Bilic is learning ….but perhaps a little too slowly

These sort of days may soon be behind us

These sort of days may soon be behind us

Slaven Bilic is learning albeit a little too slowly for many of us!

I understand that sounds pompous and I apologise  but I simply couldn’t find another way of putting things after yesterday.

Mark Noble’s absence from the 90 minutes is the first time we can truly say he was dropped – no mysterious injuries, no tacrical explanations. Just dropped. Overdue Slav!

On the bench for 90 minutes and when it was time for a half time change when the awesome Pedro Obiang show took place.

We all love Noble of course but this was overdue and in no small measure the omission saw a quicker team in operation genuinely showing some real tempo at times.

This may have been the moment when Mark’s West Ham career went into it’s final descent as a first team regular. That time has been drawing close and it was an inevitability.

It seems Slaven has finally come to the same conclusion as many but personally I believe it’s taken too long. However better late than err – sometime in the future.

Having hopefully dealt with that one wonders just how long the manager requires to realise that Andy Carroll is not the answer to his front line problems – he’s an impact sub at best.

Last week I spoke with Frank McAvennie who knows a little bit about what a top striker requires. He was adamant that Diafra Sakho is unquestionably the best striker at West Ham.

A few days later Tony Cottee was repeating the same line on the official website – are our best two strikers in years both wrong?

We understand there are issues surrounding the bloke but whilst he is fit, on the staff and desperate to play he and Chicarito look the answer and should it not work IMMEDIATELY surely he deserves the same sort of chance as AC to show what he can do.

Much has been made of Little Pea’s body language after being hooked yesterday – imagine how Sakho must be feeling after scoring and assisting when called on this season.

I am hoping too that the Aaron Cresswell situation is suitably addressed by giving Arthur Masuaku a run and whilst Arnautovic needs more time the jury has to remain out on Bilic’s record signing

But for now, with the Noble situation seemingly solved, the manager really does have to realise that a continuing persistence with Carroll as his No 1 is inflexible and obstinate. Nor is it working!

A decent win with a new strike force against Brighton would help his thinking processes immeasurably – hopefully.


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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


  • sleepswithdafishes says:

    Nobles place was of course taken by Lanzini, and obviously it was the right decision in a 4 – 2 – 2. To play Lanzini in central midfield, it is absolutely necessary to play a very defensive partner supporting him in that area, and of the 3 Kouyate is the one. That situation has just arrived for the first time this seaon, so there was no conspiracy in favor of Noble, only the necessity to play him.
    The fact that Obiang had a good game ( rare this season ), only makes the selection for the next game more interesting. In this formation Check is the obvious partner for Lanzini, and Obiang and Noble must scrap it out for game time.
    I am now looking forward to the next games, with some of our football beginning to take shape, and our squad looking fitter.
    I wonder what would happen to Billic in the summer, if he wins a cup and finishes in the top half?

  • Hazzy says:

    Just like Big Sam, Bilic has his favourites and is downright stubborn. Unfortunately, Allardyce had some tactical acumen, Bilic has none. It’s not AC who cost us 2 points yesterday, it was Bilic, because AC shouldn’t have been on the pitch from the kick off. Surely there is no way the board can renew his contract at the end of this season, and they have a duty to ensure that Sakho stays in readiness for the new manager. If Everton really want AC in January, for goodness sake let them have him. I would add that it’s a shame the board won’t stump up the cash to get rid of Bilic now.

    • Hammerkip says:

      That’s all that needs to be said actually hazz ..he has favorites and bloody stubborn he is ..

  • sleepswithdafishes says:

    By the way, the next game should see the same starting 11 apart for Sahko in place of Carroll, again in a 4 – 4 – 2.
    The Brighton game will be the big test for Hernandes and Sahko, and I think they will pass it with a very good result.

  • Hazzy says:

    I hope you’re right sleeps, problem is for the game after that Sakho will probably be dropped and AC brought back in!

    • sleepswithdafishes says:

      Always a risk Hazzy, but if they perform like we know they can, then Billic won’t change it. He is known to be vindictive, as he has been with Sahko, but now it’s Carroll who has let him down badly in 2 games. Losing against Spurs and thowing away a bolted on win against Burnley, will not be forgotten.
      Lets hope they hit the ground running next Friday evening.

      • Lazurus. rises like a salmon says:

        This is what I think bilic will do with Carroll !! Give him a few days off to recover because he hurt his elbow and he can’t be risked in training because he will hurt himself
        And when the ban is over he will slip him in off the bench and normal service will resume 😎

  • Spotted Dog says:

    We played some very attractive, one touch passing and it gives hope that without Carroll’s height we can still do it. The same team with Sakho and Obiang starting would be terrific and I’d rather give Masuaku a start over Cress.

  • West Ham Fan No 32 says:

    I have always had the opinion Lanzini is the answer in Nobles position, Kouyate puts himself about and is a ball winning central midfielder he is not and never will be a defensive midfielder because he likes to go box to box, Obiang or Rice are the candidates as DM we have an embarrassment of riches in central midfield and lots of options in different formations, if we play a diamond we could put Fernandes in also who is arguably the best passer in the team and with the right coaching could be our version of DeBruyne in a couple of years as he develops. The thing we lack but showed at times yesterday is the tempo, movement and one touch football we have the potential to achieve a lot more often. If Slav bites the bullet and plays our best team for each opponent we should be top eight at the very least. When I watch Watford, Burnley, West Brom etc who are much higher in the table they are good teams but they have nowhere near the squad we do, they play a system though and work as a team and as a consequence are beating teams we should be competitive against namely the top six. I also think the players would be happier if those most deserving of first team places were starting in the 11 rather than Slav’s favourites the best players usually know who each other are so I am fairly confident that dressing room is not as harmonious as it could be and we have been watching the results of that disharmony most of the last 18 months. It’s not too late for someone as bright as Slav to change his ways and I hope he does but if he cannot we should really contemplate moving him on in January and uniting the team for the rest of the season COYI!!!

  • Lazurus. rises like a salmon says:

    Forget 442 we haven’t got the right balance for that !! 3 at the back suits us as proven each time we play it , this is a must at home and to be fair IMO it would prove to go 3-5-2 away !
    That ensures obiang and chieck protect the back 3 and contribute going forward as obiang did when he arrived even with 10 men ? Its balance that’s needed not who we think is our best players , cresswell is a weak link defensively so a back 3 for me with 2 wing backs which allows Antonio to do what he does best use his pace and strength up and down the pitch and on form probably Arthur on the left in place of Arnie who ain’t at the races and IMO can’t do a wing back role and lanzini in the 10 pulling the strings !! Noble doesn’t even make the bench he’s simply not good enough IMO , I would prefer rice to be a floater in regards a c/h or DM/f and I would play Adrian , why not ?
    Adrian zabba Reid rice Antonio obiang lanzini chieck massuaku sakho pea IMO that has a good balance , but if the coach hasn’t got a clue about movement , one touch and more than one idea of how to play football then it will never come together ! Kevin de bryner was class for city and the understanding of the players around him to get on to the end of his passes was exactly what we do not do !! That’s down to bilic and his coaching staff ? They ain’t got a clue lol!! Guardiola said we keep it simple and use pace and understanding ! That’s all !!! 😉

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