Friday, September 30
Six steps to improve West Ham
There's a lot more to say, like sorting out our best centre back pairing, but here are my six steps that might improve WHU's fortunes…
MAKE A DECISION ON ZAZA
Apparently there’s an obligation to buy Zaza after a small number of games, rumoured to be 15 (who negotiated that?). He certainly hasn’t looked worth £25 million so far. But is he a confidence player? If either of the scuffed shots he had cleared off the line against FC Astra and Southampton had gone in would he suddenly have gone on a scoring run? Zaza scored one in three over three full seasons in Italian football and broke into the international side so he can’t be too bad. It’s pretty clear he can’t play with Calleri as they go for the same balls. Could he play with Fletcher? With that obligation to buy after 15 games we have to make a decision quickly.
STRENGTHEN THE DEFENSIVE SHIELD
Our defence has come under so much pressure because Noble and Kouyate haven’t looked as dynamic as last season. There’s a clear case for bringing Obiang into the midfield to help shield the back four and perhaps playing all three. That would mean Lanzini dropping to the bench and coming on against tiring teams.
PLAY A SPECIALISED RIGHT BACK
Better to play Arbeloa or Byram at right-back rather than Nordtveit. (Thankfully Bilic has given up on the Antonio experiment.) At least we’d have one full back playing on their natural side then, even if whoever plays on the left will be on their wrong foot.
IMPROVE THE TEAM SPIRIT
A team meal was a good idea even if it generated a few headlines and boosted the profits of McDonald’s. The side just don’t look like they’re fighting for each other at the moment and it’s surely a case of two many new arrivals over the summer taking time to bed in. Somehow Bilic has to inspire them and up their work rate.
REINTEGRATE SAKHO AND GET CARROLL FIT
Diafra Sakho is coming towards fitness and we know he’s a great finisher when motivated. Whatever has passed behind Bilic and the player in the past we need him as an option. And when Carroll returns we’ll at least have a focus to our attack and a Plan B when things go wrong. Without Andy we made Accrington Stanley look brilliant in the air.
STOP BLAMING THE STADIUM
The side should be able to scrap and fight wherever they play. Terry Venables once said with footballers you have to take their excuses away. Too many WHU players are hiding behind the stadium excuse. Watford and Southampton have shown us it’s possible to play well on what is a great playing surface, even if it is bigger than Upton Park.