Written by Rhys Paul
West Ham’s poor form continued as they crashed to a fourth consecutive defeat against Southampton. The 3-0 loss means the Hammers have conceded eleven goals in three games to the likes of Watford, West Brom and now, Southampton.
Up until the opening goal, the game was suiting the home side. The pace of the game was nowhere near as frantic as the previous two league games and the team were actually looking relatively comfortable in defence (as comfortable as they can, anyway). That all changed with the in-form Charlie Austin’s goal (40′), whose name being on the score-sheet was almost as predictable as West Ham not keeping a clean sheet. It was caused by some sloppy defending (yet again) down the right and the timing of the goal – just before half-time – really could not have been any worse. The team looked dejected from then on and the second-half was one of frustration. Dusan Tadic (62′) capitalised on some more laughable defending to round Adrian before James Ward-Prowse (92′) struck late to condemn the unhappy Hammers to another heavy defeat. It was yet another abysmal performance from a team who continue to look way below the standard required in the Premier League. Matters weren’t helped by Jon Moss’ refereeing and it rivalled the team’s performance for most incompetent performance of the day. That shouldn’t take away from the fact that West Ham were once again dreadful and, the most worrying thing of all, it is no longer surprising to see the opposition scoring so freely. Here is each player’s individual rating from that shambolic 3-0 defeat to Southampton:
Adrian – 6
Poor positioning for the first goal and rash decision making for the second seriously undermined his performance. He made a number of good saves – the best of which was a superb stop to deny Tadic early in the second-half (something which I naively hoped might mark a turning point in the game) – and he played with a confidence that might not have been expected after conceding eight goals in the previous two games.
Havard Nordtveit – 5
Simply not a right-back. He’s getting a lot of criticism from supporters, but he is clearly a very intelligent player and that came across at times against Southampton. His failure to stop Ryan Bertrand down the left resulted in Austin’s opener and ultimately set his side up for the loss.
Winston Reid – 6
Reid was probably West Ham’s best player against Southampton and that says a lot for a team who lost 3-0. A huge improvement on the mistake-prone James Collins, it’s worrying that the team still struggled to defend. He made several important challenges, but he was again too eager to go to ground – although he was largely successful this time around. He should have booted the ball from the danger zone just before Tadic’s goal and that subsequently set in motion the build-up to the second goal.
Angelo Ogbonna – 4
I honestly cannot recall Ogbonna doing anything of note. He went missing when the Saints attacked and I found myself holding my breath every time he was on the ball. Only ever seemed willing to make basic, two yard passes and once again failed to defend as well as he should be at this level. He should have done better for the third goal.
Alvaro Arbeloa – 5
Neither great nor terrible in his league debut for West Ham. He looked uncomfortable as a temporary left-back and he struggled to get back after going forward. He wasn’t helped by Dimitri Payet’s poor defensive work and the former Real Madrid man will be hoping to move over to his preferred right side next weekend.
Mark Noble – 5
Another struggling performance for the skipper. He looked off the pace and his failure to exert his influence once again played a part in the team’s shortcomings. He was the victim of a number of intentional, ‘tactical’ fouls by the Saints (the majority of which went unpunished), but he looked far too slow running with the ball and was subbed off once again. His post-match interview did at least show he was hurting from both his own and the team’s form.
Michail Antonio – 5
Antonio was never really in the game and, in turn, never threatened the opposition’s goal. He always seemed to be away from the action and struggled to win balls in the air. He did show a bit of life late in the game, but nothing was ever going to come to fruition.
Cheikhou Kouyate – 5
Despite carrying the ball forward at times, he did little to really inspire or drive his teammates to do the same. His runs started promising before ending up nowhere and he often gives away possession cheaply. For a player of his stature, he is far too lightweight and that makes the team vulnerable when he loses out.
Manuel Lanzini – 5
Subbed off at half-time, he did little in the first-half to suggest he was going to inspire a comeback. Saying that, he is like Payet in the respect that he has the potential to pull something out of the bag even when he is playing badly. It would have been worth keeping him on, if only for the creativity and energy he brings to the midfield. Even so, it is clear he is still not back to his best.
Dimitri Payet – 5
It just wasn’t happening for Payet. He frequently lost possession and his set-pieces were significantly worse than usual. A slight improvement in the second-half when he saw more of the ball, but the team have to stop constantly looking to him to save them. He directed his frustrations at the inept Jon Moss and his body language after Southampton’s third really said it all. The biggest concern was that he looked tired (maybe even disinterested?) and the team will struggle to keep hold of him if the season continues as it is.
Simone Zaza – 5
He demonstrated a good workrate in the first half an hour as he chased and fought for everything in the Southampton half. It deteriorated from then as he once again became a bystander. He had a few chances, but struggled to make any sort of impact.
Sofiane Feghouli (45′ for Lanzini) – 4
He made a few runs that briefly looked to trouble the Southampton defence, but on each occasion he allowed the ball to run too far away from him. He did little to change the game and it was probably worth keeping Lanzini on the pitch for that reason.
Ashley Fletcher (71′ for Nordtveit) – 5
He should have been introduced sooner, especially with Zaza fading. He had little impact from the bench and arguably suffered from the fact the team had already given up by the time of his introduction. He should start against Middlesbrough.
Edimilson Fernandes (82′ for Noble) – 4
It was good that Bilic chose Fernandes as his final sub. He’s looked promising so far and it’s important he gets experience in the top flight if he is to live up to his potential. He didn’t have enough time to make any sort of significant impact, but hopefully more will be seen of him.
West Ham fans, what needs to change? Do you agree with the ratings? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Philosophy Football