Tuesday, November 22

Substitute for another guy…

A lot has been said about the substitution of Dimitri Payet on Saturday and one thing the Spurs defeat illustrated was that West Ham might have a decent first X1 but lack quality on the bench. Fernandes for Ayew was understandable as Edmilison looks promising. But replacing Dimitri Payet with Havard Nordtveit was always a big risk; admittedly Payet had been away on international duty and bolstering the defence was sensible at 2-1 up, but Nordtveit has never looked Premiership class and duly gave away the fateful penalty. 

I'd always prefer to keep Dimitri on the pitch as if it does go wrong, as against Spurs, he's the one player who might be able to salvage something in added time with a touch of brilliance. It would have made more sense to take off Lanzini for a defender. 

Diafra Sakho was understandably tired after 61 minutes and was replaced with Zaza, who made a decent break but failed to play in Payet when it could have been 3-1. There's certainly a case for returning misfiring loanees Zaza, Tore and Calleri with their dispatch notes, while Feghouli and Nordtveit look below standard. I'd rather stick with the kids on the bench plus players we trust such as Collins and Fernandes, and when fit Carroll, Byram, Arbeloa, Masuaku and Oxford. 

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