Sunday, 7 February 2010
Zola - The Case For And Against
Opinion seems to be divided about whether or not we should retain Zola as our manager. I attempt to summarise the case for and against below:
The Case For Zola:
1) He is a really nice guy.
2) He was a great player.
3) He has transformed Carlton Cole.
4) He believes in playing the game the right way - ball on the ground, neat passing, in the tradition of West Ham.
5) For a while last season, we played some lovely football which was so much more pleasing on the eye than the football played under Curbishley.
6)He hasn't had much time. We are only two thirds of the way through his second season in charge.
7) West Ham don't chop and change managers.
8) Manchester United stuck by Ferguson and look at how successful they have been!
9) It is our duty to get behind the manager and players. It is the duty of fans to support, no matter what.
10) He has been unlucky with injuries.
11) The club has been in turmoil whilst he has been in charge.
12) A few wins could see us out of trouble.
13) He is well respected in the game.
14) We battled brilliantly against Chelsea and came away with a 1-1 home draw.
15) Some decisions have gone against us - like the award of the Chelsea penalty.
Have I missed anything? Please add via comments if I have and I will carry them into the body of the article.
Now the case against:
1) So far this season we have won just four games.
2) We failed to beat Fulham, Sunderland and Hull despite them all being reduced to 10 men. The six points surrendered here explain why we are so deep in trouble.
3) We were also ahead in the Fulham and Sunderland games when our opponents had a player sent off. Not only did we not win, we failed to protect a lead!
4) In both the Sunderland and Hull games we were two goals to the good, but allowed our opponents back into the game.
5) We lost to Burnley yesterday who had lost their previous 4 games under their new manager.
6) Last Saturday, we failed to beat a Blackburn side who were hammered 3-0 at Stoke yesterday. Not only didn't we beat them, we were lucky not to lose. We did not manage one shot on target to stretch the keeper from open play all game. Zola failed to capitalise on the euphoria of the take over and picked a cautious team which handed the initiative to Blackburn.
7) In the previous game, we surrendered a lead to a very poor Pompey team who yesterday were thumped 5-0 by Man Utd. Seven crucial points have been surrendered against weak opposition over the last three games.
8) Apart from away to Villa and at home to Everton (and we drew and lost those games!), I cannot remember one game this season where we have looked comfortable for 90 minutes. We either start well and fall away badly (as against Hull, Burnley - at UP - Sunderland, Fulham and Tottenham -at UP) or we wait for the opposition to go ahead before we start to play (as against Arsenal and Burnley yesterday). Meanwhile, some of our performances have been utterly abject such as against Man Utd (minus a defence) at Upton Park, away to Tottenham, away to Bolton and at home to Blackburn.
9) We have only won ONCE in the last ELEVEN games! That victory was against bottom placed Pompey!
10) Zola persists with tactics that fail week in and week out. We cannot play the short passing game he favours and he repeatedly selects teams with no pace and no natural width. His insistence on playing a right footer on the left flank and a left footer on the right simply compounds the problem. I am not advocating a return to the Curbishley approach of lump and hope but, in our position, a more pragmatic attitude is needed. Zola's preferred style isn't effective and isn't even exciting to watch. How many chances have we created in recent games? How many times have we forced the opposition keeper into great or even good saves? A goal return of 6 goals from 11 games says it all!
11) Zola never seems to drop players. The team changes because of injuries, not because of bad performances. Ilunga stayed until he was injured. Mos t agree that Noble has been poor yet he stays in the team. I think Green might have benefited from a game sat on the bench personally. Curbishley dropped him after that 6-0 thumping at Reading and he returned a better keeper. His form this season has been poor. The players don't feel that they need to perform well to stay in the team - and that is a recipe for disaster!
12)Zola is too slow to react when the game is in play. What did he do until Burnley were two goals to the good yesterday for example? How long did it take him to make changes against Blackburn? Why didn't he change the balance of the team when we were two goals to the good against Sunderland and Hull? The guy reacts to situations, he doesn't read them and adjust accordingly.
13) For all the improvements we have seen in Cole's game, what about the others? Noble, Tomkins, Sears, Upson, Green, Ilunga, Collison and Behrami all look worse players now than they did at this stage last season. Of course confidence is a key factor here, but who is supposed to instill confidence into the team? Isn't that the manager's job?
14) We are second from bottom.
15) Zola's win ratio is 27.5%. Glenn Roeder's was 34%. We were too slow to respond to Roeder's incompetence and we went down. We are making the same mistake again this year. We are heading in one direction, and one direction only, under Zola. He has three members of the England squad in his team and we are in the bottom 3 - that is a terrible indictment either of the England national team or of Zola.
So, should Zola stay or should Zola go? I hope Sullivan and Gold read this and think!
Posted by Hammersfan at 13:49