Monday, October 16, 2017

West Ham’s bubble has now burst

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 26 Sep 2016

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West Ham boss Slaven Bilic is already under-pressure after the Hammers poor start to the campaign

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic is already under pressure after the Hammers poor start to the campaign

It’s hard to resist making jokes about bubbles bursting when it comes to West Ham. However, I cannot help feeling sorry for the Hammers fans after the team’s nightmare start to their campaign.

It has been the sort of nightmare where Freddy Krueger pays you a visit and you are glad to wake up to discover it was not real. West Ham fans are not waking up, though, and their team has really lost five of their first six Premier League games.

West Ham fans are not waking up, though, and their team has really lost five of their first six Premier League games.

On Sunday the Hammers suffered a woeful 3-0 home defeat against Southampton. It was hard to find many positives from the West Ham performance.

There was very little sign of what was to come this season from last year’s seventh-place finish. Not many people would have predicted this season’s woes. However, knowing how much of a pessimistic bunch West Ham fans can be I bet there were a few naysayers out there.

Where has it gone wrong?

Last season in Slaven Bilic’s debut campaign as Hammers boss, the team looked fantastic going forward and were involved in a lot of entertaining games.

However, looking back at last season a lot of the West Ham games were tight score-wise, even if they were not tight goals-wise. The Hammers would win by the odd goal in five and in truth many of those games could have gone the other way.

Last season Bilic’s side were anything but cautious or defensively solid for much of the campaign, but it did not matter because going forward they were very effective. This season Bilic’s side have not been so prolific and their defensive problems from the end of last season have persisted.

In four consecutive league defeats, West Ham have conceded an amazing fourteen goals, seven of those on their new ground. As a former centre-back Bilic must be tearing his hair out at his team’s defending, but it is the Croatian who is responsible for organising the defence.

Bilic is doing a Martinez

Slaven Bilic is going through second season syndrome and his current situation resembles that of Roberto Martinez during his debut campaign at Everton.

The Spaniard finished fifth with a defensive set-up built by the pragmatic David Moyes. Then it all went pear-shaped in his second and third seasons.

Bilic virtually kept the same defensive set-up from now-England boss Sam Allardyce. He did introduce more attacking flair though in the likes of the brilliant Dimitri Payet and also the underrated Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio.

However, Bilic must have realised last season that his defence was not solid enough. He probably should have strengthened at centre-back. James Tomkins was sold by the Hammers in the summer.

That decision surprised me because I know he was not always first-choice, but he looked decent when I saw him play. The likes of James Collins, Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna also seem like decent defenders.

However, at the moment the Irons are being hammered by teams. It has not taken much to beat the Hammers this season and Bilic will be fuming.

Oh well Slaven, just like your aforementioned Spanish colleague you may end up with a big pay-off and the reward of managing one Europe’s most promising international teams.

West Ham will be fine

People have been talking about West Ham being in crisis. Even discussing them as relegation candidates, with the Hammers now odds of 5/1 to be relegated to the Championship.

It is very early in the season and performances will improve in the near future. There is a lot of quality in that squad. I am not going to say they are too good to go down, as it’s happened to the Hammers before with a good squad.

However, I highly doubt that come what May that West Ham will still be near the relegation zone. If they are then Bilic will be either heading for the exit door or already replaced by somebody that will keep them in the league.

West Ham fans are accustomed to adversity and are now hardened to the roller-coaster ride that is supporting the club. It seems unlikely many are panicking just yet.

What has gone wrong at West Ham this season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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