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Any Old Iron 10:37 Sun Nov 10
"Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
This tells you all you need to know how bad things have got


Shocking signings, a jittery keeper and passive Manuel Pellegrini: why West Ham are lurching into crisis

Richard Jolly
10 NOVEMBER 2019 • 1:18PM

When West Ham overwhelmed Manchester United in September, they were level on points with third-place Leicester - unbeaten in six games in all competitions, having not conceded in 433 minutes, and - as Declan Rice observed after their 3-0 thrashing at Burnley on Saturday - “there was a real buzz around the place.”

Now, the worrying aspect for the club’s fans is not simply that their form has tailspun so disastrously, but that the players seem loath to put in the kind of shift that might help them reverse the decline.

Sean Dyche inadvertently provided one of the most damning assessments of West Ham’s latest capitulation. “You have to be mentally and physically right for every minute of Premier League football. If you’re not, you get hurt,” said the Burnley manager. “Our body language, intent and belief were there.”

With the honourable exception of Robert Snodgrass, West Ham lacked each of the basic elements required to compete on a cold, wet day. As Rice admitted, they were “bullied”.

The absence of organisation and motivation brought back memories of manager Manuel Pellegrini’s last season at Manchester City. There is a sense of drift, with a passive manager looking powerless to halt a slide. He seemed insipid when West Ham needed inspiration.

Not so super Mario
Despite a run of one point from five games, Pellegrini’s position is not under immediate threat although derby defeats to Tottenham and Chelsea in their next two fixtures could alter that, especially if the fans turn on him.

But director of football Mario Husillos does not look so secure. West Ham have spent around £180million in his 17-month reign, but they lack options in the centre of midfield, where they have sold Pedro Obiang and Cheikhou Kouyate, given a three-year contract to the oft-injured Jack Wilshere and bought Carlos Sanchez, who has not started a league game for 14 months.

It was telling that, when Mark Noble went off injured on Saturday, Pellegrini instead moved the converted winger Snodgrass into a deeper position. Then there are the struggles of Pablo Fornals and Roberto, two former Malaga players.

Husillos, who was sacked by Malaga after overseeing their relegation from La Liga in 2018, ought to know them particularly well. The midfielder Fornals has been disappointing, the goalkeeper Roberto a disaster.

Ropy Roberto
West Ham may be unfortunate that Lukasz Fabianski’s thigh injury will sideline him for at least another six weeks yet they had one of the best reserve goalkeepers in the division, in Adrian, who has since excelled for Liverpool, and now possess perhaps the worst, in Roberto.

He may have made a string of fine saves when this game was already lost, but his lack of conviction against crosses was apparent long before he punched Ashley Westwood’s corner into his own net to effectively kill his side’s chances.

The Spaniard has conceded 15 goals in his last six starts and five from set-pieces in two games alone. Until Fabianski returns, Pellegrini would be better off with the third choice, David Martin, son of the 1980s Hammers talisman Alvin

West Ham compound the problem of having a poor goalkeeper by failing to protect him. They have conceded 35 shots on target in their last four games, a record made all the worse by the fact that those opponents - Everton, Sheffield United, Newcastle, and Burnley - rarely pose that kind of threat.

As Ryan Fredericks, Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop were all poor at Turf Moor, Burnley, who average 4.1 shots on target per game this season, had 12 against West Ham.

Newcastle, who average 3.4, had nine at the London Stadium last week. Everton’s average, meanwhile, is 4.5 but they had 10 against West Ham last month.

Nor is this anything new. While West Ham finished 10th last season, Fabianski made more saves than any other goalkeeper. Between them, he and Roberto have made more stops than any other club’s goalkeepers this season.

In theory, West Ham are blessed with attacking talent but potential is not being realised on the pitch. The £24million signing Fornals has only created one ‘big chance’ and has mustered just two shots on target so far.

Between them, Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini, who now faces around two months out with a dislocated shoulder, have had 31 shots without scoring.

Pellegrini’s premier forward Sebastien Haller has at least managed four goals, but three of them came against teams in the drop zone. A £45million striker has been outscored this season by Burnley’s £450,000 buy Ashley Barnes.

It is West Ham in a nutshell - expensive underachievement.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Sir Alf 1:09 Tue Nov 12
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
Eric it goes back further.

We were a "drinkers team" in the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Always relied on some flair players to get some results hence always "consistently, inconsistent".

60 years of following them and nothing really changes.

5 or so seasons where we have really performed in the league, only twice maybe 3 times we have had 3 seasons consecutively in the top half and 3 or 4 where we had 2 seasons well clear of relegation.

