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The game yesterday at the London Stadium should have been a pivotal moment in the fortunes of West Ham. It could have been the time when all fans could breath a huge sigh of relief…for the season had finally been saved, but fate is cruel and the lucky lollipops have been sucked dry by ineptitude and false promises of the dirty rotten scoundrels at the very top of the West Ham tree.

Of course most fans would not readily entertain a feeling of optimism in the face of such mighty opponents who have danced their way through opposition defences with relative ease and style this whole season, however there would have been an opportunity to at least bloody the nose of the sky blue northmen…if only there was a plan and desire to do so!

David Moyes claimed, in his press conference, that he had various formations in the play book to battle Man City on home turf and would have implied that the match was there to be had, a City defence that was vulnerable to long balls and willing runners to feed on half chances. But in the cold light of day, the vision failed at the first hurdle and the mould that had lingered around the squad for all this long season had finally penetrated the skins and the decay was inevitable.

It would be naive to think that Moyes and his merry men would abandon totally assured defensive destructions, however there could be a balance in motives that would afford a strong back line to flourish…and a midfield to be positive and create chances for the strikers to latch onto. The key to the game had to be an aggressive counter attack and to make challenges over the whole pitch.

The full court press needed to be enacted that would prevent any of the key Manchester City players from making hay on another of their sunny days. It would be the only method that would be successful to prevent an onslaught and it would surely frustrate the players and indeed their manager, who believes that all teams should only play his brand of football…but ultimately lose to his superiority!

However, there were grafted shoots upon immature roots that might find grace in future encounters. Whilst largely ineffective against a rampant opposition, overall the defence were resolute enough to hold off the less offensive and the midfield were able to retain the ball and pass with improved efficiency than would have been expected. Along the margins of defeat and victory, there were cracks that would let light through and only a modicum of composure might have prised open gaps to flood the field with hope and encourage the hordes to rush on through.

Moyes was expected to dig in and line up the men on the six yard box with the long spears and fire from the trebuchets, but instead he offered an alternative to what was expected. Although in its finality, the result was the same…there was a different side to the manager’s persona for all to see. He still had not become ambitious and adventurous enough to ask questions of an untested Manchester City defence…but they had also revised, did their homework and passed their exams, whilst West Ham merely stood back and let the lions invite themselves to a free lunch.

Moyes went to school and was taught another lesson by Master Guardiola, however before all would jeer and brush the cobwebs off the striking canes…it wasn’t as awful as it could have been…it was a lot worse than that! If there had been more success in previous games, confidence might have been greater and defiance more ardent…but in the end Moyes had a satchel full of rotting parsnips that could not contain the fresh fruit of the City advances. 

It is time for a clear out of the ranks and to introduce greater strength and virility…but there is a summer to make these changes and get the house in order to be ready and willing for another campaign. The battle has been lost but the war is just beginning but West Ham need a teacher that knows the Art of War and can take the fight into the heart of the oppressive, otherwise there will be more detentions and no more running from the school bullies. Moyes has been on probation since his arrival. He had an opportunity to sell himself for the upcoming job interview…but woefully failed to meet the mark, so it is time to consider any other candidate now!