West Ham’s Lucky Dip
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 14 February 2019 at 12:00pm
Written by : @JGriffithJourno
West Ham; the football form of a lucky dip. You really never know what you are going to get. Two league losses without scoring and an embarrassing cup loss to a side rooted to the bottom of League one could only mean an absolute thrashing at the hands of league leaders Liverpool was on the cards, right? Wrong. We instead put in a brilliant performance that deserved all 3 points, which we would have had, had the linesman not put his contact lenses in back-to-front on Monday morning!
Then, in true West Ham style, rather than taking that momentum forward, we falter. A 1-1 draw versus Crystal Palace, who we have a good record against, can only be seen as a poor result; and the performance was even worse.
So, what can the Hammers expect from their next couple of games? Time to predict, but it’s doubtful even Mystic Meg could call these ones with West Ham involved.
West Ham vs Fulham
A London Derby – but where’s Manuel Lanzini when you need him? Actually, Manu’s back, and the jewel is ready to shine.
Fulham have the worst defence in the league and Ranieri has tried so many formations and combinations of players it seems like they will never have a settled system. As long as Diop can keep Mitrovic quiet and watches over him effectively (and it has to be Diop as Ogbonna couldn’t be trusted to watch a baby let alone a huge Serbian goalscoring machine), then West Ham should be fine. Fulham will employ a deep block and try to hit us on the counter with the speed of Sessegnon and Vietto and if that doesn’t work, they will use Mitrovic as a long-ball outlet. West Ham just have to be patient going forward, using Rice as a metronome to dictate play, and organised at the back. Close down crosses and Mitrovic will have nothing all game.
The Palace game saw us ease up after taking the lead, but Pellegrini will not let that happen again. Anderson will look to torment the leaky Cottager’s defence all game, whilst Lanzini’s movement and creativity should create a number of chances for Arnautovic (who I expect to return to the starting line-up.) In the past we have struggled against deep blocks, but this is an opportunity for West Ham to make a statement and score freely against a side battling relegation. This will be an easy win for West Ham.
Prediction: West Ham 3-0 Fulham
Manchester City vs West Ham
A winning run has to end somewhere right? Unfortunately, it will not be Man City’s streak that is halted. Simply put, our defence is not good enough to contain their attack. While the argument is there that we stopped Liverpool, Manchester City are another animal. Their unpredictability, of personnel and style, is frightening and our defence is too shaky to withstand the barrage that will come at them wave after wave; especially if Balbuena has not recovered by then. Sticking with a three in midfield might give us a foot to stand on as Snodgrass will lead the press, specifically on Fernandinho who is their Regista and chief dictator of play. If the press can continue, we may just grab a goal on the break, although it will likely not be enough as Man City continue in their pursuit of Liverpool. But again, West Ham are a lucky dip, anything could happen!
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 West Ham
3 points from our next 2 games would be satisfactory, 4 would be a dream and 6 would be ludicrous! After City, we have 3 games against sides very much in a relegation scrap and this could make or break our season. Poor results earlier in the season may prove costly in the hunt for seventh as Wolves and Watford could just pull away. Three wins from these games against Newcastle, Cardiff and Huddersfield are essential if we are to avoid a nervy end to the season with the gap between the top half and bottom 3 closing rapidly.
But under a new manager, with a new look team and a plethora of injuries, a top 10 finish will do nicely for the majority of Hammers fans!