Pub Talk: November’s highs and lows, takeover talk, and Ogbonna blow

November saw us beat Liverpool and secure our passage to the last 16 of the Europa League with a game to spare, but we also lost against Wolves and Man City, and drew at home to Brighton. Should we be disappointed?

Meirion Williams: The Liverpool result was beyond my expectations and the game against Vienna was expected on our current form. With those two results, my expectations were high especially at Wolves and that was a big disappointment. As for the game against Citie, when the snow started coming down and from my seat up in the God’s making it hard to see the action on the pitch, I thought we played well. We never really looked outclassed but I guess a 2-1 score was a fair result. What both those losses showed though was our team doesn’t have an out-and-out striker, Antonio looked completely lost. The transfer window can’t come soon enough for me, as I think our lack of options particularly against Wolves cost us dearly.

Lucy Woolford: Beating Liverpool was incredible, and getting to the last 16 of the Europa League is a great achievement. So to lose to Wolves didn’t feel too disappointing because of the previous successes. It was a blip in terms of the season so far, but Wolves are only a few points behind us, which is easy to forget. We can’t win ’em all!

David Meagher: We are still too thin up front and need more options to change things in games that aren’t going our way. Vlasic and Kral need more time to adapt to the pace of the Premier League. Lingard won’t need that if we can bring him back in January. We are asking way too much from a single striker and the Jamaican element has just added to Mikey’s burden. 

Last month Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky purchased a 27% stake in West Ham and has agreed an option for a full takeover. Is he a man you’d want to take over our club?

MW: The club clearly needs investment as our current owners simply do not have the money to take us to another level. I’ve heard good things about our Czech billionaire but I’m old enough to remember hearing great things about our previous Icelandic owners. On the whole though, I am positive about this move and would much prefer a buy out from Daniel Kretinsky than the one that has just happened at Newcastle.

LW: I have to agree with Meirion here – on the surface of things I’m pleased, but I tend to err on the side of caution. Taking the 27% first seems like a good move and maybe we’ll get time to know more about him. But also yes, in comparison to what’s going on in the North East, it’s good for us. 

DM: The current board are ready to move on and have achieved what they set out to do. Kretinsky seems to want to push us to the next level rather than asset strip the club as has happened at other clubs. Time will tell, but our activity in January will provide a big clue as to his motivations as the right level of investment now should pay dividends in preparing us for the inevitable squad depletion that every season brings and last year made the difference between Europa and Champions League qualification.

With Ogbonna out, would you like to see the club sign a replacement in January or do you think we have enough in Diop, Dawson and Zouma?

MW: I don’t see centre back as a desperate need. Ogbonna is a huge loss but we have Dawson, my preferred partner for Zouma, and Diop. We also have Cresswell and Rice who could play in that position, not that we would really want to do that. In January we really need to put all our efforts into obtaining a few striking options.

LW: Zouma is a force to be reckoned with, he’s settled in so well. And alongside Diop and Dawson, a new defensive signing isn’t a priority. But it does make us one injury away from having to rely on players being versatile, which is when things can become uncomfortable at the back.

DM: I really think that Diop and Zouma are the future. Dawson is solid but we need a centre back who can distribute well and neither Zouma nor Dawson do that. Young Jamal Baptiste looks ready to get some game time too so i think we can focus on signings to other positions.

How important is our League Cup quarter final against Spurs in terms of our season as a whole?

MW: To me this is a massive game, mind you that may have something more to do with the opposition rather than the cup itself. But if we reach a cup semi final that will be huge for us particularly as it is in a competition we have never won. If I were Moyes, I would go all out for this one. Victory will give us a great springboard for the festive period and for a set of fixtures we could do very well in.

LW: It would mean the world to beat Spurs and reach a cup semi-final, for the team and the fans. It would be a huge boost to the momentum of the club in the tricky December congestion. It’s a game that Moyes should be focused on and I’d believe he is.

DM: It’s a big game as we are only three wins away from a trophy. Also, every win over Spurs is worthwhile, even if it’s in an under-eight egg and spoon race!

We’ve got Burnley, Arsenal, Norwich, Southampton, Watford and Palace coming up in the league, what does your gut say about these run of games?

MW: There is a problem with our next five fixtures and that is that they are all winnable games. But we know what West Ham are like. My heart says we could end up with all 18 points but my head says that Turf Moor is a tough place to play and that we never have a good time against Palace. I do, however, feel that in our early season form anything under 12 points would be a disappointment but it already looks like we are beginning to show signs of tiredness and this coupled with so many games may be a problem.

LW: This time of year is so hard to predict. Add the cups into the mix and it’s even harder. I’d fancy a point from Burnley and Arsenal. I’d ordinarily say three points from each of Norwich, Southampton and Watford, but that would be a hell of a run. Palace are gaining momentum, so that could end in disappointment. I’d take the 11 points.   

DM: We need to be getting 12 or more points from these to maintain Champions League form. They are all winnable but I think teams are getting better at dealing with the Moyes method. It’s good to see Lanzini back playing well as he does bring something extra to midfield. If Vlasic could hit form that would increase our options as Benrahma does blow hot and cold.

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