West Ham: Morrison Needs To Start & Striker Is Vital

Possibly the most turgid performance at the Boleyn this year proved we're short in vital areas...
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Possibly the most turgid performance at the Boleyn this year proved we're short in vital areas...

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Occasionally you watch games where you question your love of football. The first half between West Ham and Stoke was certainly one of those.

I suggested yesterday that for West Ham to win, the midfield would have to be play relatively well. Unfortunately they did not, Stoke to their credit completely dominated the first 45 minutes. Walters missed a brilliant opportunity, though it has to be said Jussi did make a great second save to keep it 0-0 going into half time.

Kenwyne Jones and N'Zonzi were running the show for Stoke in the first half, Jones making the kind of effort that West Ham fans could dream of from Maiga. On the subject of Maiga he missed a good opportunity after Downing whipped in a wicked cross.

Due to the effectiveness of Stoke's full backs, Downing and Jarvis had to swap positions, this didn't seem to make a great deal of difference though.

You felt as the home side trudged off at half time, second best to the efficient Stoke side,  Sam would be certainly telling them that drastic improvement was needed.

It never really came though,  there was an initial period of pressure from West Ham, but no clear cut chance. Youngster Ravel Morrison came on and seemed to make a difference for West Ham, however Hughes countered the change by making a substitute of his own. Jermaine Pennant came on for Stoke and instantly put the game back into Stoke's favour.

Diame gave away a needless free kick just after 80 minutes and substitute Pennant curled in the resultant free-kick superbly (his first goal in two years by all accounts).

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Youngster Elliot Lee came on for his first Premiership appearance. However didn't really have enough time to make any real impact on the game.

West Ham just couldn't find any response, it was one of those days where nothing was going to work and occasionally you have to accept you will have them, no matter how frustrating they are.

Special mention to Stoke though, I mentioned yesterday that I thought Hughes was a good manager, well not as bad as he is made out to be. Stoke came with a game plan and it completely nullified West Ham, that was only the second time that the Hammers fans have seen a loss at the Boleyn in 2013, and that says enough.

International break up next, West Ham are over to Spain to play Espanyol and Real Betis. Hopefully Carroll will play in one of the games as he has returned to training with the rest of the squad.

My sentiments after the first three fixtures? Positive start against Cardiff, a good solid point against Newcastle and then let all the good hard work get undone with a defeat against Stoke, more the manner of the defeat as we literally created nothing. If Carroll is going to be out for a few more weeks it's vital we get a striker in. Vaz Te as I thought was completely left out of the squad today and Maiga, was just Maiga really. Sure Sam has something lined up, I hope so anyway.