What can bring the Hammers out of this rut? Is there anything we can do to inspire our titans of the game to go forward and fight the good fight in the face of overwhelming odds? I think I know just the thing...
Five Hammers - Bill Pullman - Independence Day
I’ve seen this film 37 times. I remember for Christmas my parents bought me the VHS cassette. I sat in front of the VCR and (because we always lost the remote) would rewind and watch this scene over and over again. Whole cities destroyed, alien dog fights, goosebump inducing speeches, and a message that conveyed unity and hope in the face of complete and utter devastation. Maybe all West Ham United really need is a Bill Pullman speech to save the day. Can we get Bill in January?
Cheikhou Kouyate: Let’s not forget for the majority of this match West Ham was the better team. They may have only had 35% possession but they had 100% of the momentum. Tottenham looked lost offensively and had no answers for the Hammer back line. Kouyate was a force to be reckoned with battling away crosses and long balls that relentlessly made their way to the Hammer box.
Michail Antonio: Where wasn’t Antonio? Sure, he scored a goal, but he could have scored three and was involved in almost every attacking show put on display. Played the counter wonderfully and definitely won the battle between himself and Danny Rose.
Manuel Lanzini: Lanzini needed to have a good match and he definitely caused trouble for Spurs’ defensive third. Great on the counterattack and scored what should have been the match winner.
Four Hammers - Anonymous President - Armageddon
A moon sized meteor was speeding towards what was surely Earth’s final days. The colorful characters of the best drilling crew in the world are sent to place a nuclear device down towards the core of the doomsday meteor. There’s a metaphor here... See, West Ham is.. the earth. And the meteor is relegation. Our players just need some fancy editing with contagious nationalism to see this challenge through.
Winston Reid: Shame the match ended the way it did for Reid, putting the loss aside. He held his ground well, and like Kouyate, really shut down any questions Spurs had for the Hammer defense. Would have been five Hammers were it not for the red, deserved or otherwise.
Dimitri Payet: West Ham only had 35% of possession but when they did it seemed to stem from Payet. Wonderful crossing and playmaking on the pitch. Slaven Bilic has been coming under fire for his replacement of Payet with Håvard Nordtveit in the 85th minute. Can’t imagine why...
Aaron Cresswell: Unsung hero of the match. Much of his work went unnoticed but he did keep Kyle Walker under wraps. The two English internationals almost canceled each other out, except Cresswell was the better when he was on the ball and linked up well with Payet.
Pedro Obiang: Another quiet champion. Integral in stopping and cutting out Christian Eriksen. The knock on the head must have done the Danish international some good because he had a much better second half, however, was largely ineffective for the first 45 minutes.
Three Hammers - William Wallace - Braveheart
After hundreds of years of tyranny, persecution, and Prima Nocta (gross right?), the clans of Scotland gather to fight as free men against the English horde. The Scots were outnumbered 6-1 yet they stayed, they fought. They gathered up their courage, and came back for one chance (JUST ONE CHANCE) to show their enemies their true mettle. Perhaps if we donate kilts and and longswords to West Ham they’ll encompass a warrior’s spirit.
Andre Ayew: I can’t give Ayew too much criticism as he worked terribly hard all match. He just wasn’t getting a lot of service. Eric Dier was never more than a foot from Ayew and made sure nothing was getting behind him.
Edmilson Fernandes: Came on as a sub in the 60th minute for Ayew and was largely ineffective. I can’t give the kid too much grief as he walked into a difficult situation.
Darren Randolph: Yikes, Randolph isn’t going to get any sleep any time soon. He’s been dying to get into the first team. This probably wasn’t his dream debut. Was Randolph at fault for any of the goals? Not really. Could he have done better to stop that ball from reaching Harry Kane? Probably.
Two Hammers - Charles Dutton - Rudy
Sometimes we need to take stock of our accomplishments and where we are, to really appreciate life. Rudy just found out he isn’t going to come out of the tunnel in the final game of the season, which was his lifelong dream and the ultimate goal on his journey. Charles Dutton points out all that he’s accomplished along the way. West Ham isn’t going to be relegated this year. They are too good of a team and we need to remember how far they’ve come. Today’s match at White Hart Lane was hard fought and showed that this squad has the ability to go into a tough atmosphere and capitalize.
Angelo Ogbonna: Does anyone get caught ball watching more than Ogbonna? Go back and watch Harry Winks’s goal. Looks like his hands are in his pockets watching Janssen and completely ignored Winks facing goal. Cresswell picks up Kane behind him so I’m not sure what he’s doing in that position. And who is on Kane for his goal? You guessed it. Good old #21. Someone get him in a positioning clinic ASAP.
Simone Zaza: Was his work rate outstanding? Yes. Was his decision making, passing, finishing, and all things football related atrocious? Quadruple yes. Pretty sure we know where Zaza will be in 5 weeks. #Juventus
Diafra Sakho: I was debating where to list Sakho. On the one hand, this was his debut and it’s always tough to dive right back into first team action. On the other, he lost possession in crucial areas and found his rhythm. I expect better things next week.
One Hammer - Al Pacino - Any Given Sunday
I saved this speech for last because it is my absolute favorite. Pre-interview nervousness? Pacino. First date? Pacino. Basically a good Pacino speech can solve a plethora of problems and I promise this could work on West Ham. Soccer is a game of inches as Vincent Janssen showed us as he was doing... whatever the hell he was doing here. The guy who is willing to fight and die for that inch will win every time.
Håvard Nordtveit: I saved Nordtveit for this section because I’m still trying to figure out what he was doing. In that spot, in the dying seconds of the match, that is a rough tackle to make in the box. Credit Son for the quick move, but credit Nordtveit for blowing it.