Slav has an urgent matter to address!

Slaven-BilicSunderland v Irons

Match verdict

Had you arrived at the Stadium of Light with no clue of these two sides recent form you could have been forgiven for believing the Irons were bottom and that Sunderland were at least mid table during a one sided first half.

With disgruntled fans to pacify and some less than ordinary form to put right, the Mackems gave us a right seeing to over that first 45 minutes.

But what is becoming increasingly worrying from our point of view is the manner of our starts – slow to the point of leaden, laboured to the point of laborious and it’s something Slav has to address as a matter of urgency.

The plan today was clearly the same as on our recent all-conquering travels – surrender ground, hit ’em on the break and then impose a patient passing game on them.

The problem was that apart from a moment bang on half time when we got an all important goal back, we couldn’t hold the ball at all, never mind break with it or pass the thing.

Time and again there were basic mistakes as we lost out on tackles when holding the ball and despite frantic attempts to win it back generally failed to do so.

All very difficult to understand given that in the second half – helped of course by the sending off of Lens – the ball stuck to feet as we moved forward with real purpose and menace with Payet of course seeing much more of the action.

Until then Lanzini had been a presence but most of his attempts on goal were from distance and there was rather too much sideways movement. He’s a young man and will become more effective with experience.

Victor Moses has one of his more mercurial games but did brilliantly to get into the box and set up Jenkinson for his first goal in 44 games.

Payet inevitably grabbed the second and makes playing Premier League football look like the easiest thing in the world; Sak put in his normal great shift whilst Nobes led from the front with an all action display which sometimes worries particularly as he’d picked up a yellow after 90 seconds.

At the back James Tomkins was probably the pick of the defenders but the overwhelming reaction from the game was the clear necessity to start much quicker, to press the ball, squeeze the game and quieten the crowd.

When we can develop that side of things and have an alternative to the counter attacking system we have employed home and away we will start to become a very good side indeed.

Ratings: Adrian 6, Jenkinson 6, Reid 6, Tomkins 7, Cresswell 6; Noble 6 Kouyate 6; Payet 8 Lanzini 6, Moses 7, Sakho 7 SUBS: Collins 5, Zarate 6 Jelavic 5

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

9 comments on “Slav has an urgent matter to address!

  1. 1) Put two up top
    2) Lanzini’s had his chance…go with Zarate
    3) In training, abolish all activities that don’t involve the penalty area and diagonal runs from strikers
    4) Be really patient until Valencia’s back. COYI

  2. Every year with us there’s a pattern. One year we do well away but bad at home. The next year it’s the opposite were good at home but can’t win away. Then last year, second half of the season we threw game after game away from winning positions. How many points did we drop in the last few minutes of a game? this year it looks like when we play teams were expected to beat, we have to go two goals down before we start playing. Something always seems to be not quite right. you can see why everyone’s calling this season a roller coaster ride. Extreme ups and downs. That’s the West Ham way. Just hope we can find some middle ground. One of these days were going to find the right balance.

  3. Just got back from the game.Had a cracking day out.Yes we were poor & lethargic in the first half.Few of the boys were not really at the races.It happens sometimes.Heaven knows why folk think Lanzini should be dropped,strange one that.Payet was quieter than usual as well until they went down to ten men.As for Noble lead from the the front with an all action display??? Did you watch a different game to me.I have nothing against Nobes he can be great for us the majority of the time but today?? No chance!!
    Still,unbeaten in five,only lost two of eight.Things could be.a lot worse.Actually they were in the second half of last season!!!

    • Agree with you also Sid, I was out all day at an event but watched the extended highlights on sky. I didn’t know the score and I was screaming for Noble to be substitued, the first booking on him was harsh but then he should have been booked again, not sure if the ref reviewed the first one at half time and was lenient next time up, I guess its a result him not getting sent off as we would be without him for the Palace game. Moses was mercurial he did brilliantly for the goal and I thought he played better than in some other games so far, god knows what Antonio has to do though to get on even as a sub… like you Sid I think when Valencia is back we will be a lot more potent he gives us something different and I am pretty sure Moses will be the player that makes way for him, then we have Song who is also nearly back, if he can play like he did when he first joined us I think we will stop conceding these stupid goals like the pass from Payet today and Noble last time out straight to no mans land and selling our defenders up the river. Fair play to Sunderland they scored two very good goals, the chip was sublime and the free kick move was also excellent (despite the stupid challenge by Jenkinson that he later made up for by scoring the goal). The thing I was most disappointed by today is not that we didn’t win but having watched Palace also, how good would we be if we had managed to secure Cabaye aswell ? Onwards and upwards we have Palace next COYI !!!

      • LOl its late my mistake was expat Hammer mentioned be patient and wait until Valencia is back but it is a good point 🙂

  4. Agree with you Sid. For me Lanzini worked really hard and looked a real threat at times. Apart from his assist ( which was huge) I thought Moses was poor and hence subbed. What I don’t get is why he wasn’t replaced with Antonio What’s going on there? Jelavic is a make weight at best. Happy with the comeback draw but as Hugh points out we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get in these holes. Slav will sort it out. COYI.

  5. My gripe remains the inclusion of Noble in the starting line up. We are not putting our best foot forward as long as that continues to happen. His lack of pace and sideways passes disrupt the counter attacking style we are trying to implement.And, lm not sure if thats what you mean by an all action display Hugh, but Noble throws himself recklessly into challenges and after the resultant booking, becomes less effective defensively as he tries to avoid a second card. All of his yellows so far have been needless, and yesterday, all of Sunderland’s threat came down the middle after his yellow.
    lm not complaining about the results this far, but l dont understand why we continue to “stand in our own way” with the inclusion of Nobes.TBH, I dont think Nobes would make the grade at Sampdoria, so why place him ahead of someone who has? Our best 11 should start.

    • I also felt Noble was unable to get close to a Sunderland player in the first half and appears to improve as the pace dropped in the second half.The full backs and Jenks in particular seem to have little idea how to actually defend one on one with attackers when Jenks got forward he looked like last seasons version perhaps the goal has restored his confidence.To comeback from 2-0 against a Sunderland side that gave there all in that first half showed we have a side with character and with Ogbian,Ogbanna,Song,Valencia ,Antonio and Carroll pushing to start pressure to perform will be on everyone.

  6. Noble is a liability . Slow in mind and body . He is holding the team back . He does not read the game , cannot run , cannot tackle , cannot shoot , wastes every corner/ free he takes . He is responsible for most of the goals we concede. As for captain ….what a laugh … get rid NOW .

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