On a wing and a prayer

The January transfer window has closed - and West Ham were one, maybe two players light from it being a good window for the club.

It’s a big gamble relying on Nayef Aguerd and Angelo Ogbonna especially not breaking down with another injury, before the season ends, when we have a lot of games coming up. Let alone Kurt Zouma, who is already out with another injury.


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Gambling: Kurt Zouma has suffered frequent injuries during his spell at the club


Yes, Ben Johnson, Aaron Cresswell and even Thilo Kehrer, who I wouldn’t rule out yet, are more than capable of being able to play as one of the three centre halves, should we stick with the back five formation and we are only missing one of Zouma, Aguerd and Oggy.

But, if at some stage between now and the end of the season we are missing two of those three, which is very much possible, then I think we will really struggle. And I am quite frankly amazed the club hasn’t learned its lesson from last January, when we were sweating over our three remaining centre halves for the rest of the season.

Lo and behold, we did end up struggling.

We are certainly relying heavily on Emerson not getting an injury. If he does, who plays wing back on the left for us?

Now don’t get me wrong, David Moyes may well not stick with the back five for every game for the rest of the season. And I don’t think he will. Particularly when Zouma is back, as he’ll possibly believe a back four with Zouma and Aguerd is solid enough. And to be fair, we haven’t seen that yet. He could be right.

But should we need to rely on a back five, an injury to Emerson would be a major blow for us. I think we’re okay on the right at least, with Vladimir Coufal. And I’d still like to see Kehrer play right wing back at some point. I really do believe that could be a good position for him.


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Danny Ings was West Ham's only notable signing of a quiet January transfer window


We have at least attempted to fix our goalscoring problem, bringing in Danny Ings on what was, by our usual piss poor standards when it comes to signing ageing players, on a pretty sensible contract. 2.5 years is more than enough. Whilst he also may be Antonio’s replacement beyond this season, should Micky leave us in the summer.

I am pretty pleased with that signing. And I am hopeful he’ll play a big part for the remainder of our season.

We really need our attacking midfielders to step up to the plate, now. They have all woefully underperformed; just five non set piece goals have been contributed from Said Benrahma, Pablo Fornals, Manuel Lanzini and Lucas Paqueta (until he was moved to central midfield) in the League.

We need Maxwel Cornet to justify his place at the club when he returns, as he can be a very good player to have in the match day squad on his day. And we need Jarrod Bowen’s good form to continue from recent weeks, as he too has massively under-delivered this season so far.

As have Gianluca Scamacca and Antonio. Scamacca does have a lack of experience at this level and age on his side, though. There’s not many (recently turned) 24 year-old, first choice strikers playing top flight football.

Should we avoid any further injuries for the rest of the season and the players play to their absolute best, do I think that the squad is good enough to stay up and have a decent cup run? Yes. Especially in the Conference League. However, should we get one or two lengthy injuries in the wrong areas of the pitch, things may just get a little more difficult for us.

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