Building on West Ham Positivity! Published 27/08/18 on Irons United
The game against Arsenal at the weekend should give the West Ham fans pause for thought and be a willing distraction from the doom and gloom that has threatened to consume the fanbase. The result was anything but positive however the performance was a marked improvement on the previous two outings with individual performances beginning to rise like quality cream.
Early games in the season are always a testing time for most clubs…those fortunate to blast out of the blocks can leave troubled minds behind, but those still stuck fast in glue are left to ponder and wallow in self doubt. However Pellegrini has acknowledged and advised that we have rough diamonds in our midst, but once polished…we should see the clarity of purpose and quality in execution…it is only a matter of time, or so we hope!
The first half was an eye opener for our fan base and Arsenal’s too. They looked ragged and disjointed, whilst West Ham were composed, energetic and threatening. It was no surprise to see Arnautovic on the end of a move that saw him drive an accurate shot from the edge of the penalty area into the bottom left of the goal but he and others would rue the missed opportunities to severe the head of a sleeping giant.
The defensive fragility is still evident in the back four, however the introduction of Sanchez into the starting line up gave the Hammers that extra resilience that has been missing for far too long, however the weak link in the left back role…being filled by the unconvincing Masuaku would prove to be the undoing for the equaliser.
Man for man, West Ham were the better team for large periods of this game and although there are still some round pegs in square holes…even they rose to the occasion and delivered improved performances.
At the break it was refreshing to slurp some coffee and safe in the knowledge that this game was there for the taking but there would be growing concerns that the failure to convert the goal scoring chances may be the blight on an otherwise decent performance…and so it came to pass.
Arsenal had the better of the second half and through luck and some design managed to take the lead with an own goal from debutant Diop, who had an overall assured game alongside Balbuena. The next few minutes there was a noticeable panic in the ranks and mistakes were aplenty, however heads did not drop, whilst Anderson continued to deliver the show that we all hoped would be there.
Arnautovic came close to scoring twice and would be disappointed that he failed to hit the target with venom, whilst his departure through injury proved that without him leading the line, West Ham lack purpose and a figurehead to aim for. Perez and Hernandez were industrious but were largely ineffective during their time on the pitch, so when Welbeck scored a third for the home team…it was a cruel sucker punch and gave them the victory they hardly deserved.
However, West Ham need to look at the positives in this result. More attacking opportunities were created, it was more assured in midfield and tighter at the back…but where Arsenal were able to win ugly…West Ham failed to capitalise on chances and put the game to bed like they probably deserved.
This was a marked improvement for all to see and bodes well for the Carabao Cup game against AFC Wimbledon tomorrow night. Pellegrini is still to find his best and favoured starting eleven, however the newly acquired strength in depth will mean that the team that should be played will be a force to be reckoned with and may launch the club onto a good cup run this season…but more importantly may give the team the opportunity to gain confidence and build momentum for the next league game against Wolves on Saturday.
The faithful should take heart from Saturday’s performance but undoubtedly the result is still worrying. The club desperately need at least a draw but should favour a win against Wolves and should aim to eek out a few more points in the opening ten games…enough to drag the club out of the bottom three and build on from November.
Pellegrini may yet have made his mark on our club but there is a plan and it is starting to progress and make ground. The players can take confidence from their latest outing and surge onto the next fixture with positivity in mind. It will not be glorious from the very start, but faltering until the stars align, the rookies mature and the old salts yield to welcome this new vision. The players and fans will lick their wounds but be empowered to take the fight to the Black Country visitors this coming weekend…and anything less than an attacking display and positive result will only derail this new wave under Pellegrini and that the players are starting to surge. Onwards!