Date: 5th January 2018 at 11:17am
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A little while ago I opined that the Premier league was fractured and had turned into a series of games of Attack v Defence, more and more you see teams in the middle and lower end of the table spend 95% of a game with 10 or even 11 men behind the ball and the top 6 sides throwing everything but the kitchen sink at them to try and break them down.

I cannot recall such negative tactics being the new norm since the inception of the Premier league, but as this defence v attack bandwagon continues to roll the ultimate victim is what fans pay for, entertainment.

As we saw last night it’s not always possible for the attacking footballing passing side to crack open a packed defence, sometimes the defence just gets lucky or the ref is blindsided to an obvious decision, or not brave enough to give it.

Last night we saw a bit of everything.

To Poch’s credit he didn’t whine on about how poor the ref’s decision making was and the two penalty shouts; the one for Harry which I thought was nailed on, which could have been a catalyst for a different result, even a different game – or at least what was left of it.

So kudos to Poch he doesn’t whine about refs and I like that, alot.

West Ham were defensively negatively magnificent, they did the best impression of anti-football and had the defence of the Great Wall of China.

They went back to celebrate in their pie mash shops doing the knees up Mother Brown whilst blowing bubbles from their collective backsides secure in the knowledge that they have played their Cup Final and not lost.

Yesterday in the forum, I argued for once again a plan ‘c’ – we do have a plan ‘b’ and that’s hoiking the ball long and diagonally to either Llorente and or Kane, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, there are times when what looks like three at the back is just two and five in the middle, last night was one of them.

The plan ‘c’ has to do with attackers that can attack at pace, that pushes defences onto their heels and gets them to commit to tackles in uncomfortable places; our play is based on dynamic non-stop movement that is supposed to ‘distress’ the opposition. The problem with this philosophy is that there is not a coach in the Premier League that has not figured it out and all that now want to play boring, negative anti-football have drilled their teams in the art of frustration against us. How or why their fans pay to watch this mind numbing horror and mockery of the game is beyond my understanding.

The combination of Dier and So-so-Sissoko was clearly picked to counter what we had seen Carrol do against West Brom a couple of days ago – I have no issue with that; but Moyes being the old wise head he is, countered by leaving the fragile beanpole on the bench – and that’s where I do have an issue with Poch and his timidity last night.

Poch screwed up, his game management was poor, once he knew Carrol was out of the front line, we knew how they intended to play and thats is exactly what they did.

In my view he then waited far too long and only reacted when we had gone behind to an incredible shot and goal that firstly had me blaming Lloris for not getting to it, then watching it again and realising that it was one of those rare 1:100 shots that were unstoppable from a player that has not shown he can hit a ball like that in all the time he has been with the Spam. That’s life.

But given our dominance, given our pressure why oh why didn’t Poch change it around before then? I get slow patient build up intended to try and draw out the opposition, I get relying on clockwise movement in front of the oppositions goal with only the occasional overlap – but when it doesn’t work – change it!

He should have had the strength of belief to make the changes at half-time, there was no margin in waiting any longer, their stall was set-out and they would have found it impossible to change the way they were playing and the way they were set-up.

Poch saw everything we saw and at half-time should have changed it up and hauled the ineffective combo of Dier and So-So off. Of course, he’d run the risk of them countering with Carrol – but that was an acceptable risk given our complete and utter dominance against a team that had not shown the slightest inclination to play anything other than ‘block that ball’.

Poch claims he likes to be Brave and is not afraid (read that Book), but what I saw last night was a timid broken thought process and weak management based on what I can only surmise was the fear of being caught out by a team who had done exactly that to us not so long ago.

If we are to recover and get back into the top 4 he is going to have to start taking risks again, the sort that were getting us some magnificent results against teams like these.

Credit where credit is due, Poch has guided us through a tricky period and a difficult Xmas fixture list exceptionally well, but last night he gets a C minus from me for no other reason he forgot our motto; To Dare is to Do and sometimes that means doing just that.

