When patient football becomes pointless football

diafra-sakho-542296I have no problem with patient football….to a point.

Certainly it’s an awful lot better than hoofball which in the context of yesterday’s match against Southampton would have served us no better than the pass and “probe” (I use the word carefully) approach we adopted against a well drilled defence.

Yes I understand the team is learning a new way which involves finding  a man rather than blasting the ball forward in hope rather than with any real confidence.

But both styles can be taken to the point of overkill and that was our problem yesterday in a match which demanded a combination of styles. At times it wasn’t so much patient as pointless.

With Dimitri Payet off his game again the skill and invention was missing and instead we at times watched the  Irons passing the ball relentlessly sideways and backwards against ten men. They went nowhere in a hurry!

On one occasion we went from just over the halfway line back to Adrian who immediately rushed from goal determined to find a player who could get on the move against a team which, as the game progressed, was clearly on the ropes.

We showed last Tuesday that we are not a one man team who needs to have Payet on his game to find a a way through. However, it’s as well to remember that we were playing the worst team in the League.

Every team has key players and I have written consistently that I believe Diafra Sakho is ours alongside Payet simply because – as repeated many times – he creates the gaps into which the midfielder operates.

We were also a different team when Lanzni came back for half a game before getting injured again. With those two back the patient passing game will have an end product – of that I’m certain.

In the meantime we have to beat Liverpool and that won’t happen with a sideways and backwards passing game which really did bore the life out of most for a long time yesterday.

Not unhappy, not moaning – just saying. And there has to be a change for Tuesday night or I fear it could be a long night



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

4 comments on “When patient football becomes pointless football

  1. Yes a change would be good,but how far do you go,
    Carroll to start Valencia and Antonio or Moses,
    Payet still a must
    No Song and Noble for me yes,Obiang has done no wrong but can’t get a start,
    Kouyate if fit a must,
    The defence picks it self and Liverpoor have not scored against it in 3 matches,no panic needed just get out of the traps fast not on the back foot,
    Same as you Hugh be nice win every game but disagree hoofing the ball into a packed defence yesterday would not have worked maybe with nothing to loose leaving Antonio on and tacking Song off or Noble might have helped

  2. I said in another thread that the lack of movement on the part of those without the ball has a lot to do with us not being able to break down an organized defence. Agree that we desperately need Sakho back to run the channels and create space for others.

    I am utterly confused about Song’s role in the team these days. He was great earlier last season when he was the undisputed play-maker. I thought he played well against Villa with some thoughtful passes in a more advance position. Excecllent against Man City too. But yesterday he seems to be back to his ineffectual self – unsure as to what to do with the ball, often ending in pointless 5-yard square passes with no purpose, if not dispossessed.

    Not a great fan of Noble’s in general but he did have an excellent game against Villa with a real sense of purpose in his passing. He seemed to have lost that yesterday and back to his old self. Even a captain doesn’t have to start every game, surely.

    • Agree completely Spindoc, On Song and Payet they would both look better in a team that was on the move creating angles instead of the near static performance against the saints. If you want a masterclass in how to beat us at present watch that performance again. Koeman was happy for a 1 – 0 and knew other than a bit of magic we lack the cutting edge against an organised defence, this is why we do well against the good teams that are offensively minded and are poor against the weaker teams that sit in. In fairness to Bilic I think he understands this and has understood it from before the season started but has been unable to get the players to play that incisive posession play that you might see from a Croatian or Spanish team for example. I like Noble and there is no doubt he gives 110% every time he steps on the field but he has his limits him and many in the team need to watch and understand the continental style or if you like the Ron Greenwood West Ham pass and move style, its effect hasn’t changed, if you pass and move with the football you will open any team up. Whether it be the remainder of the Allardyce effect or not, this team is happier being defensively sound and counter attacking using speed to open up teams that are commited in attack, but what weapons have they got when teams sit deep ? In my opinion they are stuck relying on set plays, we have got some results that way this season but as with Southampton that attack can be blunted easilly enough by any decently organised team. In my opinion Noble is a great workhorse but he is the Captain and the team take their lead from him, we need a leader that will make the players around him play an expansive attacking game as well as a great defensive game, if we go for a marquee signing in the summer although we need a prolific striker I would be looking first for a new Captain next season a midfield general to marshall the troops and keep them on the move from the first minute to the last, we have some great athletes but they need someone on the field to guide them.

  3. Kouyate for Captain. He’s a boss. I would say Song but he’s having a tough time proving himself at the moment, but I don’t know if that’s lack of match sharpness or he isn’t actually a consistently good player.

    Can’t help but feel Payet is playing with an injury. His lacklustre performances outweigh his good ones since returning. Or it could just be that he’s lacking inspiration from not having someone like Sakho or Lanzini on the pitch to work with.

Comments are closed.