A much improved display
The first hour of the second leg in Lohne was arguably a side the Hammers could field at Manchester United on the opening day of the Premier League season – maybe with the exception of Chicharito coming in.
There were positive signs in that 11 that this could be a very good season for West Ham as they were coming up against a Werder Bremen side who were not by any means lacking in quality of their own.
West Ham managed to keep their superstar Max Kruse very quiet and although they shipped two goals, Joe Hart couldn’t have done much about either of them. The substitutions on the hour disjointed things a bit but the first hour was a big positive.
The Arnautovic/Masuaku link up
Well, well, well.
The big question ahead of the new season is who is going to be the first choice left back for West Ham and if you watched the first hour of yesterday’s game, you’d think it would have to be Arthur Masuaku.
Marko Arnautovic played the entire 90 minutes on Saturday and looks to have struck up an already brilliant partnership with the Frenchman down the left hand side, combining for the Austrian’s goal in the first half but it wasn’t just that.
Time after time, the two worked in perfect sync and harmony. Aaron Cresswell is really under pressure to perform if he gets the nod because if he doesn’t, he won’t be around for long.
What next for Andre Ayew?
It’s a real conundrum for Slaven Bilic and the Ghanaian as we are still to really see where his best position is.
He played as a central striker on Saturday and didn’t have much of an effect, drifting out wide more often than not. He then moved into a CAM role, where Manuel Lanzini would play, and did a lot better, supplying the cross for Toni Martinez to score.
Ayew is likely to play against Manchester United owing to Michail Antonio’s injury but when the England man returns, where is Ayew going to play? It will be hard for him to dislodge anyone in the team when fully fit and for a £20.1m former record signing, that’s been a bit of a mistake.
Robert Snodgrass’s confidence is absolutely shot
He’s not enjoyed the start to his Hammers career that he would have wanted and Snodgrass looks so out of sorts it’s a major concern.
He was brought in as a dead-ball specialist yet time after time, his delivery has been very poor – overhit or not beating the first man – and it’s clearly getting to him.
The Scotsman was full of running yesterday and gave it everything he could but it just isn’t coming off for him. With Sofiane Feghouli likely to be off, Snodgrass is likely to stay now and he just needs a bit of luck to turn his way.
A welcome day off
The Hammers players have been given Sunday off to rest their weary bodies and prepare themselves for the final few days of the pre-season campaign.
They will stay in Rotenburg and train for the enxt few days before heading fof to Hamburg for the game with Altona 93 on Tuesday, then it’s straight off to Iceland to play Man City in Reykjavik on August 4.
Two games in two days takes a lot out of the players and with double training sessions to boot, they are certainly deserving of their time off. Some of the players will catch up with their families, others will just chill out on Sunday before it’s straight back down to business on Monday.