West Ham United 2-0 Newcastle United
This was the first game after the transfer window had shut until January, and gave us an opportunity to see some of the new guys in action. After a successful transfer window the squad depth, both first team and substitutes show exactly how well we have done.
The Monday night game was also given a theme just like all of our home games will, this particular one was for the year of 1986 which is to date our most successful ever season with the hammers finishing in 3rd place, in what was known as division 1 at the time.
29 years on from that brilliant season West Ham were hoping for a repeat of the 8-1 victory we recorded in that season. Although it wasn’t as great as that, it was still a very good and comfortable win for the first home victory of the season.
The line up from Bilic was more attacking than what people were thinking off before the game, especially as we have looked so open and vulnerable at home which led to the 2 defeats. The only change was Obiang going out for the Moses to make his debut for the club. It was very important that we got our first home win of the season out of the way as quickly as possible as sometimes these sort of thing can distract you from the actual games themselves.
And it’s Victor Moses I would like to speak about first of all. We all know on his day Moses can be a very dangerous and useful player to have, however in recent season with loans at Stoke and Liverpool he has been very inconsistent and lacking of the quality we know he has available. Despite all this he put together a quite brilliant debut against the toons, he looked energetic even when it was clear that his match fitness wasn’t up to scratch towards the end of the game, he was skilful and very rarely wasted the ball. It was his powerful run beyond the oppositions back line that lead to Payet scoring our second goal of the game after the Nigerian smashed an effort off the crossbar. Hopefully more to come from his this season with more performances like that.
It looks now as if Bilic has settled in well but of course he knows there is still plenty more for him to learn and improve on but that’s what the job is about. The style of play he has implemented into us looks good so far. It’s quick, good passing and avoiding losing possession as much as possible. Even when we do lose the ball the players are amazingly quick to resume their defensive positions to win the ball back immediately and start an attack as soon as we have done so. We saw this mind set throughout the game on Monday with Newcastle holding onto the ball for large amounts of time.
Another part of the play style we can see and is backed up with the statistics is the amount of chances we are creating each game, which is something even teams that don’t score a lot can take hope from as Newcastle seemed to do in the game. Gladly we have been putting a lot of those chances away putting us as joint top goal scorers so far with Manchester City who we face on Saturday, and Leicester City. And with the likes of additional fire power with Moses and Antonio being brought in, and the long awaited return of Andy Carroll and hopefully soon enough Enner Valencia, we can keep putting those chances away.
Another good piece of news to come from West Ham on Monday was the official appointment of Mark Noble as the club captain, who takes over from Kevin Nolan who left recently. There’s no doubt in my mind that he was the right choice for the captaincy. He leads with example, helps the players around, and it is always nice to see a player who knows the club so very well, being born right around the corner from the Boleyn ground.
As always there has to be some bad points from the game, and one of them unfortunately for us was an injury to Ogbonna who was replaced by Jenkinson in the first half, the status of the injury isn’t fully clear yet and will have scans and assessments on it as the week progresses. It’s in these situations that the squad depth is vitally important to us and how we do in each game we play.
One other quick thing I noticed from the game and during the other games is that Diafra Sakho to me just seems a little desperate in his efforts in trying to score goals. He seems to rush into the shot at times when a pass may be better or a clear shot isn’t available. However that being said he has been very good for us especially in the away games, maybe and hopefully it’s just a case of him not being the only one to score for us now with the likes of Payet, Lanzini and others.
Man of The Match
There were several good performances during the game from the likes of Moses and Tomkins, however this week’s man of the match can only go to one player and that player is Dimitri Payet. This arguably his best game yet with 2 brilliantly taken goals in each half, both requiring the exceptional technical ability with a placed curler from outside of the penalty box and then a volley from close range after a powerful shot came off the Crossbar. As well as the goals he contributed with another demonstration of the energy and commitment levels he has both helping out the defence by tracking back, and then creating several chances for team mates. He even through a couple of nice skills which shows us the confidence he has right now.
Ogbonna 7/10 Jenkinson 7/10