FIVE things we learnt about West Ham in their defeat to Southampton

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Winston Reid SouthamptonSaturday’s 3-1 defeat against Southampton well and truly brought West Ham back down to earth following all the positives that could be taken from the opening two fixtures of the campaign. Here are five things that we learnt from the game:

Southampton played really well

As poor as West Ham were in this match, it has to be said, through gritted teeth, that Southampton were exceptional on the day. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the south coast side, after a summer in which there was a massive turnaround in their players and manager for that matter, but on this evidence, they have spent wisely in buying replacements for the likes of Luke Shaw, Rickie Lambert, Callum Chambers Dejan Lovren, and Adam Lallana. At times, particularly in the second half, West Ham simply couldn’t get a touch, so good was the Saints passing. When the Hammers did win the ball back, I was amazed at how quickly the players in claret and blue were pressed, which caused them to lose the ball on numerous occasions in midfield. The goals were only going to be a matter of time, with Southampton utterly dominant.

The whole team looked shaky

It seemed as though the whole team looked decidedly shaky and edgy, which was a real contrast to the first two games of the season. Whether the pressure of playing at home was a factor, I’m not too sure, but even Mark Noble, usually so comfortable in possession, lost the ball on numerous occasions throughout the match. He was far from the only one who appeared to suffer from the jitters, however, and the slack defending from the set pieces which led to Southamptons first two goals was indicative of this. Indeed, for the corner from which they took the lead, the West Ham players were too busy arguing about its award to notice that it had been taken early. Such basic errors were really disappointing to see.

Was the signing of Enner Valencia money well spent?

It is very early days of course, but I am getting quite worried about how effective the new £15million man is going to be. From what I have seen of Valencia so far, including his brief cameo appearance against Southampton, is that he is struggling to adapt to West Hams style of play, or for that matter, English football.

He certainly doesn’t look like a target man, as his relative lack of height and strength allows defenders to brush him off the ball with ease, and win headers against him comfortably. Valencia also dosen’t appear to have the power and speed in his running to play in the other positions across Sam Allardyce’s preferred front three, and generally just looks lost when he is on the pitch so far. I hope that he will be able to adapt soon.

There was no need to get on Sam Allardyce’s back

Saturday was a bad day for West Ham, and they were completely outplayed and outclassed by Southampton. That being said, I thought the reaction from certain sections of the supporters was really poor. Any goals that were conceded or even any substitutions made by Sam Allardyce seemed to result in anti-Allardyce chants and booing by a portion of the crowd. Personally, I don’t think Sam could have done much differently tactically or in personnel to affect the game – it was just a bad day at the office. And there is no way that we should be at the stage – three games into the season – where people are already calling for his head. So far there have been two good performances and one bad in the league, and there was absolutely no need to get on the managers back in this way. Unfortunately, there are some supporters that do not want Allardyce as the manager full stop for whatever reason, and will use any excuse they can get to attack him, which I find quite sad really considering what he has achieved at the club. I just hope the majority of fans will continue to support the team and manager throughout the campaign.

No need to panic

To continue on from the previous point, I don’t think West Ham fans have any need to worry too much at this stage. Enough has been shown in the games so far this season to suggest that there is plenty of talent and quality in the squad, and that West Ham will be fine this season. Certainly I don’t think we should be overly concerned with one performance and one result. Overall, things are looking up for the Hammers as compared with last season as far as I am concerned. It will be interesting to see how the team reacts in their next fixture in two weeks time against Hull City though.

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  • Dam says:

    No need to get on SAMs back, get real! Cole and Vaz tey up front and continuous hoof and hope on any set piece, come on the man is a dead man walking it’s just when. Leys all chip in and get a proper manager

  • Gizzi M says:

    You couldn’t be more wrong on point 4.

    Yes the players ultimately take responsibility for their performance and the whole team except Kouyate and maybe O’Brien were way under par. To suggest there is nothing the manager could do tactically or with personnel is nonsense.

    Why were Vaz Te and Cole left on the pitch for so long?

    Having been dominated in midfield, why was Zarate who had a stinker of a first half, not removed at half time and replaced with Diame to provide more energy and presence in midfield.

    Sakho looked lively in midweek. Saints CBs were very slow, why didn’t we try and turn the defence round by using his pace or Valencia’s to get in behind?

    He had 15 minutes with them at half time to earn the astronomical amount he is paid to affect the game. Something I struggle to recall him ever doing in his whole time here (maybe Chelsea at home 2 years ago)

    Same tactics and formation week after week. Predictable unimaginative forward play.

