Towards the end of last season, I repeatedly raised concerns over our form as we faded away in the league.
Those last five or so weeks were the most disappointing part of that campaign but more worrying for me is that we’ve carried this form into this new season.
Why? Maybe we have been found out a little bit. Maybe it’s the team selection, or maybe there’s a little unrest in the camp? When you look at the performances and results of those past few weeks of last season and compare them to what we saw in August there’s no difference in my eyes.
At the tail end of last season, we should have got much better results than we did. We should have qualified for the Europa League without doubt. But we fell short on a number of occasions and lost points against teams we should have beaten and then, on the final day of the season, we capitulated to our bogey side Brighton once more who then beat us at the start of this season.
That’s now no wins against Brighton in our last 10 games. We’ve lost four and drawn six. It’s ridiculous. Granted their manager is very good and very astute tactically, but if you look at both the two squads on paper and asked someone who was knowledgeable about football to pick one, they would pick our squad every day. It’s like Potter has cast a spell over Moyes.
When it comes to games against a bogey side, the fans are naturally coming to the games in perhaps a slightly negative frame of mind. But as a player you have to go into games thinking whatever has happened in the past is in the past, this is a different game and play in the now, be positive and make things happen.
As for the Brighton players, I can remember from my playing days there would be certain teams you’d play against where you always knew you’d get something. When I was at QPR it was Coventry City and I’m sure for the Brighton players and fans, they must feel the same way about West Ham.
Their manager really does seem to get his men into a state of mind where they are up for every game. You’ve just got to look at their recent results against Manchester United both this season and last season. No-one could have seen these coming.
Aside from the Brighton game, I don’t think we’ve done too much wrong. Up against City first was always going to be tough, and the Forest game we played well and should have got a point.
It’s been a good thing that we’ve had the Conference League to give us some relief away from the league.
Benrahma has probably been our standout player so far. We all know he has got ability in him, he’s a very tricky and skilful player but he’s still a little bit lightweight. If he comes up against a tough defender who lets him know they are there, I feel like he can disappear in games. But when he is in form, he should be one of the first names on the team sheet every week.
And whilst Antonio has not started well, Scamacca looks like he could make a positive impact this season.
During the summer transfer window it felt like we were linked with seemingly every player in the world but it’s been good to see us bringing in a few new faces. Kehrer has got 20 odd caps for Germany and Emerson, who we signed from Chelsea, is an Italian international. I feel like we’re no longer getting the dregs like we had before.
It used to always feel like if we had a list of five players we were targeting and we ordered them in preference, we’d always get the one we’d ranked fifth because no-one else wanted them. But now the players we are signing have a bit of quality about them. Having said that, Moyes hasn’t been playing them in the league.
I feel like when you sign some of the players we have, if you have confidence in them, which you should as you paid a lot of money for them, you throw them into the team and see what they can do. But at the moment they are getting a few minutes here and there.
I feel like the team isn’t playing as a team at the moment. We are a team of individuals, and we need to recapture that team spirit we had before.
One thing that hasn’t helped at the start of this season is not having a settled defence. Oggy is on his way back and Dawson is not fit so Johnson has been playing out of position. The biggest thing for a side is to have a settled defence playing together week in, week out.
For me, sides that have that, have an advantage straight away, and this might have had something to say for our start to the season.
With three defeats from our opening three games, a couple more defeats and Moyes will be under a lot of pressure to turn things around.
One thing I do hope is that Sullivan has thrown away Big Sam’s number!