WHO Poll
Q: 2021/22 What competition should we prioritise this season?
a. The league is our bread & butter, so this year let's have a club sandwich
27%
  
b. We're owed an FA Cup after Gerrard nicked our last one in 06, our name's on it in 22
10%
  
c. A bye to the League Cup 3rd round gives us a good start, let's make it count
6%
  
d. The Europa is our best ticket to the Champions League, this is the one
36%
  
e. What's wrong with you, let's do the lot, has the quadruple ever been done
21%
  



Hermit Road 12:45 Wed Feb 24
How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
It’s the elephant in the room, but for the first time in years we have two central midfielders who contribute at a high level at both ends of the pitch, have the legs to keep up with play, tackle well and use the ball effectively. Before Soucek, we were carrying Noble for a long time. His last good season was the last year at UP and he hadn’t had a great one for a long time before then.

The centre midfield position has a disproportionate effect on the team. If they can’t keep up with play and are easily beaten for pace, then you get overrun pretty easily. It seems to me that Noble was mostly that player for a long time. My abiding memory is of him chasing players and rarely catching up with them.

I also think we benefit from having midfielders who are focused on going forward in possession. Noble had an ability to pick a pass but too often chose the sideways or backwards option when a bit more adventure was called for. It was great for his passing completion stat, but not for our attacking speed.

I think his biggest strength though was always that he never hid. Regardless of what you thought of him as a player, you could never claim that he didn’t show for the ball. Often it felt like he was the only one out there who did. Fortunately though, this is a trait also shared by Soucek and Rice who are both hungry for the ball and make their presence known.

Lots of factors are involved in the uptick in our fortunes, I think the midfield is one of the bigger ones.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

jack flash 12:32 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
The team has improved in every respect but I agree that the greatest improvement is in midfield, particularly with the arrival of Soucek
I think Noble has been a great mentor for Rice but I doubt he's got another season left in him even as a bit time player
Noble is still a very useful midfielder though to carry us through to the end of this season when needed
We definitely need to be bringing in another cdm in the summer though
There are times we need to play a midfield 3 and others where the 2 we have will need a rest or miss matches through injury or suspension
Rice and Soucek have played as a 2 in midfield nearly every game this season, usually outnumbered, and are definitely showing signs of tiring now

Sniper 11:38 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
They’ve given us the foundation of a really solid team. There were too many weak links in the chain before. We had cresswell exposed at left back because Anderson was ahead of him. An ageing right back or fredericks (who isn’t a full back) on the other side. All the while that exposed the centre of defence, who lost confidence. And there wasn’t effective cover in front of them.

Now we have a superb right back, cresswell showing he can play full back or left of a back three, solid cover in front of them from whoever plays out wide (as they track back and put the miles in) and cover in front of the defence. It’s no coincidence that sorting the positions either side and in front of the centre backs now means that all our centre backs actually look decent again


We also now have the extra pace in the attacking third that we were so badly missing before that allows us to break quickly and means the opposition think twice before piling forward

Still a long way to go, and we don’t have anywhere near enough squad depth, but it’s a vast improvement in such a short time

BRANDED 10:09 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
Nobes loved a penalty though innit?

master 10:06 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
A significant amount.

Nobles been a good player but was not a good enough standard post 2017.

eusebiovic 9:58 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
For years it was observed that central midfield and the full back positions were our major weakness and nothing was done about it. Now it has been addressed and a search for a future left back is ongoing we look a better team.

Noble was never a defensive midfielder...he just ended up playing deep because nobody ever bothered to sign a decent one until Soucek. Nobles best games for us were always in a more advanced position.

Funny that he?

Nagel 9:17 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
Yeah, KZ, but you were wrong about Soucek as well as Noble. You should stick to the politics threads as you clearly know fuck all about West Ham.

Haz 9:14 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
I'd love us to go all out to go all out to bring in midfielder, Akex Kral in during the summer, as well as a striker. But I think Kral would fit right in here. And he's a Soucek recommendation as well, apparently. That's good enough for me!

Kaiser Zoso 9:14 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
Yeah, it wasn’t the best use of words, should have been mong proof and said he hasn’t got back in the role, not side.

Better? You sound a bit butt hurt, sweetie?

Nagel 9:08 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
"It still took an injury v Chelsea for Soucek to play in the DM role with Rice, and Noble hasn’t been able to get back in the team since."

Well, apart from the fact that Soucek was playing as a B2B DM since he joined and that Noble played in 5 of the next 6 games after that Chelsea match, you're spot on.

