This is a statement from Danijel Arnautovic, Marko’s brother and agent said
“West Ham bought Marko for peanuts. They paid £20m for him, which is nothing in the current market. They bought him to keep them in the Premier League last season and he did that. He took every award at the club; best player, signing of the season and the players’ award. Now West Ham have a fantastic offer. It is close to double what they paid for him. He wants to go to a new market and challenge for titles. This is what he wants. It is his great desire that West Ham accept the offer from China. He knows the West Ham fans love him and he has a special connection with them, but things move on, this is the world of sport, and he hopes they can understand.“Marko is professional and is preparing himself for the Arsenal game. He will give 100 per cent for West Ham. That is Marko. He will never change.Until he is no longer a West Ham player, he will give everything to the club.He hopes the fans can respect his wishes.”
I have a lot of views on this, but given I am preparing for my radio show I’ll leave it you all to have your say.
The consenus seems to be that Manuel Pellegrini is a bit stuck for players for the match against Birmingham. Far from it, I’d say. We certainly shouldn’t disrespect Birmingham City, as they lie 8th in the Champtionship. Gary Monk has done a great job in turning round a club that seemed to be in permanent decline. However, there are a couple of players I certainly wouldn’t risk in the starting line-up. They would be Marko Arnautovic and Felipe Anderson. They are the two key players in determining how far up the table we finish at the end of the season. Put them on the bench by all means, and bring them on if necessary, but protect them. I think Snodgrass deserves a rest too.
Adrian will surely get a run-out in goal. I’d keep the back four the same, with Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Diop and Cresswell starting. In midfield I’d play Rice and Noble centrally, with Antonio and Masuaku or Diangana playing wide, with Perez and Carroll up front.
Nasri could start, but I’d have thought is more likely to play the last twenty minutes from the bench. So here’s my lineup…
Subs: Fabianski, Coventry, Nasri, Arnautovic, Snodgrass, Anderson, Obiang
I didn’t buy a ticket for the game and now I really regret it. If you’re going, make some noise!
In my humble opinion Manuel Pellegrini will have learnt more from this match than any other that we’ve played this season.
He will have learnt…
1. That he picked the wrong starting line-up.
2. That Obiang is not Noble, and that partnering him with Rice doesn’t work.
3. That Carroll and Arnautovic should never, ever, ever appear in the same starting line-up again. Ever.
4. That for this team to be successful it has to be built around Arnautovic and play to his strengths.
5. That Antonio’s best position is wide right, and that he has more pace than he first thought.
6. That Zabaleta is perhaps nearer the end of his career than he first thought.
7. That the female lineswoman clearly had a grudge against Snodgrass.
8. That Felipe Anderson gets better as a game goes on. And he can actually win the odd tackle too.
9. That if we play with pace rather than amble around it brings goals.
10. That the crowd really can be our twelfth man.
The main thing supporters learned from this game is that we have a manager who knows when to make a substution and who to bring on for whom. I think most of th crowd agreed that Carroll needed to come off at half time. I was also willing him to bring Antonio on, although perhaps I might have brought on Diangana rather than Noble, and switched Snodgrass more centrally.
It’s highly unusual to come back and get a point from two goals down. I’m sure we’ve done it before but I can’t think when. And the crowd needs to learn from this too. The gound was incredibly quiet in the first half and its nervousness transmitted itself to the team. It was only when Arnautovic scored his first goal that there was any noise at all, and it kept going for the rest of the second half. Guys, we’re going to have 60,000 people in the stadium for the big games. At least that’s the plan. We ought to have the place rocking, but it also needs to rock when we’re not playing well. Because when the crowd rocks, it’s like shooting an electric surge through the whole team. Today Brighton visibly wilted when we got going and it wasn’t just because of what was happening on the pitch itself.
Yes, we may all feel angry at the pathetically lethargic first half performance. But let’s respect the point. Previous West Ham teams would have folded after losing two goals, and probably let in more. This one didn’t.
We’re tenth and only three points of seventh. And seventh is basically the best any of the teams below Manchester United can aspire to this season. Let’s face it, after the first few games this season, we’d all have given our eye teeth to be where we are now.