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There’s a good reason for Soucek goal drought


By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings


It’s now four games since Tomas Soucek found the back of the net.

That’s not  a criticism of our big and hugely likeable Czech international. Simply an observation of the facts over the last few games.

Nine goals so far this season from any midfielder, let alone one with shared defensive responsibilities, is more than a respectable haul.

But while Jesse Lingard has been hot as mustard in front of goal since his arrival, Tomas appears to have hit something of a goal drought in recent games.

But when you analyse the facts, perhaps it’s not difficult to spot a possible reason why the goal scoring brake has been applied to Tomas’ game. Soucke’s last goal for West Ham was in the 3-3 draw with Arsenal back in March.

He actually scored two goals in that game – but one was unfortunately an own goal. That London derby draw with the Gunners was also Declan Rice’s last game for us before the ill-fated international break – where Dec damaged a knee ligament.

Rice hasn’t played for the Hammers since and Tomas hasn’t scored for the Hammers since. Coincidence – or are the two things linked?

I believe there has to be a connection. Much has been said this season about the partnership between our two middle-men.

How they have dove-tailed perfectly together and How they compliment and support each other and indeed bring the very best out of each other. The best defensive-midfield partnership in the Premier League some have said.

Declan’s ability to protect the defence, plug any gaps, break up any attacks, cover every blade of grass has been inspirational.

Tomas has shared those defensive duties, too – but because he has the security of Rice alongside of him, he’s also been given license  to get forward in attack and grab those goals that have been so vital to the team.

Mark Noble has let no-one down in Rice’s absence, but he’s no Declan Rice. He doesn’t offer the mobility and security Declan does, which has meant Tomas’ forays forward have had to be more measured.

He’s not enjoyed the freedom to push on because his own defensive responsibilities have been greater.

At set pieces he’s still a threat in the air  – but they are limited of course. It’s his arriving late in the box to latch onto chances that have been missing recently.

The good news is that Declan is back on the grass and working hard towards a speedy return.

Everyone is hoping that day isn’t too far away. Maybe even as soon as Turf Moor next Monday when we face Burnley in our next game. What a boost that would be?

For the team as a whole and for Tomas Soucek in particular. It would be like getting two players back at the same time – just when we need them most.

With five games to go the final push will define our season. It’s already been a great one, no doubt about that whatever happens. It still has all the potential be a fantastic one in the final outcome!

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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

14 comments on “There’s a good reason for Soucek goal drought

  1. As always you make excuses for mr,westham …. It is no coincidence that we have only won one game when he has started . Thomas has spent every match covering for him on his own When Declan plays they babysit Noble between them but without Dec he has to do it all himself . Noble is a liability in defence , does not track his runner and is too slow to assist in quick breakaway opportunities . Fornals should be playing NOT Noble .

  2. A very strange response . A piece giving the true position is what is expected . No need to savage him as it is clear to see . Your piece says the problem is Dec not being there which of course is a major blow but the point is how he is replaced . There are a number of “better ” alternatives which might prove successful and most certainly could not make it worse .

    • Expected!!!!! By whom. Allen is a gentleman and doesn’t do so unnecessarily. The point is clear and as we all know there is no answer. Only those with spite in their minds choose to point it out unpleasantly

  3. Totally agree with this. Is there a case for playing Conor Coventry instead of Noble?

  4. Impossible not to agree with that, Allen. Does anyone think that next season Coventry is likely to step up? I agree it’s not right to throw him in now but I wonder whether Moyes see’s him as a future midfielder to fill in when these injuries occur. I understand Cullen needed to play and so wanted to go but by all accounts, the season he is having, he would have been an able deputy and I’m hoping Coventry will want to and is wanted to be kept on

  5. Agree there is no need to savage the skipper Hugh, but where you hit the nail on the head re the great partnership between Dec and Tomas, it is true to be aware that clubs like Newcastle targeted us through the middle, where Nobes pace and stamina are exposed. I would also like to see another option, either Forrnals dropping back or a try with the young like Coventry?, COYI

  6. Fornals IS playing last time I looked!! The blog was about Rice and Soucek – your hate of Noble has twisted it in a direction that suits your agenda! Shame really.

    • Yes we know that.point being could fornals play deeper and lanzini or benrhama start in his place ?

      Surely you can understand the difference, since your piece is actually about the negative affect on souceks attacking influence of noble playing in rices place. Could this be a solution ?

    • Allen I have always enjoyed your pieces including this one about the effect on Tomas. Let me be clear, I admire Nobes as we all do and your ‘hate’ comment is unwarranted. I just recognise that he is slowing down, is getting caught out, and offer my opinion on options like Connor. If players in their early twenties are ready then they should have a chance, like Nobes did at the start. The Forrnals option was positional, I know he is playing.

  7. Either dropping Fornals back or pushing Diop forward would have been better options than Noble at this stage I would have thoght

  8. So Allen agrees that playing alongside Noble has diminished Soucek’s ability to attack but thinks that any suggestions as to how the situation might be improved amount to a hating Noble? Strange.

  9. Rice is a dedicated defensive midfielder, an old fashioned sweeper who cleans up anything in front of the back four. So Souchek has been asked to step in for Rice in his absence and play a more defensive role. We have no other player who can play that role. It’s got nothing to do with Noble.

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