We had an interesting discussion in the pub during the Spurs debacle on whether any other club relied on any one player as much as we have relied on Dimitri Payet this season. Everything has been going through Dimitri and with numerous assists and five goals he's obviously going to be a massive loss for the next three months. Man City rely on Aguero a lot, Spurs would miss Harry Kane and Everton Romelu Lukaku, but few teams have had such an obvious star.
Still, you suspect the effect is psychological more than anything else, and our main problems were at the back against Spurs. We have some very good players to replace Payet. Manuel Lanzini is already having a fine season, Alex Song or Mauro Zarate can come into the midfield, Valencia will return in January, and there's the option of playing Carroll and Sakho together. Plus there's £7 million Antonio and Jelavic desperate to get games (and Jelavic did well to set up Lanzini's goal on Sunday).
But what we do need is a bit more creativity from Noble, Kouyate and Moses to make up for his absence. And as Match of the Day pointed out, when teams press like Spurs did, we need to sometimes play the long ball out from the back to bypass them. Even without Payet we still have one of the strongest West Ham teams in many seasons, so for the moment let's remain positive.
George Osborne and Radio 4 channel Essex Man
3 days ago