Match Report

The best advice you will ever receive

I was never a believer in feng shui, which is about unblocking the way, so that the forces in life flow freely. So, I’m going to give you the best piece of advice you have ever had and you will thank me for the rest of your life.

If you wake up and something positive happens, then you could be having a good feng shui day. This is the time to do as many things as possible, because you will find everything will turn out excellently. Do all those things you were putting off to another day. Conversely, if you start the day negatively, my advice would be to go back to bed and do as little as possible.

I don’t need to explain to you what kind of day it was when we played Sheffield United.

Alternatively, I have another explanation. There is a Greek goddess called Astraea. She is the goddess of justice and purity. She has come back to earth and is wreaking vengeance. Individuals who have angered her include Geoffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and in our own backyard Max Clifford and Rolf Harris. Now she has turned her attention to Gold and Sullivan. She is slowly torturing them. Firstly, giving them Karen Brady. Then, offering them the opportunity to change grounds with disastrous consequences and offering them the opportunity to employ a world class manager at an extravagant sum. She helped to bring in players like Payet and Arnautovic to torture them. Finally, to empower a clown to direct player purchases.

This can be the only logical explanation as to what happened against Sheffield United.

After a few minutes, our most vital player, Fabulanski, pulled up with a strained thigh and immediately called for his own replacement. Then, we had the amateur incident where we conceded a goal. Anderson went head over heels and is probably injured. And finally, there was the completely, farcical VAR decision which brings both VAR and the game into disrepute.

So, let’s turn to the game itself. I have no criticism of David Moyes, who is obviously bringing a new spirit to the team. We looked solid in defence and kept our concentration and effort throughout the game. We have quickly seen what we need in defence, but more effort is needed in tactics moving forward. We were very direct against Sheffield United and perhaps, we needed to create opportunity by going from side to side.

I know we all feel sorry for David Martin. Actually, I don’t blame him fully for the goal. For some reason, Balbuena decided to charge back to accept the pass and this was a contributory factor to the cock up.

I was surprised when Cresswell joined the back three and Diop was benched. This may be an indication that Diop is on his way out. This is not a criticism of Cresswell, but we lost the opportunity to make forward runs. You can’t criticise Zabaleta for effort, but it is obvious his time is up.

It does seem as if Fornals has been making significant progress. So, I was surprised to see him benched. Lanzini is not the player he was and perhaps should be used as a substitute for the time being.

Without Antonio, Haller was once again left drifting up front. At present, he doesn’t seem to have the positioning sense of players such as Harry Kane. Lanzini broke through at one point and if Haller had positioned himself better, a goal may have resulted.

As for VAR, we all know it was a perfectly good goal and the rules need to be changed in regard to handling. Other changes I would like to see – only your feet can be offside and it needs to be the whole foot and the whole process should be displayed on the big screens , so fans can see what is going on.

The fact that we had to put three youngsters on the bench indicates how desperately shallow our squad is.

All in all, we were beaten by bad feng shui or an unknown goddess, but, in fact, we could easily have won the game 1-0, if justice was on our side. I’m sure we all agree that we are on the right path but it’s going to be a hard road ahead. The game against Sheffield United demonstrated how fine the margins are between victory and defeat.

Match Report

A long,hard road ahead

Let me put in a word for the owners, even though it is understood that the moral compass of the two pornographers cannot be repaired by their delusional belief that ownership of West Ham would bring them applause and gratitude.

The move to the London Stadium was inevitable from the time that the UK won the right to host the Olympics. The problems with the stadium should be laid at the door of Seb Coe, who did not want to understand that the legacy of the stadium would be as a football stadium. And it should have been built as a football stadium which could be converted for athletics, not as an athletics stadium which could be coverted for football.

Then, there was the idiocy of spending a further £325 million to make the stadium suitable for football with all the nonsense talk of retractable seating. It was inevitable that our two sharp owners would negotiate a deal that doesn’t even cover the costs of the owners of the stadium , whose annual losses have been in the millions with the latest reported loss being £28 million . It is lunacy that £6 million is spent each year of taking out seating and putting it back. But, whoever the owners of West Ham would have been, the club would have ended up at the London Stadium.

Secondly, after the disastrous protest at the Burnley game, the owners did listen to the fans. They appointed a supposed top flight manager. They also stopped interfering in the purchase of players and appointed Armando Herrero as Director of Football.

This is all now history. We have what we have and perhaps it is time for an analysis. We are stuck with the stadium. West Ham contributed £15 million to the conversion and the London Borough of Newham, one of the poorest in the country, contributed an insane £40 million.

