The HamburgHammer Column
Close, but no cigar! Gunners with lucky escape as Hammers dominate
Guys and gals, what did we learn on Saurday then ? I guess it’s that NEARLY is the posh cousin of YOU LOST, GET OVER IT!
I’m beginning to type this down straight after the final whistle of our game against Arsenal.
I don’t feel like over-analysing this game, I also don’t feel the need to moan too much (okay, I’m still shaking my fist at the clouds with the football gods in them and a fairly angry expression on my boat) because, frankly, it was a near flawless performance from West Ham under the circumstances.
If we could only have played half as good as this against Newcastle we’d already have points on the board. If we can somehow bottle up the effort, endeavour, guts and desire from this one and uncork it all again for our upcoming league games, I will be nowhere near as worried as just a few days ago. Our team really worked their socks off on Saturday. The stats will back this up, we gave Arsenal an almighty scare, we played some tidy football, we created numerous opportunities (but weren’t ruthless enough) and at least the first of Arsenal’s two goals was borderline offside, the little-toe-might-have-been-offside variety, but still. We deserved a point out of this, maybe even more. When your team is on a good run, things tend to fall into place for you. Right now we just don’t seem to be getting the rub of the green. That’ll hopefully come if we continue to fight and play hard.
I have to congratulate our team and manager for a very decent performance (at least until Arsenal scored their late winner), it was a great game to watch with plenty of goalmouth action, so I really don’t see a strong case for complaining furiously about this one. Two quick points though:
This formation worked really well for us – I have to admit, I didn’t understand our line up at the start of the game, however, after watching our performance and the shift put in by the players, it totally made sense. Even players that had their cards marked as potential weak spots in our team, Fredericks, Cresswell, Masuaku, actually looked alright in their adapted roles, all doing their bit on the day for the cause.
What I still fail to grasp is Moyes’s unwillingness to make changes before the 78th minute. I get it that you sometimes keep your starters on if either your team is playing REALLY well or you simply don’t have options on the bench. I am not saying we wouldn’t have conceded again if only we had made some substitutions around the hour mark.
What I’m saying though is that it’s borderline insulting to put on players like Yarmolenko, Haller and Anderson for 10 minutes or less and expect them to magically have an impact. I would have thrown Anderson, Haller and Yarmolenko on much earlier. If only because Arsenal looked fairly shaky at the back as our stats for shots on and off target would illustrate.
All we needed was someone to tuck these opportunities away and in that respect I would have loved to see Haller from the start (or at least for 45 minutes) whose confidence should have been boosted by his goals in the Charlton game. But it wasn’t to be and we are still on zero points. Hard to take and the games are not only flying in thick and fast now, they are also not exactly getting any easier, maybe with the exception of Hull tomorrow in the Carabao Cup.
Whatever may or may not happen with regard to a potential sale and takeover of the club, well, that’s out of the hands of our fanbase really and certainly out of the hands of our staff of writers here on WHTID.
Whatever will be will be, as the famous football anthem by Doris Day goes.
All the players and the manager can do right now is to work hard on the training pitches and prepare for the next games. And then start to earn themselves a bit of good fortune on the pitch, their fair share of the rub of the green. Maybe even get the odd unexpected draw or win in the upcoming fixtures.
Try to stay positive, try to run, sweat and fight for your teammates out there and get some confidence back into your bones and brains.
It’s still early in the season and our team is good enough to eventually win games. We could do with a bit of help from the transfer market. But that’s one for another article closer to Deadline Day. COYI!!!
Hamburg football update: The Bundesliga season is back! Including Bundesliga 2 of course with the two Hamburg clubs hoisting the footballing colours of my beloved hometown.
Hamburg SV managed a hard fought 2:1 victory in their home opener against Fortuna Düsseldorf who got relegated from the top division in the summer. So a positive start for Kevin Keegan’s former club! Their local rivals from the red light/harbour district St.Pauli kick off their season this evening with a tough away fixture at Ruhrpott club Bochum, the slightly poorer and less successful neighbours of Dortmund and Schalke, who also count plenty of (former) miners and steelworkers amongst their fanbase.
My lovely lower league love, Concordia Hamburg, started their campaign on Friday evening with a 5:2 home win (after being 0:2 down after 30 minutes), in front of 80 socially distanced paying customers. You can sense that a lot of people are still skeptical about going back to watch football, hence the low numbers. For the time being there seem to be different rules for different clubs, in accordance with the facilities on offer at the individual grounds.
Cordi will be able to welcome a maximum of 200 fans, some clubs may not allow away fans in at all while other teams may be able to play in front of 500 fans. It sure felt good to meet some of the regular Cordi faces again and chew the fat about football. They were even selling stylish Cordi facemasks with the club crest and in the red and black team colours!
Also on Friday evening the Under 23s won their cup game 1:0 away to Wentorf (just around the corner from where my brother lives). The Cordi Women’s team also had a cup fixture to maneuver, against the previous season’s cup winners Walddörfer SV who also play another level above the league the Cordi girls have just been promoted to.
So it was always going to be a big ask, considering Cordi’s best player Michelle Hille was out of the game after doing the ligaments in her ankle in the final preseason game last weekend. She was already smiling again before the game, as is her usual habit.
That smile unfortunately turned into a rather frosty expression quickly as a stunned Cordi team lost the game 1:8. Yes, EIGHT! Terrible game to watch, men against boys, sorry, this should maybe read women against girls.
A gulf in quality, Cordi with a 90 minute blooper reel of passes going straight to the opposition with the away side gratefully playing themselves into a attacking frenzy, like sharks feeding on a shoal of sardines.
Lovely weather though. At least the girls can focus on the league now…