1) Perhaps we have actually changed our style:
Firstly, from the outset it was pleasing to see the side attempting to play out from the back whenever possible – I was watching the match with a Spurs fan, and when he complimented the way we played last night I knew we must have been doing something right. Mauro Zarate and Stewart Downing’s link up play on the edge of the box was easy on the eye, whilst Alex Song’s debut appearance at around the hour mark added an extra bit of class and composure in midfield. With the array of midfielders at the club this season, I see no reason why we cannot continue to play largely on the floor and play to our strengths.
2) Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho look real talents:
All credit to Sam Allardyce for listening to the supporters and throwing our two new front men in from the start at the KC Stadium, and it’s fair to say they duly delivered. Enner Valencia’s wonder strike to level the score at 1-1 was one of the best I’ve seen from a West Ham player in recent years, and had it not been for a couple of great saves from the Hull ‘keeper, Diafra Sakho would have opened his Premier League account. The pair successfully linked up throughout the game and look as if they will cause a lot defences problems this season.
3) Stewart Downing looks to have a new role:
Throughout the first half it appeared that the Englishman was given the freedom to roam around the pitch, popping up on both the left, right, and also in the centre of midfield on various occasions. Personally I am a real fan of Downing, and on his day he can be a real handful for full backs – I would like to see him continue running at full backs and delivering crosses rather than roaming across the midfield and attempting to make things happen all over the pitch, however. It is not a criticism of Downing, but I just feel he should be asked to stick to what he knows as he is particularly good at it – the winger was one of our standout performers last season and I would like to see more of the same this campaign.
4) Mauro Zarate may lack the physicality for English football:
Let me begin by stating that I am not for a moment doubting the Argentinian’s ability – his performance at Selhurst Park was outstanding and he is clearly a very talented, technical player. Despite this however, English football and particularly Premier League football requires more than that – it is one of the most physically demanding divisions in world football and I fear Zarate may lack the strength to compete. We saw Zarate get bullied off the ball both at the KC Stadium at during the visit of Southampton, and he needs to improve on this aspect of his game if he is to succeed in English football.
5) Winston Reid’s head is clearly not in the right place:
Ever since Winston Reid’s contract situation and interest from Arsenal became common knowledge, the New Zealand international simply hasn’t been the player he used to be. Reid has on the whole, been out of our stand out performers over the past few years, but ever since Arsenal reportedly took an interest in signing the centre half, his performances for West Ham have slumped significantly. I hope the Kiwi signs a new contract as soon as possible, and returns to the form we had become used to at the Boleyn Ground.