Hammers: The missing top six link

Poyet action

By Rich Sprent

The last three league games have highlighted a multitude of unreported issues!

Yes we’ve all read about poor refereeing decisions, manager decisions, substitutions, Sam out/Sam in, next manager, injuries, singing, diving and late, late leads thrown away. However, the real story, as ever, is the team.

Look at the table and it clearly shows that West Ham currently sits in eighth place in the Premier League. The team is only a couple of wins away from challenging for a European place. The last three league results have been draws against the 4th, 5th and 6th place teams.

Many would have taken eighth place at this stage before the season started. There is no doubt that the team has progressed fantastically from the mess of the last relegation.

Coupled with the club’s shrewd running and with such a low wage to turnover rate, it makes it even more of an achievement. With our best XI on the pitch it requires just a little more to push on and actively be a force in the top six places.

Whether that best XI is deployed in a diamond or a more counter attacking 4-5-1, the team have shown that they are more than a match for the teams above them. The squad is however creaking with a lack of midfielders.

The bench on Sunday had just Kevin Nolan representing the engine room. Diego Poyet has had a calf strain and is only recently back in training. He has not been entrusted in the first team squad as yet.

Morgan Amalfitano still has two games to sit out after his petulance at The Hawthorns. If the three were blended then we’d have the answer. All three however just don’t make the grade… yet. For Poyet, there is time to develop. If he does then he will save the club a lot of searching and money.

The defenders are all back in town; Nene is in to cover Carroll and Cole. But why did we not have a plan B for Darren Fletcher failing his medical/deal …cancelled by the board….chose a better deal at Smethwick ?

The arguments for not signing Fletcher were there for all to see. And yet, with no fee involved he could easily have been the difference in turning the last three draws into wins.

Song, Noble and Kouyate work so well together. Song: always available, on the ball, creating space. In effect, he is class. Noble: endeavour, enthusiasm, work rate and an excellent pass completion rate.

He’s the heartbeat of the Irons but for him to raise himself to the level above he requires a better player next to him. Kouyate: breaking play up and then making those runs into the opposition box. He compliments the whole team so well. He is always willing and seemingly always there. The three allow Downing to play with freedom at the tip of the diamond at home and be that wide threat on the road.

Next season? For me, Song must be retained. He has had his critics for his performances since the AFCON squad debacle. But this team needs a player of his class. And for Song to shine he needs players around him to be able to play as well.

That fourth midfielder is required urgently. To either challenge the current starters or improve the options off of the bench. Either way, until we can rely on that fourth midfielder, through a transfer or Poyet stepping up, then we will struggle to dominate top six sides for 90 minutes and make that jump to Europe .


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

6 comments on “Hammers: The missing top six link

  1. The squad is thin,that was highlighted on sunday with the subs bench.But we wont compete pts wise for one other reason while BFS is about.Many of these teams above us find a way to win matches.They score goals in the last 5 to 10 mins to win & gain the 3 pts.How many matches this season have we scored winning goals in the last 5mins or injury time to take all the points.Very rarely because Sam has already shut up shop & is ‘respecting the point’.I bet compared to us all the teams above us have got many points from winning goals near the end of matches.Thats were the extra points are found.Trying to win a game till the end,not being happy with the point like Safety First Samuel.

  2. For me we are a few players short,we need a right back if Jenkinson does not sign,a central defender to cover Reid leaving,Song or another with Poyet and Alfitano to cover no Nolan,
    Cover for Downing or another top play maker,cover for Valencia And Sakho with Carroll as a option,
    Nolan,Cole,Jarvis,Demel,O,Brien must go and have a max of 10 mil value,
    With Song and Jenkinson going to cost 20 mil,we will still have to find possibly 30 mil more to bring in the right players,so now we need to start looking for free agents but the problem is the new manager needs input so we need to remove BFS SOON and give the youngsters
    Some playing time to see if they are what we are looking for.

  3. Absolutely correct TysonM. Someone published these tables on WHO. I am sure they are accurate

    Tottenham Hotspur – 13
    Arsenal – 6
    Burnley – 3
    Manchester United – 3
    Queens Park Rangers – 3
    Stoke City – 3
    Chelsea – 2
    Crystal Palace – 2
    Everton – 2
    Hull City – 2
    Southampton – 2
    Sunderland – 2
    Leicester City – 1
    Liverpool – 1
    Manchester City – 1
    Newcastle United – 1
    Swansea City – 1
    West Bromwich Albion – 1
    Aston Villa – 0
    West Ham United – 0
    Hull City – 7
    Everton – 5
    Newcastle United – 5
    West Ham United – 5
    Aston Villa – 4
    Leicester City – 4
    Queens Park Rangers – 4
    Arsenal – 3
    Crystal Palace – 3
    West Bromwich Albion – 3
    Chelsea – 2
    Liverpool – 2
    Stoke City – 2
    Burnley – 1
    Southampton – 1
    Sunderland – 1
    Swansea City – 1
    Manchester City – 0
    Manchester United – 0
    Tottenham Hotspur – 0

    Put those stats in your computer BFS…

  4. Good work Wittel,im not sure how upto date they are because i know Southampton scoreed at Qpr in injury time recently,so that would give them an exrra 3 pts.But it does prove Sams thinking when we havnt picked up a single point from from a goal scored in the 85th minure or later.Sums up his negative approach.Thanks chap.

  5. Or even Willtell not wittell 😉

  6. I just found a site with a breakdown of every teams goals scored in certain time sectors through matches up until this weekend gone.Between the 76-90mins Villa are bottom with 0 goals.We are joint 2nd bottom with Hull,we have scored 2 goals in the last 15mins of matches all season.The Allardyce Affect for sure.Quite a few teams have scored double figure amounts in this time.Most are above us in the league of course.It could be argued that the better teams will score more goals whatever time it is.But i agree with TysonM,it is the mindset of Samasaurus that has contributed to us only scoring 2 in this time period near the end of a game.

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