Spurs under Jose was a two-man attacking unit with very little else. To think opposing teams wouldn’t see that and plan for it next time shows a distinct lack of foresight. The opposition just had to smother Son and Kane, and we struggle. And smothered they were! Spurs needed Moura, Skipp, Hojbjerg and our non-attacking fullbacks to join in.
Yesterday, they didn’t. If we give the opposition more to worry about, Son and Kane get more space. This happened versus Newcastle when Moura and Ndombele got past players, creating spaces for us to exploit. Yesterday, Moura was poor, but West Ham is a far better defensive unit than the Bar Codes, so they nullified our main threats well.
If Liverpool only relied on Salah to get the ball and do his thing he would not be nearly as successful as when Jota, Firmino, Henderson, Keita, and of course the full backs do their thing. And they had Mane on the bench!
Football is a team game and as most of us know, we do not have enough good players to beat top sides anymore, even average ones, on a consistent basis.
Yesterday, West Ham defended very deep and spawned a goal from another set piece, having created very little apart from a few half chances from crosses (It’s what they do). Now, Kane was at fault for the goal. Far too inactive, and he did lose possession a lot. He normally sets the tone on that, but if he isn’t doing well, we have little hope. I just do not see how dropping Kane would make us better. Son plays centrally and Gil on the left, but that is a big gamble. It is obvious though that our tactics with Kane on the pitch is not working well.
Both Kane and Son had a chance each and at the top-level one has to go in. Skipp and Hojbjerg rarely do anything creative and Ndombele put the ball through to Son for his chance, but because West Ham sat so deep and cut out the space centrally, as well as being stronger and fitter (it looked like they won more physical battles) we really struggled in the final third. When Nuno said we controlled the game, Moyes allowed us to have the ball in areas that were not going to punish them. Moyes definitely pulled the strings in the second half, hence no shots.
I wasn’t impressed with Moura, Reggie or Royal in attack. Did Royal cross the ball once? We needed players, stretching the West Ham defence across the pitch. Whether that is with 1v1s, overloads, or overlaps from full-backs I don’t care, but we were too slow in switching play and overall we look lost and without an attacking plan.
We had plenty of opportunities to cross the ball in the box yesterday, but our delivery was atrocious. In fact our ability to keep the ball in the attacking third was abysmal.
We are going to see more of this type of performance for quite some time unless we get a more attacking coach or more quality on the pitch.
The caveat with that though is we will be left wide open and possibly ripped to shreds if we get an Eddie Howe, Graham Potter type figure.
We can of course blame Nuno, he sets the team up, but let us not forget Jose and Poch struggled because of the quality they had to play with. We simply do not have enough good footballers to affect a game. Levy would have to pay more for that to happen.
However, we have just as good a squad as West Ham and Palace and we have been found wanting in both. That is what worries me. It used to be competing with Chelsea and City that caused me concern, but worrying about Palace and West Ham is how low we have sunk.