I bloody knew it.
Playing in Europe has not been a strength of the Hammers for a good period of time. In 2006 I witnessed the 1-0 defeat to Palermo at the Boleyn which was a very frustrating night indeed, with them beating us in the away leg and dumping us out of the UEFA Cup (as it was then) at the first attempt.
Thursday’s first proper game of the season was against NK Domzale who finished third in the Slovenian league, and TBH, this a game that West Ham should have won.
Once again, the start of the season showed that the Hammers were on pre-season form and from all accounts, we played rather poorly. Nobes gets his first goal of the season to level the score at 1-1 as NK Domzale got a penalty their way early doors.
However, in the second half the opposition defended well and got an early second half goal, and from all reports West Ham could not get back into the game. To make matters worse, there was no televised coverage of the match, so I viewed by the excellent BBC Sport app. And from all accounts playing Antonio in defence was not the brightest of moves as many a fan as commented…….why play a winger out of position when he would be more effective up front? This is a bit of a flawed decision from Slaven over recent games.
Now, next Thursday sees a potential 54000 turn up to the London Stadium to witness the first every game at the QEOP since our move from the Boleyn. Last season promised so much and some of the faithful were dreaming of that Champions League spot. And thus the expectation has been set, where Hammers are now realistically expecting a top 6 finish.
We take solace that we got an away goal and a 1-0 win will see us through to the play-off’s for a chance to compete in the Europa League. But, what is the reckoning that we will just cock it all up and get dumped out at the very first hurdle?
Going on past experience I am not looking forward to Thursday’s game at all.
West Ham assistant manager Nikola Jurcevic:
“Our performance was not so good, and maybe I can say it was average in the first half and it was 1-1. We were not satisfied with this result and in the second half we played badly.
“I am sure we will be better next week. It will be very difficult but I’m optimistic and I hope it will be a different game in the Olympic Stadium.
“We must be better. We must win this game in our stadium because we also have big ambitions in Europe, but it will be very tough because Domzale showed they are a good team.”
1) The game will not be televised at all in the UK – time to look for that dodgy stream them (ahem).
2) some may note that we were sponsorless for the game. According to Joe.co.uk, here is the reason why:
According to the Essex Chronicle, As stipulated by Uefa, clubs aren’t allowed to advertise gambling companies on their football shirts, meaning that sponsors Betway’s logo was missing from the shirt worn by the players in Slovenia.