Nobody expected to see West Ham taking anything from the first match of the new season at Old Trafford last Saturday.
And they fully justified expectations with a 4-0 loss, but it could be a lot worse, with a few more goals into a Joe Hart’s net.
The Hammers played poorly from the start of the game, and they looked so frightened for all 90 minutes, so obviously, Slaven Bilic is going to have a tough job to keep the job.
Big expectations after a poor last season
Last season was terrible for the Hammers.
They had high hopes after a good 2015/16 season when they end up the league in the seventh place, and they moved to a new, bigger stadium. But they finished last season in the eleventh spot after a lot of struggling during a campaign.
And after Dimitri Payet left the club in January this year to play for Olympique Marseille, it was evident that West Ham is already looking to a new season. Slaven Bilic had board’s confidence, and he remained at the club to try to restore the team’s style of play.
In a 2015/2016 season, Slaven Bilic’s influence was enormous, and players were full of self-confidence. The team was playing well, with a high pressure and great off-ball movement, especially against stronger opponents. In every difficult match, Croatian proved himself as an excellent tactician.
And after a bad last season, everyone wanted to see the Hammers fighting on the field to get the result. But it didn’t happen on last Saturday, and Slaven Bilic’s guys were easily surpassed by the Red Devils.
The Hammers had only one shot on target, in the last minute of the first half. And that was all we could see, besides poor defensive displays, particularly from Masuaku, Ogbonna, and Reid.
The team has changed
Dimitri Payet was arguably West Ham’s best player who always had magic on his feet when it’s needed. After he left the club, no one stood up to take his place, although Manuel Lanzini was naturally the next team’s playmaker.
Sofiane Feghouli didn’t deserve his place, and he left to Galatasaray, while Havard Nordtveit moved to German side Hoffenheim. Reece Oxford, the youngster who was Bilic’s discovery, also moved to Germany, and he will play for M’gladbach on loan.
But Slaven Bilic got some new exciting players.
Marko Arnautovic came from Stoke after a fantastic season at Bet 365 Stadium, and everyone is expecting miracles from the 28-year old Austrian. Mexican forward Chicharito arrived from Bayer Leverkusen to sharp the Hammer’s attack, but against his former club, he was awful. Pablo Zabaleta came on a free transfer from Manchester City, while goalkeeper Joe Hart was signed on loan.
But in the first match against the Red Devils, Slaven Bilic’s team looked unorganized and it seems like Croatian has a lot of work to do.
The tight schedule will decide
First three matches of the new season West Ham is playing away, and after Manchester United, they will visit Southampton on August 19th and Newcastle on August 26th.
The first game at home is against Huddersfield in the fourth round. Pretty difficult start, and it could be decisive on Slaven Bilic’s future.
If he succeeds to find the best eleven, and the team shows signs of improvement, then he’ll be safe for a while. But if he fails, Bilic could be the first manager to get sacked.
And after all of last season’s debacles, we wouldn’t be surprised.
Written by Oliver Zivic
Follow Oliver on Twitter @guli86
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