With just three points from their opening five Premier League fixtures and already knocked out of the Europa League, the start to the season has been a hugely disappointing one for West Ham United. After a second 4-2 defeat in a week at the Hawthorns, with the Hammers now having conceded eleven goals from their past three games, Croatian boss Slaven Bilic spoke out to criticise his team’s defending when talking to the BBC:
“If we continue to defend like this as a team we can’t win a Premier League game. We are weak and we have a problem. I don’t want us to react, I want us to act. It is no time to panic but we have to act.”
However, the manager did not shy away from the blame and accepted that much of the weight of these poor performances is resting on his shoulders. He said:
“We have a problem we have to solve and that starts with me, I am the manager and have to do everything to turn this around and solve that problem.”
In the cut-throat world that modern football is, such honesty is refreshing, and Irons fans can at least rest easy in the knowledge that the manager is aware of the problems that his side have to overcome and Bilic will not be afraid to give his all to ensure that problems are overcome.
One possible solution is England under-19 captain Reece Oxford, who shone in his brief appearances last season and has mostly played a role on the bench so far this season as he continues to push for involvement in the first team. The 17-year-old is still no closer to signing a new deal with the London club, however, despite turning down offers from both Manchester clubs this summer to remain at the London Stadium, claim the Daily Mail.
Retaining one of the most highly rated young Englishmen in the game would be invaluable to the club, though they must act fairly quickly to secure the long term future of the central defender, with his current deal set to expire in the summer of 2018. Currently, this means that he would be able to speak to foreign clubs about a potential move at the end of the season once he entered the final year of his current contract under the Bosman ruling.
Whilst that is of great importance for the future of the club, some fans are furious with how the past of the club is being treated since the move from the Boleyn Ground to the London Stadium. Some fans have been appalled by the state of a ‘memorial garden’ at the old stadium, according to the Evening Standard. The garden is a unique place where a number of fans have had ashes scattered or had memorials placed so that they can remain close to the club that they love.
West Ham had promised to maintain the garden in good condition and order, but appear to have slacked off on this agreement. Since the complaints became widely seen on Twitter, the club has acted and sent groundsmen to tidy up the area, but fans remain increasingly isolated following the stadium move.
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