Kaiser Zoso 8:58 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
Rice & Soucek are quick and athletic, and can bottle up the centre and deny the spaces where forwards used to drop off our central defenders to collect the ball

It’s a bonus Soucek is so dominant in the air, as well as doing the graft of two men, not just in attack but defensively as well.

Noble never had those qualities, but it still took an injury v Chelsea for Soucek to play in the DM role with Rice, and Noble hasn’t been able to get back in the team since. Dropping the senior long serving players can be difficult for a new manager, but Moyes got lucky that Noble was injured, and Soucek scored and we went on improving from there

ludo21 8:51 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
I’m sure he was a great bloke but Moncur was just a joke. While everyone was cheering as he came on to collect his yellow card I would just cringe.

Nagel 8:41 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
Rice and Soucek are a great midfield pairing, but the way the whole team is set up now is very different from previous years. Used to be that our wide players would stay out wide until they had the ball and the full backs weren't doing much overlapping.

Now we tend to flood the midfield, providing a lot of passing options, which means we keep possession more. Part of the reason that Noble spent years passing backwards or sideways was that there wasn't much other choice most of the time, and that's changed now. Credit to Moyes for this and obviously it helps when the newer players have such a high work rate.

normannomates 6:40 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
Different times I know.. but likes of Moncur and Co just took the fuckin piss lookin back...unfair to pick on those
The 60/70s as well.. piss takers as long as my todger
Di Canio was taken the piss out of for his serious/professional attitude.
The Italians were way ahead of us for decades..
SHAMEFUL really.

Texas Iron 6:09 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
Yes a major factor...but don't forget Antonio, Bowen and Fabianski form and fitness...

. . 4:38 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
The worry is if we lose either of them in the summer, Noble is the only recognised cover for that position.

How much will we need to spend on a replacement ?

We need to be looking at bringing in cover for Soucek and Rice as I feel we will eventually lose one of them either permanently or through injury/suspension.

As much as I like Noble I'm afraid he is no longer the solution and should be used as 4th Choice central midfield

Darby_ 3:25 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
This thread seems to have been inspired more by what Noble did at the Burnley game than the football he played.

Mad Dog 2:30 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
The pairing of rice and soucek has been monumental.

They offer thr defence more protection than any pairing we-ve had in years. However the defence has itself improved.

Personally I think these are the 2 most vital players in the team.

Rice is calm on the ball and works tirelessly. Soucek is a massive presence in the middle, does not stop running and his goals ratio is phenomenal. 2nd only to that manc penalty taker.

Having antonio as an outlet, the defenders finding form, dawson, the good Creswell back, and let's it forget how good coufal has been. Aith the addition of lingard to the attacking fornals, benny and bowen we have a TEAM at last. One that is certainly greater than the sum of their parts.

I However most of the squad do have like for like(ish) replacements if necessary. With the exception of antonio, rice and soucek.

Alfs 2:12 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
Let's not start slagging Nobes again, he's been a fantastic servant to the club and I hope he moves to the backroom rather than plying his trade in the lower leagues.

Soucek and Rice work superbly together and both aren't too far away from being World class. Pre covid you'd be looking at getting 150 million for the pair.

It's crunch time for GSB. Sell or invest and push on. Hopefully Lingard and Rice's bromance will keep Jesse here, if so, I'd be happy with just a new but top striker, such as Bamford. At 27 he's in his peak years.

They found 120 mill for Pelle to piss up the wall so they are capable of coughing up decent funds and hopefully they'll see that Moyes would be far more careful as well as canny.

Get rid of Yarmo, maybe Lanzini too.

Takashi Miike 1:48 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
even as a youngster, noble couldn't do the job that soucek does. that's not an attack on him, I just think he would have been better used when he could run in a more attacking role. rice could easily have stagnated sat in front of the back four, but the arrival of soucek has improved him & we now have two genuine box to box players who don't stop running from ninety minutes. that's why it's the most important position to find decent cover for in the summer

, 1:31 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
On current form we have two midfielders, playing in front of the defence, who would as individuals be regulars in any of the big six clubs with the possible exception of ManCity.

I won’t knock Noble he has trained and done his job manfully but his legs have long gone. The fact he played so many games for us backs up the evidence that we have not upgraded our team to better a mid/ lower mid table ambition for many years.

Rice and Soucek are fundamental to how we are presently playing under Moyes to the point that if the club want to build on the present situation it is imho at least as important to keep Rice for next season as it is to bring in an adequate additional striker.

Pee Wee 1:23 Wed Feb 24
Re: How much of our improvement is down the change in midfield?
Used to love Noble, it that ended the day of the infamous Burnley game I’m afraid. Can’t believe he got away with that from most of our fans

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