At the end of last season which of course didn’t end until July there seemed to finally be a light at the end of the tunnel for West Ham. A team who looked one of the favourites to be relegated picked up 12 points in their last six games and easily survived relegation. One of those matches was beating Champions League hunting Chelsea, West Ham were for real and manager David Moyes had found the tactic to connect the players, or had he?
Was the back end of last season simply a group of players, us against the world, and us against dropping down to the Championship? Did the players unite together and show what they are capable of only to not get relegated? If so West Ham have more problems than they initially thought. That kind of team spirit usually leads to the sacking of the manager six months later and everything slowly falling apart. Players can’t win every game, granted, but there needs to be the want to play 100% for the team, throw in consistency and you a decent side.
Last season West Ham had dreams of being Wolves or Sheffield United but they played much like bottom club Norwich for the majority of the season. But those final few games did suggest that the team had turned a corner and yet they went and lost their first game of the season.
A 2-0 loss at home v Newcastle is not good, but of course it isn’t the end of the world. But it was the way the team played. It was as if this game was number 60 in a long hard season and not the Hammers first. Everything seemed off even Moyes final team selection. Leaving Felipe Anderson on the bench just seemed odd. The players played without heart in a game that on paper they could have won. There was nothing here, it reminded one of their first game of the season last August, against Manchester City they put in a dire toothless display. But then again this was Manchester City. But still he performance was a foreshadow of how the majority of their season would end up.
Then there is the in fighting. Thankfully this isn’t with Moyes, he’s seen as the good guy and the players are with him, though you would be forgiven for thinking that in the Newcastle game. This is all down to ownership,David Sullivan and David Gold need to go according to West Ham fans, enough is enough. Wasted money, too much bad recruitment and of course THAT stadium move, the fans have had enough. It’s hard to blame them, change is needed and fresh owners that can pounce on ideas and inject cash into the team would be a welcome change.
Possibly the final straw for the players, especially captain Mark Noble was when the board decided to sell Grady Diangana. He tweeted his disapproval with “As captain of this football club I’m gutted, angry and sad that Grady has left, great kid with a great future!!!!!” Diangana was sold to Premier League rivals West Bromwich Albion for just £18m which is a steal if as Noble suggested he goes on to have a great future. West Ham will counter that with the pandemic they needed to raise some money.
As for Noble most football media have said he was wrong to make his feelings public, but at the same time Noble isn’t stupid and did this to highlight the fact that Sullivan and Gold need to go. At the same time all of this came on eve of their Premier League game with Newcastle and with such a poor display Noble was made the scapegoat. But Noble would have told his teammates of his feelings behind the scenes anyway.
Despite a poor league performance West Ham did beat Charlton in the Carabao Cup which was a big boost for the club in their 3-0 win. It was telling that Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko who played with pace on the flanks both started, and yet in the league match remained on the bench.
Maybe there is hope for the side to bounce back quick, but they have a very tough schedule up until October 31st. Their next league game is away to Arsenal who have an abundance of confidence right now and that will be the Gunners first home game of the season. Then they will return home to play Wolves which will be a tricky game and Wolves controlled the last match played at London Stadium near the end of last season.
Leicester is up next and that is at King Power Stadium and with the way the Foxes have started this season they look just as good as last. Then it’s time for more London rivals as they take on Tottenham away from home, by then Jose Mourinho’s side could be in need of points themselves after starting the campaign with a loss.
What follows is a double whammy. Facing the last two Premier League champions. It’s Manchester City at home first up, in a fixture that ended 5-0 to City last season. And then on Halloween it could be a right horror story when the club face the champions Liverpool at Anfield.
It’s very possible that David Moyes team could be looking for their first point as we enter November. At the same time the Hammers have proven to step up in the face of tough fixtures before just look to last Christmas as evidence for that, and then again the last few games of last season. There is that burning desire in the team that somehow lasts, and that is to prove people wrong in the heat of it, but fail against teams in which they are expected to beat.
This will be an interesting few weeks then and will show the real character of the club. David Moyes winning percentage for them simply isn’t good enough though and the writing may start to get written on the wall as early as November. For West Ham it’s time to step up once more.
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