The 'wheels of hope' are in full swing as 'positive' news is emerging as to the fitness and availability for players who have been sorely missed in recent games that have seen Hammers push for Europe falter. Aaron Cresswell and Authur Masuaku are looking nailed on for the next crucial game, against Burnley on the 1st of May, the Clarets having just dismantled Wolves by 4-0 at Molineaux.
Craig Dawson returns after his one match ban, and Fabian Balbuena's ludicrous red card, incorrectly awarded during the defeat to Chelsea will undoubtedly be rescinded, as the club have already launched their appeal, if that fails apparently the 'General' has offered to have his leg removed to avoid a similar situation occurring again!
Promising news regarding Declan Rice's recovery from the injury he picked up on International duty has further increased the feel good factor, as there is at least a fifty fifty chance that the best midfielder in Europe will be available, if not for the Burnley game, then definitely for the game against Everton.
All this 'positive vibing' is however compromised by the 'Elephant in the Room', or more accurately the 'Hamstrings in the Room'! Comments regarding Michail Antonio's recovery from injury are conspicuous by their absence, the Hammers striker seems to have disappeared without a trace, his parking space at the club's 'goose green' training ground remains empty, leading to some people thinking he has been kidnapped by members of the 'septic six' in order to permanently derail Hammers unlikely challenge for Europe!
The extra three days of recovery time, courtesy of the TV broadcasters, afforded to David Moyes and his team, has been just what the doctor ordered, three days of 'Pearce & Love' will do the players the world of good, and hopefully the team can come out firing on all cylinders, but it might only be on six, as opposed to the full fat V8 that the team has when 'Big Mich' is playing.
The lack of a replacement for the great sulk that was Sebastien Haller, has come back to haunt David Moyes, without knowing all the ins and outs of the situation, it is easy to lay the blame at the manager's feet, but as well know, the murky side of football is not always revealed until after the event, as has been seen by the machinations of the 'dirty dozen and the septic six'.
If, and it is a big if, Michail Antonio can be patched up enough, then he has to play, his unique style of play 'discombobulates' the opposition to such an extent that errors creep in to their play leaving spaces for Hammers full energy attack to get in on goal...if ever there was a case for a short series of a cortisone treatment, then this is surely the time to deploy it. The consequences of 'cortisone abuse' can be far reaching, but Ant will have the entire summer to get fit and well again, and possibly do some work on his approach to games in order to offset the damage to his hamstrings, or at least limit it.
it has been all hands to the pumps for several weeks, at least the team will start to vaguely resemble the one that blew other teams away earlier in the season. Five games remain that will define whether the club can equal it's best ever season, whatever happens it's been a hell of a ride, pass the heart pills will someone please! - Ed
Just what I thought...
When I read reports that a number of our players were due to return from injury, the one name that I looked for was Michail Antonio.
Not only is he a BIG miss for us (like Declan), but having watched a fair bit of football recently, I've also realised what a special player Antonio is.... There is Not another player like him in the Premiership as he is totally Unique in the threat he poses to the opposition and there cannot be many teams who look forward to playing against him...and as you quite rightly said... he 'discombobulates' defences allowing other to profit also.
Getting Haller out the door was very important and Jesse's impact on loan cannot be understated, but we will surely get to the bottom of what happened during the Jan window, notoriously difficult as we know it is...... But I still can't help feeling that Ollie Watkins was a player that we missed out on signing for this club earlier in the season though.