Zaman Siddiqui's Match Review
Gosh, that match against the team in the red and white stripes sure was difficult. We were playing Southampton, right? Honestly, I don’t know what to make of that match. We are 13th, but surely won’t stay there much longer. We played so poorly that we made Sunderland look like Southampton. Prior to this match, the Black Cats had failed to score in their last six matches, losing five of those – they scored two against us and drew. Leicester had failed to win away in the league all season before playing us – they beat us. Bournemouth defeated us, in spite of missing two penalties. Why must we be the club that makes others look good by comparison?
Randolph played horrendously. This is certainly not a one-off incident, as he has conceded many goals from similar positions. He has been poor on corners, conceding against West Brom and nearly against Swansea in our last match. I wouldn’t be surprised if pinning Randolph during corners was part of Sunderland’s game plan. But it isn’t just this match alone: he has made more errors leading to goals than any other player in the PL this season (4). When our club was founded in 1895, I’m sure one of the main tenets was to dispose of underperforming players to the bench, so that everyone has a fair chance to play. Randolph earned his place in the starting XI this way. Perhaps the same rules should apply to Adrián?
I think Randolph will be well acquainted with another invention from 1895 – the Gillette disposable razor blade. I’m not sure if others noticed, but he shaved off his beard for this match! Sadly, it proved to be ineffective, as the clean-shaven goalkeeper couldn’t keep a clean sheet. In fact, it was arguably the worst thing he has ever done, as he conceded two dismal goals. Fortunately, the newly-shaven Irishman will likely continue in goal. In his post-match interview, Bilic said: “It was a well taken goal from Borini and okay, you expect to clear the ball, but … the ball dropped and unfortunately he couldn’t hold it." Methinks the gaffer likes the new Randolph… Don’t be surprised to see Bilic sign Joe Hart in the summer, having watched him in a Head & Shoulders ad.
Moving on, another thing that we can use to widen our understanding of the ins and outs of football is two-part pricing. This is something that has become ubiquitous in the modern economy. How this works is you buy a relatively inexpensive product and spend considerably more on the replacement. For instance, have you ever noticed how the cost of replacement cartridges for an inkjet printer eventually add up to the cost of the printer itself? The reason behind this is that manufacturers deliberately sell their printers at a low cost to ensure that consumers buy ink cartridges from them. (What other alternative do the consumers have? Buy a new printer?) Likewise, Gillette sell their blade holder at a low price and sell their blades at a higher one.
When Fonte and Snodgrass were brought in, they were given higher wages. This isn’t much of a problem, but they were also signed for large transfer fees. This is what has caused a bit of kerfuffle in the dressing rooms with the other players who are unsettled. Noble, Kouyaté and Reid make less than them. Given the fact that the new players would have received a sell-on-fee (percentage of the transfer fee), the amount they receive is even higher! Had the club followed the basic rule of two-part pricing, the players could have been signed on high transfer fees, as well as an increase on the sell-on-fee percentage, in order to be able to offer lower wages. If Southampton and Hull wanted a lot for them, that is fine. But for the players to demand such exorbitant wages is detrimental to success. Simply put, just because our new signings are on higher wages doesn’t mean we are making progress as a club.
Bilic needs to be able to select teams based on both form and closeness. By that, I mean how well the player is doing in training sessions and how they interact with others on the pitch. It is painstakingly obvious that Bilic is stubborn. Be that his tactical nous or his team selection, he will never relent. I’m just going to focus on the latter for the time being. I feel as though he doesn’t want to put Adrián back in, because it will send out the message that both our keepers are subpar. They are, but it is very unlikely we will upgrade our goalkeeping selection. I honestly don’t believe he has faith in Randolph. Either that or he wants Adrián to leave the club by depriving him of game time.
One of the major problems we are experiencing is seeing games out. We have conceded a lot of late goals and I believe this is down to our laid-back approach. It simply isn’t enough to lead. We need to start winning convincingly. Much like Everton and Lukaku will be against us (I hope I’m proven wrong on that). For instance, last season we lead 1-0 against Villa who had 10 men on the pitch. We were desperately trying to put the game to bed, but we did it eventually winning 2-0. That is the sort of ambition we need to have. That includes discipline, as we have been shown more red cards than any other side in the Premier League this season (5). Byram got one in the 95th minute in this match as did Antonio in the 86th minute against Watford.
Without a win in months? Without a goal in tons of games? Player on a goal drought?
Don't worry, call West Ham.
— Uber West Ham (@UberWestHam) April 15, 2017
Our match against Everton certainly doesn’t fill me with confidence. If we get anything from it, we can count ourselves lucky. Bookies will be lowering their odds on Lukaku scoring. Had we won this match, I would have been slightly more optimistic about our next one. In some ways, we were fortunate to draw, given the fact that our two goals came from just three shots on target. Sunderland had double the amount of shots we had, so anything could have happened. If Bilic thinks that he will keep his job if we finish say 15th, then he is sorely mistaken. We are staying up, but that isn’t enough for a club like us. We have invested a considerable amount on players, so I don’t think he can rely on the success of last season. Just look at what happened to Claudio Ranieri.