This is a very late muse about the Boro game which happened over a week ago. Being away and not having your own PC for a few days causes havoc – I have a mountain of iPlayer radio to catch up on as well as a stack of TV and my musings have been put on hold for a few days.
I was pretty much expecting a defeat or a draw for this one – Boro not having the best of times like the Hammers and the London Stadium has not seen much cheer at the moment.
It wasn’t the greatest of starts, with yet another injury picked up, this time to Sam Byram. But the first half was more or less neutralised by threat, Mark Noble having his shot see wide of the post.
So not a memorable first. But then comes the next 45 minutes and a roller coaster of emotion within the London Stadium. 51 minutes and Stuani heads home for Boro, leaving that sinking feeling within the West Ham camp and supporters once again. Why our defending seems to have gone to pot this term is beyond me – despite re-assurances from the coaching team that they were working hard on this, there yet again seemed to be littel evidence.
The game needed something special – enter Dimi Payet. Taking the ball on a mazy run, he scored one of those goals that you only re-create in the playground and nobody remembers you for it.
That levelled things up but despite still pressing for a second goal, it did not come.
There is not much more to say on the game – it was a gritty point, but defensive frailties are still evident. But we cannot rely on the likes of Payet once again to get us out of a hole. It was a moment of sheer brilliance, but the likes of Carroll, Cresswell and even Sahko are missed. Zaza is really not proving to be the world class striker he is touted at – then again some say it took Tevez a while to find his feet.
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic: “I feel pressure because I am not happy with our position in the table and because we lost four matches on the trot. It is below my standards.
“But I believe in my team and I’m a hard worker. Although we didn’t win, we showed that the team is alive. We are together. We have to show it more often.”
Whilst some are on international duty, it is hoped that the extra training that Slav has brought them in for will pay off. Palace away next and Pardew would love to get one over his old side. What is the reckoning that Benteke will come to haunt us. Looking a far better bet than Zaza at the moment – you do wonder how we might have missed out here.
West Ham: Adrian, Byram (Arbeloa 4), Collins, Reid, Ogbonna, Obiang, Noble (c) (Lanzini 73), Kouyate, Tore (Zaza 46), Payet, Antonio
Subs not used: Randolph (GK), Feghouli, Fletcher, Fernandes
Bookings: Obiang, Arbeloa
Middlesbrough: Valdes, Barragan, Gibson, Chambers, Friend (c), Fischer (Ramirez 59), de Roon, Forshaw, Downing, Rhodes (Negredo 67), Stuani
Subs not used: Guzan (GK), Ayala, Espinosa, Clayton, Traore
Bookings: Stuani, Barragan, De Roon
Referee: Neil Swarbrick