We had one season in the top 4 and that was the old first division. The glory days were based on winning the FA cup and getting into the ECWC some 40 years back.

50 years of underachievement. The Newcastle of the South, For the size of our support down the years to success ratio ( championships / top league wins and cup successes) we must be in the relegation zone.

I and most on here will die without witnessing further success even if we all make it to our 90s. Happy Xmas !

Eric Hitchmoe 9:35 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
People saying that they miss Kouyate is a strange one, but it does raise an interesting point. During his last season with us, Kouyate looked a shadow of the player he was when during those first few seasons. Often disinterested, he was perhaps the worst culprit for standing still in the box whilst the opposition walked round him. He was nothing short of a disgrace during Slav's last season.

However, he wasn't the only one under Bilic to adopt this attitude and since he's been at Palace he's been brilliant, putting in a shift all over the place. They love him (despite how easily pleased they all are). This says a lot about the culture at West Ham. Players seems to down tools at our club more frequently than at any other, regardless of who the manager is. I honestly couldn't see this happening under MP, yet here we are. Again. Easy to blame the board, and fuck me do they have their faults, but it was the same under Terry Brown's regime. The whole club has been rotten for almost 20 years.

Chip Shop Charlie 7:57 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
It says it all when Snodgrass is our only player with any backbone..he's a championship player who appreciates playing for West Ham, the others probably think they're better than WHU....TOSSERS

Any Old Iron 7:28 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
Personally I hate the idea of sacking a manager after less than 18 months, but I don't see Pellegrini capable of turning this alarming slump around. If I thought he might I'd be behind him, but there's no signs of encouragement.

The team has completely lost whatever mojo it had up until the Oxford humiliation, and it was Pellegrini's stupid approach to that game which kicked off the collapse in form and subsequent slide down the table.

When asked what's gone wrong he can't even provide a credible answer - he doesn't know. The manager doesn't know what's wrong so what fucking chance is there of him correcting the problems.

He has to go - NOW.

I know the Moyes haters will mock me, but fuck 'em, the owners should eat a large portion of humble pie and beg David Moyes to come back and sort it out again. But this time give him a proper contract and allow him to do the job properly. We've wasted 18 months since they let Moyes go and we're now worse off.

If the pornographers dither until the New Year then we could well be all but doomed by then.

master 5:10 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
this says it all. we have no tactics, no game plan, just relying on some brilliance from somewhere, but sod all training to the degree where we don't know what direction to run for freekicks, goalkicks, throw ons and corners. it's a shambles. i bet the players don't even get told who to pick up at corners for each specific team we play.

Sven Roeder 4:49 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
Permanently reside in crisis would be nearer the mark.

boleyn8420 4:26 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
'Lurching' I think the tense you are all looking for is 'have lurched'

Sir Alf 3:39 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
SumDing :-)

Agree, but I look at that squad though and it all looks a bit "bollockless" :-(

SUM A DING WONG 3:32 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
Sir Alf,

First thing id try, is play someone with a pair of bollocks.

Might help push us in the right direction.

Sir Alf 3:29 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
SUM A DING WONG 2:51 Mon Nov 11

Its another contributing factor for sure. But that's where managers do their job. Psychology of players, work out how to motivate, give a boost or a bollocking depending on their psyche. Manuel apparently doesnt understand why we are losing? Silly comment unless something really got lost in translation because if its true he is basically doing a Keegan and saying he's not up to the challenge.

Usually you look at a squad and think who can we bring in who has something different to offer? Up front we at least have the returning Antonio but after 3 bad hamstrings he cannot be straight back to his best and will need to ease himself back in. That said, its a "straw to grasp".

In goal, we have to try Martin surely? I know the defence and goalkeeper have not been protected but Roberto is looking like the proverbial clown at times.

Midfield still the big problem. Sanchez is a lump but an accident waiting to happen in a team that has no movement, pace or physicality. Has he been tried alongside Rice ? Might be worth a 45 minutes? But its desperate either way you look at it.

Is Coventry ready really for the Prem? Got good reviews for a while and seeing as we wont give him the deal he wants maybe its a chance for him to show something? Get Cullen back? Too lightweight and another creative type but does look like he knows the game is as much about what you do as an individual when not in possession as when you have it. The team thing.
Diangana? Another attacking minded player to go with the 90% of midfielders Pellegrini has assembled in the squad.

Joe Powell? Ditto Coventry?

And Pellegrini, will he do anything different like trying to inject some pace and enthusiasm using youngsters?

And anyone know or have an answer to the Ogbonna question? We had a bad day at Everton but on the day Ogbonna was one of teh better performers. He has been strong and pretty consistent and , has more pace than The General who looks to have suffered from international involvement over the summer and not enough rest.

