Star Keys and Clutch – Partners in Law Published 24/04/18 on West Ham Matters
Did you ever read something that simply didn’t sound right when you tried to verbalise it? Did you ever see an action plan that was flawed but couldn’t understand why nobody else has not seen it too? Did you ever wonder why so many West Ham fans and the larger footballing world are knocking their heads against a wailing wall because David Moyes will not play Hernandez in the starting line up? What is going wrong and what of the future?
Moyes is the luddite that would not change for fear of failure and confusion of purpose. He has a process in mind and a defensive strategy that would focus on the less able and ignore the glowing light before his eyes. Moyes is the troubled soul that cannot find it within himself to play two strikers in advanced roles, but overtime Hernandez comes on as substitute then he is immediately in the action and is likely to score goals.
In the last game against Arsenal, Moyes once again delayed bringing on Lanzini and Hernandez, thus allowing Arsenal to get a strong foothold on the game early in the second half. The first half performance was adequate to contain the Gunners and even produced some opportunities from long ball plays, however there was an opportunity at half time to totally change the tactics and be a lot more adventurers…but he wasn’t!
Unfortunately for the West Ham faithful, Moyes favours consolidation and defence, to hit on the counter attack and absorb the pressure from any opponent’s advances. The problem being that West Ham do not possess the quality and the youthful energy to play the Catenaccio style with masterful precision, not does Moyes have confidence that his players will be able to launch on the attack with a high degree of success…so this leaves limited opportunities for Hernandez to make an impact in a game or in the mind of Moyes himself.
Pundits, commentators, players and fans alike, all sing from the same hymn sheet, in that Hernandez is a recognised quality striker and should feature more and in each starting line up…especially if he has scored recently or has come close to doing so on numerous occasions. But Moyes would see him as surplus to requirements and favouring Arnautovic as the solitary striker thus maintaining more bodies in a defensive position…it is as frustrating for Hernandez as it is for the fans.
Initially the support were largely split over the Mexican wonder striker but all are coming together to voice their concerns and ask probing questions of Moyes now. Surely given the time and service, he will create chances and will likely score valuable goals…just as he does anytime he is brought on as substitute.
The saddest indictment of this saga is that the fans would really want Chicharito to stay and be a regular starter for the club. He is exactly the kind of player the team needs and should either play alongside Arnautovic or should replace the Austrian who would be moved back to his traditional winger role, thus allowing another striker to form a partnership at the top. However, it would appear likely that he would leave in the summer now, to find regular team football and be valued by a manager who would design a team around his strengths…and that Moyes would continue in his post and retain this defensive and frustrating stance.
It has been clear to most fans or even analysts that Hernandez thrives on good quality service or even just a higher percentage of balls into the box. When many fans were troubled by his earlier performances there was also an acknowledgement that he was also too isolated and cold not play as a lone striker..hence why Moyes has shied away from playing him in that role…but has also failed to start him in a pairing either.
As soon as West Ham are chasing the game, then Moyes is eventually driven to bring on Hernandez and immediately the situation and complexion of the game changes…but it has not happened nearly enough, hence the fans will see possibly the finest striker that club has had in nearly 20yrs slip through their fingers because a manager cannot find a place for him and will not change to play to his strengths. Woeful!
Moyes has the players that would make good the league standing this season and would make good challenge for the top ten finish next season if only he would adopt a more positive approach and be less confused about which players should feature in which positions. He should have a crime fighting duo in attack…partners in law enforcement to arrest any hopes of the opposition defences…he should have Starsky and Hutch, but instead has Star Keys on the bench and a slipping clutch that won’t let the vehicle get into gear.