Let us turn to an analysis of the players, our major asset:

Goalkeeper. It was a brilliant coup buying Fabianski, but poor judgement to let Adrian go and buy a dud as a replacement.

Full Backs. Zabaleta is almost finished. Fredericks I find to be lazy, but could turn out well if he uses his speed. Cresswell has come back to form. Masuaku should be playing in midfield, but may do better with three at the back. I still believe he is a talented player. We need to purchase a couple of full backs.

Central Defenders. Reid is coming back at last but it is unlikely he will regain his form quickly. I believe Diop is a great player and I have no idea how he has ended up on the bench and he may be sold. Balbuena is steady and has recovered from his loss of form. We need another central defender, especially if we go to three at the back, which worked successfully against Gillingham. Ogbonna is playing better than he has ever done.

Midfield. There is a complete lack of pace. Noble has improved dramatically this season, but this should be his last season. Lanzini is totally out of form. Sanchez was a complete waste of money. Wilshere was signed by a complete moron. Snodgrass is slow . Yarmolenko is laborious and should be sold. We should still have faith in Anderson who is able to produce that spark of genius. Fornals is progressing but hasn’t yet shown brilliance.

Attack. The jury is out on Haller. I question his positioning and his passing against Bournemouth was abysmal and he fluffed his chance against Gillingham, but he may come through. I have nothing but praise for Antonio, whose effort is magnificent, but he is not a centre forward. He should play on the right, so he can cut in. Ajeti is an enigma. We are told he can score goals, but he seems lightweight. Diangana should be recalled as soon as possible.

So, there you have it. The best side would be with three at the back with two at the back as the situation requires. Therefore:

Fabianski, Fredericks, Cresswell, Balbuena(substitute Lanzini), Diop, Ogbonna, Rice, Fornals, Anderson, Antonio, Haller

I believe in playing the same side as often as possible and the above talent should be enough, together with our experienced manager, to get us out of trouble……just.

Match Report

We found our Mojo

Here’s a New Year’s joke for you. I heard Manuel Pellegrini went to the doctor because he was suffering from depression. The doctor said ‘ My advice, Manuel, is never to talk about football in your spare time. Keep your problems at work. By the way, why the hell did you play Sanchez and substitute Antonio for Haller?’

We need to set the the scenario. It was with trepidation and hope that I approached the game against Bournemouth. The hope because we have a new manager who can express himself clearly. One has only to compare David Moyes’ first press conference with the last interview with Pellegrini.

In Moyes we have a man who can state his ideas fluently and in the day and a half he had to prepare, he demonstrated this talent. Compare this to the broken English of Pellegrini and his deputy. I would love to hear from players how they coped with this. Apparently, when he and Pellegrini were at Manchester City, James Milner started to learn Spanish, so he could communicate with Ruben Cousillas.

Further , Moyes has shown in one game that he can settle into the job more quickly than any other candidate. In addition, he surrounds himself with men with experience of British football. Hopefully, Stuart Pearce will join the team.

And then there’s the trepidation, because I didn’t want to start the new year in a funk. A gloom descends on our family when West Ham lose and there has been plenty of that recently. Myself, my three sons and my grandson. The women, however, are excluded from this experience and regard our tribal loyalty as some sort of border personality disorder.

One of the comments after my last post said that I was depressing. In a previous post, someone suggested I should get my relatives to check up on me often.

When I saw the line up for the game, I was a little disappointed we weren’t playing three at the back and Haller was going to be left on his own up front. In addition, Antonio was out through injury.

The first few minutes also seemed to indicate little had changed and Bournemouth were lively and we seemed to have difficulty getting possession.
Then, there was a transformation of biblical proportions. It was if a cloud was lifted. It was like Jeremy Corbyn had worked out how to win a General Election or Ann Widdecombe had won Love Island. We had discovered our mojo.

Pellegrini had been right. We needed to discover out confidence. But what it took was a few words from David Moyes in the one and half days he had to get the team ready. And Lady Luck playing on our side and smiling down on us. A fortunate deflection and VAR working for us.

But it was much more than that. The confidence to get the ball forward quickly. To make a run into the box, to shoot. To make incisive passes. With every player performing their role exactly in unison. Gone was the laborious build up.

Mark Noble was a man possessed. Snodgrass had put aside some dreadful recent performances. Fabianski was back. The back four were solid. Anderson was all over the pitch. Fornals definitely put in a Premier League performance. Fredericks getting to the byline.

