I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and are looking forward to welcoming in the New Year in style – let’s just hope we will be three points better off by the time the bells of Big Ben chime on Tuesday evening.
I think Christmas can be ruined for both players and fans if your side doesn’t get a good result on Boxing Day. I can remember when I was playing, going into training on Christmas Day and then playing on Boxing Day and when you won, it really made your Christmas but when you lost, you just felt awful. I’m sure there were plenty of fans who asked Santa for West Ham to pick up six points from Arsenal and West Brom as their present and I think it would be the perfect Christmas present if we get more than three points from these two games.
There have been a few people asking me recently what West Ham need to do to turn things around and it just comes down to scoring goals. It doesn’t matter how many clean sheets you get, if you’re not scoring at the other end then you are always heading for trouble. For me, the players are also not working hard enough and I’m not seeing enough players chasing back to get the ball when we’ve lost it. Both of these need to change because when you are in trouble, as West Ham are now, you need every player to run their socks off and put in a good shift.
Everyone has bad games every now and again but when you are having a nightmare of a game, you need to work harder and that’s not happening at West Ham at the moment. Big Sam has to tackle these issues otherwise he won’t be able to turn it around.
It is tough when you are in a rut and losing games but we really should have beaten Norwich, Palace and Sunderland. We should have taken the game to them and dominated but we didn’t and we ended up coming away with only one point from those three games. For me, it comes down to us not playing with or having a decent striker who can score goals. We played really well at Spurs but then we stuck with that formation and didn’t kick on. Then when Big Sam played with a striker, we beat Fulham 3-0.
I’ve also felt some of Sam’s substitutions have been a bit strange lately. I know managers and coaches see things differently to people in the stands but there have been players coming off who have been doing well while others who are having an off day staying on. There have also been a few people ask me if I think Sam Allardyce is the man to keep West Ham up and being completely honest, I would have to say no.
If we had another manager and he was sacked and Big Sam was coming in, I would have said yes but at the moment I don’t think he can. Things have to change quickly either with Big Sam at the helm or not because without something drastic happening, I really feel we will be relegated.
We can’t have another season like we had with Avram Grant because with the move into the new stadium looming, we have to stay in the Premier League. But at the end of the day the only people who know if Big Sam is the right man for the job are Gold and Sullivan.
I also think it’s not just down to the manager but down to the players as well. Whoever the manager picks, they have to put in a good shift and players have to start taking more responsibility. They are the ones on the pitch and they are the only ones who can make things happen. There has been a lot of talk about Andy Carroll returning soon but we can’t keep waiting for him to get back. I think he is a decent player who does bring another dimension to West Ham but he is not a prolific goalscorer. He is not going to score 10 goals in 10 games. Sure he will create chances for others but these are the same players missing chances at the moment. I don’t see where the goals are going to be coming from.
On other note, I’m looking forward to our FA Cup game against Forest. I’ve got great memories of playing against them and it is a game we should win although we all know what the FA Cup is like. I just hope we go into the game with a bit of confidence and get a big win because that will really boost our confidence ahead of a our games against Cardiff and Newcastle which are both very winnable games.
We’ve also got Fulham on New Year’s Day and we need to be getting maximum points from these three games in January to really kick on. If it doesn’t happen, we will be in the bottom three before we play Chelsea at the end of the month. We really don’t want to get dragged into a relegation battle because it’s so hard to pull yourself out especially when the teams you’re battling against are picking up points against teams at the top and we’re not.
When we’ve got everyone back, we have got better players on paper compared to the likes of Palace and Hull but it’s not about having better players, it’s about getting the most points. You could have the best players in the world but if they are not working hard enough and not working as a team then you aren’t going to win anything.