The GoatyGav Column
Except for losing 4-0 in the season’s opener. So today’s piece is gonna be relatively brief (some of you will be thankful for ???? ) not just due to the fact that we got gubbed but also to the fact that I’m on hols with the family in North Devon.
Yesterday’s game (as I write) was viewed with a few fellow Hammers, who I was glad to have encountered, in the ‘Local’ 5 doors down from the holiday cottage we’ve rented out. Got to know Geoff, and his lad, a little during the course of the game and Andy’s family who were down for a wedding in Broughton and reception around the corner. Turns out Andy has coached kids, for a lot longer than I’ve been doing it, to a decent level. The club he’s involved with may be familiar to some. The ‘Heybridge Swifts’ made last year’s FA Cup first round where they were knocked out by League 2 Exeter City. They also progressed in the FA Trophy and recently saw their Spanish youth player, Luque, sign a contract with Lincoln City. Proper West Ham fans all – with an, unsurprising, great knowledge of the game.
So we were on equal terms with he Liverpool fans in numbers – shame that wasn’t reflected on the pitch.
For me the first 20 minutes was pretty solid from our boys. The shape was good and Liverpool struggled to open us up. After that we seemed emboldened and fell in to the trap that so many succumb to when playing the Red half the former Lancastrian city. Jürgen Klopp has turned exploiting the aspect of the ‘transition’ in matches in to a fine art. They move the ball so quickly and well having won it back, while their opposition are caught out of shape, that they create truckloads of chances in games. Impressive stuff which was on show for all to see yesterday. Andy made the point, while we sat watching the game, that we gave them too much space out wide. Perhaps there’s merit in having 5 at the back not 4 but I’m not convinced it would have made much difference had we had 3 Centre Backs supported by a full back/wing back either side.
There were a number of new recruits last season, in the first game I posted an article on, in a game that we were well beaten by Newcastle in. The team needed time to gel then as it does now because there were a few new signings. West Ham were extremely poor in that game. Yesterday was more a case of Liverpool being very good. There won’t be many who will go to Anfield and get anything – we’re just one of many.
I think there’s lots for Manuel Pellegrini to take from this season’s opener. I hope that he’s learned a lot which will help him progress and develop this group of talented individuals. On that – this squad has the potential to do extremely well this season. Yes – the quicker they start playing as a unit the better, but time will be needed. We’ll know much more 8-10 games in so no snap judgements from me.
Right – that’s it folks. I’m off for a meal with the good lady wife and boys after our first time attempts at surfing today. Not sure if the Red flags came out after 20 mins of fam Thurston being in the water or if it was because of the dangerous tides and waves. Hazard signs may be put out ahead of our next attempt on Wednesday. If any of you are in the water in North Devon beware!
COYI! West Ham 4 The Cup!