The GoatyGav Column
Although I was never his biggest fan I had to give some credit to Mr Allardyce during his time in charge. Before his West Ham team went in to decline he appeared to make us ‘hard to beat’. He organised very well and put his stamp on the team. At the time it was what was needed and the results, if not the fayre that was served up, justified the MO.
From what I’ve seen so far, in the respect of installing his own methods, David Moyes is doing the same thing. The Scot’s teams have always been hard working. Sometimes, his critics would contend, he has put graft before guile. Personally I always liked the way that the Everton team that he built played but I know it’s not enough for some West Ham fans in the same way that Mr Allardyce’s pragmatism wasn’t.
It’s fair to say that, since his appointment, DM has given the likes of Anderson and Haller a fair crack at the whip. The fact that the former of the two may give you one decent game in every five matches has led to the manager dropping him down the pecking order. For me he’s a luxury player who is playing in the wrong country. He’s simply not suited to English football…never mind the Premier League. Even the likes of Oxford United exposed the areas of his game he needs to develop if he is going to succeed on these shores. I hope that he does adapt as, on his day, he’s a helluva player but I’ll be very surprised if he does manage to turn things around and become a consistent performer in English football.
As for Haller I believe it’s a different story. He’s our overall top scorer with seven goals this term albeit some of those were bagged against lower league opposition. I see so much of Deano in his play that I believe he can, and hopefully will, become the fifteen plus league goal a season man we’ve craved for so long. Playing with Bowen and Antonio I think he’s got a great chance of achieving it.
Back to the main subject, however, and the fact that those two players, being the most expensive signings in the club’s history, have been dropped to the bench and to the, second string, cup teams shows that David Moyes will not tolerate passengers that are not putting in the required shift.
The gaffer has also shown that he’s no slouch in the area of tactics in the last two games as well. Now that the team is heading towards a settled starting line-up the formations played are beginning to show adaptation to the opposition. Although his in-game management, and ability to use substitutions other than like-for-like replacement, hasn’t yet been tested he’s shown a very astute approach to the last two matches with the way he’s set the side out.
Unlike Mr Allardyce David Moyes has said all the right things about our club and us supporters. Taking time to pay tribute to the club’s history, traditions and large, passionate supporter base he’s won a lot more friends than the former manager did. Without mentioning it, however, he’s clearly recognised that there have been aspects of ‘The West Ham Way’ that have held the club back. The ‘soft underbelly’, the drinking culture and the tolerance of players who seemed to put in performances whenever it suited them to mention but a few.
Which brings me on to my final point about David Moyes. He knows which positions players should be playing in to get the best out of them. Should be quite simple, really, shouldn’t it but when you look at what Moyes did with Arnautovic, and has now done with Michail Antonio, you can’t deny that he saw something that both Super Slaven and Pellegrini didn’t and deserves full credit for. In the case of Arnautovic you also have another example of his ‘perform or you’re dropped’ policy which had the desired effect.
All boiled down he’s a great fit for our club and I genuinely hope he goes on to have many successful years in charge at West Ham.
Another tough weekend for the Women at home to Reading. Lauren Bruton netted the only goal of the game for Reading when she was quicker on to a diagonal cross in to the box than the West Ham defence who seemed to be ball watching and slow to react. Grace Fisk will look at the replay of the goal and resolve to learn from the experience. That didn’t tell the story of the entire match, however, which saw the West Ham team play some terrific football and create enough chances to win with a comfortable margin. As the old saying goes if you don’t take your chances you don’t win games and our girls will certainly be rueing those missed opportunities. Players of the quality of Adriana Leon and Kenza Dali should be putting away good chances, and penalties in the case of the latter, otherwise it’s going to be a very long, tough season ahead.
Elsewhere in PL2 the lads suffered a 3-2 loss to Brighton. The U23’s can count themselves unlucky not to have got a point having conceded the only goal of the second half from a lofted ball in the ‘87th minute. Next up are, high flying and undefeated, Blackburn Rovers who visit Rush Green on Friday 23rd.
I’ll sign off with a quick few points on the transfer window. Personally I’d have liked to have seen us in for Mykola Matviyenko. As previously mentioned I don’t get involved in transfer window speculation but will happily discuss signings and non-signings afterwards. I genuinely believe that we need another, defensive, left sided player to push Cresswell and provide cover for Og. That said I’m confident that Vladimir Coufal will go on to be an excellent signing. Knowing West Ham injuries will play a part in our campaign and we’re looking particularly lightweight up front. A loan signing or two certainly wouldn’t go amiss to strengthen our forward line. Whether this happens or not remains to be seen. Lastly I’d like to wish Josh Cullen all the very best in the future for his career. It’s always a shame when you see an academy product move on but this may be the best thing for him. Hopefully he’ll return one day as a quality, experienced player. All the best Josh!