We won’t be relegated but where will Slav stand?

BilicSo today we put out the strongest team available to us in weeks with only Angelo Ogbonna and Diafra Sakho missing and, with an £8 million signing at central defence, plus the excellent Winston Reid we are two goals down in eight minutes!

The first goal is down to the keeper in my book – it was a low flat cross which was not intended to be a shot on goal and Darren Randolph reacted too late.

The second was just rank poor defending from a team which has now conceded  52 goals with only Swansea, Hull and Bournemouth having shipped more.

Today we played the team the fans had been crying out for with Kouyate starting in midfield, Byram at right back and Ayew as a “partner” to Andy Carroll. Yet at the end of 90 minutes it wasn’t strong enough to stop Leicester City ending their 11 month wait for an away win.

The inconsistency of the team is quite shocking, the mistakes at the back – where the door is always open – beggars belief and then to compound the issues we find that an out and out defender in James Collins is left on the bench when Winston Reid is forced off.

The solution? Kouyate goes into the back four at a time when we are two down and need his energy in midfield even more than we did at the start. Unreal! One conclusion from that – Ginge is on his bike at the end of the season assuming of course that Slav is still in charge.

Now is that possible after this season of trouble and strife. Well yes because football is a game and business in which the narrowest of margins count.

Had we grabbed an equaliser the reactions would have swayed between: “What a comeback ” to ” forget the performance only the point matters.”

Instead we are discussing chaos, disorder, dis-organisation and the possibility of relegation – all of which are over the top just as most reaction to victory or defeat tend to be.

Slav can survive – two or three results will sort that but I think we can forget any chance of him being handed an extension to his current deal – at best he will take us into the his final year with an opportunity of bringing in players who can really do it for us.

Personally when I look at the list of signings I know are his I have some reservations about his judgement of players: Jelavic, Emenike, Tore, Zaza, Nortveidt,  Feghouli and a guy who looks more like a journeyman – Fonte – than a Euro Tournament winner.

I do not expect West Ham to be relegated and I reckon that Slaven Bilic will remain in charge next season. Whether he should be is an issue  we will be discussing from now until the season closes and beyond.


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

18 comments on “We won’t be relegated but where will Slav stand?

  1. Interesting article. I am amazed at the support Bilic still seems to have from the supporters. You highlight two key failings- the defence, or lack of it, and the signings. I heard a pundit recently talking about a successful Championship manager. He referred to the clear identity of the club, and how players coming in when there were injuries knowing what was expected of them. Also, he made the points that the manager had a clear idea of how the players he signed last summer were chosen to fit in with the team, not just because they were big names.

    I am no tactical expert, but can anybody explain to me what out ‘identity’ as a team is? We seem to have blundered through the season with no clear plan that I can see. Now we are paying for that against better organised sides. New players, often with good track records, seem to become worse players once they join us. Why is that?

    We are 50-1 against to go down, which would suggest you are right on relegation Hugh. I think it will be very tight unless we get 4 or 5 points from next four games- Hull A. Arsenal A
    Swansea H. Sunderland A.

    • Arsenal need a win, Sunderland have the most no score games. Hull & Swansea are fighting relegation. Don’t worry, West Ham game coming up. Happy to oblige.

  2. That’s pretty much spot on Hughie. Unless Slav goes on a strong run-in and finishes 8/9th then he can forget a new one year rolling contract. I would expect Sullivan to keep him on for season 3 as they don’t tend to sack managers and pay compensation. Slaven will then have the first half of next season to win a new contract. Buy well in the summer and challenge top 6 come the new year and the contract will be on the table.

    And of course all that would be the right thing for Sullivan to do. Whichever you look at it we have under achieved this season massively.

  3. Hugh, have to disagree on a few things.
    1) The shipping of shocking goals stems from the goalkeeper in my opinion. Both are prone to errors and the whole defence is nervous. For me a priority in the summer is a new number 1. not anotehr number 2 like Randolph, but a proper top class goalkeeper. I would argue that is more important than any signing as from there I think we will be stronger defensively as a team.
    2) The subbing on of Snodgrass and putting Kouyate at the back was an excellent sub. We were losing and they have unbelievable pace, Collins would have been slaughtered. Kouyate put in several outstanding tackles at the back (My man of the match)
    3) Your answer, Pele is on his bike if Slav stays. Nonsense talk of him being fired, he might walk before he is pushed with the overreation of fans.

    Talk of his sacking or not getting a new contract is ridiculous. West Ham want to go places but we must learn to walk before we run. We have a new stadium, Payet, players that does not suit Slavs style and one poor transfer window in a very long time.

    • Could not agree more to point 2. It’s easy to point fingers here as Kouyate finally got a chance in the midfield position where he is undoubtedly best.
      Option as people are disappointing with would be Ginge at the back together with Fonte, both of them great warriors and defenders but you kind of have to take into account the opposition.

      With Vardy at top, doubt Leicester would play a game of crosses considering the slight difference between Vardy and our own striker…. Can’t see Vardy wanting more to face Fonte and Collins, both strong, experienced and quite slow, perfect for him to use his pace.