Gawd knows. We look shot and have another Dr Death leading us into the abyss of relegation :-(

Jim79 3:15 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
The player we should have signed was Dendonker. We stalked him for two transfer windows and eventually did nothing about it. Wolves signed him for 15m Euros and look what he has done for them. In the meantime we have a director of football who cannot see past his old club or signing players like Wilshere, its like letting your mrs put together a fantasy football team.

SUM A DING WONG 2:51 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
We have no backbone in the team.

We're not unfit, we just have no confidence, so no cunt wants the ball, meaning we're not running as much.

We need players like Bonds and Dicks, bollocking people and leading by example and who have fight in them.

Problem is nowadays, these players are too fucking concerned with how their hair looks for their next instagram picture.

I noticed on Saturday, the Burnley players were visibly laughing at our players - it happened a few times.

Could you imagine the likes of Dicks, Bonds or Alvin Martin having the other team laugh at them.

In term of ability, i think our players are good enough - in terms of character, backbone and resilience, they have fuck all.

They're all too pampered in their own little bubble.

I bet Bonds at fucking 70 odd would still have most of our lot in a row.

Show some fucking fight West Ham United!!!

Northern Sold 2:26 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
`Obiang was one of the best tacklers in the league`.

was you meant to write....

`Obiang HAS one of the best tackles in the league`.

The Hammers 2:17 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"

Hermit Road 1:46 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
Obiang was underrated by a lot of our fans because, like most of our central midfielders over recent years, he has been forced to do his job and carry a team mate at the same time. The common denominator always stays, the scapegoat always gets moved on.

The Hammers 1:43 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
Obiang was one of the best tacklers in the league.
We got rid of Obiang without proper replacement. Thats why.

Tomshardware 1:29 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
Agree with Alfs, it's not that all our defenders are poor. They are getting no protection ahead of them.

Takashi Miike 1:08 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
Wagner, off the X Factor would probably do a better job

Sir Alf 1:03 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
Exactly Eusebiovic

The goalkeeper has been culpable these last few games for making what was even a problem when Fabianski was playing an obvious one.

Many fans have this simplistic notion that if you are conceding lots of goals ( and we are now getting up to 3 a game) that its the defence of the back 4 and goalkeeper. Yes they are sometimes making mistakes but the old adage "you defend as a team" and all over the pitch is what this is about and its been going on for years. Behrami was the last player I can remember who really pressed in midfield. Parker did too of course and Noble has always tried but hampered by lack of pace. And this later part has been what I have bored everyone with for years ( just asked onemac and justkev :-) ). I don't want to be proved right or get some pathetic ego boost because its been bloody obvious for many seasons. The likes of Kouyate and Obiang even Matty Taylor running about like a headless chicken in central midfield even masked it a bit for a while but we ( me) are just armchair fans. Surely successive managers must have seen it? I guess Payet and others in our patch work team also masked it.

Bilic's team lacked stamina, fight etc. BFS went for brawn and direct football which hurt the eyes. Zola went for tippy tappy in your own half and lose it , get overrun in almost a carbon copy of what we see with Pellegrini.

The only constant in all this time has been the owners and poor old Nobes who in his 34th year almost is not able to do too much to help.

Moyes's reign was the only one where we looked fit and competed but again it was not the best to watch at times.

Gawd knows what to do. I wish we could get Wagner or someone with a philosophy who would create an ethos through all the teams and take a 5 - 10 year view. But then you think... Sullivan ... he will never take that route as he seems a classic "fast buck" mentality and will not want to wait, take a back seat for 5 years.

Finally, I also think after 60 years that us fans are part of that " we know the enemy, they is us"? Such is the belief in the West Ham way, the Malcolm Allison academy thinking, Bobby, Geoff, Martin that we too have no patience because it would take a few seasons.

I thought last season that was what Pellegrini was doing. But in ( cough) what has been a coincidence of budget "recoup" we net spend 25 million and cast off a ton of players and bring in 2 and at least one of the them ( Fornals) not what we needed just now.

Pellegrini ? Can he turn it around. Even if he could get them working we have a seriously slow, lightweight squad. Survival is looking the best we can hope for,

Mad Dog 1:01 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
Those average shots v everyone compared to against us is terrifying

threesixty 12:52 Mon Nov 11
Re: "Why West Ham Are Lurching Into Crisis"
If I was Sullivan and saw those stats about Fabianski I would be looking at MP and asking him what the fuck is that about?

Are you any good or is it just that we managed to blag a great keeper? This really is the crux of the issue. If MP is worth 10m how come we "need" a world class keeper to survive in the PL?

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