With a daunting visit to the Emirates (no doubt one of the most feared opposition venues in recent years) on the back of two straight defeats already, a third defeat would not bode well for Manual Pellegrini and his back room team, would it?
We sold out our full allocation as usual, the fans were in for a nervous and tense afternoon; or so we thought. If history tells us anything about a daunting away day to one of the Premier League elite teams, it tells us, we keep things tight at the back for 20 minutes or so, have an occasional glimpse at goal, before collapsing to an inevitable avalanche of late goals to round off a 4 or 5 nil defeat. Not this time!
Lets start with the line up, thinking as i am as the “Monday Morning Quarterback”, MP made two selection mistakes (incidentally the exact same two mistakes he made at Anfield), Masuaku at LB.
Once again he is in the team for his attacking skills, but primarily he is the LB, time after time he was ball watching, more often than not twenty yards further up the pitch than he needed to be. He still likes a drag back or a nutmeg, even though he may be the last line of defence, he seems not to think about game management, it is like you would expect a schoolboy footballer trying to impress his mates to do, Diop had to cover for him on more than one occasion.
The other selection error was (again) Antonio, his week off last week never taught him anything about his laziness and lack of intelligence when on the ball. Yes i must concede he is probably the best athlete (pace and power) on the pitch, but he just not know, or chooses not to do anything useful with it.
Whilst on the starting eleven, it is worth noting that the purchase and selection of Fabianksi has been inspired for me, yes we have conceded 9 goals in 3 games, but he has arguably not put a glove wrong, without him the against column would certainly be 4 or 5 goals higher, another obvious improvement was moving Anderson into the 10 position, it was his best game by far, he was tearing Arsenal apart and with some better finishing from Arnie and Antonio, we would have scored 4 yesterday.
I think he was correct in removing Ogbonna from the starting 11, maybe a bit harsh to remove him from the match day squad all together, but with a big squad this year, maybe a complete rest is what he needed to come back fresh next week.
It was also very pleasing to see Sanchez have a very strong game, proving that the mini meltdown that the West Ham fans had when we signed him may have been a little overkill.
Worthy mentions must also go to Diop, who despite the very unfortunate own goal showed maturity beyond his 20 years and i certainly hope he gets a run in the team now to establish himself as a regular player.
I would be delighted to see Creswell start next week, with Perez or Yarmolenko taking Antonios position. I think Snodgrass gets another stay of execution and keeps his place against Wolves.
Line up score 8/10
Arnie’s injury gave us another sight of Chicharito, but he looks a shadow of the player he is when he wears the green of Mexico, a completely different player to Arnie, I would say our goal threat dried up entirely once Little Pea came on, clearly no use as a focal point front man.
When Antonios number went up, i think all Hammers fans danced a little jig, with the former Arsenal man replacing him in the side, in fairness to Perez he never had a great chance other than the cross in the dying minutes which he overhit.
Finally, Yarmolenko was left to late to come on and change the game, he has looked bright and dangerous in the brief substitute appearance we have seen him so far, i hope he gets a start next week to showcase what he can do.
Substitutions score 5/10
Yes we lost this one, we sit bottom of the table and are yet to register a point this season. We must have made a horrible mistake bringing in MP and spending 40 Million on Anderson……not so. It is always disappointing to lose, it also usually ruins my Saturday evening too, but after todays game i was actually fairly happy. We have improved, and improved considerably each week! I really think we will put Wolves to the sword next week and chalk up our for points of the season.
The Pellegrini “Project” continues, Rome was not built in a day, we are three games into a new era at West Ham, i still think we will very comfortably finish Top 10 this season, and with MP’s newly instilled attacking style, we will certainly see some goals (at both ends) this season.
West Ham 2 – 1 Wolves
Written By Daniel Dixie | @DixieDean78