Monday, 25 July 2011


The season start away to Cardiff is very quickly coming closer to starting. Do people still feel the need for some signings, or even expecting people to leave? I personally answer Yes to both of these questions.

As I mentioned last time out, I feel we have a side who should be good enough for the play-offs. I still believe this is true, but at the moment I just cannot see where the majority of our goals are going to come from, especially if we continue to play this 4-1-4-1/4-5-1 hybrid formation.

To me Carlton Cole doesn't score enough goals, we should be a good target man, but I find he never knows when to shoot or pass, which causes a major problem. If we are to play this formation then we rely on goals from midfield, as well as our front man, we know Sears can finish, he's shown it time and time again and I feel given the chance for us next season, he could well prove this to everyone, but it could quite easily go the other way, let's hope not! Stanislas is also a fairly good finisher and I feel the same about Matt Taylor, who I believe is a fantastic signing. Barrera on the other hand hasn't really seen enough action to prove his true worth, but he may well be amazing after a couple of games. I feel Nouble should always be sub to Cole up front (if we keep hold of Cole), fair enough Nouble also isn't a proven goal scorer, but he does have strength and pace, so he will always be lively and good enough to bring others in to the game, he just isn't a starter yet. So I would be trying desperately to sign a striker who is known for scoring and would happily say goodbye to Piquonne, who seems to go through spells of being good and awful. I would also sell Cole if a decent offer came in, but that would increase our need for forwards.

If we sign a striker who is more likely to get us goals then I could see our formation needing to change, so that we have a target man and then the goal scorer feeding off of him, which leaves less space in our midfield, if that happens then I think that could see Barrera move elsewhere unless we keep rotating Taylor/Sears/Stanislas/Barrera. Our central midfield should be fine with or without Parker, he is a brilliant player but I feel Noble can comfortably play in a holding roll, he can pass and he is never afraid to put a tackle in, then I would have Collison and Nolan in front or rotate Nolan and Collison if we use a 4-4-2. I'd also like to see Montano play a bit on the wings this season, he's been playing really well in pre season and definitely deserves a chance to prove he can do it. We should also sell Boa Morte, we signed him when he was past his best and he never seems comfortable on the ball anymore.

Defence is another tough decision, will we see Illunga play, will we see Faubert playing? I personally think our starting line up at the back will always have Spence and Tomkins as they should be good enough for this level, I'd always have Faye alongside Tomkins as he has the strength and height that Tomkins lacks, but I feel we need another full back to start, whether it's left or right (preferrably left if I was asked) Illunga just hasn't looked like the same player when we signed him so I think if we get someone who can play there we would be fine, as Matt Fry can come on the left or Spence, but I'd feel Spence is better on the right and then we could sell Faubert and Illunga and use the money to get a right back as well, we could also do with another central defender, unless Reid suddenly becomes incredible...we shall wait and see.

In goal I personally expect Green to go, he is far too good for the Championship, but I defnitely wouldn't buy a new replacement, Stech and Boffin both look like they are more than comfortable to step up to the plate and I feel they should be given a shot. We also have Kurucz still to come back from injury and he could be just as good.

So out of the 4 signings I've heard we apparently need I would say a Left Back and Striker are the 2 most vital that we need, I would also say the others are another Striker and Centre Back, although I would have 5 and add a Right Back on to the list as cover for Spence.

I have faith Allardyce knows exactly what he is doing though as the signings we've made so far all seem very sensible, so lets just wait and see what he does.

Before our new season kicks-off we still have a big friendly against Zaragoza, which I feel will be a true test of our team and will hopefully see us using our main starting line up at first.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Pre Season Test

West Ham tonight managed to win in a pre-season friendly away to FC Copenhagen. Now this is a team that have been in the Champions League and are certainly no pushovers.

This is the one and only match I've been able to watch so far but the early signs are promising. West Ham tried to keep the ball for extended periods of play, being patient in their build up and hoping for an opening to arrive, which is a good start as when Avram was in charge we couldn't keep the ball if our lives depending on it, another pleasing sign was the team defending as a complete unit, this may be down to the 4-1-4-1 formation, but it certainly worked as we didn't concede, although you could suggest we were slightly lucky at times thanks to the offside rule. The only criticsm I could possibly point out, was that we lacked the special creativity in the final third to find that opening our possesion football was giving us the time to carve out, it could be down to a lack of runs from Piquonne or it could be a missing killer ball from Noble, Nolan, Parker, Collison or Boa Morte, but this seem to change when Christian Montano and Frank Nouble came on for Collison and Piquonne, Nouble wasn't afraid to make a daring run to try to break free of the opposition back four, as Noble consistently tried to look for him, while Montano brought an incredible pace to the wing and a drive to create more chances for the team, this later proved to be the perfect move as he managed to break lose to set up Sears to score our one and only goal, but one was enough.

