Departing coach tells Hammers boss David Moyes that the answer to his West Ham goal woes is right under his nose after another defeat.
West Ham lost consecutive Premier League games for the first time since April when they were beaten 2-1 by Manchester City on Sunday.
The last time it happened – in defeats to Newcastle and Chelsea – it effectively cost West Ham a top four place during the run-in.
This time the Hammers are clinging on to a top four spot by virtue of goal difference with a third of the season gone.
There is no hiding from the fact that West Ham have not looked the same side since losing one of the team’s big leaders, Angelo Ogbonna, to a season-ending ACL injury.
But Moyes has made it clear after the losses to Wolves and Man City – and even after the Europa League win over Rapid Wien – that he lays the blame squarely at the feet of his profligate forwards.
West Ham have struggled to create meaningful chances in their losses against Wolves and City.
Poor decision making in threatening areas and a distinct lack of the characteristic zip to West Ham’s play that had become such a feature under Moyes has been apparent since that badly timed international break.
And any chances West Ham have created have been squandered – like Said Benrahma’s brilliant opportunity with the score at 0-0 against Man City.
“You do your best to get a level of possession and we had some opportunities to do a little better and we didn’t take them,” Moyes said after the City defeat (whufc.com).
“If there’s a disappointment i think it’s that I felt we had chances to actually make something happen (and we didn’t take them).”
In his post match press conference, Moyes praised the effort levels of his players but pulled no punches when analysing where things have fallen down of late.
“I have told them we need them to be better in that area (attacking play),” Moyes said (Football.London).
“I think we’ve had opportunities and I think when you get to the top end if you want to be at the top you have to have forward players who individually can beat people and can create goals and can make goals and can be clean with the chances and I don’t think we have been in recent games.
“I think I can even go back to Europe, we won in Europe in midweek but I still thought in our attacking play we could have been much cleaner with our chances. It is something we need to work on but if you play Man City with the quality they have got in their individual talent and also their ability to beat you one v one or score means that you’ve got to take your opportunities when you get them.”
The trouble is beyond Michail Antonio West Ham don’t have another striker.
But departing Academy coach Dmitri Halajko has told Moyes the answer to his West Ham goal woes could be right under his nose in the form of summer signing Armstrong Oko-Flex.
The former Arsenal youngster joined the Hammers on a two-year deal in the summer with the option for a third year.
He featured heavily under Moyes in pre-season and did not look out of place, scoring against his former club Celtic.
Oko-Flex has starred for the club’s table topping development side this season, regularly finding the net.
Some West Ham fans have been surprised Oko-Flex has not been elevated to the first team squad on occasion given his form.
Especially as 17-year-old Sonny Perkins was handed his debut in the win over Rapid Wien in midweek.
Departing coach tells David Moyes the answer to West Ham goal woes is right under his nose
And speaking in an interview with The Athletic, Halajko – who has left West Ham to take up a job with the Premier League – says Oko-Flex has what it takes to score goals at the top level.
“Loads of the players have made their first-team debuts under Moyes, which I’m incredibly proud of,” Halajko told The Athletic.
“The group chat went crazy when Dan Chesters made his first-team debut.
“Armstrong Oko-Flex is a brilliant finisher and I can see him scoring goals at first-team level.”
If West Ham’s poor attacking form continues, West Ham fans may not have to wait long to find out if Halajko is right.