Opinion from the stands

Who was “particularly underwhelming” for West Ham against Liverpool?

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After completing the double over the reds, many West Ham fans were very optimistic when we were drawn against Liverpool for The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round. This sense of optimism was given a boost at around 4:45 when the team news was released and Liverpool were fielding a very inexperienced team including Brad Smith, Kevin Stewart, Cameron Brannagan and Joao Teixeira. In particular the midfield of Stewart, Brannagan and Joe Allen looked weak in comparison to Kouyate, Song and Obiang and so if we could have controlled the game from midfield we would have, and perhaps should have cruised to victory.

But these players in the Liverpool starting XI are, arguably playing for their futures at the club as they are no longer youth anymore and it is now or never for most of them. Liverpool edged the possession stats (51%/49%) and they managed to get 18 shots on goal with 6 on target compared to our 7 shots with 1 on target but no team really ever looked like winning the game.

West Ham were very sloppy on the ball throughout the game. Victor Moses is a player that I want to single out as someone who was particularly underwhelming. After a rather indifferent loan spell at Liverpool in the 2013/14 season where he managed just a solitary goal in 19 appearances, Moses could have really proved himself but sadly he was unable to do so. The Nigerian international has failed to make the same impact as our other attacking players bought in this season, although he has been injured for a while. He lacks a real sense of direction and he is just simply not good enough in the final third. This is a real shame after his Man of the Match debut against Newcastle earlier in the season.

Make no mistake Moses was not the only player to underperform at Anfield and there are really only a few positives. I believe Kouyate could have made a difference if he had stayed on the pitch but that wasn’t to be and Joey O’Brien was very solid for the hour or so he was on the pitch. But the man of the match by a long stretch was Ireland International goalkeeper Darren Randolph. After pulling off a triple save mid way through the second half it appeared that nothing was going to get past him and that proved the case. Bilic stated after the game that Randolph was always going to start whether Adrian was available or not (Adrian flew to Spain on Saturday morning as he is expecting a child) and now Randolph has given Bilic a bit of a selection headache.

Despite a scrappy and rather dull game, we are still in with a chance of progressing to the fifth round and we will face Liverpool in a replay under the lights at Upton Park, this would have been the last thing that Jurgen Klopp would have wanted considering the huge pile up of fixtures he has had recently and will continue to have, given the return of the Europa League and hopefully we can take full advantage of a jaded Liverpool team. The replay will be a completely different game and I have no doubt that the Boleyn will be rocking.

The Transfer window closes tonight (Monday 1st FEB) and it is unlikely that we will see any more signings by the end of the day after Emmanuel Emenike’s loan deal went through last night. He is an exciting addition to the squad and hopefully he can hit the ground running.

It appears that Nikica Jelavic’s days in Claret and Blue are numbered. Whether or not Jelavic is sold by the deadline is irrelevant as the club interested in signing Jelavic have a different transfer window to the Premier League so we could still release him if he agrees a contract with the club. Other than that I am not aware of any other players who are close to a move to the club or out of the club so deadline day in the winter window will not be as eventful as the previous one.

Next up is Aston Villa and providing we have our shooting boots on I think we can quite easily get a win against the Midlands club who are all but mathematically relegated.


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  • j.a allen says:

    when I saw the team sheet I thought we would get overrun in midfield, really pleased the way the young? lads played. I just think with youth in the team there seems to be more movement.smith at left back is a far better player than mereno,faster a better crosser of the ball.as for joao teixeria, there is talk about him leaving, must be mad. I remember an old Liverpool player saying you cannot win games with young kids (man united, remember). one or two observations, we never win a ball from a goal kick, why do we keep taking long corners?, play corners like Barcelona short ones. how many goals have we scored from corners? a few years ago I watched arsenal,they had seventeen corners and lost! the keeper either gets it or a defender heads it out. I think we have a great manager,i wish him and the team all the best. john.

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