Monday, September 18, 2006

What's Pardew gonna do?

You’ve got to wonder if Alan Pardew envisioned the type of problems his West Ham team encountered against Newcastle United at Upton Park on Sunday. Much of the attention was placed on Glenn Roeder’s reaction to West Ham fans and vice versa, but Pardew must be sweating a bit, since he (perhaps not him personally, but WH was the only one to accept a deal that minimally enhances his squad for a season at most) managed to pull of the coup of the transfer window.

With Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, Pardew saw two players that could benefit his attacking style of football. Sure, one can say that West Ham play that way, and it’s hard to overlook the contributions of where-were-you-last-year-and-you’re-only-in-because-Dean Ashton’s-out Bobby Zamora, who shares the lead for most goals along with Andy Johnson.

Pardew brought in John Pantsil and Tyrone Mears to shore up his backline, but I haven’t seen that yet. In five games, West Ham has conceded 6 goals, roughly 1.4 per game, which is not much of an improvement over last year’s 1.5 per game. Most importantly, they’ve put in six (of which five were Zamora’s), bringing their scoring average to roughly 1.2 per game, opposed to last season’s 1.37. The bottom line is that West Ham are not scoring more goals as expected with addition of the Argentine duo, and Zamora’s strikes are wasted with a record of one win, two draws and two losses, not including their 1-0 loss to Palermo in the UEFA Champions League.

It would be one thing if Pardew’s front-loaded squad was raining balls into opponents’ nets, but that’s hardly the case. Pardew’s dilemma, of what to do with Tevez, Marlon Harewood, Zamora and Dean Ashton when he returns from injury, leaves his squad striker heavy, not to mention the great forward players he has in midfield. What I can’t figure out is how West Ham can’t get their goals allowed average down. With players like Paul Konchesky, Anton Ferdinand and the addition of Panstil and Mears, Pardew has quality defenders and his free-flowing, attacking style could be the reason whey they’re conceding so many goals.

So it’s the offense. 1.2 per game is atrocious, given the weapons Pardew has north of the backline. Sure, the Hammers aren’t Man U or Chelsea, but with Liverpool sitting in 15th, and Spurs in 16th, now is the time to rack up some points, especially against mediocre competition. It’s early days in a marathon of a season, but given the weapons Pardew has, there’s no excuse for not beating the likes of Watford and even Newcastle United.


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