How do I learn to accept manoeuvres that would confound and send the online masses into a spin? How can I trust those in power who claim one thing and deliver another? However is the proclamation important when the final package is a fine Parisienne wine that has only improved with maturity?
Of course I cry of Monsieur Patrice Evra who arrived on a free transfer after his ejection out of Olympique de Marseille. Now at the grand old age of 36yrs old you might think us mad for even entertaining his services until the season end. But the man who preaches every Monday morning, “I Love This Game!”, he may indeed be one of the best signings we have made in some time if only he was right and able.
Without question he has kept himself in shape since his French P45 was dished out, however he was very ring rusty…so a couple of weeks being bashed about by Moyes and Pearce and put through the mill by Irvine and McKinlay has paid dividends. So much so that Moyes gave him his first start against Liverpool in which he performed well enough to warrant another appearance or two at least. Indeed whilst he showed commitment and passion for his new team, he was also made to draw blood for his troubles…not that I wish him any pain, but that is exactly the kind of effort I’m looking for in a new recruit.
The game at Anfield was troubling in many ways; we could not compare with Liverpool in terms of quality and purpose for most of the match however there were some indications that our endeavour may be best suited to lesser opponents that would ply their trade before us. Evra looked like a player who was struggling with the modern pace of the Premiership, although he fared well in most battles with his superior experience on display.
In truth I wasn’t expecting too much from him on that day. In fact I was expecting a bit of a dud performance and to feel vindicated for being so critical on hearing about his signing. I was surprised that Moyes chose the Liverpool match to introduce Evra to the fight we had become embroiled in. However, I admired the man for coping well with the less than polite taunting from Liverpool fans in relation to past racial slurs from a wayward Suarez. That really was a distasteful display from a small section of their fans…shameful!
I am beginning to shine to Evra…not because of any social media shenanigans but rather I get the impression that whilst he may be the life and soul of the party…or indeed the dressing room, it is his work rate both on the training ground and in games that is beginning to impress. He really does bring with him a lot of experience that can help the rest of the team and especially the younger crowd, however this experience may not be enough to prevent opponents exploiting the let hand side as experience and reputation mean nothing to the oncoming upstarts.
Whilst Masuaku still remains absent and will need to regain form on his return, there is a slot that needs filling and Evra does fit in rather well. His defensive capabilities will begin to shine through with every passing game and his potency to bomb up the left flank can only add another dimension to our attacking play…whether with a shot or a quality cross into the box that has eluded us for most of this season and the last.
For never a statement more true, than that which may be readily applied to Evra… ‘Form is temporary, Class is permanent!’ He has the pedigree, the experience and the trophy cabinet to make all critics turn about and run for the hills…but can he show and show some more until the end of the season.
We have to ask whether West Ham would have even considered a signing like Evra, if our injury list hadn’t grown so long or whether our transfer dealings hadn’t fallen so flat…or indeed whether our league position was so much more secured? However that conjecture is of little importance now…the realities of the present loom large and the imposing fears of relegation must occupy our deliberations.
As fans sat either side of the divide with many calling foul for apparent defections…I was focussing on the Swansea game and whether indeed it would go ahead or whether much of the support would be prevented from attending due to the adverse conditions. Even Moyes was unsure at one point whether the plan was to proceed or we should all recoil to the warmth of our own comforts.
Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view, the game was allowed to proceed and fans were able to telemark across the country in search of a win and a vital three points to create daylight between us and the Dante sinners below. The team selection met with my approval, although I had hoped for more attacking options. In defence we stood proud and Evra was able to hold court, entertain with his talents and prevent any enemy incursions from the western gates…for all of about eight minutes when the ‘cream of some young guy’ fired a shot into the back of the net.
After all, isn’t this what he is supposed to do? He is meant to sure up that left side, as Zabaleta would sure up the right whilst both have forward venturing abilities that may instigate goal scoring opportunities further up the field. Unfortunately they were both left flat footed and stranded in no man’s land for much of the game…and most of the team were abject, poor and lacklustre. Swansea wanted it so much more than we did. There were glimpses that Evra and the rest might pull it out of the bag, but that soon faded and died. He age, he pace and the wing back role he is being asked to play would not deliver the performance we would expect. If Moyes reverted to a back four with Evra as a left back, then his performances would surely rise in the manner which we would expect.
Evra isn’t the player that we desperately need right now and certainly isn’t the man for the future, however he has a role to play and he may yet serve us well until our last match when our fates are decided. We need a mass overhaul of our game and power plant to deliver those performances and results we crave so dearly.
He has lived once the limelight, has earned his treasures and has played the villain on a couple of occasions too. But now he is on his final blast and last hurrah…to be the hero in our bonded escapades. This is second time around for the Frenchman and he knows you only live twice in this game…this final indictment may be just the impetus he needs to deliver top notch performances in every single outing…if only he could deliver. ’Bonjour Le Tout’