web analytics

More questions than answers right now Slav

Bilic1There were many big questions that need answering this evening but let’s just take two of them:

1/ Why was Michail Antonio taken out of the right back position and shoved on the left wing?

2/ Why did players – eight of whom had not played at the weekend look so knackered and out of it at the end.

I truly am confused about the start to this season and have been since the squad returned on a July Friday, flew to America a couple of days later, played games, flew back in and then took off for Austria and three friendlies.

That’s one hell of a lot of flying and travelling and at the end of the Austria experience they travelled by road to theย first qualifying match of the Europa Cup from the Austrian training camp.

On their return to England they continued with an intense training regime ย ahead of the second leg and the emotionally sapping prestige friendly against Juventus.

Then came the toughest possible opening Premier League fixture at Chelsea and more travelling this week to Romania.

The lads ย will be back by around 4 am on Friday morning, will presumably train again on Saturday before the PL home game opener on Sunday.

It may be getting to them because for me they really have looked leg weary for several games now and it’s worrying to watch us defending, often chaotically as we did tonight at times, whilst watching so little happen up front.

Michael Antotnio’s situation meanwhile is not easily explained for after seeing him finally taken out of the right back role he was given another position to fill which doesn’t suit him – down the left wing.

Ok, I understand that Slaven Bilic wants to take a look at Gokhan Tore who has been injured and thankfully included Michail, perhaps putting to bed stories of a fall-out between manager and player.

The ยฃ7 million signing had the misfortune to smash a shot wide in the second half but certainly looked our liveliest attacker – even when being played out of position.

Slaven has a decision to make and the vast majority would probably believe that Antonio must be the first choice down the right side.

There are other issues; Valencia’s form, sloppy passing, the lack of control when in possession and few options going forward. Is it down to tiredness and travel weariness? I don’t know but simply pose the question.

The return of Dimi Payet and Manu Lanzini will help enormously of course but for me it’s been a disappointing and confusing start after such a bright 2015/16 season.

At the moment there seem more questions than answers. I hope and believe the manager will answer them all starting this weekend against Bournemouth.


Click Here for Comments >

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

34 comments on “More questions than answers right now Slav

  1. At the start of last season, bar the win at the Emirates, we played appalingly in the Europa Cup, lost to Werder Bremen, then lost at home to Leicester and Bournemouth. This time last season we were just as bad if not worse until we turned up at Anfield then things changed.

  2. Antonio played left wing for Forest many times.In fact I think you will find he played on the left flank a helluva lot.We didn’t have a full strength team out & he filled in in this team.Do some research & you will find Antonio was regularlyly a left winger at NF.
    It was also bloody hot & humid there tonight.

    • Yes very true he has, though I thought Tore could also operate on the left indeed I assumed this would be his natural birth for most matches. If both prefer the right then that would be three right wingers to choose from while stuck with Valencia on the left at least till Payet is ready but then I always assumed he would have more of a roaming role.

  3. Not quite as effective though cos needed to keep curring inside onto right foot – play to his strengths

    • Yeah true enough.I wasn’t meaning do some research in a sarcastic manner.I ment I think if you look into it he played many many games for NF on the left wing.I can recall watching him play there a few times ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. He did play on the left for Forest.He ripped Byram a new one playing for Forest on the left against Leeds on tv once.I watched it lol

  5. At least he was playing in the right half of the field,showed glimpses of what he’s all about,lovely dink into Valencia’s path,unlucky not to score with header,but Reece Burke proper prospect.COYI

  6. I thought Tore was left sides? At least thats how it has looked in most of his footage and Im sure I read he plays both sides.

    Im beginning to think Bilic is scared of Antonio proving himself as good or even better than Feghouli on the right wing.

    • It’s awful to think, but for whatever reason it really is beginning to look this way. Setting him up to fail especially when you think how he took so long last season to give him a chance. It’s a shame though that he didn’t get a brace as he should have tonight especially that first header when he almost did a cartoon double take when done how it hit the one obstacle on the line and stuck.