      Kouyate as central defense after the injury definitely a good call (just wish Snoddy took a bit more ownership down the flank, poor Byram hehe).

  4. Glad I am not the only one who cannot understands Slav’s reasoning when he plays people out of position especially when we have a good like for like replacement on the bench, I also agree about the players signed by Slav, so far they have been very poor or average & do not seem to be bought with any particular game plan in mind or to fill a need in our style of play. I cannot see us winning any of our next 3 games unless the team who are supposed to be organising the training buck thier ideas up & get the team wound up to play from the start . Also can they please cut out all the sideways & back passing this only helps the opposition re-organise ( if we are attacking ) or invites them to run at our defence, plus it is unnecessary & boring to watch.

  5. Anyone who doesn’t start Antonio on the right wing massively compromises our best attacking threat immediately.

    For slaven to do this by sticking him out on the left wing where he has to keep checking and cutting inside is a continuation of the horrendous way we’ve treated him this year.

    Plus we have Carroll up top who you’d think we want to swing balls into. Instead ayew right wing and then snodgrass who both want to check back on to thier left.

    Utterly without thought, logic or planning.

  6. I believe Slaven is out of his depth and should be let go at the end of the season, if Leeds don’t get promotion go for Gary Monk..

  7. Leicester, Bournemouth & Watford = 1 point. Sullivan won’t like that at renewal time. I’ll wait before I renew. I am not paying £900 for Championship football.

  8. Billic dismantled the good quality football we played last season with poor signings, poor player selection and poor tactics and it has all come home to roost. This sorry saga started towards the end of last season with him choosing Antonio to play at right back even though many could see he was poor in that role helping the team to concede goals. Billic was last choice to manage our club but because we couldn’t attract the other top coaches we settled for him. He gets rid of Tomkins to keep Collins, he keeps Collins and now refuses to use him and uses Kouyate instead yesterday. His decisions since the Europa league and our early exit was the signal that all was not right, but many fans and the owners ignored this. We are no better today than we were under SA. To breath life into our club next season will have to start with a new manager and keeper. If we keep Billic my fear is we will suffer a relegation battle.

  9. I have seen it all before over six decades.We will possibly bring in a new manager but you will still have issues with a new manager.It is the way it works fellas.
    Pardew,Curbishley,Zola,Allardyce to name a few in recent times have all been dismantled by fans.
    I dont count Grant,i struggle to mention him lol
    So happy hunting in your search for fresh management blood but i can guarantee you will all be having some sort of beef with a new guy

    • Agree Stan. Slaven deserves season 3 for his success in year one. This season has been tough for all the off pitch stuff. They won’t sack Slaven anyhow, they’ll back him in the transfer market in the summer and we will see how we are doing come 1st January 2018. Me? I reckon we will top 6 and Slaven will be getting a new contract and all the haters now will be loving him again. Love is fickle.

      • As i mentioned young John i have seen it all before.Blimey last season we had a chance of top four but there were still fans rubbishing Bilic and the players.
        Like i said happy hunting for a new manager from the detractors but they will be the same ones carping about the new manager in 12 months time.
        I need a break from our websites,the international break is ideal they are starting to do my old head in lol

        • Stop that foolish talk Stanley. You are the voice of sensibility on this site 😂😂

          • I very much doubt that young John.The rabble rousers and Brian Cloughs pay no attention to this old bugger lol
            They will go about their business finding a new manager to chunter at in a years time lol

  10. We played as near as possible to our strongest side yesterday, and still handed them 2 goals in the first 7 minutes. It just don’t add up. All I can imagine is if we keep playing as much as we can this team, we will start winning.
    Antonio, Lanzini, and Ayew are our best attacking threat. Carroll always takes a couple of games after injury to get going ( even so he was not bad ). The 2 holding midfield could be any 2 from Obiang, Kouyate ( didn’t get started ), Noble ( if he has recovered ), or Fernandes ( rising star ).
    The defence looks leaky. Pity Ginge is not 5 years younger. We miss his decisive interventions and blocks. ( bring back Burke )
    Our keeper makes as many errors as the one on the bench, but is less erratic.
    3 wins is do-able but please make them start in 2 weeks.

  11. Spot on Hugh, the word that summed up the performance for me was ‘disorganisation’ – the Defence was hesitant and weak – moving Kouyate back into the defence when we were crying out for his strength and power in midfield – it beats me!

    Quite a few players look unfit – Cresswell and Snodgrass obviously – but too many were below par. The Team don’t look as fit or powerful as other teams. There doesn’t seem to be a System or pattern of play – all in all it just seems to be a bit of a mess!

  12. i am not to sure we will sure we will not stay up we cannot keep letting in 3 goals in every game and expect to get any thing we are to easy to get at we really need to to get a coupel of wins to be sure asap Sacko coming back is good cos if he was playing on sat he would have had scored for sure Carroll should have burred both chances but made the keeper look first class when really to me they where bad misses not great saves

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