At the start of the season, I tweeted that we would lose to Man City, win against Forest and Viborg (H) and lose against Brighton. I wasn’t too far wrong, but was clearly too positive in my predictions – something I’m known for across West Ham Twitter…
It’s early doors, and there’s no need to panic. The City game was always going to be tough (although Newcastle have set down a marker in how to approach playing City), we were unlucky against Forest, and Brighton are our bogey team (more about this later). On the other hand, our league form has been poor this calendar year, looking at our last ten games we’ve managed only one win, against a Norwich team already thinking of life in the Championship. In fact, it could be argued that we only really played well in three games in 2022: Seville (H), Lyon (A) and Man City (H). This is subjective, of course, but it is clear our form has been below par for some time.
Returning to Brighton – we’ve not beaten them in 11 games, over five years, since they returned to the Premier League. Moyes does the same thing against them, and it doesn’t work. We appear to be at the point where we shrug our shoulders and say, “It’s Brighton – they’re our bogey team”. That’s such b******s – what has happened is Potter has Moyes’ number, and Moyes has no response.
Look how strong Brighton’s back line was – and we still hump aimless balls into their dominant centre halves. We bring Scamacca on, Potter brings on Estupinan, tweaks the formation, and they score. Brighton will do well this year, they have a forward-thinking manager, excellent recruitment, and some good players.
What to do about it? This bit is not easy, if it was, Moyes would have done it. We have made some impressive signings, possibly the best of them – Aguerd – is injured, and that has hurt us, as have the other injuries at the back. No one could have foreseen the CB crisis.
The rest of the signings are apparently not ready (Cornet), not used to the league (Scamacca), or not showing it in training (Downes). One wonders how they can adapt to the league if they aren’t played, or that if they aren’t “ready”, perhaps they should have been brought in earlier?
Moyes has said that he won’t play new players, because he feels they are not up to the pace of the Premier League, yet he continues to play players who are well off the pace of the Premier League…
Moyes sounded a bit defensive and perhaps a little stumped after the Brighton game, saying “I don’t lose three in a row”, well you just have, Davey. He has money in the bank – we have had two very good seasons – but how long will that positive credit last? Football, famously, is a results-based business, and if we lose against Villa, it looks a little bleak with Spurs, Chelsea, and Newcastle up next.
Looking across Twitter (which is not necessarily representative of the broader fanbase) fans are getting twitchy, and accusing Moyes of being stubborn, and lacking in a Plan B.
What would I do? Well, I’m not the manager, just some geezer off Twitter, but perhaps play two up top – Antonio and Scamacca, with Cornet whipping the crosses in. Maybe drop Soucek and move Fornals in there or give Downes a try. Drop Coufal and put Johnson or Ashby at right back.
Point being, there are options, Moyes just has to be brave enough to try some of them, no one is asking for wholesale changes, but as many of us have said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
As I said earlier, it’s early doors, and as Man Utd have shown against Liverpool, you can turn a ship around quickly. Ten Haag made four changes for that game, dropping Maguire and Ronaldo. Would Moyes have had the cojones to have done that were he still at Man Utd, I wonder?
Feel free to let me know your thoughts, or to tell me to stop being so ungrateful – we’ve spent millions and Moyes is a genius – on Twitter – @westhamrambles
The Fans’ View does not necessarily reflect the views and opinion of The West Ham Way.