So the game on Sunday against Arsenal was another torrid affair full of missed opportunities and lethargic attacking ambitions. Most would not have expected to win but to fail to take hold of the game once the equaliser came and to capitulate towards the end was tantamount to criminal intent…and who was the villain that all would be pointing to? Mr Moyes himself!

Of course the players have their part to play but Moyes is failing to recognise the poor performers and persistently plays the repeat offenders whilst leaving the only true hopes languishing on the bench. It’s as if the DJ has only got one record to play but it’s, “Don’t You Want Me Baby?” by the Human League and it’s scratched…so out of touch, cheesy 80’s New Romantic nonsense is the only choice and it’s utterly useless too!

Perhaps the harshness is a reflection of the tactics from the moment the referee blew the first whistle. Arsenal probed with a passing game, possibly taking one too many touches and misfiring in the first half, whilst West Ham employed the long ball…over the top for a willing Arnautovic to run onto and create some opportunities. He was too isolated once again and the supporting runners were usually late to the party also, so it was a testament to his industry that any shots on goal were had at all.

However, as the game progressed…apart from the goal, Arnautovic was becoming even more marginalised and isolated, whilst Arsenal started to dominate. Ball retention was a problem for West Ham and there were more than solitary occasions when Kouyate, Masuaku and Mario struggled to get the ball out of the defensive areas and aimlessly fired up field simply to clear the lines, however this simply returned possession to the Gunners who brought about another tidal assault.

Moyes has been severely criticised since taking over at West Ham for his choice and timings of substitutes and in this game he was no different. Fernandes and Mario were questionable starters anyway, however they quickly faded into the background after the first 20mins of the game and the fans were expecting…or rather hoping Moyes would make his changes at half time to bring on Hernandez and Lanzini…but he failed to do so!

There were lamentable errors from Masuaku during the first half and into the second too, but his failure to address the shot from Monreal early in the second half, near to the post which he was supposed to be guarding was comically tragic and bordering on obscene. When Rice made a fatal error for the second goal, all confidence apparently drained from the players and the full time whistle could not come around soon enough, however to blame the young Rice for the capitulation would be to ignore flawed tactics and other underperforming players.

Moyes is in a tortuous dilemma right now for he favours the defensive tactics but the players are not good enough to hold out indefinitely against the better footballing teams and the attacking formation is not slick enough to trouble better opposing defences too. Of course there are always chances to be had but failed execution would see the chasm between perilous demeanour and saving graces widen with every passing game. There are not many games left for Moyes to fulfil the duties he was asked to do when he was employed in November of last year, and the points will be hard to come by too. 

Relegation is still a realistic possibility for the floundering team but Moyes has not charged his players to play with freedom and to take the game into the heart of the opposing team’s penalty area, certainly not with any consistency either. Th question still remains whether he has the ability to save the blushes of the West Ham faithful and can he deliver attacking and progressive football that the fans are now demanding as was so heavily implied prior to the move to the London Stadium two seasons ago?

All hopes now rest with him and whether the team can execute his plans to perfection in the upcoming games. Fans would be foolhardy to expect a huge reversal of fortunes now, or to see a complete turnaround in formations and tactics…but the mystery machine would have to offer up answers why Hernandez and Lanzini are not playing from the start? Why is the play so negative, why has the adventurous spirit been crippled by the over indulgence of safety Scoobie Doo snacks…and why is the real menace to our West Ham society dressed as dithering ‘Old Man Withers’ who seems dazed and all at sea…or hell bent on seeing the club merely and marginally survive? Moyes has not been an inspiring choice and although he has had many difficulties to address since his arrival, he has not found the solution to the West Ham woes and is not the man to take the club to the fabled ‘next level’.


By Gonzo

West Ham fan for as long as I can remember. I was flukey enough to watch The Irons beat Bury 10-0 in my first ever game . . . True to form, West Ham then went out and signed their central defender 😬

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