I was pleased to also see a team not looking to just lump the ball forward to the front man, like many people worried we would do under West Ham, we may not be an all out attack minded team, but we are playing it simple and playing it safe, I personally would rather win 1-0 by controlling a game, rather than going all out and losing 5-4 or something else ridiculous just because the team wouldn't defend. This to me is all promising signs, but as experienced before, we can have an incredible pre-season, only to see it slip as soon as the season begins, so let us hope it won't! Also if the rumours are true and West Ham are signing winger Matty Taylor from Bolton, then that will no doubt help our wide play out (and based on personal opinion, push Boa Morte out of the line up, leaving Taylor, Sears, Stanislas and Barrera for the wings and allowing Collison to play in his more natural position of centre midfield).

Although I would still add that I feel we could do with at least one more defender and a decent striker. This season I hope also lets us see more of the likes of Spence, Montano, Nouble and Abdulla as they all look determined to prove their worth for us!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

A New Season Draws Near

At the time of writing this, West Ham are currently involved in a pre-season friendly against Bishop Stortford, we are currently one nil up through a rather odd Stanislas goal (or at least that is what I presume from the text update on the West Ham website).

This is my first West Ham blog, I have made a few posts here and there on my other blog but I felt that I had so many views on West Ham, that I may as well have my own blog for it! Please note this is not going to be one with constant updates about transfers and results, it will just be a fans personal view on life as a fan and what I see could help.

Everything is settled in place at West Ham now, we are in the Championship, whether we like it or not, although I see it as a blessing in disguise, we've had two seasons in a row spent at the bottom of the table, this is a chance for the team to get back to basics and rebuild for the future. We haven't lost many players yet, the main players being Jacobsen, Upson and Spector. I was shocked to see the latter go, I felt he did pretty well last season, among a culprit of under performers, Upson being one of them, who I felt was nowhere near good enough and I do not feel I saw enough of Jacobsen to really decide on him being good or not.

We haven't as of yet lost the likes of Cole, Green, Parker etc, although I will not be surprised to see Green and Parker go before the end of the season, they are far too good for the Championship and we have already bought Nolan as an obvious replacement for Parker, Green I can see going to West Brom as they have just lost their number one goalkeeper. Cole on the other hand I suspect could stay after not being able to agree personal terms with Stoke, it is clear he enjoys playing for West Ham and I do not doubt for a second that he would be a threat in the Championship, I genuinely hope this could help his compusure in front of goal and possibly make him a much better goal scorer.

I'm struggling at the moment to truely decide what players we will put out in the Championship, it appears West Ham have been playing a 4-1-4-1/4-3-3 style hybrid formation but I cannot be too sure as I haven't actually seen a match live, I have just been reading text updates. If this formation is the case and the transfers I suspect could happen do, then the squad I could guess right now would be something like this:-


Spence/Faubert, Tomkins, Faye/Reid, Ilunga/Brown


Stanislas, Collison, Nolan, Sears


If this is the case (I could be very wrong depending on new signings) then I would suggest we played Spence over Faubert, I'd probably sell Faubert given the chance and I would also sell Ilunga and buy a new left back. Fry and Brown are both decent players who I really hope get chances to shine, but we don't have much experience in the back four so I feel that could help a lot. I would play Noble in front of the back four as I felt he is a player much like Parker, he likes to get stuck in with tackles and use the muscle he has to win and hold on to the ball, if he's playing simple passes there then he can't go too wrong. I personally wouldn't feel the need to add much more to the midfield, I feel our younger players have a lot of quality to rotate in to a very succesful midfield, I also hope we keep hold of Barrera as I feel he could rotate with Sears and be pretty deadly in the Championship. Cole up front should be brilliant in the Championship, I'd also like to see Nouble play now and then off the bench or starting as I feel he has a lot going for him, with pace and strength with added height which a player like Zavon Hines doesn't really have. I'd like to see Zavon do well but at the moment I really don't know if he will, he's got pace and an eye for goal, so only time will tell, but I think he could only work in the squad with another striker there, so maybe if we are stuck in a 0-0 deadlock in a game we look like we could win then maybe bring him on and switch to a 4-4-2. I wouldn't mind seeing us buy another striker though just to bolster the front line.

With the squad we have I genuinely think it should comfortably reach the play-offs, I'm a little sceptic at us getting automatic promotion at the first time of asking, there are some brilliant teams in the Championship and it will no doubt be tough and I will always remember our first season there last time, with a squad most would have said should have reached automatic promotion, only to head all the way to Cardiff for the play-off final to see Crystal Palace fans walking away celebrating!

I suggest for now though, we wait and see what the future holds, especially in the transfer market. So far we've tried sigining sensible players who can hold their own in that league, but unfortunately we haven't had too much luck, so hopefully we will have a better chance as the season gets even closer.