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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Terrible signs for West Ham

Its an amazing thing to see that the bottom eleven clubs in the Premier League are only separated by three points and the speculation has begun as to who among them will ultimately find themselves facing relegation. My strong feeling is that West Ham will be one of the three.

At the start of this season, Alan Curbishley was being pressured from above and left the club after securing two wins in three matches. Gianfranco Zola was picked with nil management experience to take over from a man who had neraly twenty years managerial experience - and the signs since then have not been good, to put it lightly.

In the last couple of months West Ham have experienced the following woes:

- lost their club sponsors;
- their chairman is closely caught up in the Icelandic banking system collapse;
- found out they are likely to have to pay huge multi-million pound compensation to Sheff Utd;
- sold Anton Ferdinand;
- Dean Ashton has picked up another long-term injury;
- their run of matches without keeping a clean-sheet has risen to 24 matches;
- they have only picked up one point in the last six matches;
- in their last match they conceded three goals in seven minutes to lose at home in dismal style.

The image of a great club like West Ham playing with a shirt that has numbers sewn on the front like they are an amateur side is reflective of a club that looks to be caught in a spiralling downturn. And to have a rookie trying to manage in these circumstances is looking a recipe for trouble.

Its difficult to think how Zola can change things round. If Curbishley was still in charge he would look to stabilize matters by getting the team organised to keep clean sheets. I think this is the right way to go - a failure to keep a clean sheet for twenty plus matches is a significant problem, let alone for a team that is struggling to score.

This means getting the defence working better - and for me that means not playing Faubert at right-back. I don't understand why Faubert is being played there? He was bought as a right winger and from what I have seen of the player he doesn't strike me as a defensive player. For me, Lucas Neill and even Behrami would be better picks at RB. I would also drop Ilunga if possible. He is good going forward but West Ham needs a stronger defensive presence at LB at the moment. McCartney would be a much better player there - Curbishley was right to question his sale to Sunderland.

I would also be regularly starting Etherington, especially over Luis Boa Morte. The Portugese international does not look anywhere near the same explosive player that he was at Fulham - while Etherington always looks threatening and positive and he (I'm probably the only one) continues to remind me of Jose Antonio Reyes.

Aside from these small changes, its difficult to think what else can be done by Zola to reverse things for the better. For me, the signs demonstrate that they look badly-equipped to battle with their fellow relegation candidates and I unfortunately see them falling into the bottom three as the season unwinds.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you watched a West Ham game!!!

11/12/2008 2:57 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not if but when West Ham start to bag the results. If you watched the Boro or Everton game, you will have noticed the hammers were remarkably solid. A few injured players back, a little more discipline, and you'll be one of the journo's talking about "the remarkable upsurge West Ham this year, despite a little shaky start..."

11/12/2008 3:23 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me mate but you are chatting complete rubbish, no disrespect meant to you, but the only thing you have got correct is the facts about are the stats regarding the last time we kept a clean sheet, the qamount of points seperating the bottom clubs and the fact that Faubert should not be playing right back, apart from that you need to do your home work, drop Ilunga, Drop Ilunga are you feeling ok , he is arguably one of our best players who actually offers the team something defensively and attacking, didnt you see how he kept the amazing Walcott of Arsenal quiet, the guy is class and is our best purchase so far, a signing i hope they make permanant in Jan, our problems are obviously defensively and collectively, were is Tompkins, and sorry i just rememberered what you said about Etherington, reyes!!?? WTF are you mad, etherington and Boa Morte are a complete waste of space, they arfe has beens, boa morte is still the better of the 2 as he offers more, he is an aggressive chase everything down type of player, going forward he is not bad but has no end product, Ethers cna get down the wing but he is not consistant enough, he never has ever been a top player so i dont know why we keep him, Im getting fed up with the fact that we are not giving Kyel Reid a shot, ive seen this boy play and he is streets ahead of both etherington and Boa Morte, every game i see him on the bench as 3rd choice and he looks so down in the dumps, i dont blame him, he has pace, a little flare, and can cross a ball and im sure would score a few if given a decent run. Im getting quite angry at the fact that he is not given a look in. At the end of the day i can see him doing any worse. Zola is going to be a good manager, he is just learning his trade and once he can sort out the defense we will be a force.

The games that i have seen since he has been in charge when we are moving the ball about teams cannot get near us but as soon as they do get a chance our defence goes to pot, attacking wise we are ok but just cannot put the ball in the net, Bellamy has not lived up to his expectations at all and he is someone who is suppoised to be one of our top players and has yet to score since coming back from injury. Time will Tell but i must say you were also right with the comments about relegation battle, as that is the form our statistics represent. For all the dominance during the majority of our games its all about the results.

11/12/2008 3:35 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you fuck of you fucken prick?



11/12/2008 3:52 pm

Anonymous The 6th Green said...

sounds like comments made from just looking in the papers the day after the game. etherington's only problem is that he gets pushed off the ball too easily. boa morte i think is crap, he'll do something that looks like it has potential then give the ball away easily, do something stupid or put the ball in row z. our problem is that both parker and bowyer are not fit at the moment so have trouble going 90 minutes going forward and protecting our bodged back 4. of that back 4, illunga has been the best player so far this season. collins doesn't have enough games under his belt after a long injury either. faubert was pushed into right back to solve our lack of pace there only but is a different type of player. the thing that zola should be doing is to bring on mullins when we score, we're having trouble scoring more than one goal in a game so bring on mullins as holding midfielder to protect the back 4 more.

