Pub talk: Will West Ham stay up?

The Blowing Bubbles team talk David Moyes, the relegation battle and what we thought of the transfer window

One win, and two draws and three defeats – plus a cup exit at home to West Brom. Has David Moyes improved us at all? What has been your feelings about his time in charge so far?

David Meagher: It’s been a mixed bag. There is definitely a better sense of purpose at the club. Frankly, the cup exit was probably a good thing. We still aren’t getting points and should have got seven points instead of two in the Everton, Sheffield United and Brighton games. There’s a long way to go but we still need to massively improve if we are to stay up. 

Geoff Hillyer: But David, that’s the point – we only got two points from Everton, Sheffield United and Brighton. It’s all well and good saying we should have got more, but we didn’t. We haven’t had the ‘new manager bounce’. Let’s face it, based on the results from the last few matches, would you back us to stay up? No.

James Jones: It’s still so difficult to pass judgement given, once again, it’s not really his team. There have been questions over his choice of substitutions in some games but he has also had a number of injuries to first team players to contend with. It’s been a tough start for him and upcoming fixtures make it even harder, but the new players he’s brought in ‘should’ improve us.

Will Pugh: Hardly. We beat a Bournemouth side who are one of few as bad as us and then any hope of a new manager bounce disappeared into the ether. Granted the games were hard but Brighton was prime time for the players to dig in and show they want to play and fight for him and they didn’t.

David Gold and David Sullivan have been our owners now for 10 years – If you bumped into them, what would you want to say to them?

DM: Kill me but I think they are well intentioned. The players have to take a lot of the flack for our league position. Pellegrini should have been a good appointment but it just didn’t work out. As regards to investment, although they aren’t delivering, Haller, Anderson and Yarmolenko were big investments beyond what most sides outside the top six can manage.  It’s frustrating but the Premier League is unforgiving.

GH: I’d ask them how they are getting on with that 10 point plan, and how they feel about where we are relation to the ‘next level’. I’d also ask them if they are honestly able to look themselves in the mirror and be proud of who we appear to have become – a soulless club with little identity.

JJ: I’d tell them their time is up and if they really cared about the club they’d sell up as soon as they can. It’s so clear they can’t take us to the next level so it’s about time they stepped aside and sold the club to someone who can. The quicker they do that the happier we will all be.

WP: I’d ask them to stop as it’s getting cruel now. It’s people’s lives they are playing with and often seem to be openly goading with some interviews they do. They know as well as everyone else they are not the best thing for this club but their public relevance disappears as soon as they step away from West Ham which is why I think they’ve held on for so long.

Why have West Ham lost so many points from winning positions?

DM: Crazy goalkeeping, a lack of pace on the break that means we don’t punish sides chasing to get back into the game, and a lack of height at set pieces that leaves us vulnerable to conceding silly goals.

GH: Yes, I agree, plus a lack of mental toughness which, to be fair, is nothing new. I refer you to the two defeats against Crystal Palace for prime examples – look at the clock when they score their goals.

JJ: It all comes down to mindset. We don’t have that so-called big team mentality Pellegrini kept banging on about. Some of the players have been too complacent and too naive in key areas of games when we’ve been in front and this has led to lapses in concentration and basic errors happening.

WP: Roberto didn’t help but I think it’s a lack of that s***housery that we see from so many other teams in the Prem. Cynical fouls from City, going down to run clock down, smashing the ball into the crowd to break the game up and reset. All of that combined with a barrel load of apathy from huge parts of the squad.

What did you make of our January transfer window?

DM: January is a fool’s market where you are more likely to pick up duds than quality investments. Bowen, Soucek and Randolph are all solid signings that can contribute way beyond this relegation scrap. In short, this has been as good as the window allows.

GH: Yes, it was probably as good as it is going to get for us. Let’s face it, we aren’t going to be signing another Tevez. Let’s see what happens with the new arrivals. The bigger problem is getting the best out of last summer’s arrivals.

JJ: Pretty good. Randolph took care of our goalkeeping issue, which is a relief, Soucek looks like he’ll add steel and experience to the midfield as well as a threat from set-pieces, and Jarrod Bowen will add goals and creativity. I’m still unsure why Bowen has ended up at West Ham and not a bigger and/or better club, to be honest.

WP: I think the players we bought in are good but not what we needed. Soucek was the closest to what we needed but we needed a pacey central midfielder, a right-back and a striker. Agree with James on Bowen.

How are you feeling about our chances of surviving right now?

DM: It’s really worrying. Those lost points against Brighton may prove crucial and we need to make them up against sides we don’t expect to get points from. The final six games are all winnable, so let’s keep our heads up as we slide into further trouble over the next few weeks.

GH: The sad fact is that we are probably relying on three sides to be worse than us this season for us to survive. Apparently there’s a 42% chance of us being relegated. That sounds about right.

JJ: At the moment I’m not confident, but if Bowen can hit the ground running we’ve got a chance. Simply put, we cannot drop points in the fixtures against teams around us in the table anymore. If we do, it’ll go down to the wire and I don’t think the squad has what it takes to deal with the pressure of a final-day relegation dogfight. Hopefully, we’re safe by then.

WP: I think we are down. The best we can hope for is a final day shoot out with Villa and I fear if that comes down to a game of grit, heart and determination they have us every day.

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