      • Why should Antonio see it as a problem.He played more times on the left wing for Forest than right wing.I really think a few of you are trying to look into this far too deeply lol

  7. Reece Burke looks a player I agree.He is the future & looks the part ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. I usually like the majority of your posts however articles like this really put me off. You sound like a typical moany West Ham fan. From what I have seen of Antonio he can play left and right. In regards to player fatigue we are still in the first week of the season. However I do agree with your Valencia comment, I feel he will never be consistent and will show his skills once in a blue moon.

  9. Genuine questions Bankok. I don’t think we look right at the moment. Believe he will sort but can’t pretend all is fine when we look so knackered mate

    • It was ment to be something like 80% humidity there tonight though H.I mean that is energy sapping if you ain’t used to it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. I was just pleased to see Antonio restored to an attacking position, where he acquitted himself quite well.
    Watching the Chelsea game, most of the team appeared ‘flat’; hard to know whether this is attributable to physical fatigue or whether there are any other underlying issues which we are not privy to.
    Perhaps, with the influx of so many new players, and the use of some of the youngsters, we haven’t had sufficient time to ‘gel’ as a unit. This may be one of the unfortunate legacies of having to adjust to the heavy game commitments associated with playing so much EPL & Europa soccer within a short period of ttime.
    Enner Valencia had the additional burden of having to carry the Ecuadorian attack in the recently completed Copa USA 2016. I think he is mentally exhausted at the moment, but I’m still optimistic that when restored to full fitness, he and Diafra Sakho can still form a very effective attacking duo, as we witnessed in the season before last.
    taking into account the unexpected long-term injuries to Creswell and Ayew, together with the reality that our squad depth is still relatively small, we should not be in such a rush to push Valencia and/or Sakho through the exit door, unless Slav is able to secure some miraculous signings within the remaining days of the transfer window.
    Ultimately, such decisions come down to what sort of objectives can be realistically achieved over the course of the next playing season.
    Personally speaking, we could benefit from securing another fit, and proven striker (easier said than done!) and perhaps a specialist right-back with the ability to over-lap and join in with the mid-field and attack.

  11. Hopefully Antonio will be playing right wing against Bournemouth, the biggest worry is the defence not closing down attackers, as mentioned in my previous post this happened last season at this stage, it was the reason Harry Arter scored a worldy against us for Bournemouth, lets hope history doesn’t repeat on Sunday, my ticket arrived in the post today although still no sign of my welcome pack which was supposed to get sent out to Claret members with a ticket to the Bournemouth match first (after the season ticket holders), the reservation centre tell more lies and sprout more misinformation than all the politicians for the last 10 years I am sure ๐Ÿ˜‰ I reckon if I phone them they will tell us Tevez is returning and Bacca will be with us by the end of the transfer window.

  12. I thought Antonio was a left midfielder when we signed him. Certainly if you look at his goals reel for Nottingham forest you’ll notice he scored the vast majority of his goals for them coming off the left wing in towards the left stick.

    • He did play on the left for Forest,you are all right.I seem to remember him playing on both wings for them but he certainly played on the left side a lot for them.

  13. Payet, Lanzini and Feghouli will make a massive difference.

    It will be interesting to see how Calleri develops, but unless we do buy another forward, Carroll will continue to be Bilic’s first choice.

    Vanelcia’s race is run.

    At the moment, I’m glad the Tore deal is a loan as I’ve yet to see anything special, but it’s early days.

    Burke was classy. Noble continues to expend a huge amount of energy in midfield with any produce. Payet/Lanzini make such a difference to his game

    We will beat them at home.

  14. *without any product (!)

