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Back in the firing line

Filed: Tuesday, 26th September 2017
By: Staff Writer #3

Slaven Bilic is back in the firing line after a late meltdown saw the Hammers snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

It was a heartbreaking result for West Ham fans against their bitter local rivals, and Bilic is taking the brunt of the blame. There were, however, some positives to take from the game. Here are five things we learned:

Tactical blunder costs the Irons

Bilic has struggled all season to find a way to accommodate both Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez, two of West Hamís best players. He claims he would have to sacrifice a defender to play two up top, something he is not prepared to do, so instead he has shunted Hernandez out wide. Then Bilic made the bold decision to exclude Carroll from the starting line-up against Spurs and it worked.

The Hammers were set up to press hard and high, and started brightly, but an injury to Michail Antonio forced Bilic to make a change. He should have brought on someone energetic like Andre Ayew or Diafra Sakho, but instead Bilic threw on Carroll and West Ham fell apart.

Defensive frailties cost West Ham

The Hammers have now shipped 13 goals in six league matches and that is the sort of form that gets teams relegated. They enjoyed a mini-revival that saw them take four points from two games and kept two clean sheets in a 3-0 win over Huddersfield and a 0-0 draw with West Brom.

But the star of those games, James Collins, was sadly injured and in came Winston Reid, who simply could not deal with the attacking threat of Harry Kane. West Ham need to get Collins back into the side as soon as possible, and defensive reinforcements in January would not go amiss.

West Ham refuse to say die

Despite losing, fans can take some solace from the late rally their side delivered at the London Stadium. Spurs were 3-0 up and coasting, but West Ham gave them a real fright in the latter stages of the game. They showed heart and fighting spirit, and that will be crucial as they battle relegation over the winter months.

You also have to put the defeat into perspective. Tottenham were runners-up last season and are expected to contend for the title once more this time around. Their previous two away games had seen them beat Everton 3-0 and Newcastle 2-0. Fans may be bitterly disappointed, but there is no shame in losing to this Spurs side.

Chicharito provides a silver lining

The little pea showed what a magnificent player he is once again and West Ham are lucky to have him. He is Mexicoís record goal scorer and he has been lethal for Man Utd, Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen throughout his career.

He was swayed by the clubís ambition and they have to start delivering on that. With better teammates and better service, Herndandez would be even more deadly, but the players just have to raise their game now. For too long West Ham have been overly reliant on Carroll, who is frequently injured. There is an argument now for building the team around Hernandez and using Carroll as an impact substitute. Hernandezís goal against Spurs and his double against Southampton highlighted what a wonderful striker he is.

Bilic on thin ice

Check out reviews of the latest betting sites and find one you like, and you will see that Bilic has now surged ahead of Ronald Koeman to be named the clear favourite to be the next manager to be sacked. The Hammers have been underwhelming for more than a year now and managers have lost their jobs for far less. The clubís owners have been patient with Bilic, but that must now be wearing thin and defeat against Swansea next weekend would probably see him axed.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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