Was the best of the bunch on the weekend, and was the only true winger in the England squad for the upcoming internationals.
Absent makes the heart grow....not fonder, more desperate perhaps. Sunday showed that we can be easily blunted and with no physical or area threat amongst any of the forward options, either starting or on the bench, Ade others something different.
If I was the manager I wouldn’t want to bring him back after his shenanigans last season, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet.
His injury has really cost us and I think we all hope he will back for our next game. Let's be honest, if fit he will be straight back in.
Another assist in midweek, and even though he was just a sub he still showed more urgency and desire when retrieving the ball when it went off for a throw in than some of the players in the pitch.
Scored from Holtby’s pass against Anzhi, but frankly it is not enough to score against the bottom team in the Russian league. Whenever AVB made the change and started JD in the league the wee-man needed to score, otherwise all his goals before would be rendered meaningless.
I touched upon the issue with swapping Soldado with Defoe in a column last week, and it was demonstrated on Sunday. Here’s a question for you – when was the last time Defoe scored from a cross by getting to the ball before the defenders? Typically his goals from crosses come from cutbacks, and the Englishman’s tendency to drop deep can leave us without any penalty area threat. Against a 5-5-0 you need someone occupying the centre backs and making them think about what is behind them – Defoe didn’t do that, and despite some good crosses across the goal in the first half Defoe (and everyone else to be fair) were nowhere near them. We were struggling to break through them, and there was no space over the top, so the answer was to get wide and get balls in. We tried, but soon reverted back to failed plan A when it was clear no one was getting near the deliveries.
Anyone who read the ‘what opposition fans are saying thread’ on the board would have heard word that West Ham were trying something different, notably a striker-less formation. AVB obviously didn’t because he was completely unprepared and worse still, had no solution when West Ham’s game plan became clear.
Apart from Townsend, everyone else was poor. We lacked width, especially from the left hand side, we didn’t get enough men in the box, and there was a lack of direction from central midfield to deal with the five men they were facing.
Often we would have at least five players (two centre backs, fine, Naughton at left back, hmmm, and both Paulinho and Dembele) deeper than any West Ham player – it’s no wonder we could not break them down.
There were a lack of changes, even before we went down, but really pissed me off was, having gone two down, we see Soldado and Holtby stripped and ready to go. Double sub, great, lets hope it changes the game. Oh, sorry Lewis, Roberto is going on but you’ll have to stay here like a sodding lemon, for a full seven minutes, while the opposition score another goal, making your introduction completely irrelevant.
Making poor decisions is bad enough; being indecisive is even worse. Hopefully it is just an aberration, but as well as asking more from his players AVB needs to ask more of himself.
P.S. work on set pieces. This isn’t just because we conceded from one, but because we had the worst conversion rate from corners over the last five years while also having the joint top goal scorer from corners over that period! (Adebayor if you were wondering)
Having signed a new three year contract, this should have been a good week for Daws, but after falling over facing Torres last week, Dawson was yet again turned inside out by someone running at him.
It has always been a gaping chink in the centre back’s game but the fact no one has managed to improve his feet, balance and agility over the last decade indicates that it will forever be a problem. Lacking pace isn’t ideal but it does not mean you cannot deal with pace. Sadly Daws looks completely unable to deal with this, and with teams noticing how effective West Ham’s game plan was against us, it is a problem he is likely to face more and more.
I’m not a big Naughton basher, and Walker also had a poor game, but the thing that annoys me most about Naughton is his complete unwillingness to go beyond his winger when we attack. With Sigurdsson drifting in, we lacked so much width on the left, and with no strikers for the centre backs to worry about, Naughton should have either knew himself or been instructed by somebody, anybody, to get right forward, almost becoming an auxiliary winger.
That would have pressed West Ham even further back, stretched them wider, allowed Sigurdsson to join Defoe upfront if he wanted. I know Naughton isn’t naturally left footed but Philip Lahm has shown you can play left back and be right footed. A touch and a cross and the result is still the same. Instead we had yet another performance that was all about avoiding risk. Walker also needed to hit the touchline on the right, but Naughton is not simply offering nothing to suggest he should be selected ahead of Rose when fit, but that it might be worth putting in Fryers or pushing Vertonghen to left back (or even going with three at the back against defensive teams) rather than play Naughton.