Going into the ‘must win’ game this weekend, every fan and his dog was crying out for not only a significant tactical change, but also an overhaul of the personnel involved.
Both in the build up and the fallout from the abysmal display at the Boleyn Ground, many fans were calling out for a more attacking formation to be deployed against the Hammers, on the basis that.. .
Firstly, West Ham were on paper a surmountable opposition as opposed to the teams we played in the first 4 fixtures.
Then secondly, because it was fairly obvious that even with the new player acquisitions made over the summer, we still lack enough quality to play the league’s most popular formation effectively or with any verve.
So, as St James Park welcomed Señor Flores and his Watford team yesterday, it felt like groundhog day in the build up, with fans waiting with bated breath for the team news, whilst also replicating their message that we must play more attacking football if we are to ‘create more chances’.
When the team news was released an hour before kick-off, the reaction was a bit of a mixed bag, an apparent formation change and a change of personnel.
Had Steve McClaren turned a corner?
Most released a deep sigh of relief, figuring for the first time that our new head coach is not as one-dimensional as the silver-haired charlatan whom he replaced in the dugout. Happy to see that another formation may be possible, albeit, a rather uninspiring 4-1-4-1 at home, against a newly promoted team.
However, the positive lift of that formation change was nullified when people saw that the out of form and out of effort, Papiss Cisse, would be the one leading the line (sigh).
As the game got underway, within the first 20 minutes it was immediately apparent that although the formation had changed, nothing else had.
It was the same old same old, just dressed up differently.
Why, when thousands of fans can spot the obvious from their seats in the Gallowgate, or on a comfy sofa somewhere else, can the man tasked with the job not. It really beggars belief.
What we ended up with was a half measure, the reluctance to commit to an attacking formation, with the players to play the style needed to win games.
For as bad as we were in the first half, we were equally as good in the second and unlucky not to take at least a point. All of that is irrelevant though.
Why oh why oh why didn’t we start the game as we finished it, in terms of the determination, formation and personnel on the pitch (minus Aarons playing at LB of course)?
If we had done then this game would have been different.
Steve McClaren has to take all the responsibility for yesterday’s result. He was too negative from the off, too indecisive and worryingly…too much like Alan Pardew.
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