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Amidst the Irons gloom here’s some plusses


By CandH blogger Allen Cummings


As one of the 2000 or so travelling fans, who battled the motorways and midlands traffic to stand inside a freezing Molineux and watch three points slip away, maybe I can lay claim to feeling a little more disappointed than some!

All the new-found optimism and euphoria of last Saturday’s supreme effort at Stamford Bridge appeared to evaporate overnight, and judging by some reactions we’re back to the finger-pointing blame game some seem to relish so much.

But looking at the Premier League table this morning I note we are still in 13th place. We are two points off Burnley, whose manager many seem to covet, and share the same points as Bournemouth – whose manager we appear to covet even more.

Wolves are an excellent side. Make no mistake about that. They have now gone 10 Premier League games undefeated. They sit proudly in fifth place in the league while advancing impressively to the next stage of the Europa League.

They are well-organised, play good football and the Molineux crowd have become used to winning. Yet those of us there could sense a genuine edginess in the ground until that second goal went in on 86 minutes.

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We certainly weren’t on the back foot all night, as some have suggested. As Pellegrini said we conceded a sloppy first goal again, but on the night we also had plenty of possession and enjoyed good spells of pressure.

We clearly didn’t have the same drive and intensity as at Stamford Bridge, but much of that was down to our new talisman Michail Antonio being missing.

But we did have a different-looking Felipe Anderson, who enjoyed without doubt his best game of the season so far, playing in a new role that clearly suits him. We also saw another improving performance from Pablo Fornals.The youngster has had his critics, but he’s never hidden in games, and never gives less than 100% effort.

His non-stop energy and movement convinces me he is going to be a decent player for us. The slick one-two with Anderson and resultant shot, well saved by Patricio, was a little cameo of what is possible. We also saw the Balbuena/Ogbonna partnership taking shape further.

Last Saturday clearly took a lot out of the legs of the likes of Noble, Snodgrass and even Rice – all of whom looked to be struggling at times. But we now have five days to recover – while Arsenal, who play tonight – will have one less.

With Antonio back, David Martin still between the posts and the fire of another London derby in our bellies, I’m confident we can move on and continue our climb away out of trouble.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

11 comments on “Amidst the Irons gloom here’s some plusses

  1. 100% agree with A.C above. Anderson was our stand out player last night covering all positions. Rice although improved, nerds to take some chances & have a go at opponents goals from distance if his YouTube vid is anything to go by unless it’s only when nobody is against him that he can whip the ball in like he did?? We need to take more of an aggressive approach & make their keeper’s work

  2. Well said Allen!! The game definitely wasn’t as bad as some people are making out and with Antonio back, Anderson and Fornals improving and Noble rested, I think they’ll give the London Stadium something to shout about on Monday night!! COYI!!

  3. Saving Sully a few more quod by claiming fans don’t want pellers sacked….pathetic mouthpiece

  4. Yes Noble looked tired and Snodgrass was never at the races,his 1st two corners never cleared the 1st line of defence.At 32 a midweek game was too much for both.Everything was in front of Wolves and they mopped it up easily.If we do not get width and in behind defences how on earth is a target man like Haller supposed to score(looks lost on his own).Fornals looked the likeliest which is good going forward but without Antonio its hard to see where the goals are going to come from.We definately need a squat,barrel chested striker aka Tony Cottee (if only) type and a young box to box midfielder this January.Arsenal could be Pellegrinis Waterloo?.I learnt last night that when he played for Frankfurt Haller was part of a 3 pronged attack hence the goal return.There just seem to be so many clueless decisions and tactics at present under Pellegrini.

  5. Agree about Fornals…his shot and the pass to Snodgrass were fantastic moments of skill. Anderson was excellent. We’ll see the best from him when others start to run into better positions and he doesn’t have to play everywhere. Rice and Ogbonna continue to produce. Martin did well again. There are grounds for hope!

  6. Allen
    Would you put Diop next to Rice. Could he boost our midfield.

  7. Nice idea re Diop & Rice Jimbo 44 it might give our defence more aggression & allow Rice move forward with ball, The problem being is Pelle sensible enough to try something new, we will see.

  8. Jimbo, iv’e been saying this for several weeks. With the centre back pairing seemingly ticking along quite well let the two energetic, defensive minded youngsters see what they can do. It must give us more defensive stability.

  9. Agree about Anderson looking better, and even Fornals looked the part at last – but I stick to the ‘not being at the races’ thought – Wolves were all over us for long periods, our efforts were few and far between, we were definitely second best – by a long way!

    I propose Jorge Mendes does our Recruitment from now on!

  10. Interesting article Allen – I always enjoy your pieces – and in the roller coaster ride of being a West Ham fan some levity is always helpful

    However after the current round of matches we are now 15th (i.e. bottom six) and just two points off the relegation zone – so as fans we would like to see manager and players showing that they care – I did get that feeling against Chelsea – I hope that we can show it again when we play Arsenal

    Also I think that for the team it would be good to get away from this “two games left to save his job” syndrome

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