Sunday 6 November 2016

The Season So Far - August to October

The 2016/2017 season has not been an exceptional one for West Ham at all even though it is probably the most historical yet. The move to the London Stadium was meant to be the Hammers’ start of the big time to be able to compete with England’s elite. The only thing it has done is cause a lot of headaches for the co-chairman and the managing director of the club. Violence among fans and with opposing ones has hit the headlines almost every week.

West Ham have not settled into new surroundings at the London Stadium

It has had a damaging effect on the team but it is not the main reason to why the Hammers have been underachieving.’s stats can show where the Hammers are going wrong.

Graph using Statbunker on goals scored
by West Ham during August-October 2015
Goalscoring has been a real problem for the Hammers and if you compare this season to last year in the opening three months of the season then you can see a stark contrast from Graph 1 and Graph 2. Graph 1 shows there were 10 different goal scorers during the months of August – October in 2015 and there were a total of 22 goals scored in the league.

Graph using Statbunker on goals scored
by West Ham during August-October 2016
The lack of goals throughout the team this season is highlighted in graph two. The Hammers have only scored 10 goals in three months and only five goal scorers. It is really obvious the underlying issue that West Ham have at the moment which is the inability to score. Remarkably, Michail Antonio has scored five goals but this was earlier in the season and he has not scored since September against Watford.

The problem offensively stems from the poor transfer window that David Sullivan, Karren Brady and Slaven Bilic had in the summer. Poor purchases in Simone Zaza, Jonathan Calleri and Gokhan Tore have really meant that the Hammers are lacking in the striking department. The return of Andy Carroll, Andre Ayew and Diafra Sakho is vital for West Ham to have any chance of resurrecting this dire season.

Taking our chances has been a factor which Bilic agreed to during his press conference against Sunderland. The Croat said: “We are lacking in that last bit of the pitch but I don’t mind when I see us play this way to come here and we are going to find that edging quality. It’s gonna come.”

However I do not see it happening in the short term. There is a real fundamental problem because the 3-6-1 formation means we fail to get enough bodies in the area and therefore have less chance of scoring good opportunities. We need to take more chances and if we do not then it will be a long season.

George Stone, West Ham season ticket holder, said: “Our whole game was about outscoring opposition and now we can’t do that at all. We cannot defend so this why we are unable to win games.

“I think (Ashley) Fletcher should be played. If he plays 90 mins he will score goals and solve our goalscoring crisis.”

Thursday 3 November 2016

Violence in Football

Violence has become a very topical issue over the last few weeks after the altercations between West Ham and Chelsea fans during the teams EFL Cup clash at the London Stadium. There has a big discussion whether violence has become a contentious issue again or whether this recent spat has been blown out of proportion.

The Daily Mirror recently wrote about the violence during the EFL Cup game between Man Utd v Man City. However this game was not as highlighted in the press. There were 14 arrests during the local derby between Birmingham and Aston Villa but there was only coverage of this in the Birmingham MailThese violent altercations have proven there are still issues in football but why was there not a large amount of press coverage compared to the West Ham v Chelsea game. It obviously highlights there are still issues today but the media fail to report on them extensively.

The Olympic Stadium has been at the centre of
some violent incidents amongst fans
Amanda Jacks, case worker on policing and stewarding for the Football Supporters Federation, said: “I do not think disorder has gone away as it is drawn out in arrest figures on the home office website. When there is disorder it is highlighted so dramatically.

“When there is disorder the vast majority of people do not intend on disorder, certainly not like organised disorder like in the past.”

She added that the media however do not scrutinise the policing and security for their “unpreparedness” and “failure of crowd management”.

The media are too quick to blame mindless thugs rather than discuss the lack of a contingency plan by the police and security and Ms Jacks admitted “how the crowd is managed impacts on the fans’ behaviour.”

The recent violence at the Olympic Stadium can be underpinned to a fan’s identification that they can get away with what they want because there is a lack of security measures made at the arena. There is not a violent pandemic which has risen in football recently. There is a resurgence of a pandemic in the press because the London Stadium costs a lot for the taxpayers and is causing more problems than it should do. 

The table below is Home Office statistics on Football-related arrests made within 2010-11 to 2014-15 football seasons.

Football-related arrests by offence type within
2010-2011 to 2014-15 football seasons
The stats suggest that there is a fluctuation in the amount of violence in football over the past few seasons according to arrests made in the areas of throwing missiles, public disorder and violent disorder at football grounds. It does identify to an extent how football violence has not gone away and media hype on a particular occasion should not be justified because violence at football does exist.

A video on fan's views on violence in football

Friday 24 October 2014

Champions League... You're Having a Laugh!

Last weekend's win over Burnley, saw West Ham move into the top four, a position the Hammers have only ever managed once in the top flight, in the magical year of 1986. Within the spirit of 1986 living on in the stripes of this season's home shirt, could it be again?
The answer is no. It has been more positive, energetic and overall better from Sam Allardyce's side, which he must take some credit for, but also the board for their financial backing to replace a rather ageing/injury prone side and turn them into a real force in the Barclays Premier League. The signings of Sahko, Valencia, Song, Cresswell and Kouyate are proving deals of the season, each week that goes by, but it is there toughest challenge yet, as the in-form Hammers face the Champions of England.
Manchester City back from their trip to Moscow on Tuesday, are opening to continue their brilliant run of successive wins to four when they face West Ham in the early kick off on Saturday afternoon. City are obviously favourites, and as Big Sam already stated, Aguero is the man to watch. The Argentine scored four last weekend against Spurs, and he still could have had more on the day. The weak point of West Ham's team at the minute is defence, with Winston Reid still being affected by the speculation of his future, he has not been the rock which he has been for the past two seasons. He will have to back to his best when he takes on one of the Premier League's best on Saturday.
Despite, the Hammers having a weak point in defence, they have the attitude of we will outscore you. An attitude which Ozzie Ardiles had during his time at Spurs, an ideology not expected of Big Sam who prides himself on the defensive capabilities of his teams. However, this ideology may have to be put on hold for Saturday, as scoring three past City will be difficult, and the Hammers will be lucky to get one, even if they do have Diafra Sahko, who is looking to score his sixth this weekend in as many starts.
A much needed return of Cheikhou Kouyate and James Tomkins, to bolster the midfield, and to cover for the injured James Collins, respectively. It is surprising but the Hammers have not missed the powerhouse Kouyate, who demonstrated his strength and skill for the first few weeks and was a vital player during their win over Liverpool in September. Kouyate is likely to lock horns with Yaya Toure, a battle which should be interesting, as Toure has not been in the best form and Kouyate is just recovering from injury.
This test is huge, and the Hammers can show whether their form at the minute is temporary, or do West Ham have the class to compete with the big boys of the Barclays Premier League.

Come On You Irons!