Well that and lot’s of other tactical insights but I couldn’t resist the festive headline. Perhaps I’ve been indoctrinated by the premature Christmas music on my trip to the supermarket to grab some milk earlier today.
Anyway. . . . I digress. You poor long suffering Hammers fans have had enough misery during the last few days without me doing an impression of the Grinch. The Grinch for those of you who don’t know is a green goblin like creature who stole Christmas from a town of well meaning happy go lucky folk and ruined the festive season (you can probably see where this is going ).
Christmas is traditionally seen as the cut-off doom and gloom junction by which all of football sets its calendar. I’m no stats man and I’m sure there are exceptions but the gist of the theory is that if you’re bottom when Santa arrives you’re doomed. I probably don’t need to point out that West Ham are not bottom of course but the run of fixtures coming up does not bode well and it’s feasible that we’ll be down there on December 25th.
Before we all take major solice in the fact that we’re not quite as crap as Swansea or Palace it is worth noting that Sunderland were 18th in the league at turkey time last season and they still went down. Our current manager David Moyes was at the helm but could do little to stop the slide and he often opted to play seasoned pro’s like John O’Shea, Jermain Defoe and vice captain Lee Cattermole. There was a mild roll of the dice which saw him bring in Adnan Januzaj whom he’d worked with previously but by and large Moyes relied on his senior players and it failed.
We can only hope that the new West Ham manager has learnt from his recent experience because time is not on his side. Moyes had spent much of the build-up to the Watford game praising the virtues of Andy Carroll but he must have seen that plainly and simply the target man looked like a liability. Big Andy and a few others must not be indulged because they are senior players and because of the achievements of yesteryear. We don’t have the luxury of giving players five or six games to see what they can do.
It’s an oversimplification but we have 26 games remaining and probably need to win 11 of them. Clearly one can cut and slice the remaining games and reach the magic 40 point mark by throwing some draws into the mix but the fact remains that we don’t have time to adapt. If players are going to perform in the limp fashion they did on Sunday then they need to be jettisoned irrespective of reputation.
We have a striker scoring goals for fun in the reserves and a playmaker in Domingos Quina who was player of the tournament in the recent Euro championships and is coveted by Europe’s mega clubs. It’s time for a bit of bravery and a gamble from the manager, it’s one thing telling the players that you’ll only accept 100% but they are empty words unless backed up with action.
It’s time for a shake-up and after one game certainly time to ditch the Christmas pudding up front formation.
The views in this blog are not necessarily those of Claret & Hugh so make sure you blame me for calling Andy Carroll a Christmas pudding.