The Runner Sports

West Ham’s Embarrassing Loss And An Uncomfortable Truth

In a shocking matchup against newly promoted Newcastle, West Ham United shipped three goals against and did not manage to net one of their own. The board said they would wait on the fate of manager Slaven Bilic until Christmas, however, this horrendous result has expedited the process. With more money being spent on better players, and Bilic handpicking the recruits, the excuses are gone and the former player turned manager is on the ropes with his time at West Ham.

Newcastle took advantage of their opportunities in the match, slowly deteriorating any sort of resolve West Ham brought into the match. Stellar youngster Declan Rice made his first mistake of the season, turning over the ball in a vulnerable position surprising his defenders and leaving Joe Hart to guess on the play resulting in a goal. He ran after the ball like a mad man and made a tackle almost preventing the goal and was visibly shaken up after the goal. West Ham keeper Joe Hart made a point of chasing him down and ignored his pleas to be left alone, reassuring him it was one mistake and to go out and play his game. The leadership stopped there as Bilic took him out of the game to reintroduce Manuel Lanzini.

And this is the issue with the manager. His tactics are unimaginative, predictable, and tone deaf. Rice needed to spend the rest of that game on the pitch to reassert himself and regain his confidence. Instead, he was given no leash and pulled almost immediately from the match –a great way to treat your team’s best player this season.

The rest of the game was a similar mess, indicative of managerial issues as well. Lanzini came on to replace Rice, a central defensive midfielder. To fill that CDM void Bilic decided to move Edmilson Fernandes to that role, a position where he cannot play. Fernandes’ best attributes are his speed and ability to shoot the ball from the outside, both skills are essentially useless in a CDM role. The dominos continued to fall in strange and unusual patterns as Andre Ayew was switched from playing behind the striker to the left wing to make way for Lanzini. This lasted only a few minutes as right winger Michail Antonio had to then switch with Ayew to play on the left side. Now with all the confusion settled, Ayew then comes off for Diafra Sakho, a striker, followed by Mark Noble being replaced by Cheikhou Kouyate in the midfield. Simply put, there was no method to the changes and it clearly unsettled the team who responded by allowing the second goal of the match on a play where the ball was crossed in at leisure due to nobody having any idea who was to mark the man with the ball.

The third goal hammered home the embarrassment as all four West Ham defenders held up their hands calling for an offside that was nowhere close to being called. Rather than marking their men and clearing their lines when the ball is brought in, the backline for West Ham are constantly looking over their shoulders guessing where their teammates will be. To add insult to injury, the Newcastle player who scored the third and final goal threw an errant elbow into Lanzini’s neck on a play mirrored the one that has Marko Arnautovic sitting for his three-game suspension. To sum up the game aptly, it appeared the players on the pitch were a bunch of strangers having never played together before.

So what is the uncomfortable truth? That the time has run out on ¬†Slaven Bilic. He captured lightning in a bottle in West Ham’s final season at their historic home at Upton Park, but the charade was over when wantaway star Dimitri Payet took the playmaking abilities of the squad away with him. What is most embarrassing is that Bilic cannot organize his defenders in a way that can stop any sort of offensive attack. It is embarrassing because he was a former defender and has demoted club legend and former defender Julian Dicks to a helper at practise, while turning down help from the likes of Rio Ferdinand to coach his defense. He has proven in the last year that he cannot succeed at West Ham and certainly not in the Premier League. There are squads with way less talent getting greater results simply by having a game plan, training hard, and being well coached –all things Bilic has received criticism on.

Newly loaned out flop Robert Snodgrass has opened up about his time at West Ham and has brought up some important information about how BIlic runs the club. Specifically, he noted that he was brought in to replace Payet but they do not play the same position. Snodgrass also brought up that he has scored and created at every level he has played at, but not at West Ham. Even in the first part of last season with Hull City, Snodgrass was his team’s highest scorer, the only thing that changed was his position upon reaching West Ham, and it has crumbled his confidence and performance.

The timeline of the start of the season until Christmas is far gone at this point. West Ham sit firmly in last place with 10 goals allowed and only 2 scored. Bilic has got to be replaced with proven talent. His passion endeared him to many West Ham supporters, but his inability to provide positive results has drained the majority of his support in East London. Much like Leicester City last season, West Ham need a change of manager to re-establish themselves in this early season.

Adam Smith
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Adam Smith

West Ham United Writer at The Runner Sports
Proud supporter of the Claret and Blue, West Ham United!
Actively interested in transfer news, match reports, developing story lines, and all things West Ham United!
Adam Smith
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