    I’m not panicking. But from the 4 games I’ve seen so far (other than an hour against a dogshit Palace team) no lessons have been learned from last year and no attempt made to create more goal scoring opportunities.

    The West Ham crowd has always been one that needs someone or something on the pitch to spark them to life. I actually thought up to 1-2 they remained supportive but the 3rd goal was the limit.

    He has been backed with money and support from the board more than any other modern manager we’ve had and he needs to deliver.

  • bob says:

    Utter tripe written here! You just explained how effective & dominant Saints were away from home having sold ALL their best players bar one (who scored twice v us) with a new manager then you say dont get on Sams back, who has had HOW long to find an effective system without Carrol????
    The man should have been thanked for doing ALL he can, keeping us up first season then shown the door!! Saints took
    a gamble with their last two
    managers and already we can see the latter has paid off just as the former did

  • Martin Hill says:

    The whole piece seems to be a pro Allardyce propaganda event. I was encouaraged by the summer purcahses but disappointed the starting 11 v Spurs was the same old dross seen last season. we palyed well considering we were carrying Nolan, Cole and Vaz Te. When Spurs went down to 10 mens, it was the opportunity to expand the paly and exploit gaps. SA kept the same shape playing into the oppositions hands. Typical Allardyce. The man can build a solid defence unit but has no imagination going forward resulting in boring bland football. It is all very well saying ir was a bad day at the office, but surely that is what SA is being paid to avoid. It is also fine to say things will be OK. If you mean we will avoid the drop, you are probably right, but is that anything to get excited about! I have not renewed my season ticket this year and won’t until SA leaves.

  • Stan says:

    Couldnt change team from palace superb away display.
    Vazquez and cole included.
    Cole held ball up weel but had little support as saints had high line and we were deep too often which created panic in the ball in midfield which is a Shame when it’s nobs particularly.
    Morrison and Diane seemed obvious double substitution but Morrison so confident on the ball like Sheffield game did most of his passing in our half and made nobs redundant.
    Saints just passed around us day and it was just a bad day.
    Valencia certainly didn’t look much of a threat even compared to a tiring cole.
    We need a good reaction at hull and we can get back on track or Liverpool loom large

    • Simon says:

      Rubbish – Cole and Vaz Te were the worst of the players against Palace – and to say they deserve selection in any game is ludicrous with the quality we have sitting on the bench – neither are PL standard period – CCole against Saints was crap, as was Vaz Te, the team suffered overall because Sam didnt have the marbles to change anything, either personnel wise or tactically – we were being overun after 5 minutes and it just got worse, playing like headless chickens – we got a lucky goal against play but the game was being played in our half, so Sam sends the same team and the same tactics out for the second, Saints upped the tempo and we defended like a pub team – game over – Saints defense isnt great, we never did anything to test them – CCole and Vaz te should never have started, and certainly have never come out for the second half, Diame and Valencia sitting on the bench is a joke and Sam is an idiot, he uses sports science rubbish when we all see with our own eyes the mess CCole and Vaz Te deliver, week after week – championship standard players dont deliver top half finishes, and Sam obviously doesnt dont know the difference – you can add Obrien to that, and then ask how Nolan fits in, certainly not on merit – it wasnt just a bad day, Sam was given a lesson in tactics and management by Koeman, Sam is responsible for selections and ensuring the players are ready to compete, we were that bad it was embarrassing, and 3-1 by the way flattered us, it should have been 4 anyway but for a poor offside call but could easily have been 5-6 which under the circumstances would not have been unjust – Saints are a team we should be competing with for top half finishes, there is a world of difference between us, and theyve just lost most of their key players and have a new manager – we wont get relegated, but we wont be pushing up the table either, not under Sams management anyway!!

  • Stan says:

    10 games will show where we are and if Sams turned it round or bit the managers tick tack.
    I’ve got a feeling he will turn it round like he has been in the prem for 20 years.
    He is not my cup of tea but let’s see what he does in next 7 or 8 games.

  • beckton Geoff says:

    I absolutely agree with Simon , BFS put the players on the field, BFS tell them how he wants them to play on the field, and now every PL team know what to expect from our West ham which is dros football, BFS has become a joke in the PL, we have become a easy target for rest of the PL, i have not even got the confidence we will stay up this season with BFS in charge, this is my WEST HAM !!!! and it is killing me , soo BFS please please please just F**k OFF !!and leave my West ham alone.

    • Johnny Mac says:

      Well that’s telling them beckton Geoff, doesn’t seem like anyone at the top is listening though?

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