11/12/2008 6:30 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

faubert i agree with the rest is a load of bollocks mate!! did u watch the game against everton all we need to do is get back a few injuries and if they once again dont come then its just a matter of tightening up at the back!!!

AND ILUNGA IS AMAIZING BOTH GOING FORWARD AND GETTING BACK!! yes i miss mccartney but ilungas a pretty good replacement!!

11/12/2008 6:32 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your a tit, try watching a game you plum.

11/12/2008 11:51 pm

Blogger Joppe - said...

Good thing this place is called elite football talk and not football elite talk since this post is such an obvious remash of 50 other article based desk products of late.

If there are problems in a club any commentator should evaluate the difficulty in rectifying these problems, not just list the most obvious and hook on a catchy doom.

Analyse the games! Analyse the options! Better luck next time...

11/13/2008 10:01 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just for the record, Ithink GZ has been incharge for 8 games(?). That means Curbs was in charge for the previous 12 when we failed to keep a clean sheet. So I don't buy the comment that Curbs would 'stabilise' the team and get them to 'keep clean sheets'. Just thought I'd mention it. Plum.

11/13/2008 11:05 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean previous 16 games of course. Plum.

11/13/2008 11:08 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Faubert....never mind right back, every time he goes to put a cross in or takes a free kick it never gets above head height and is easily blocked...can't remember one decent cross..right wing? - forget it !!

11/13/2008 11:59 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone that calls their blog 'Elite Football' and starts off with the tarty hammy blurb at the beginning clearly knows FA about football. Excellent qualifications for being in charge of the game at the moment. I'm sure you'll fit in with 'brandspeak', cost centres and franchises.

Unfortunately for you in this case you blabbed about the team whose fans have a tradition and knowledge far superior to your average fair weather top 4 fan. SO go back to reading the Beano and Dandy - you'll find more out in those about West Ham's football that the rags you've clearly read to 'form' this ignorant and stupid opinion.

11/13/2008 12:41 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks for your comments - didn't look to stir and I have taken on board the constructive comments about your team - especially third anon and the 6th green.

Joppe - if you have analysis I would like to hear it. There are many analytical pieces on EFT - this was more an instinctive piece as highlighted by the title of the post.

On watching West Ham - I watched the whole West Ham v Everton match as well as ninety minutes against Arsenal and Bolton. Admittedly that's not all their matches - but you can pick up things nonetheless. The Everton match was even for much of the game and the goal was very well worked - but it must be said that Everton deserved the win for the way they finished the game.

Curbishley kept Charlton up season after season by concentrating totally on defence if they going through a bad spell - he was a guy who believed in going 'back to basics' if the team were on a bad run... he said it many times.

I like what I see of Ilunga - he is a modern full back in the mould of a Clichy and Evra and definitely has a promising future for West Ham. But at this time when I feel clean-sheets should be prioritised I feel a more rugged player would be more suitable - that doesn't mean I don't rate Ilunga.

I'll look out for Kyle Reid should he be involved against Portsmouth.

11/13/2008 12:50 pm

Anonymous West ham memorabilia said...

I think as things are in the state they currently are 'The hammers' can only hope to gain more prominence this season, finger scrossed things begin to pick up,

Up the hammers !

11/13/2008 4:53 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

There are a number of you who should go and run and jump. If that's your attitude, please, by all means, do so. Dont come on here rag-tailing the author for his views, you disagree with him so strongly then put down where and why.

When you place the likes of Anon at 11/12/2008 3:52 PM, Anon at 11/12/2008 11:51 PM, then jopp afterwards saying "Analyse the games! Analyse the options! Better luck next time..." together, that tells you what exactly, other than your discontent at his opinion? The same insight you claim T lacks is lacking itself from your own comments. It's not even insight where the two Anon references are concerned.

Where is West Ham going? T stated his opinion on that above, asked for yours. Mine is not viable at the moment, little is to be picked up on even in November. There is no hiding from the homes performances of Bolton, Arsenal and Everton. Against Arsenal, WH gave as good as they got but came unstuck after one sub and a mistake at the back. Against Bolton came one Green error and maybe a second for the 2nd goal. Against Everton I felt they were the better side, gained the goal, didn't push on after it with a second they would have deserved, and then committed defensive frailties to allow Everton back in to win it.

Defensively they miss Ferdinand and Gabbidon, and for me this was summed up by Berbatov's turn by the touchline against Collins. Etherington is a good player and should be a regular, I think he and Di Michele can use their pace more fluently when playing at the same time, Bellamy needs to get back to his scoring ways alongside Carlton Cole, who needs to pull his finger out and be more productive for a 6' plus striker.

Zola needs to grab hold of his players and get through to them more thoroughly or indeed risk fighting relegation come March.


11/15/2008 2:34 am


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