West Ham’s ‘motto’ is laughingly ‘The Academy of Football’ – if some of the great players that have played for them saw them now, they’d turn in their graves – their current motto really is nothing more than ‘we park the bus and play anti-football’.

Of course, I’m not bitter.

p.s. Poch – find your bravery again or this season will be an entirely wasted one.

The curse strikes again, Poch was nominated yesterday for Manager of the Month – that explains it.


65 Replies to “Poch is Broken.”

  • It was glaringly obvious that they were set up not to lose … the commentary even said the team were in a different postcode to Hernandez… half time they could of brought on wanyama …. for sissoko … Dier, really needs a break his form is so up and down … Lloris had no chance of getting that goal … just like son, both goals were exceptional .. son’s was better just due to the bend on the ball… the dynamics of the game were set up for them to hit on the break and score, you could see it coming from Australia … I would rather 1point over non… Poch, really is going to have a difficult season, the team took time to settle at Wembley … it’s feeling normal now but still it’s not home, next season will be the same I feel, obviously not for new signings …. there really is too much backwards and sideway passing …. Davies, still can’t consistently cross a ball … all in all. I can honestly say, I am glad I don’t have to pick the team.

  • I thought Pochettino showed a lot of attacking boldness against Man City recently… We lost! If we had parked the bus ourselves, who knows, we may have nicked a win against those runaway Mancs….. As for last night, I can’t really see what more we could’ve done bar being more lethal with our finishing. But brick walls need to be demolished if they stand strong and WHU, did stand very strong.

  • I thought Dier played very well E17 and continually broke up any kind of midfield strength that the Hammers tried to muster, before they could get anywhere near our half of the pitch.

    Of course, we all see it differently……

  • Hot, all you’re doing is underlying Poch tactical weaknesses – against ManC we should have set up to do a ‘Real Madrid’ on them, instead we went head to head against the best team in the land and maybe even Europe, bold yes, smart no. But that’s not the issue, the issue is how timid we are in our game management against teams that park the bus – does it suggest that Poch doesn’t have faith in the squad or is it he is now afraid to take risks and lose at home – has his judgement become compromised and confused…?

  • yet again we start with ten players and a clown on the pitch. Why doesn’t that idiot Pochetino play the bloody club mascot instead of sisokoko the clown. I am sure the mascot will have a far better idea of what a forward pass is than klown has.
    ALSO YET AGAIN no plan B. Wrong players starting the game and wrong subs brought on far too late.
    Sell klown and bring in a decent attacking mid fielder who has the ability to run at people, get past people like Hazard can, and open the lock. But e have klown.

  • We have had a problem with breaking down a packed defence for a long time now. Sometimes you get lucky and get an early goal which changes the game, sometimes the opposition defence is not well disciplined and organised enough. But last night we saw what happens when the opposition execute the game plan well. One player upfield the rest in rows just moving from side to side as a unit as we passed the ball sideways in front of them. Whenever we did get a shot on goal there were always players in position to block it. Everyone talks about pace but looking at how West Ham were set up my question would be where was the space for someone to run into ? Liverpool have had the same kind of problems against these type of teams. What was needed was someone to actually take players on, someone like Mahrez who doesn’t really need space. Either that or the kind of slide rule killer pass De Bruyne can make. The kind of patient sideways passing we go in for, waiting for an opening that just doesn’t come, is a waste of time. There were times we found space down the sides but that highlighted two problems. Firstly we don’t actually cross the ball very well, we don’t hit it early enough or accurately enough. Secondly we don’t get bodies in the box, last night it was mostly just Kane. If you watch Man City against teams like this they attack in numbers, often with half a dozen players inside the the opposition box. Over the past few seasons this has become more of a problem as more teams have set up this way against us. So far we just don’t have an answer.

