Where has it gone wrong for West Ham recently? It just goes to show because we are playing more games, it doesn’t take too long for things to go awry. As I write this, we’ve had three defeats on the spin within a week. All the things we were doing well before, we aren’t doing them now.
Easy balls to each other, tackling, marking the opposition, the attacking intent, even the counter attacks are not as good as they were. All these things add up, and then against Everton we saw passes going astray, little communication between players with your two centre halves going up for the same ball.
When things aren’t clicking, that’s when things look really poor.
There are certain days where nothing goes right for you, and you get a performance and a result like we did against Everton. It was one of those games where if we were still playing now, I don’t think we’d score.
There was the mix up between Paqueta and Ageurd in the first half that you wouldn’t see school boys make. It was quite flat at London Stadium against Everton and it was one of those games that needed a crunching tackle or 30-year strike, just to help get the crowd off their feet.
It felt like a game where we were going through the motions and Moyes has got to do something to get that intensity back again. As the players and manager keep saying in their post-match interviews, there’s always another game around the corner to put things right but they haven’t been, if anything it’s got worse since that Villa game.
After the Villa game, Moyes made a number of changes for our trip to Olympiacos, and sometimes with all the chopping and changing, it has an impact on the individuals as well as the team. As a player, you want to have consistency and you do as a side too, and because the games at this part of the season come thick and fast, you can’t get into your usual rhythm and it can appear like players on the pitch haven’t played together.
When you’re doing well, no-one bats an eyeline about the rotation, but there was a point during the Everton game where Paqueta was playing as centre forward. To me, that sent out completely the wrong message. The Everton backline were probably delighted because they knew we wouldn’t be looking to go over the top as Paqueta hasn’t got the pace or power of Antonio.
You looked at our bench and we’ve got Ings sitting there. Plus you’ve got Kudus and Bowen on the pitch who could both cause problems up top. We have become very pedestrian with our game. If we aren’t able to attack quickly enough, the other team gets everyone behind the ball and snuffs us out.
We have to find a way to start clicking again but I don’t know what the best formation is, I don’t think anyone does. But we need to sort it out quite quickly. I think because he has found his feet, we have got to fit Kudus in the team. We know Moyes doesn’t like to play with two up top so does Kudus get Antonio’s place?
Then Bowen has got to be on one side and I know Moyes has been trying Paqueta out wide on the other side but it’s not his favourite position and I don’t think it’s working. Even if Moyes did revert to a 4-4-2, it would be a juggle to get the right players in the right positions and keep everyone happy.
I think most non West Ham fans would have thought we would’ve beaten Everton but they came with a game plan and it worked out for them. We’ve got Burnley and Forest coming up this month and on paper, both are games we should be looking to take maximum points from but whether or not we will is another matter.
Now, I always like to try and put a positive spin on things and it’s worth pointing out that even after defeats against Man City, Liverpool, Villa and Everton, we’re still in the top 10. This is higher than where we were last year. Our upcoming home games are going to be key. If we can do well at home, then it might give us a springboard to restart our campaign.
I’m writing this ahead of the Arsenal game, but in my opinion, this game has become much bigger for David Moyes and West Ham after our three defeats. I think we need to play a strong side because if we play a weakened side and get turned over, that’s four on the spin going into Brentford away, where we haven’t had much joy in recent years.
The habit of losing develops as quickly as the habit of winning. We need to play a strong side and then see who is fit for the next game. It’s a game that we need to perform and because it’s a cup competition, a game we need to win.
If we beat Arsenal and play well, then everything we endured in October will probably be forgotten. I would have thought Rice will play for Arsenal and I hope he gets a good reception from the fans because he deserves that, but I also hope he doesn’t have a good game.