  15. I really don’t want to add to any negativity at least not at this stage of the season but something just doesn’t seem right to me. I can’t put my finger on it but whether it’s the new players taking time to gel, the whole Antonio affair, which has for the first time started me to question Slav, but I’ve already heard some other non Hammers fans saying we are going to crash this season. I have to say it does feel a bit like it right now….I know apart from the Arsenal result we had a very poor start last term, I went to both the Leicester and Bournemouth games, then it really kicked in, I hope this season is the same, proud ST holder now but I have to say not that optimistic about Sunday right now.

    • I think it is v early to say we will crash, unless the Antonio affair is symptomatic of something deeper and worse. It is crucial to have team spirit…that might have taken a bashing… As long as Antonio can be allowed to do his usual stuff – and we don’t lose him to some other luck club – then I think we’ll be OK. We have in fact got some fantastic players as far as I am concerned, even with the injuries, and that tincludes RB! I’m OK with Byram, and Burke as reserve….
      I just want to see this horrendous Antonio saga consigned to history (with Antonio properly appeased), and Slav to get back to doing what he does best….
      It did occur to me though; would Slav treat Antonio the same?
      But if the club/Slav f*ck up on the “legend in the making” as another fan referred to Antonio, I will be seriously unhappy….
      But, that ain’t gonna happen is it? In which case, Payet and Antonio will do some serious damage to opponents this season!

      • I meant “would Slav treat Payet the same as Antonio”?…(Does he have the same respect?)…I don’t think so…

  16. Perhaps,perhaps Bilic is using the friendlies,the first 4 EL games and the opening game against Chelsea,where with Payet and Lanzini not being available, a point would of been great. He’s seeing if certain players can play in various roles because even with a larger better squad this season will be even more demanding.He’s thought he has to try this now rather than during the hurly burly of the autumn.He’s said it himself,the first 5 fixtures are on top of itself. I reckon he was thinking 5 points from the first 3 PL games. Then comes the International break.Lanzini will be back and he will know how his players can play.
    He is thinking that we should beat Astra over 2 leg’s even if it is a patchy display.
    With a bigger pitch and Payet playing we should over come them with ease.
    I think we will have to wait until mid September for things to settle down completely.
    A win on Sunday will help never the less.Then a win against Astra who have to score.
    Frustrating I know but I think we all have to settle down .

  17. I don’t think we need to all settle down I know we do.All this down in the dumps bull**** is doing my nut in.Two games into the season proper & some of the bolloxs I have read is nothing more than kneejerkitus,ok I know that ain’t a word haha.Feck me it’s so ott.Slagging off Bilic,,the summer transfers,the board,the move.Im not a fan of everything that’s happened but feck me talk about morbid & depressing ๐Ÿ˜€

    • You should know all about morbid & depressing being an ex Wetpant lol.Im shocked you came out of the experience unscathed lol

  18. Wrong questions Hugh,
    Antonio looks better up top and why did he and Tore not just swap every now and again ?
    2 why are we putting Valencia on the pitch ?
    To me the side did not look that tied just struggling again for 1 player to take control hold the ball up and put a bit of class in our side,
    What did come out of last night is now and for many years to come we do not need to sign or look for defenders just give youth a chance,
    It was a good result plus we rested some players for Sunday.
    We just need to finish it with style at home,

    • I agree with you, Bubs. I think it is good for Slav to experiment in these Euro games and rest players. I did look at Tore last 2 seasons skills on YouTube, and he was mainly on the left, but he did alos play on the right occasionally. Could cross/score with either foot. Not checked out Antonio’s Forest days yet, but I seem to remember he was a left winger then. Personally, as long as he no longer plays RB, + Slav genuinely appreciates him + uses him to his best potential (+ where Antonio is happy playing), then he will terrorise the opposition. Scare the living daylights out of them! Love it!! He’s a beast, and, even the brilliant skills of Payet are not as exciting as Antonio in my opinion….(Yes, IMO!)
      After last night, personally, I am feeling A LOT happier.
      Incidentally, like you, I like Obiang. Always does a job…always. He’s a great stand in….

Comments are closed.