West Ham’s halloween horror show as defence allows Tottenham to take full advantage
PUBLISHED: 13:30 01 November 2018
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Hammers fringe players no match for Spurs who march into quarter-finals of League Cup
If we learned one thing from Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup defeat, it is that Hammers are not good enough to play a weakened team against sides like Spurs.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini rang the changes and brought in many of his fringe players, but it was only when striker Marko Arnautovic came on that West Ham looked like hurting Spurs.
By that time they were losing 2-0, but ‘Arnie’ strode on to the pitch, upset the Spurs defence with his powerful running and won the corner that led to Lucas Perez nodding the Hammers back into the game.
At that point you would not have bet against West Ham completing the comeback as they put the pressure on, but the hope lasted for about four minutes until Angelo Ogbonna was not strong enough at a corner and Fernando Llorente side-footed Spurs into the quarter-finals.
The Hammers went into this game with plenty of hope. Tottenham had played and lost just 48 hours before this game, but it was the players that hadn’t started against Manchester City who made the difference.
Heung-Min Son, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Harry Winks were far superior to the Hammers fringe players and in Son they had the match-winner.
Defensively, this was a Halloween horror show for the Hammers. Ogbonna was culpable for the first and third goals, while Arthur Masuaku made a terrible mistake for the second.
That was what Pellegrini pinpointed after the game.
“I’m disappointed for the three goals that they scored,” he said. “The first one was in our best moment when we were dominating the game.
“We weren’t having clear chances, but making approaches to their box and then they scored.
“The second was a mistake by our defender and the third a corner, so if you want to win you have to have better concentration when defending and be calmer with your chances in the box.”
As well as those defenders making elementary mistakes, there were also some woeful displays.
Felipe Anderson remains something of an enigma. He moved into the number 10 role, but was equally ineffective and his corner taking was embarrassing.
“I didn’t want him to play more than 45 minutes, we need him to play on Saturday, so before the game I decided he would play just the first half.”
It was hardly worth it and this is a worrying trend for the club record signing which must be addressed and quickly.
The likes of Ryan Fredericks, Ogbonna and Javier Hernandez did nothing to suggest that they deserved to start another game and that suggests this squad, albeit hit by injuries, is not good enough.
“When you don’t win, nothing is positive for me,” said the boss. “But I think we continued in the mentality that we can play against anyone at the same level.”
The Hammers now face two vital Premier League games, starting with Burnley tomorrow (Saturday), and it is clear that they cannot afford to leave their best players on the bench if they want to win it.
One more sour note was the two pitch invaders that marred the game and with Burnley coming up, that was a horrible reminder.
Justice has been swift however, with both being given life bans by the club after being arrested.