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Repeat, repeat, repeat


Filed: Monday, 4th December 2017
By: Paul Walker


Two games on the road, as different as chalk and cheese - and that is the real problem facing David Moyes as he tries to turn West Ham into a proper, competitive, football team again.

OK, you all may by now realise I live in the frozen lands of the north, where my fellow West Ham fans continually chant about paying our benefits. Really quite tiresome that stereotypical nonsense these days. But if you are happy paying my pension lads and lasses, keep it going!

I endured a 40-mile battle through the M6 traffic carnage on Wednesday to see the most dispiriting, disgusting performance by a West Ham team I can remember. And I saw Mido play.

Then Sundayís 20-mile trip to Manchester City, where along with almost everyone else I was fearing a landslide to such an extent that some of the younger members of our annual City-West Ham piss-up (I have fans of both clubs amounst family and friends) wanted to stay in the pub to watch from a safe distance. Snowflakes!

Frankly, it was like watching two different sides. The one at Everton was a disgrace, but at the Etihad we at last showed the watching millions around the world that we deserve some respect, if nothing else.

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Even my good lady, who professes to know nowt about football (but still somehow knows exactly, to the hour, where our fixture list and debatable kick-off times will take me!) text me to say "that wasnít that bad". She has never, ever, text me about a match result in her life. The womanís a fraud. (Please donít show her this, anyone.)

Moyes has now been in charge for four games. Ahead of the Watford match he said all the right things, laid some law down and made it clear there would be plenty of knocking into shape. Then the match came round and we were as pedestrian as one of those old menís walking matches.

We had chances, sure, but we were outplayed in midfield and a laughing stock by the end.

Then came Leicester, when the London Stadium fans at last sounded like the angry rearguard of the Boleyn boys, partly because we were still very ordinary and the fans opted to remind the world or what a West Ham crowd in full flow sounds like. And the players reacted, said they liked it, and tried very hard.

Everton next. How bad was that first-half? After the break and a Moyes bollocking, we started to play a bit, hit the bar, missed a penalty and then presented Wayne Rooney with his hat-trick from 50 yards.

For fuck's sake Joe, put the bloody ball in row Z when you decide to come rushing out that far. That schoolboy error may well now cost Hart his first-team place and with it the chance to go to the World Cup.

Adrian was back in at the Etihad because Joe couldnít play against his host club, and if Moyes has anything about him now, he will continue with Adrian in goal - that is until the Spanish Ďkeeper has another of the flaky moments that got him dumped by Slav in the first place.

Now there has been a lot of hot air about the Moyes appointment, admittedly after close on a dozen others turned the job down. While Alan Pardew wasnít even offered it, much to Chocolateís annoyance.

Moyes was hardly seen as a Slav-style passionate manager, with little charm and charisma. And maybe a manager past his sell-by date. I know I wrote recently of the Moyes I knew at Everton, and what a decent manager me was, but I too wanted to see whether he could still hack it after an embarrassing fall from grace.

The jury is still out, it must be said. But what we saw at Manchester City was a level of organisation, commitment, work rate, energy, pressure and concentration not seen for months if at all, since we moved from the Boleyn.

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I did warn you it would not be pretty. As Moyes said after the brave 2-1 defeat, "We didnít come here to make City look good". A sentiment lost on the snivelling Fabian Delph, who expected us to open up and play. Surely heís been in enough crap sides at Aston Villa to understand why teams without oil riches cannot play the way City and Pep Guardiola seems to want.

I can recall Jose and Arsene whinging on like that. Really, gentleman, come and play for, or run, a club like ours, lets see if you can come up with any better sort of application and team plan.

We might have just nicked a point had Diafra Sakho managed more composure in injury time, or the excellent Rice not got just a couple of foot the wrong side of David Silva. But the kid should not be hammered for that, he will learn, and he deserves to stay in the side.

Having witnessed too much of Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna as a partnership already, Declan deserves his chance now. But, and thereís always a but.

