Date: 11th April 2017 at 8:56pm
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There’d be no prizes for correctly guessing that goalkeeper Lucasz Fabianski won the Vital Swansea man of the match poll for the shocking defeat at West Ham last weekend – with no outfield player really worthy of much praise in what proved to be one of the worst performances in a long time.

I say a long time, probably since the Southampton away performance earlier this season – not long before Francesco Guidolin was sacked – though you could debate that a number of displays under his successor were just as bad if not even worse.

What was so deflating about the West Ham game was the fact that we’re now being managed or should I say coached by Paul Clement, a coach that’s come in from having worked at some of the biggest clubs in Europe. He got us all excited after just a few games, new signings Tom Carroll and Martin Olsson came in and made an impact instantly, while Narsingh provided a couple of assists early on.

We got some excellent and much needed wins to get us out of trouble, but it looks like we’re right back to where we started under the former Derby manager.

Has the new manager ‘bounce’ ended? The honeymoon period certainly has. That 3-2 win at Anfield seems like ages ago now. Fernando Llorente getting injured has really affected us, and I wonder if it’s had an effect on the mentality of the players as well as the fact that we clearly have no idea of how to attack without him.

It’s almost as if the players are all wondering how are they going to score goals without the big man up front. The stats were awful to read from the game too, just the one shot on target. We played a side that have lost their last 5 consecutive games, and yet they kept a clean sheet against us with relative ease.

Again, that sums up our problems, we’re relying pretty much on one player to save us now – with just 6 games to go. I don’t see the likes of Crystal Palace and Hull City heavily relying on one player to help them stay 17th or higher.

Yet if Llorente doesn’t start all of the next 6 games and is on top form as well as his colleagues, it’s fair to say that we are definitely getting relegated. You’ve got to be realistic.

I debated on twitter ahead of the Middlesbrough game, arguing that it was a must win game, and I still stick by that. Yes, there are other games to play, and more points to play for, but you can’t ignore or under-estimate the value and influence that one win and three points can do ahead of our final run-in.

A victory against one of our nearest relegation rivals – however slim – 1-0 would have done – would have boosted our confidence, and we’d currently be level on points with Hull. Yet, instead, we failed to score against a side that’s worse than us, and we didn’t give us that bit of momentum that we needed going into these last few, crucial games.

Instead, we’ve added even more pressure on to ourselves. You’ve seen what a good run of results can do for teams and the momentum it can build. Yet we’ve got absolutely none, absolutely zero momentum or confidence for that matter. Teams near the bottom who hit form around this time tend to stay up. Without that win though, we’re 5 games without a victory.

I just hope the players can surprise us all on Saturday, get a win out of nowhere and hit some form. Hull go to Stoke on the weekend while we go to Watford. We both face sides in and around mid-table with little to play for, while Crystal Palace move a step closer to safety following a 3-0 win over Arsenal on Monday night.

Therefore, it looks like a two-horse race for the final relegation spot. Ironic in a way after we beat Hull all those years ago to stay in the Football League. This time, both teams go head to head with a lot to play for.

But back to the poll, and Fabianski won it clearly with 68%, followed by Sigurdsson and Ayew with 16% each – surprising really as I thought both had poor games.


2 Replies to “Man of the Match Winner Sums Up West Ham Performance”

  • Yes it’s right to say that momentum is very important, and looking at the fixtures, I expected the team to get more than 1 point from Hull, Bournemouth and Boro but we were poor in the two away games and although we had massive possession stats against Boro, we didn’t really look like scoring. We have reverted to playing very slowly, playing the safe pass, no risk football. I believe this is down to Clement, he has repeatedly said that the team needs to be tight at the back and he doesn’t look as if he likes to take risks. He is also making strange decisions, Sigurdsson needs to play centrally behind Llorente, he gets frustrated playing wide left and the last few games has been a shadow of the player we know he can be. Also Ayew can’t play centrally, he is a wide man pure and simple. The other and most important thing I think is that we aren’t playing in partnerships. We have always played our best football when we play in twos and threes and when Clement first came we noticed Carrroll and Olsen on the left and Naughton and Routledge on the right. The last few games these partnerships have disappeared. The players are scared to try things, when we get the ball we don’t drive forward into the spaces, no-one is taking the lead. Where we used to play quick forward passes, we now instantly look to play backwards. When did defenders become the ones with the most possession? If we are to play wide men, then we have to get the ball quickly to them. Football is a simple game which must be played at a quick tempo. We are not doing that and until we do we will continue to lose matches.

  • Totally agree, I remember writing an article a while back I think when Monk was still here and the need for us to play with partnerships again, almost 18 months on, it’s still a big problem within the squad. – – You’re spot on though, where is the Olsson and Carroll link up down the left? There’s nothing at all down our right and we need to get it back to get Llorente scoring again. We’re playing the slowest football again and going back to our old ways. Clement initially solved the problem of our slow, negative play but it’s back. I’m expecting us to go down, call me negative but I can’t see us getting anything at Watford, and if we don’t, that should be it, as I can see Hull getting something in their game this weekend.

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