Allardyce left with plenty to ponder after Wycombe stalemate
Formation and personnel will need to be addressed before the start of West Ham’s Championship season
Wycombe Wanderers 0 West Ham 0
Forget the glory game against Champions League outfit FC Copenhagen, this is the sort of pre-season game that will sort the men from the boys and West Ham boss Sam Allardyce will have had plenty of food for thought after this goalless draw.
It is fair to say that the players are by no means match fit at the moment, it is also fair to say that results don’t matter at this stage of the season, but there were still some worrying things to observe at Adams Park on Saturday.
Last season, Carlton Cole was left on his own up front far too often, much to his and West Ham’s frustration.
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Unfortunately that was still the case on Saturday as Luis Boa Morte, apparently employed to sit behind the striker, spent most of the game standing alongside Scott Parker and Kevin Nolan in the centre of the park.
Too many long balls were played up from the back to Cole and Julien Faubert on the right side and more often than not, they came straight back again, another alarming trait from last season.
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When West Ham did pass the ball, they did it with purpose and precision and things certainly improved in the second half, but then it was the final ball that let the Hammers down.
Pablo Barrera, quiet in the first half, gave his full back a torrid time after the break, but every time the chance arrived to set someone up for a finish, his passing let him down.
Nolan blasted over after being set up by Herita Ilunga, while Boa Morte saw a rare shot palmed away by Wycombe keeper Nikki Bull, but the home side had the chance of the game on 64 minutes when Joel Grant was presented with the ball in the box, only to shoot across the face of goal.
Only when Freddie Piquionne and Frank Nouble were employed as twin strikers and Nolan moved to more advanced role with Boa Morte dropping back, did the Hammers look like a potent force.
Piquionne pulled one back for the lively Cristian Montano to shoot straight at the keeper, before the Colombian turned provider and crossed for Nouble to nod just over.
No goals, but it was good to see Parker play for 75 minutes, Nolan visibly getting fitter and sharper on the field as he played the whole game, while Joey O’Brien could be a useful addition to the squad after the midfielder played first at right back and then in the centre of defence.
“The only thing that let me down really was the final third play,” said manager Sam Allardyce.
“The final ball, the final cross, the final header and the final finish just wasn’t good enough today to win us the game, which it should have been with the amount of opportunities we had.”
West Ham: Green, O’Brien, Ilunga (Brown 68), Tomkins (Montano 68), Spence, Faubert, Parker (Nouble 75), Nolan, Barrera, Cole (Piquionne 60). Unused subs: Boffin, Noble.