West Ham Utd 1 Wolves 0

If you’re still thinking about the defeat at Upton Park, you’re in the minority.

Edwards West Ham

Even without the news Benik Afobe was heading for the exit, this was a tedious cup tie of few chances that won’t hang about long in the old grey matter.

Unless you’re Bjorn Sigurdarson of course, who suffered what looks like a serious re-occurance of the troublesome back injury that’s kept him sidelined for months.

That must be considered a serious blow to our immediate fortunes, given that our talisman is off to Bournemouth and Adam Le Fondre hasn’t looked up to leading the line all season.

On a more positive note, Michal Zyro impressed on his debut and with Kenny Jackett stating he can play in any of the forward positions, he’s certain to be consistently involved.

With injuries and outgoing transfers, yesterday’s squad was bolstered by the return of a few forgotten faces.

Along with the unfortunate Sigurdarson, Rajiv van La Parra was also thrown straight back into the action and George Saville made an appearance on the bench.

With Afobe’s exit imminent and Jed Wallace loaned out to Millwall, it seems likely those loaned out players will get a chance to play themselves back into contention.

But there will surely be fresh blood added and a level of re-investment through January to support the head coach for the remainder of the season?

Many are rightly skeptical that sizable sums will be spent, but with the spectre of early bird sales on the horizon, the club know they need to galvanise the support.

That must count for something.

If nothing else, yesterday’s performance was another strong rearguard action with the team defending manfully throughout and restricting a Premier League side to limited opportunities.

That solid platform will continue to serve us well, but I don’t think anyone believes we have adequate artillery to be consistently successful.

An experienced head at the back to further improve our defensive options and and preferably two good forwards must be added.

Anything less and this will be another transfer window the fans most certainly won’t forget.

West Ham Utd Vs Wolves Preview

There was an interesting stat doing the rounds this week.

West Ham celebrate2

Based solely on away form, Wolves would be 4th in the Championship table this season (and 20th based on home form).

Looking at the makeup of our team, that kind of makes sense.

Whereas last term we were more swashbuckling going forward and able to open teams up at Molineux, this season we’ve been more effective playing on the break.

This was again the case at Brighton where we were forced to endure long spells of pressure, but counterattacked effectively, particularly in the first half.

I suspect the lads will be doing their share of defending tomorrow and it’s a good test against a strong West Ham outfit.

West Ham

West_Ham_United_FC.svgSlavan Bilic may ring the changes, but he’s limited by their lengthy injury list. Moses, Sakho and the impressive Lanzini are all on the sidelines.

But Dimitri Payet is back and he’s been an integral part of their impressive season to date.

Andy Carroll is also enjoying a run of games and he’ll be a handful for our burgeoning centre half partnership.

They’re a difficult team to beat these days because they have both physical power and technical ability.

They’ve won their last two Premier League matches and are unbeaten in seven, which has seen them rise sixth.

It’s been a great start for Bilic and they look ideally positioned for a decent cup run if they can avoid banana skins.

Wolves

There’s a midweek Championship game hot on the heels of tomorrow, but I don’t think Kenny will ring the changes.

Wolves team for West Ham

Jordan Graham is rated as 50/50 and it’ll be a shame if he doesn’t get the chance to test himself against a good Premier League side.

But if he doesn’t make it, perhaps Michal Zyro will get an immediate start? I’m looking forward to seeing if he can add something different to our attacking threat.

The team will have to be compact defensively as they have been in recent times, but West Ham will have better quality and more importantly a variety of ways to hurt us.

The gaffer

Predictions

We’re well overdue a cup run and to do that you normally have to cause a couple of upsets, so this would be a decent start.

But it’s tough to expect anything other than a defeat if you’re examining the evidence logically.

I just hope the players give a good account of themselves to keep confidence in the camp high ahead of some winnable home fixtures in the league.

I think we’ll get skittled tomorrow but I’ll back us to get on the scoresheet.

3-1

Up The Wolves!

West Ham 2 Wolves 0

If Mick McCarthy’s New Year’s resolution was to instil a ruthless streak in place of a familar hard luck story, then he might be pretty irritable right now.

The chances are however, that despite our eighth defeat in 10 games, he’ll be reflecting on the positives after West Ham eventually brushed us aside 2-0.

West Ham moved up to 15th with victory

Hopefully, Mick’s other resolution is a couple of new signings as soon as is humanly possible, because however plucky our performance and however uplifting our win at Anfield, eight defeats in 10 away games is simply not good enough.

While we don’t appear a side consigned to our fate with displays like this, we equally don’t look a team capable of grabbing our season by the scruff of the neck.

A defeat at West Ham, featuring a man-of-the-match for Rob Green, could be interpreted as another sign of regression, seeing as we won there so comfortably in 2010.

Even the most ardent of optimists can’t deny that it underlines a complete incapability of stringing two results together. Again.

Is it bad luck? Or is it an indicator that every scant victory we’ve mustered takes too much out of our admirable players.

Does an Anfield performance sap too much speed from thought when we’re operating at our absolute optimum?

How else do you explain a defensive aberration for West Ham’s opener, and Zubar’s subsequent brainwave for the own goal?

If we were able to win by playing within ourselves once in a while, then there’d surely be far fewer bland platitudes following so many courageous defeats?

This result might be as equally damaging as our Liverpool win was encouraging.

It shows we again can’t string back to back results together, even when pitted against the worst team in the league with two measly home wins to their name.

It shows we are literally incapable of fighting back from a goal down away from home – Everton aside.

More worryingly, it bears all the hallmarks of a doomed side, who can count on a shock 1-0 win as exception to this season’s rule, instead of a springboard on which to build.

We were competitive, first to many balls and apart from a late rally in the first half, by far the better team.

But in typical Wolves style, we gave away a stupid opener when we peppered Rob Green with a great start to the second half.

After that, we didn’t muster a shot on target in anger, with an Ebanks-Blake header against the bar our only meaningful retort.

As Mick said after our defeat to Wigan: “We aren’t good enough or experienced enough to be able to fight back from the early setbacks we suffered.”

Well if that’s the case, what chance have we got with a cock-up halfway through the second half?

It might be a New Year, but within 17 hours of it beginning, it feels horribly like 2010 again already.