Like every West Ham fan who watched the game on Thursday night, the anger and frustration suffered during that 90 minutes left me feeling that our season was over before it really started.
After a night’s sleep and a bit of time to take in what had happened the night before, I’m asking myself: ‘was it such a bad thing?’
We really struggled with creativity against Astra and when you take into consideration that Payet, Lanzini, Feghouli, Ayew and Noble were all missing, along with Tore’s work rate, was it any surprise?
This tells me that we still don’t have the squad depth yet to become ‘one of the big clubs’, who can consistently push for the top six. With all these injuries, what would have happened to our league position if we were having to play regularly on a Thursday and Sunday. I’m sure we would see a slide in form after Christmas, like the last couple of seasons, and see us taking the domestic competitions less seriously.
Is that what we all want? Yes, I would have liked nothing better than to see the Claret and Blue come up against the likes of Roma, but we don’t yet have the squad depth to compete in all four competitions.
I also hope this will mean that the likes of Oxford, Browne and Burke get sent out on loan, as there’s nothing better for a young player to earn his trade in the lower leagues before they get their place in the first team.
Look how much Burke came on last year at Bradford and Cullen already impressing at the same club this season. Oxford could do with a year in the Championship, getting beaten up every week by burly old strikers and, most importantly, getting regular game time. It’ll only make him better and stronger.
I had forgotten we were even in Europe a few games into last season, after beating City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea. So let’s not get pessimistic just yet, let’s not get on the players’ backs, let’s not fight in the stands (come on lads, really?!), let’s get behind the boys and push on from last season.
We’ll have had a whole season to get used to the London Stadium, a squad that we’ll be able to improve on further. And a squad full of England internationals.
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