Dictionary.com – “Monday Morning Quarterback” is a person who criticises the actions or decisions of others after the fact, using hindsight to assess situations and specify alternative solutions.
Well the summer window has been and gone, with a manager with serious pedigree in place and a record 100 million spend behind us, expectations for West Ham United this season are greater than ever. We have strength in depth in (almost) every position in the team, a more professional acting board and media team helping with some positive PR for a change.
The Premier League fixture computer threw up a tough challenge for us on the opening day, a visit to Anfield where we have an appalling track record, couple that with the fact Liverpool were the biggest spenders in the Summer window, also coming off the back of finishing runners up in Europes number one club competition, certainly a tough start for the Irons.
Well with my “Monday Morning Quarterback” mindset firmly in place, what did the gaffer get so wrong that we now sit rock bottom of the league table?
Lets start with the line up, from the outset, there were two glaring errors with the starting 11, Masuaku and Antonio. The other 9 players picked themselves really, so i think the manager did not get a great deal wrong with the players he had available, Masuaku was playing as Cresswell is not 100% match fit, so he hand was forced, which leaves Antonio. Antonio was so bad, it leaves you wondering if he will start another game under the stewardship of Pellegrini. Starting on the right wing, no doubt with instructions to run at the Liverpool fullbacks, what he never heard during the team talk was that he also has to run back when we lost possession. With no footballing intelligence and no tactical or game management skills, all that Antonio brings to the game is his big powerful physique and pace, neither of which he has worked out how to use on a regular basis.
Line up score 8/10
Substitutions were made early on, with Snodgrass replacing Rice at Half Time, with Rice acting (albeit badly) as a CDM, this was clearly an attacking change at 2 nil down, Snodgrass played fairly well when he came on, it looks like he will get some game time this season which will hopefully put two fingers up to some of his critics (including board members). BUT, changing to a more attacking formation was not the best move at Anfield, if he wanted to remove Rice from the firing line, he should have brought on Obiang in a like for like swap. Respect the 2 nil defeat at Anfield? Yes certainly i would of, with our past record at Anfield and the way the game was panning out, 2 nil would of been acceptable in my opinion.
Anderson was not very affective despite showing glimpses of the skill he has, so bringing on Hernandez to replace him was a sound move, with the fact Arnuatovic was not moving freely and was likely to come off soon after making this change even more logical.
Yarmolenko replaced the injured Arnautovic a few minutes later to balance up the team once again, i think Yarmo did more in the first 10 minutes on the pitch than most other Hammers did in the entire game, a certain starter next week on the London Stadium.
Substitutions score 6/10
So why are we bottom of the table?
We got beaten by a much better side, at potentially the most formidable away ground (with a couple of dubious decisions going the home teams way) quite simply!
All that Pellers got wrong was Antonio staring, and chasing the game at 2 nil down, the season is 38 games long, a team that is still getting to know one another under a new manager had no need to chase the game and concede another 2 goals on the opening day.
“The project” is now firmly underway, we have all had a chance to see the new players in action, but next Saturday will be an entirely different kettle of fish, with more possession expected next week, Anderson will have plenty more of the ball, Wilshire and his midfield partner won’t get overrun by the classy midfield of Liverpool and hopefully Cresswell slotting back into left back.
West Ham United 2 – 0 Bournemouth
Written By Dan | @DixieDean78