That was the worst performance of the Gary O’Neil era.
It was also Groundhog Day having been taken apart on the counter in this fixture last season.
West Ham knew what they were trying to execute and Kudus and Bowen made the right runs and finished superbly. Great, from their perspective.
I applaud Gary for being bold, going to a back four and trying to inject some impetus into the attack, but it proved disastrous with the space in defence costing us dearly and the meagre output at the other end resulting in only the second blank of the season.
There were no clangers from Dan Bentley but he didn’t bail us out either and the first goal felt avoidable with the ball arriving within reach of the keeper’s body. I think Sa might have saved it.
I assume the goal of getting Sarabia and Bellegarde into the same XI was to try and extract more from Cunha and Hwang across the front line, but again, it didn’t work out.
Cunha can feel good enough about his typically industrious efforts with and without the ball, but Hwang might as well not have been on the pitch. I felt similar with Lemina who I didn’t even realise was playing for the first half an hour.
Speaking of players who might not have been on the pitch, Coufal was lucky having smashed Bellegarde in both halves. We’ve seen players walk for less.
We also had the customary VAR intervention to rule out Sarabia’s goal from our only incisive move of the entire game. It looked like the right decision just about but I don’t know why it took them so long to reach that conclusion.
Had we managed to force that one in legally, the final twenty might have been very different but because we didn’t and then faded away moments later, you have to call it what it was – a pretty pathetic effort all round.
We’re too papery, particularly at the top end of the pitch (he could have given Sasa a run out today though), to consistently make a fist of things away from Molineux and that’s something that I suspect requires attention in January and next summer as opposed to being solved by Gary O’Neil on the training ground.
But for the moment, that’s all we have.