpredictable as how we will perform in another key home game against Ronald Koeman’s men.

Hammers blow away another lead late on

It seems like we have conceded an exceptional amount of late goals this season, blowing away a number of points and winning results with them and yesterday our defence was yet again infiltrated in the dying embers of a game. Fabio Borini’s late equaliser for David Moyes’s men meant that we have thrown away a League-high 22 points from winning positions. It is not hard to see why some Hammers fans want this season to be over, sooner rather than later. Bilic’s late tactics were also scrutinized yesterday, as a tired Hammers team, in contrast to most games this season, didn’t receive a fresh pair of legs until the 82nd minute. One thing is for sure, we must get out of the habit of nervously failing to hold onto leads and finishing games poorly.

Clinical Ayew beginning to settle in

There is no doubt that our Ghanaian international Andre Ayew has had a tough first season trying to live up to his £20 million price tag. Ayew has had an injury plagued first season at the London Stadium, but netted again yesterday at the Stadium Of Light to make it 4 goals in 9 West Ham appearances. The 27-year-old was a contender for man of the match as we drew 2-2 with the Black Cats and there is no doubt that Ayew is slowly beginning to pay back his club record price tag. The former Swansea City man has 6 goals in 21 appearances under Slaven Bilic, but one thing is for sure, we are almost undoubtedly yet to see the best of the quick front man.


Bilic defends Randolph

Our Croatian manager Slaven Bilic has not blamed any individuals off the back of dropping two points at the Stadium of Light yesterday. Our keeper, Darren Randolph, was much scrutinised by fans and pundits alike after making two goal costing errors against the Black Cats, but Bilic had this to say about the matter in his post-match press conference “We aren’t pointing any fingers. We are winning, losing and conceding goals as team”. Bilic was clearly in no mood to directly put the outcome of the result on Darren Randolph’s shoulders but he did add “It was a well-taken goal from Borini and OK, you expect to clear the ball, but with our goalkeeper in that position, the ball dropped and unfortunately he couldn’t hold it”. Bilic’s defensive tactics were also blamed for one of the Sunderland goals, as well as the Irish keeper, no defender was left on the back post for Wahbi Khazri’s corner which went directly into our net, had a defender been at the back post there is certainly no denying that the ball would have probably been cleared. One thing is for sure, Bilic certainly has a decision to make in goal ahead of the trip of Everton on Saturday as we took another small step towards Premier League safety, rising to 13th in the table.

Player ratings

Here is how each featuring player ranked out of ten in our 2-2 draw with the Black Cats on Wearside yesterday afternoon.

Randolph 4, Byram 5, Fonte 6, Collins 7, Masuaku 7, Fernandes 7, Kouyate 6, Nordtviet 5, Lanzini 7, Snodgrass 7, Ayew 8, Carroll 8, Calleri 5