West Ham United 1 Southampton 0 Sunday 2nd April 2023

Aguerd header seals 3 vital points for the Hammers against struggling Saints

Hope everyone is safe and well.

Its Ramadan and for Muslims across the world we fast from sunrise to sunset and spend evenings in prayer and reflection, a much needed spiritual refocus in busy lives that can pull us in different directions – seemingly all at once!

Reflecting on what is going well and what needs our attention is a key feature of this month, and the similarity with reflecting on what is going well at West Ham is not lost, given our struggling form in the closing stages of the season.

No more needs to be said about the embarrassing performance against Newcastle on 5th April, surely a day where any good will or respect for Moyes was finally lost as the crowd turned and called for his sacking in the morning.

Picking the performance apart it is clear we are in a rut that is leaving players under performing in roles that seem not to match their natural skills and attributes. Playing the same team in the same way is surely a sign of madness – doing the same thing repeatedly expecting a different result clearly doesn’t work, neither in life nor sport, but this is where we find ourselves. Confidence is shot and mistakes are rife that leaves the team a mountain to climb to just stay competitive in a match. Individual errors were capitalised on by a Newcastle side fighting for Champions League football next season.

We beat the Saints because they were worse than us – if we had played Newcastle on the 2nd we would have been thrashed just the same. It was a victory that was well needed but one that could not cover up the gapping holes we have in how the team are set up to play and who is on the team sheet week in week out.

The Saints were ineffective, with Fabinaski called on to make a couple of routine saves, whilst Southampton’s keeper Gavin Bazunu turned away the Hammers only other shot on target from Benhama’s free kick.

The victory lifted us briefly to 14th in the table, but it is so tight from 12 to 19 that a win for any of the other teams around us means we drop back down again. For the neutral and exciting end to the season. For us Hammer’s fans a nervous final 10 games that will see what the team are made of.

Aguerd and Zouma combined to play a key role in our win against the Saints, but balance this with the sheer incompetence of their performance on Wednesday and it shows we are in deep trouble. The Saints offered very little up front to challenge our defence but the fragility of this defensive pairing was laid bare on Wednesday night. And to think we have been crying out for them both to be in defence together all season. Strewth.

Southampton have performed even worse than before Ralph Hasenhutt was dismissed on 7th November, and surely the owners of our club must have a post season plan for whatever happens, but replacing Moyes with any of the recently sacked managers – who have been released due to poor run of results – is surely not the answer now.

We have Euro Conference League to look forward to but I am praying the owners actually do have a plan for who they are going to get in to replace Moyes because surely now he will have to go. The win at Craven Cottage to secure 3 vital points was welcome of course, especially given how Moyes finally changed it up and put both Ings and Antonio upfront in a 4-4-2 formation. But it wasn’t a convincing win and we held out until the end with a round of results that went our way elsewhere in the league.

I pray we can turn this around or at least have 3 teams worse than us this season. Then the summer will be time for reflection and evaluation of where we are at and what we need to do to move forward. Rice and other players leaving means a new manager will have a budget, but who would we trust this with to get us back to where we were last year or the season before? We need someone who can get the best out of the team and not someone who has recently been sacked for poor results. Where is the ambition in appointing Rodgers as our next manager?

Enjoy my photos from the match, needless to say I won’t be posting from the Newcastle game. I don’t think I can bring myself to edit the photos.

Take care 


Published by dawudmarsh

Photographer based in London.

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