  • Hot, we could have stopped trying to thread the ball through their defence all the time as after ten minutes one could see it was an impossible task. Note how our goal was only scored because someojne had the sense to try a shot from 20 to 25 yards out in the air, rather than bang it in low on the ground and hope for a deflection. That is such a negative way to play, it shows we can’t think our way through things We need a player like De Bruyne who constantly THINKS his way through a game rather do what Spurs players do which is to react to what is happening first, then think about when it’s too late.

  • Spursex, fair enough but I do disagree. We have had joy against many bus parkers and not so against others… My point about the City match was me being ironic, (or sarcastic), in as much as I think we needed to be more defensive in that one and as you say… Set up more like we did against Real, away.

  • Typical reaction to a poor result by “a supporter”. A Boo button to make it easier should be installed in the new stadium seats!I Would not happen “up north” If we signed up Spursex as Poch;s special adviser on Sissoko’s salary it would be a great signing as we would never loose again. I hope that Ross Barkley with his injury record is not a signing target, at least until he has completed say 6 matches for Everton.

  • Jod, I said last season we had been found out in our one dimensional and naive way of playing, now last night shows how poor we really are when we don’t get a break, so to speak, NO plan B, an inability to think things out, just keep bashing away at in the same old way all game long getting absolutely nowhere apart from deeply frustrated. If we can’t play better than that and beat such teams then we are not going to make the top four. Poch would be absolutely useless at a thinking man’s game like chess where the game is constantly changing in front of your eyes, you don’t only need a plan B, you also have plans C, D and E, plus you have to change and adapt you game all through the match, all of which seems to be impossible for Pochetino to do.

  • chrishove123 – There are no players like De Bruyne just as there are no players like Kane. No one else can make the kind of passes De Bruyne does.

  • chrishove123 – We’ve had the same problem for the past two seasons and made the top four anyway. I’d argue what its actually done is stopped us winning the title.

  • We could have signed 2 players similar to Hazard last summer for reasonable money-Mahrez & Zaha.They have jumped in value recently. Like Hazard these 2 with their rapid,clever footwork and the ball seemingly glued to their feet, terrify packed defences . The top clubs have players like this: Salah,Sane,Sanchez,Messi,Suarez,Neymar etc,etc. We don’t! Until Levy & Poch address this problem we will struggle to finish in the top 4. Spursex is right ,more teams are parking the bus & we don’t have an answer.

  • We do have Dele and Son. Both did better than Mahrez and even Hazard last season. We have Lamela back. It’d be great to have more players on a par with all 5 of those guys but realistically, it ain’t likely to happen at Spurs any time soon.

  • …And Zaha I meant. But Dele and Son contributed much more than all of those guys did, including Hazard.

  • I have to agree with chrishove123 on his observation that we just didn’t get many bodies in to their penalty area, whether for 2nd ball, deflections or crosses. I can’t deny the endeavour whilst acknowledging the negative tactics by West Ham, just that each time one of our players dribbled past 4 to 5 defenders, the lose ball always found a Hammers’ player for a clearance. For me Son was the most threatening and trying player. We need another in the same mould on the right hand side. Lamela brought that, but a bit too late. On the whole, not a bad haul of points during the festive period….same points collected as City. Hope Lamela begins to start more games than Sissoko.

  • Let’s not forget Eriksen, of course. I think he came second only to De Bruyne in assists last season. This season still has a long way to go and our players may yet have comparable contributions to last season at the end of it all.

  • Hot Tottingham,got to disagree with you here mate.Last season Leicester & Mahrez went through a slump because of management problems.Mahrez was player of the year when Leicester won the league.Zaha has had problems with self belief ever since Utd dumped him.He has come through that because Hodgsen believes in him.My point is these 2 players have exceptional talent but play with average teams.Give them a big team & a great motivator like Poch & they will blossom. Average players always remain average.Quality touch players often need nurturing like orchids.

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