Worrying Times for West Ham United: Deja Vu Avram Grant

West Ham United's goalkeeper Robert Green fumbles the ball allowing Chelsea's Salomon Kalou (unseen) to score during their English Premier League soccer match at Upton Park in London September 11, 2010.  REUTERS/Eddie Keogh (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0)

I believe West Ham United supporters should be worried, if they’re not worried already. Not only because they’re bottom of the table. But more so because the team reminds me a lot of the way that Avram Grant’s previous club, Portsmouth, played last season. And we all know where they ended up.

Rewind to last year and you may recall that Portsmouth was one of my guilty pleasures of the year. Out of all of the clubs in the Premier League, they were one of the most entertaining and played with an incredible spirit despite their plight. They were always a joy to watch. However, they never seemed to get the results they deserved to prevent being relegated.

Worryingly for Hammers fans, West Ham United seem to be spiraling down a similar story this season. Despite having zero points, they’ve played well during many spells of their matches except for their opener versus Aston Villa when they were dreadful. Many football supporters who haven’t watched West Ham will write them off as a piss-poor team this season. But if you watch them closely, there have been flashes of brilliance. Victor Obinna had a bright and encouraging match for West Ham on Saturday against Chelsea. Frédéric Piquionne had a perfect chance to score off a header from point-blank range but could only hit the crossbar. Scott Parker’s late goal for West Ham was world-class. But it was definitely too little, too late for West Ham despite the positive play.

Manager Avram Grant said that the club is playing more like a mid-table side than one threatened with relegation. However you could have said the same thing about Portsmouth last season. Pompey last season, despite playing very attractive football, didn’t score as many goals as they should have done. They created plenty of chances but the balls seemingly wouldn’t go into the net. That similar scenario could happen home and away from Upton Park. It is happening so far for the Hammers, but there is a long way to go in the season.

For Hammers supporters, the other worrying statement from Grant yesterday was this:

“We can take a lot of positives from this,” following West Ham’s loss to Chelsea.

Yes, it’s true. But the same could have been said about many of Pompey’s matches last season. The key point is whether Grant can coach his side to turn these positives into winning matches. I respect him as a manager but I’m very fearful for West Ham based on Grant’s inability last season (albeit under severe circumstances) to get Portsmouth out of relegation. Even if you disregarded the nine point deduction, Portsmouth still would have been relegated.

The other worrying factor for West Ham is the confidence of Robert Green and whether he’ll be able to overcome his flub Saturday against Chelsea when he spilled the ball that led to one of Chelsea’s goals. Just as Green made a costly mistake, so too did Joe Hart yesterday for Manchester City. How both of these goalkeepers recover from that mistake in their next game will show their strength. If Green cannot do this, Avram Grant should seriously consider moving Czech goalkeeper Marek Stech up to first team duty.

9 thoughts on “Worrying Times for West Ham United: Deja Vu Avram Grant”

      1. Pompey were doing ok until that deduction though, it seemed like that just sucked the life out of them.

        I’ve always thought Avram Grant is a good manager, he got a lot of stick at Chelsea despite taking them to the Champions League final and he managed to get Pompey to an FA cup final.

        Same old thing really, the manager becomes the scape goat despite the fact that the players are clearly lacking a bit of passion and motivation.

  1. Considering Pompey’s off pitch problems and potentially being wound up
    mid season I think its safe to say no manager would have kept them up.
    Promises of money coming in never panned out so players not bought etc…players who had to be rotated out so as not to trigger payments to other clubs….
    That said I had West Ham down to be relegated this year because their transfer policy to me seemed to be a poor man’s Man City policy. Just buy a load of people because they are available but there doesnt seem to be a
    real plan in place. THey have had a terrible start, that Villa game on the opening day was frightening and they have a keeper problem too right now.
    They have 2 owners who will do their best to undermine the manager and the players because they cant help themselves and love the sound of their
    own voices. Grant wont last there surely.

  2. The only game that the Irons really should have won so far was Bolton at home. Villa was a breakdown, Bolton a letdown of moments as the outplayed them most of the match. Man U they played well, just not well enough to beat a top club, Chelsea… Well they played well second half, which is what they lacked when they fell behind.

    I’m more worried that Grant is moaning about transfer money, and the David’s about the debt. Both groups knew full well what they where walking into, so get on with it.

    I’m not worried. Obinna looked good, and is a PL player. Green can’t take all the blame, Upson made a lazy clearance …. I remember hearing more great save by Robert Green yesterday then anything else.

    Are the Hammers in trouble now? Yes… Will they get sent down because of Grant and Green? Maybe… Does WHU resemble Pompey? Not in the least.

  3. We’ve had the toughest opening fixtures of any club up to this point. We played Chelscum off the park but can’t score. Our lack of a natural goal poacher will cause us problems along with our defense. We will struggle, but will stay up, IMO.

  4. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves it’s only four games in, lots of football to be played yet. You have to remember, three of their four losses have been to top table teams (Villa, United, Chelsea) and their only real disappoint was their home display against Bolton.

    Give them some time and let’s come back and talk after they’ve had their real tests against more of the mid/bottom table clubs, which is where they need to be searching for results- not against the Man Uniteds or Chelseas. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Their next two fixtures away to Stoke and Sunderland should tell us something and they should hope to get some points from those fixtures.

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