Just four games in. I’d have been hoping for six points and we’ve got six points. I’d have expected losses away to Arsenal and Liverpool, wins at home to relegation candidates, Leicester and Bournemouth. So we beat Arsenal and Liverpool away and lost at home to Leicester and Bournemouth! Against Arsenal and Arsenal and Liverpool, we looked well-organised and incisive. Against Leicester and Bournemouth, an utter shambles. Same players, give or take a tweak or two.
What is going on?
I mean, the last time we beat Liverpool at Anfield was 1963, when The Beatles were No 1 with “She Loves You”. We rarely get a sniff against Arsenal, although I have memories of a couple of great away wins over the years.
It feels like the team – and maybe the new manager, Slaven Bilic – are nervous at home, with expectations high. And demands for attacking football maybe interfering with natural instincts.
Conversely, away from home, Slaven can set the team up as he prefers. 4-2-3-1, with counter-attacking the name of the game. Only the truly loyal fans in attendance.
Optimistically, I think if we can beat Liverpool and Arsenal, we will do well this season. Then I think if we can lose to Bournemouth and Leicester, we could start our time in the Olympic Stadium in the Championship.
We got rid of Big Sam because he didn’t buy into the West Ham way. Well, I think the West Ham way is back big time. Exciting football, but utterly unpredictable. Roller coaster time!
Interesting sidelight I heard yesterday during half-time of the Southampton vs Norwich match – only 7 home wins out of 38 matches played in the Premier League so far.
Early days, but lots of coaches who don’t do all-out attack, which home fans demand.
Bantering Ram took the words out of my mouth (or my post). I’d commented to John on Saturday that in the top two divisions of English football that day, only 3 out of 19 home sides won.
This might say something, as John suggests, about the levels of expectation of home crowds, and the “fearfulness” that can infect home teams. Arsene Wenger said that his players were “nervous” in that opening-day home defeat to West Ham, and some people thought this a bit ridiculous, but I get it. If a team is expected to go out, play beautiful football and knock over the opposition at will, nerves can definitely creep in when that fails to happen. (And as John says, coaches and teams are also getting cannier with their counter-attacking.)
Is this pressure just as great among the top clubs? Quite possibly. Taking out Man City, the rest of the so-called Top Six – Chelsea, United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs – have won 2 out of a possible 10 home games between them, and scored just 7 goals.
It’s too early to talk about a real shift in the way the game is played, but it’s certainly intriguing. Then again, the next round of matches, after the international break, may just blow that theory out of the water.
I think if I were a player I’d feel more comfortable away from home these days. It’s not just the match itself, but the social media afterwards.
interesting that the irons think that 2 championship players will keep them in the premiership (jelavic and antonio)….
by the way i agree with your tweet re ‘tallica. switched on tv to catch a few minutes, was a bit kernackered and had early start next day but stayed transfixed till the very end as they belted out a monster set and exuded POWER.
Emma was there with her school pals and thought they were amazing.
We’ll see. I’d still rather have Charlie Austin. Bilic obviously knows Jelavic well and, who knows, may get the best out of him.
My girls didn’t go to Reading in the end, though some of their friends did, in true post-GCSE tradition. And yeah, Metallica really rocked. That encore was AWESOME.
OMG!! This is exciting news!
Yes, it could go anywhere.