I’ll have to ask my friend, Dr Freud, how all this happened. But it was probably summed up by the fourth goal. A stunning pass by Rice and then Anderson displaying all his skills. Apparently, Moyes has told him to play like a Brazilian.

So, what are we going to get moving forward? We have found confidence, but can we find consistency? Is it going to be ecstasy and then the agony? And let’s not mess up at Gillingham. We should play the same team. We mustn’t lose this mojo that Moyes has brought us.

Match Report

Adios Pellegrini

He came to us with his mane of flowing grey hair. He oozed quiet confidence. This was to be our season and the Championship beckoned.

Reality bit immediately. We lost the first four games under his stewardship. After that performances went from average to poor. I think Pellegrini’s problem lay with his English. Have a look at his post match interview. My son asked me what he was actually saying.

‘We had to play the whole game in another way, the way we did it.’

‘We lose the confidence and the trust to play and now we are involved in a mess and we must find the best way to resolve’

My four year old grand-daughter could do better. He definitely has the worst English of any manager in any league. When he was offered the job, he must have said , ’That is very good offer. I try my best. You have confidence, the fans have confidence and the players have confidence. Is that Euros or Pounds and will it be cash?’

It is almost incomprehensible that a man who is being paid millions obviously can’t convey confidence and tactics. His formations and substitutions must have come from ’Football for Dummies’

But it would be wrong to blame Pellegrini for all our problems. I think they started with our move to the London Stadium. Our first game was a friendly against Juventus. After a Juventus goal, the commentator said ,’ It’s like shelling peas’. And that would be a good description of the second Leicester goal on Saturday.

Then, we went on to the embarrassment of the Europa League. Problems were there and they never went away.

The Olympic Stadium is a giant mausoleum. The sound disappears into the ether. At Upton Park, the opposition could be intimidated. Not here. By the time a chant starts in one part of the stadium, it has fizzled by the time it gets to the opposite side.

The opposition must love it. In addition, there is the problem of the play being so far from the crowd. No interaction and the away side must think they are playing an exhibition match.

It is going to take some kind of genius to turn things round. We seem to be sinking like a stone. Even Rice has been affected and put in an error strewn performance on Saturday. Making him captain was a stupid decision.

Saturday’s performance against a Leicester second eleven was a disgrace. Fredericks could be seen trotting back to defence when we lost the ball. Lanzini is a shadow of his former self. Mazuaku is brilliant in flashes, but a disaster otherwise. Antonio is not a centre forward. Sanchez, Snodgrass, Fornals are average and Ajeti is worse than that.

We are all in a lift which is going down not up.

Match Report

The Ongoing West Ham Car Crash

I think it is a sign of a good character if you are able to laugh at yourself. The present predicament of West Ham gives us plenty of opportunity to do just that. Michail Antonio literally summed the matter up – we have a car crash. And the argument between our captain and Ogbonna on the field is totally unacceptable. For some reason, Noble was incandescent with rage.

It is pointless to keep complaining about what is going wrong. I think there is general agreement on this. Manuel Pellegrini is the embodiment of Peter’s Principle. He has risen to the level of his incompetence. Based on his post match comments, he is completely out of his depth. He has to go, otherwise the comments I make below are just hot air.

So, when you are in the dumps, you’ve got to look at the positives. There are good players in our squad, but it is obvious that they need reorganising and remotivating. The situation is not going to be helped by buying players in January and expecting some guy from Eastern Europe or South America to save us.

The first job of a government is defence and the same applies to football. You have to have a solid defence before anything else. The West Ham way, whatever that was, is long dead. Pellegrini persists with his ‘attacking’ style and then blames the players for lack of concentration. Sending average full backs up and down the pitch is absolutely hopeless, leaving two at the back and all the gaps that creates.

We have three good defenders and making Diop sit on the bench is a crime. He has probably been out best player since he joined the club. We need to put Ogbonna, Diop and Balbuena in a line. Hopefully, Reid will soon be back as a replacement. Then we can have our two full backs and then we can use Masuaka who has shown he has outstanding ball skills.

We know upfront we need two players and Haller and Antonio can fulfil that role. That leaves three in midfield and that means Rice, Anderson and Lanzini.

We shall also have the bonus of Fabulanski returning to the side.

I also believe in keeping a side together as much as possible, especially in our case, where the depth of our squad is weak.

Onwards to Leicester. We can only hope they are suffering ‘the blues’ after their thrashing by Liverpool. If you didn’t watch that game, I suggest you do, as it was a perfect performance by the Reds

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