I think I have just recovered from the dismal second half display at Carrow Road, and I have one message for all West Ham fans out there: “Don’t panic just yet”. We are only 11 games into the season and there is a long long way to go, and considering we’ve played the majority of the season so far without a striker it’s amazing we’ve picked up 10 points already.
The team have performed well at home all season and but for that cutting edge in front of goal it could all have been very different. Against Everton we were just outdone by two absolute world class free kicks from Leighton Baines, who hasn’t done it since but I guess it just sums up our luck at the minute.
The Norwich game was no different. The usually reliable Jussi Jaaskelainen decided the ball was a piece of soap and turned into a juggler before fouling Hooper to give a desperately poor Norwich side a way back into the game, and they didn’t look back. Yet another free kick stupidly given away by James Collins cost us and my pet hate came out once again.
Kevin Nolan can bang on about bad luck with these free kicks all season long but when a wall doesn’t jump and with Jussi’s positioning, you’re going to concede with a good free kick taker behind it. Not jumping in a wall is unforgivable. Against Pennant, Baines and now Snodgrass the wall failed to jump, and all four times the ball found the back of the net.
That is the only thing I’m worrying about as things stand, surely the club can see this if us fans can. After that little rant, I’ll tell you why I’m not as concerned as many other fellow fans. Firstly, we are playing well as a team, apart from that second half display against Norwich. In the first half at Carrow Road, some of the football we produced was wonderful. We passed it around and made Norwich look terrible, we also played Tottenham off the park in the second half of that game, and but for a sloppy few errors we would have beaten Everton.
All this without a recognised striker at the club. Yes, you can blame Big Sam and the owners until you are blue in the face that we didn’t buy a second striker, but the club had Maiga, Vaz Te and Carroll at the club at the start of the season. It is just unfortunate that Maiga hasn’t hit any sort of form since joining the club last season and that Vaz Te who was performing well picked up a knock.
When Andy Carroll returns, the goals will come as he attacks those inviting crosses from Downing and Jarvis from the wings. Secondly, we have one of the best defensive away records in the league. Again apart from the blip in Norfolk, our away form has been sensational, we have conceded just four goals away from home and have looked solid throughout the season.
I do fear with Winston Reid out, we could be in a spot of bother because he is our calming influence at the back and you could tell that against Norwich. But James Collins is no mug, he has been there and done it, I’m sure he will be back to his best soon. And who can forget that win over Spurs, see it’s not all doom and gloom is it? My third point is Big Sam’s managerial record. He has never in his career been relegated. Fact. He is a manager who knows what he is doing, his style at times might not be pretty but it is effective.
Although I do believe his style has changed dramatically at West Ham with us playing the ball on the floor a lot more and he wants the overlap for crosses. Unfortunately at the moment those crosses are finding nobody. I believe Sam Allardyce will sign a striker in January and with Carroll surely returning soon the club will start looking up rather than down.
My fourth point is that there has to be three worse teams than us surely? When looking at the table you always analyse it, well I do anyway, particularly in times of trouble. I look down the table to see which clubs are treading water below us and who I think will struggle. At the moment I can see three worse teams than us, just. Those three being Palace, Fulham and although they beat us Norwich.
Stoke and Sunderland are also going to find it tough this season. If we can pick up points against those teams Palace, Fulham and Sunderland in particular I think we will be okay. The next couple of weeks are huge for West Ham United starting with Chelsea. It’s time to get behind the club and start believing again; after all we did beat Chelsea at home last season so why can’t it happen again? Mark my words; we will be fine this season