Written by : @jackoflaherty
Our lack of urgency against Brighton lost us the game – and it will continue to do so if we don’t play quicker.
After a great run of two wins and a draw against top opposition in the league, our innate ability for inconsistency has reared its ugly head once again with a soulless (and frankly boring) 1-0 defeat to Brighton, who are quickly becoming a bit of a bogey team for us.
We started well with a couple of attacks early on and saw a great, goal-bound, volleyed effort from Arnautovic blocked. Despite this, even before the goal, the cracks were beginning to show.
Our midfield trio, who showed great energy and desire against United and Everton were once again sloppy, sluggish and uninspiring. Masuaku was poor and Yarmolenko returned to the poor form he was showing at the start of the season when he hadn’t quite returned from injury.
Of course, Glenn Murray was the scorer for what was a very sloppy goal. We were punished for our sloppiness in midfield when the ball was stolen and crossed in to Murray to finish with ease, as Masuaku ball-watched behind him. If we are going to make this push to the top ends of the table, these games are the bread and butter, the teams we should be putting away, especially after playing so well the in the last four games.
It was a poor result, but it doesn’t mean the last few games were a fluke of any sort. We are going in the right direction with our performances and tactics – and this season was never going to be an instant success like many fans hoped. Placing five or so new first team players in a squad during one window will take some time to come good (even perhaps a whole season) – but what’s frustrating is the inconsistency that seems to plague nearly all West Ham squads in recent years.
Despite Brighton being a disappointing game, the recent run of good results softens the blow. Keeping in mind the way we started the season, if we knew we would get seven points from Everton, Chelsea, Man United, and Brighton as well as an 8-0 win in the cup, I think we would all be very happy with that.
What the squad needs to take away from the result is the need for urgency and pace of play in this league. We can have all the talent in the world with Yarmolenko, Anderson and Arnautovic – but if there is no urgency in our play, it becomes very easy for a squad to just sit back and keep us out, which is precisely what Brighton did for most of the second half.
Next we take on Spurs at home – which is a massive game this early in the season – and if we can create the sort of atmosphere, and play with the urgency and pace that we did against Manchester United, we have a great chance of getting a result.