Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Everything that need to be said has been said. Everything that need to be analysed has been analysed. And there are just no more excuses left. Gold & Sullivan had done their ownership part and tried to give the club's playing staff a kick up the backside. They have tried to put fire under the manager's and players' bellies in order to give them that motivation and desire to succeed in a relegation scrap. Unfortunately all that is in vain and the efforts have been futile.
Five successive losses were hard to take, especially losing to Wolves. That opening day away win must have felt totally unreal after that loss. It gets worse. Having that streak extended to six against Stoke has really knocked the stuffing out of the fans, players, managers and owners alike. The morale in the team must be feeling like a morgue right now.
And so three high profile striker signings on, West Ham are still within the spectre of relegation. The worst thing is the nagging feeling that West Ham will never get themselves out of this slump.
The team quite clearly lacks fire, desire and spirit to drag itself out of the relegation dogfight. A sorely leaky defence, injury to Carlton Cole, sales of Collins and Neill have impacted an already thin squad leaving Zola limited options. Jack Collison's inability to build on his promise as the "new" Frank Lampard this season meant that the midfield was shorn of any dynamism and goals.
Zola's insistence in playing the Hammers' two most skilful players, Stanislas and Diamanti on the wrong wings made it easier for opposition defences to close down any attacking moves. Stanislas and Diamanti's talent were stunted and this contributed to the lack of chances created. The failure/stubbornness to recognise this ineffective game plan also meant that West Ham's football became predictable and one-dimensional.
Compare the 2006/07 team with the current squad, this squad is evidently less superior.
2006/2007: Green, Dailly, Ferdinand, Konchesky, Gabbidon, Spector, Davenport, Neill, McCartney, Noble, Bowyer, Mullins, Benayoun, Reo-Coker, Harewood, Zamora, Cole, Etherington, Boa-Morte
2009/2010: Green, Faubert, Upson, Tomkins, Gabbidon, Daprela, Spector, Ilunga, Parker, Noble, Behrami, Kovac, Diamanti, Franco, Cole, Mido, McCarthy, Ilan, Stanislas, Dyer
Back then, Carlos Tevez provided that extra quality in the attacking third. The skills of Benayoun and Etherington created the chances needed to fight off relegation. Who will provide the spark and inspire West Ham to get the wins needed to stave off relegation? On account of the performances this season, there is no one capable like Tevez, Benayoun or Etherington in the 2006/2007 season.
Don't get me wrong, I think that as a football club, West Ham have earned their place in the Premier League but this season has been very poor by West Ham's standards. While West Ham stumble along looking for answers to address their slump, Hull City gambled on Iain Dowie and the momentum gathered from his appointment looks to be pushing them in the upwards direction.
So, will West Ham be playing in the Championship next season? Looking at current form, this prospect is looking increasingly likely. Armageddon is looming at Upton Park. How I wish we had Ricardo Fuller right now...West Ham could do with his indomitable spirit and ability to rouse the troops!
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