West Ham United's recent poor run of results has had fans wondering what on earth can be done to reverse the current unwelcome trend, the dropping or unavailability for selection of captain Mark Noble was seen as the catalyst for the team to push on enabling players to fill their natural positions. That all went wrong within eight minutes in the match against Leicester City with the team shipping two goals and influential captain for the day Winston Reid succumbing to a thigh injury. Things went from bad to worse as Pedro Obiang, who was in the running for Hammer of the Year, was stretchered off with a season ending ankle injury. Having witnessed a second half fight back that eventually fell at the final hurdle but had the London Stadium rocking, fans have been pointing the finger at Slaven Billic for not being able to organise the defence, and an important part of the analysis will be the recent performances of Republic of Ireland goal keeper Darren Randolph.
Clamour For Adrian Recall Gathers Momentum
Randolph was definitely to blame for the first goal against Leicester and has looked decidedly shaky for ages, but bringing Adrian back in to a team that will be devoid of three of it's best defenders is a bit of a poisoned chalice. Adrian San Miguel has always been a fans favourite, he wrote himself in to West Ham folklore by hurling his gloves off before running up to smash home the winning shoot out penalty against Everton in the FA Cup last season. Always prone to the odd act of eccentricity, Adrian was dropped following a series of 'high profile' defeats which saw the team conceding a shed load of goals. Initially Adrian's replacement, Darren Randolph, performed well between the sticks but his performances of late have been decidedly under par leading to the call for him to be dropped. It could be argued that no keeper can expect to keep clean sheets if the defence in front of them behaves like a rabbit caught in the head lights, and the defence this season has generally been woeful, but a positive part of Adrian's eccentricity is his propensity of charging out for the ball. This course of action can have a severe impact but it can also 'stretch' the opposition who are not used to dealing with a 'sweeper keeper'
Who ever does start in goal for the next few matches will really have their work cut out as Hammer's go in to a crucial phase of matches that could still see the club lose it's Barclays Premier League status! There will be NO Reid, Obiang, Ogbonna or Sakho available and neither Reece Oxford or Reece Burke can be recalled under the terms of their loan agreements with Reading and Bradford. Fernandes and Masuaku looked very useful when they came on against the Foxes, with Masuaku particularly impressing as opposed to Aaron Cresswell who he replaced. Cresswell has looked a shadow of his former self since returning from a severe ligament injury, on reflection he may have been rushed back too soon as ironically Masuaku got injured himself not long after making his Hammers debut.
Fans thinking the match against Hull is a three point banker should be afraid, they should be very afraid! If Adrian does get his recall. one does suspect that Randolph might be seen to have 'dodged' a bullet. - Ed