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The disappointment of West Ham drawing with Stoke City

Negative tactics meant Monday night was a wasted opportunity

West Ham United v Stoke City - Premier League

Joe Hart has to take the lion’s share of the blame in a draw that feels like a defeat. Silencing the growing drumbeat for his chances as England’s number one, he spilled an easy shot to allow Peter Crouch to snatch Stoke City an undeserved one goal lead.

David Moyes looked exposed, managing a solitary point against a lifeless Stoke side, in a home game where West Ham had 63% possession but managed few dangerous attacks. Paul Lambert’s men have the worst defence in the league and looked solid as the Hammers launched countless lifeless attacks.

To be fair to Stoke they defended well, my frustration was due to Moyes’ negative tactics - playing very conservatively as though a draw would be favourable. It’s better than losing , but Stoke were there for the taking and the only changes came after the Potters took the lead. Need I remind you that we’ve already beaten Stoke 3-0 this season.

Stoke City v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

If I met David Moyes I’d ask him if the team practice set pieces, because there have been some very questionable decisions made recently. It felt like we spent ten minutes watching West Ham players take turns stroking free kicks into the wall or wasting corners. Meanwhile Marko Arnautovic was stranded on his own up front.

There were some good performances from several Hammers, most notably Declan Rice, who’s maturing in front of our eyes. Further, it was great to see Andy Carroll make an impact off the bench. I look forward to Moyes forcing him into the starting lineup over the red-hot Javier Hernandez. He’ll generate the usual England chatter until Carroll’s season gets inevitably cut-short by his papier-mâché body.

Going into the game I was convinced West Ham were safe because we would beat Stoke and move away from the relegation zone. I’m still sure that we are safe but only by virtue of having three worse teams in the relegation zone.

We can safely begin looking to next season, but if Moyes is playing like this for the 2018-19 campaign, he won’t survive. I advocated Moyes when he came in and was pushing us away from relegation jeopardy. Now I’m concerned about the long-term future with these negative tactics. He’s reverting to the man we saw at Sunderland.

Perhaps I’m being harsh, as there were three disallowed West Ham goals in the game. On another day, it could have been 3-4 goals for the home side. This at least comforts me knowing that we might have been slightly unlucky.

West Ham United v Stoke City - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The Stoke game just wasn’t good enough. I fear a whole season of Moyes’ philosophy of doing just enough to not lose matches, instead of West Ham playing the football required to win convincingly. We’ll see how the team does against the out-of-form Arsenal, but the Stoke game was a major missed opportunity for the Hammers.