The Blind Hammer Column
Blind Hammer welcomes a pragmatic approach from Pellegrini.
Whilst a defeat is always a disappointment I welcomed Pellegrini’s strategic approach to our clash with City.
Watford’s performance at Anfield demonstrated the perils of not just competing but also managing resources against the Super Rich clubs.
In that context, losing only to a contentious penalty must be counted as a measure of progress. City had won all six of his previous matches against us, with an aggregate score of 22-3.
Pellegrini has repeatedly asserted that West Ham are a “big club”. Yet here he adopted a welcome pragmatic approach. His team competed, toe to toe. Yet they were not gung ho. were they were able to progress and repeatedly catch City players offside. This was not a performance simply built around playing deep.
Despite returning players, Pellegrini has had to manage with relatively wafer thin resources. When looking at the challenges of the current 8 day window the home games against Fulham and Newcastle always represented our most realistic opportunity for collecting points.
The win against Fulham came only after a difficult start. It reinforced the reality that all games in the PL remain challenging and competitive for West Ham. Newcastle on Saturday will represent a test stepped up from last week.
I welcomed Pellegrini’s squad rotation last night. In that context the virus that reportedly excluded Arnautovic, May, providing he recovers in time for Saturday, may represent a blessing in disguise.
It was a positive that not just the emerging talents of Johnson but Diangana and even Rice expanded their experience of premier League football at the highest level. Not just Nasri and Lanzini but also Fredericks gained valuable minutes in their road to fuller recovery. We should remember Fredericks, despite his reputation, has little recent PL experience to fall back on. His breakthrough came in the championship.
Even fringe players like Carroll and Obiang reportedly performed to a higher level. The squad looks stronger after this game than before it.
The recovery of Nasri and Lanzini may well prove critical in the weeks ahead. Anderson has played virtually every game, even having to come on in Cup games, and is probably feeling the strain.
So whilst defeat is disappointing, it is definitely a glass half full moment for me with several positives for both Pellegrini and the squad.