Chances galore but Hammers strikers are firing blanks
Despite an improved performance at Stamford Bridge, when the chances came, the West Ham strikers were found wanting.
Just when the pressure is mounting and the teams at the bottom have to scrap for every single point, West Ham have suddenly found themselves firing blanks in front of goal.
Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Chelsea may not have told the story of the match by any means, but the blank afternoon means they have scored only one goal from open play in their last five Premier League matches, and they have not scored a league goal away from home since February 12 when they drew 3-3 at West Brom.
It is a sorry tale for West Ham fans and one that could well lead to relegation, but considering the amount of chances that they created at Stamford Bridge, it is a puzzling one.
Manager Avram Grant has certainly pinpointed that as the biggest problem they face in the run-in.
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“In our position, we need to score even half chances and we didn’t do it against Chelsea,” said the West Ham boss. “It has happened to us many times in the last few weeks, we just don’t use our chances.”
West Ham managed an excellent 14 shots against the Blues at Stamford Bridge – seven of them on target – but with Robbie Keane missing a glorious chance and both Demba Ba, Jonathan Spector and Freddie Sears going close, at least one of them needed to be converted into a goal.
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Grant though suggested that this has been a long-term problem.
“I think from the beginning of the season, we have had a low percentage of taking our chances,” he said. “Even last week before Aston Villa scored, we created a lot of chances, but didn’t convert them.”
One positive is that West Ham did manage to conjure up some chances against Chelsea and with the likes of Keane, Ba and Carlton Cole in the line-up, surely they will come good before the season is out.
It is though, a question of coping with the pressure.
“I think we need to continue to create chances,” said the West Ham boss.
“I think the players give everything. Of course they have pressure because they want to stay in the league, they think they deserve it and I think they deserve to play in the league.
“So this is a pressure, but we need to be able to play with pressure. There are other teams also coping with this pressure.
“I think our performance against Chelsea was good, but we need to be calmer in the box and take more of our chances.”