It’s easy after two bad defeats for fans to get disenchanted, and concerned about the direction West Ham appear to be going in.
But having watched Saturday's game I was impressed with the way the Hammers played in the first half against Bolton.
With four changes to the team that started against Aston Villa the home side started in lively fashion, apart from one blemish when a bad pass let in Johan Elmander who scuffed his shot wide after two minutes
The Hammers opted for Pablo Barrera and a fit-again Kieran Dyer on each wing, which meant Avram Grant's men we were not short of pace and for most of the first half Bolton were on the back foot.
The fact that they went in at half time without conceding was down to their keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen who had his usual outstanding game against the east Londoners. The save against Dyer, pushing his shot onto the post, trumped his save from Carlton Cole’s weak penalty.
Reading the programme notes about Bolton, their chairman apparently wants them to play more stylish football and move away from their direct game they employed, successfully, under Sam Allardyce.
That was one of the reasons for bringing in Owen Coyle to manage them in January, and yet it was a direct punt down field by there keeper nodded on by Elmander on the edge of the area, and with Kevin Davies lurking Matt Upson headed into his own net. Although Davies was keen to claim the final touch.
Their third goal was a carbon copy punt up field except this time roles were reversed, Davies flicked on for Elmander to score. So much for changing their style of football, but as West Ham fans know if you turn up to play football against West Ham they will more than match you.
But they tend to be vulnerable against teams that play the direct way - which is clearly demonstrated by the fact they hold a better record over the past five years against Arsenal and Manchester United than against Bolton.
A meagre four points were gained in that period against Bolton compared to 12 against Arsenal and nine against United.
Hopefully these facts can spur the team on for their next game which is away to the Reds Devils and - as if to shoot my theory down - the Hammers last points against United came at home three seasons ago, but five of the team that started against Bolton played in that game, so all is not lost.
The problem with losing the first two games of the season is the effect it has on moral, not just the players but on the fans as well. Already on the forums there are more than a handful of supporters voicing their displeasure at the way the team is playing.
But fear not fellow Hammers as there was enough of a good showing in the first half against Bolton to suggest that in the next few games we won’t roll over and with a bit of luck, and better finishing, I still think we can nick a point or two along the way.
Remember this is still a team that is being built by Avram Grant and perhaps we expect to much to soon.
*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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