West Ham are in a relegation fight now and must pull together for the big game against Leicester coming up this evening. West Ham have to take a minimum of 4 points from the next two games and we face a horrendous run of fixtures following the Everton game next week.
The bad news is that West Ham are an ideal side for a counter-attacking side, we have seen what Liverpool and to a lesser extent Tottenham have done to us at home this year and while not at that level, Leicester do carry a very real threat on the break. Of course, that was Slaven’s team. I would hope Moyes would be able to set us up in a way that prevents the opposition’s forward who is going to tap a goal following our corner up the other end, but it is the same players.
The Watford game highlighted the side’s lack of pace and that is an essential commodity at the top level, without Antonio as an outlet we looked bereft of ideas at times, and while Carroll fought gamely as he does, there was no-one getting up with him.
Moyes needs a positive result here, a quick start is a must, if Leicester score early then it could a very long night as the fans will turn against the team and Leicester will be able to counter-attack at will as we chase parity. The atmosphere will be a huge factor, while I understand the frustrations around the club’s hierarchy it clearly doesn’t help the players who seem to be absolutely terrified of making a mistake.
We need big games out of Lanzini and Antonio if fit, someone needs to do something positive early doors to get the fans’ juices flowing, Upton Park under the lights was my favourite football stadium, it was the people that made that and I think the new place can be special, we just need persuading.
It’s time for the players to stand up and be counted, show they care about the club, players need to show heart and togetherness, we can’t think about losing this game, I would take a dull 1-0 win every day of the week but the realist in me can’t see us keeping a clean sheet.
Joe Hart has received a huge amount of criticism in his time at West Ham but for me, he is still a better option than Adrian. I feel that West Ham’s defensive issues stem from our midfield shape. Against Watford Cresswell was left very exposed and one on one this exposes his lack of pace, but again in the right framework, Cresswell is a very effective player for West Ham. Kouyate will not play as bad for West Ham as he did against Watford, he missed two very good chances and looked completely bereft of confidence, but I see him as being vital for West Ham to provide the legs to cover the ground in the centre of the pitch. West Ham’s key man from an attacking point of view is Lanzini, he is wasted out wide, he needs to be getting the ball in the centre of the pitch behind the opposition’s midfield. Out wide I would bring Masuaku in on the left and hopefully Antonio will be fit enough to play on the right. Up front I would play Toni Martinez, he is scoring goals for fun for the under 23’s and full of confidence, he will provide better movement against Leicester’s central defenders than Carroll and hopefully create the space for Lanzini to operate in. Martinez’ inclusion will create a feel-good factor around the stadium which is essential. I am hopeful rather than expectant but it’s a huge game for the club no doubt about that.