Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is for last season’s West Ham to return. That’s not too much to ask is it? I mean, the majority of those swashbuckling, Europa League-chasing stars are still at the club.
To be clear, I’m not asking for Issa Diop, Ryan Fredericks, Alex Kral, Nikola Vlasic, Andrey Yarmolenko to return. I’m more than happy with their replacements, and I’m looking forward to Mark Noble returning next month to hopefully inspire a few of our disappointing stars so far this campaign.
I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what’s wrong but Bowen hasn’t been terrifying defenders, Dawson isn’t a threat at corners – none of our players are, and I’m not sure Soucek and Coufal can run through brick walls for us anymore.
Even Rice hasn’t reached the same heights as he did in the previous two campaigns as we challenged the Big Six for a Champions League place. From Project Restart to our heartbreak in Frankfurt, there was a togetherness about the team.
The panic button wasn’t hit when we went one down. There was a feeling that we’d always get something out of a game. That we’d get a sniff of a chance and get back into the game. We kept things simple, we were solid and we caused every team problems.
Most of all, we played with a smile of our face and a confidence that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a West Ham side. With the players we have, and the depth of the squad, we should have done so much better but it’s been a bit of a slog for us.