Main Talking Points: Newcastle United vs West Ham United

Talking Points Moore than just a Club

Let’s take the opportunity to delve deeper into the main Talking Points from yesterday’s defeat in The North East, as individual errors cost us dearly again, the pressure was heaped on Bilic and the Board came under rapid fire.

Time Up For Super Slav?

Following the full-time whistle at St James’ Park yesterday, a barrage of pressure was placed on the shoulders of Slaven Bilic, after we slumped to a third consecutive Premier League defeat.

The general consensus within the angry ranks of The Claret & Blue Army is that Bilic has had enough of a chance, at that it is time to pull a plug on The Croat’s time as manager of West Ham United.

However, would it be harsh on Bilic to sack him now, after three games of the Premier League campaign?

We all remember the former Croatia manager’s first season, the final season at Upton Park, chasing European Football and the highest ever Premier League points total for a West Ham United side.

One would feel that it was always going to be tough last season, as injuries struck, we made the move from The Boleyn to The London Stadium, the Dimitri Payet Saga took place and we looked like Relegation candidates for so long.

Despite these factors, Bilic still managed to guide us to a 11th place League finish, as we finished just one point off Southampton in eight.

On the flip side, the manner of yesterday’s embarrassing defeat was one that The Croat could hardly defend, as we showed no fight or character in a lazy performance.

Although the circumstances of our opening two defeats were slightly unfortunate, for many, there were no excuses for our showing against an otherwise poor Magpies side.

The statistics do the 48-year-old no justice either, with just three wins in our last 19 League games and our worst start to a campaign since the season in which we were last Relegated.

So, with hordes of fans and pundits jumping on the Bilic out bandwagon, mixed in with the added hype of reports of the Board reviewing his Position in the coming days, is Slaven Bilic’s time in charge finally coming to an end?

Could The Board Be To Blame For Our Torrid Start?

Fans who weren’t directing their anger at our Management last night were baying for the blood of David Gold and David Sullivan, after all of our season opening August fixtures had to be played on the road.

Our first home game of the season will not take place until mid-next month when we host Huddersfield Town on Monday Night Football. The reason being that The World Athletics Championships have been taking place inside The London Stadium, throughout the summer.

After the broken promise of Football always coming first at our new home, many fans are now turning on the Board and blaming them for our inevitable opening three defeats in what was always going to be an incredibly tough start to our campaign.

Rice Suffers Confidence Killer With Half-Time Substitution

Declan Rice has been a shining in an otherwise dark season for us so far, but the 18-year-old endured his first blip in a West Ham shirt yesterday afternoon. However, instead of being given the chance to instantly redeem himself, Bilic decided to haul the youngster off at the break.

Many Hammers fans felt that the starlet has shown enough in the early part of this season to be given a second chance. But there is no denying the cost of his mistake, as he was caught in possession for Newcastle’s first goal.

Despite the severity of the mistake, one can’t also deny the fact that other defensive mistakes contributed to that goal and the regret and remorse on the face of Declan Rice when he realized his error.

The performance of Rice can be likened to that of Reece Oxford, a week after he had single handily brought Arsenal midfield to its knees, being substituted in a 3-4 defeat to Bournemouth.

Many Hammers fans will be hoping that Rice doesn’t befit the same fate as Oxford and have to wait several months for his next first-team chance under Bilic.

Will We Ever Be Able To Defend Properly?

Yet again yesterday we were the masters of our own defensive downfall in a Premier League game, as the different centre-back partnership of James Collins and Angelo Ogbonna failed to work out.

Huge gaps were often left in our back four yesterday, which was caught sleeping for all three of the hosts’ goals. However, cracks in our defence have been showing for years, as it was the fifth worst in The Premier League last season and has already conceded the most goals in this campaign so far.

One possible excuse for our shocking defensive performance was the absence of Winston Reid, who was injured in the warm-up before last weekend’s defeat to Southampton.

Not having the Kiwi proved costly in both defensive and attacking boxes, as we have won in every single game that Reid has scored in for us, without considering his immaculate displays of defending.

Another scapegoat of our woeful goal conceding rate of late has been new-signing, goalkeeper Joe Hart, after conceding 11 goals in his first three competitive appearances in Claret & Blue.

However, the England No1 surely needs more time and a stronger back four to adapt fully to his new surroundings and will be hoping for a first clean sheet in 22 competitive games when we face Huddersfield Town after the International Break.

So, with the first three Match Days of the 2017/2018 Premier League season completed, many Hammers fans are now faced with the daunting prospect of two weeks without Domestic Football, after what can only be described as a truly dreadful start to the season.