George Parris: ‘Keeping Aguerd and Zouma fit will be key in our fight for survival’

I really like the way Aguerd brings the ball out of the defence

Kurt Zouma (WHU) walks off injured at the West Ham United v Leicester City EPL match, at the London Stadium, London, UK on November 12, 2022.

I thought the result against Southampton wasn’t in any danger but we made it hard for ourselves. Heading to the game, as I did when we played Everton and Forest, I fancied us to win because we’ve got better players than Southampton.

It was a professional enough job against the Saints but I couldn’t help feeling that we had the reins on a bit, and I’ve thought this for a few games this season. The first thought from our players this season is to go square or back instead of going forward.

But I was pleased to see Aguerd score his first goal for West Ham, and I’ve been impressed with him in the games he’s featured. When you look at what he has done this season, if he can remain fit then he is going to add stability at the back.

I really like the way Aguerd brings the ball out of the defence. He looks confident and comfortable on the ball whereas I feel like Zouma is similar to Ogbonna in that they can bring it out but within five paces, they are looking to offload it.

Moyes hasn’t had too many occasions this season to have a fully fit Aguerd and Zouma at the back and if both can still fit until the end of the season, that’ll go a long way to shoring up the defence. If we don’t concede in our remaining games then we are leaving the pitch with a draw or maybe score and sneak a win.

Our battle for survival is still very much in our hands, and we’re not having to rely on other teams dropping points at this stage. We’ve got games like Arsenal and Man City coming up that feel like free hits. There won’t be an expectation for us to do anything.

We’ve probably never had a better chance at beating Liverpool at home, and there’s no reason why we can’t go out and put on a performance against those three plus Man United. As for our remaining away games against the likes of Bournemouth and Palace, I don’t see us being the away side as being a hindrance.

I feel like the way we set up and the way we play, it’s like we are the away side anyway. If you came to a game at London Stadium and didn’t know anything about either side, then I don’t think you’d know that West Ham were the home side.

I’m confident of us staying up. No disrespect to the sides around us but take Forest for example, when they came to us, they were woeful. If we can get a couple of results together this month, we will be fine. I believe there are three sides worse than us.

We don’t have to worry about anyone else. We just need to focus on our performances and results. Then, assuming we survive and Moyes keeps his job, then we’ve got a chance to rebuild and reset for next season.

There will be a few players let go and new blood brought in, and hopefully those players like Paqueta and Aguerd, who have had a year in the Premier League, will be able to kick on next season and show their worth. We’re also arriving at the time of year where our thoughts turn to who we think are contenders for Hammer of the Year.

If you’re looking at players because of the sheer number of games they’ve played then Rice and Bowen will be up there, as will Fabianski and Benrahma. The likes of Aguerd and Zouma haven’t played enough games to be contenders and whilst Emerson has played well recently, he’s not played enough.

As well as our Premier League games this month, we’ve also got the Conference League quarter final tie against Gent. From what other people are saying, we couldn’t have got a better draw to make the final.

Just like our league situation, it’s in our own hands, and it’s a good distraction to have from a player’s point of view. The more games you can win, the more confidence it’ll bring, which will be key during our run-in.

As I write this Brendan Rogers and Graham Potter have both been sacked and it follows on from Patrick Veira getting the sack. The Premier League is big business. If you lose four on the spin, you’re going to be gone and that’s sad to say.

It’s crazy that so many managers have lost their jobs this season but the Holy Grail is to stay in the league, and it’s going to be interesting to see the three teams that go down because most likely each have all changed their managers.

Potter’s sacking though wasn’t a surprise. They might have a different owner but it’s still the same nature at the club. I said before that if he was in the job for two years then he has done remarkably well but in truth he did well to last the time he did.

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