When Reece Oxford made that impressive debut away at Arsenal, he was hailed a boy wonder. But ahead of the next game at home to Leicester, the Midlanders had done their homework on the kid and he was seriously pressured and lost the ball twice in midfield to cost us goals.

He was hooked at the break if I recall. Chelsea will be having a long look at Rice now, you can be sure.

So having made the point that we are frighteningly inconsistent and cannot seem to concentrate on our jobs for ten minutes let alone 90, the one thing Moyes will be hammering into them is to repeat, repeat, repeat what worked at City.

Itís always going to be about effort, pressure, running and remembering where you should be in the team plan. And so far under the Scot, I cannot recall seeing that from one game to the next.

We could easily lose the next two against Chelsea and Arsenal, and that will have the twitter twerps in full flow. But sacking the manager now? Letís stop being silly. It took a while to find anyone to take over from Bilic, managers across the country and Europe were saying no. And a whole coaching staff went west with him.

Moyes has brought in new coaches and is still looking for a fitness expert. Does anyone seriously think that axing this new crew now would be anything more than condemning the club to the funny farm?

Who would take the job now, which players would come to us in January, would we have any level of respect and creditability?

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Of course not. So letís stop rocking the boat. Moyes, for better or worse, is here until the end of the season with a two-year option (which most pundits and critics seem to ignore) to be discussed in the summer.

What he has to do, is to make sure that this flaky squad turn in Leicester or Manchester City style performances rather than the Watford and Everton nonsense. Moyes has seen in a few weeks exactly what the problems are.

Sam Inkersole on the excellent Football.London website spelt out a lot of what the future holds in his assessment of the Manchester City performance. Pedro Obiang, Edimilson Fernandes, Arthur Masuaku and Adrian all produced fine performances.

They understood their roles in a very functional, predictable Moyes style plan. Even the substitution of Aaron Cresswell late on, with Masuaku going to left-back in a back four, and Marko Arnautovic coming on, almost worked wonders.

It was Markoís strength and running power that set up Sakho for that late chance of an equaliser. Cresswell, too, had shown versatility to play on the left of a back three, but Moyes--going against the perception of being a cautious manager-- tried something late on that might just have nicked a point.

But we ended with nothing but praise, and the reality of our position is unfolding. No league win since September, three points from a possible 24 and now the worst record over a 15 game start to a season in our history.

There is a gap occurring now, three points away from safety and even a win over Chelsea will not take us out of the bottom three. And above Pardewís fourth from bottom West Brom, is a five point gap for us to make up.

Moyes (or any replacement for Bilic) arrived too late, in my view, to make much early difference. Moyes has had no honeymoon period and there has been no new manager Ďbounceí like others in the relegation fight have experienced. Roy Hodgson has taken ten points from ten games at Crystal Palace since his appointment.

Claude Puel has managed 11 points from six games at Leicester, even Big Sam with two wins in two games since he arrived at Goodison Park on the night we surrendered, has made an impact.

We were so uncompetitive, taking so much stick from recently retired pundits. Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Gary Neville, even pretty boy Jermaine Jenus - how he fits into the category of respected, intelligent pundits I will never know - were calling us out for a lack of basic professionalism.

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Players who wonít run, wonít track back, wonít concentrate and seemingly didnít care were being slaughtered by their peers, who know what is expected from a dressing room. Moyes quite rightly stopped one TV interviewer in his tracks when he started a question by praising Arnautovic for tracking back.

"Donít you praise anyone for that, itís a given, everyone has to do it. Part of the job," said Moyes.

Now I can gingerly say that Moyes is having some effect. Not enough, not yet. But Sunday at the Etihad was getting somewhere.

At half-time I ducked down to the bar, as you do, and our Claret and Blue army were in full flow, bare chested, bawling out our battle songs. I was standing next to a copper watching this and said: "What will they be like if we win?" The copper just smiled, knowingly. Even the Old Bill are taking the piss out of us, it has to stop.

I hate all this self depreciating humour; "How shit must you be, the score's still 0-0" - that sort of stuff. But I understand. The abuse and insults we have taken of late are getting tiresome. Come on Moyes, remind us what winning is like!


Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.







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