Sunday, 6 November 2011

Allardyce to sign Hyde and Jekyll

What is it with West Ham? Why can't we play well for the full 90 minutes? Why do we play in fits and starts? Prior to the arrival of Allardyce, people were pointing the finger at fitness levels, claiming the players weren't properly conditioned. But that can't be true when Doctor Evil is at the helm surely?

Time and again under Grant, the complaint was that we only performed for 45 minutes in any game. Well, yesterday, we played for about 35! We were dire in the first half, failing to force a single save from a young stand in keeper whilst Green was called into serious action three times, with Faye twice having to complete the saves as the ball stayed live in the penalty box. In fact, Faye's second intervention was necessary to stop the ball crossing the line. Had Hull scored from any of those three chances, I wouldn't have fancied us to win.

First half, Carew was useless, Nolan tetchy and wasteful with the ball, Baldock doing far too much work in his own half, tracking opposition players rather than them tracking him, and Collison utterly anonymous. Credit to Allardyce for shaking them up at half time and sending on Cole, but the tactics and attitude were all wrong until then.

Then for thirty five minutes of the second half we looked good - very good - banking two goals and taking control, until we again seemingly ran out of steam and invited Hull to try to claim the share of the points that, based on the full match, they probably deserved. Green was far too busy in the last ten minutes and, once again, you had the feeling that one goal would probably bring two as Corporal Jones screamed, "Don't panic! Don't panic!"

Allardyce talked afterwards about a strong defensive unit but we were sliced open five times over the 90 minutes and better forwards would have punished us. In fact, Hull created far more chances from open play than we did. True they were the home team, and realistically the opposition will get openings over 90 minutes, but we did not look like a team bossing the game like a top team should.

Claridge was interesting on the Championship show, admitting that he had identified West Ham as one of the underperforming teams in the division, despite our points total and position in the table, and I agree with him. Claridge said that we had "found a way of getting points in this division" which was "fair enough" but pointed to our lack of fluency and the fact that we are not convincing in a game.

My worry remains that we are operating with a very thin margin of error. Southampton are pounding teams and now have a safety buffer, we are scratching out results and still have the chasing pack on our heels. The optimists say, "We are in second and haven't really started playing yet" but the question is, when will we start to play and what happens if a string of close games end in defeat - as both the Bristol City and Hull games could have done.

We didn't play against Brighton as an offensive unit, and a team of 'Arry's female relatives could keep the Seagulls at bay at the moment given none were born in Barnsley; we only looked good for 45 minutes against Leicester; we were poor against Bristol City; and we were scratchy again yesterday, only really playing well for a third of the game. Yes we are getting results but we would all feel so much happier if the side could play with a bit of swagger instead of looking like a bunch of fly by nights, making off with the swag.


Anonymous said...

Not sure what you mean by hull 'deserving' something. They couldn't score against us, neither could Brighton or Bristol city.

Whilst it's nice to control games from start to finish, not even the top teams can do this consistently. It's about stopping the opposition from scoring and taking your chances when they come. Simplistically that is why we are successful away and struggle at home. We do not have the individuals to unlock defences that is needed when you control possession.

Anonymous said...

We won! We're second, first half forgettable second half wonderful! COYI

Anonymous said...

West Ham have the Championship's best away record – 17 points from a possible 24, with the second least number of goals scored against us.

For the first time HF I actually genuinely feel dreadfully sorry for you.

You are obviously suffering from some sort of mental disorder, an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, with an obvious loss of interest or pleasure in activities that normal people would find both pleasurable and enjoyable.

For the love of god man gets some bloody help.

Sav said...

Very good points made HF.

I also started to wonder whether the team that is supposed to start playing well for 90 minutes will ever come?

We need to control the midfield. To be able to pass the ball out from defence to attack. It is no accident that Hull had 14 goals at goal yesterday. It is simply because we couldn't keep the ball. They were able to renew their attacks time and time again because our "solid defence" had no capable midfield players to pass the ball out of our side of the field and into attack.

Has Allardyce any clue that this is the main thing he has to fix to make West Ham truly robust? I wonder? For the present I am thankful for the points but nothing much more. We are still a long way from becoming a competent premiership team.

Anonymous said...

You could do with adopting a bit more Dr Hyde and a bit less Mr Jekyll (no c).

Emlyn said...

You really are quite annoying. Why don't you go and "support"someone else.

Anonymous said...

You weren't even THERE

USA Dave said...

I didnt see that show, but I think that is the fairest assesment of our team I have heard. We are in second, but we havent looked that great. So the glass is both half full and half empty. But having said that, it's still much better to be in second under those circumstances than in tenth. I said at the start of the season that I though we would win the league through a series of two steps forward, one step back

I found a useful site called and I brought up the league standings last year on this date. Take a look.

HF, I think it was you who wrote that this league is very volatile, and that the table can flip flop rather quickly. The above link shows that the table last year had QPR in first. It also had Norwich in 7th. I wouldnt give Southampton the league yet by any means. But they are looking like a good bet to be in the top 6.

Kind of a long, meandering post I guess.

Enjoy the two week layoff. I know I will.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we will more consistency when Allardyce is able to start the same 11 blokes for a few games on the trot but with our injury record that aint gonna happen anytime soon....

Anonymous said...

We won ffs.

Hammersfan said...

I know we won ffs, but wouldn't you guys like to see more control and swagger?

It's an interesting point you make Sav but I'm not sure I agree with you. The problem is that the midfield lacks shape in my view. I was amazed how often, for example, that Diop was more advanced than Noble. Surely Diop should sit in a pocket in front of the two centre backs and leave the creative stuff to the other three? Not that Nolan is offering anything creatively at the moment and neither is Collison if we are honest. he took his goal excellently but what else did he do all game? In so far as strings were pulled in midfield, Noble was pulling them. But when he looked up to make a pass, Carew was a lone target throughout the first 45 because Baldock was playing as an auxillary left back and Nolan and Collison were nowhere to be seen!

1034. Typo on my spelling of Jekyll (I've corrected, thanks) but at least I know which is which!

1124. I wasn't at the World Cup either but I knew that Lampard's shot was over the line, unlike the officials who were there. What does that tell you? You should try linking your laptop to a big screen TV. It's amazing what you can see!

Hammersfan said...

Emlyn! Good to see you back! Glad I'm still irritating you. I only get under your skin because you know I am right.

Anonymous said...

Christ 10:14 when you put it like that it becomes 0bvious - mental disorder written all over him.

Sam said...

In this post, the three points I agree with most are "For the first time HF I actually genuinely feel dreadfully sorry for you." at 10.14

"For the love of god man gets some bloody help." also at 10.14. And finally:

"When you put it like that it becomes obvious - mental disorder written all over him."

It's true Hammers fan. It appears you have a serious mental health issue. I am the third person on merely ONE post to tell you this, I can't begin to imagine how many times you've been told this. Please look into getting some help.

Anonymous said...

16:59 typo is when you make a typographical error (hit the wrong key) - yours was a spelling error plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

19:00 Sam make that four.