Grant: West Ham not far off elusive away win
West Ham again struggle to create chances away from home
Kevin Keegan once said, ‘You can’t do better than go away from home and get a draw’.
It’s a peculiar statement, but one which West Ham have adhered to over the past 16 months.
The Hammers’ inability to win away from Upton Park speaks volumes about why they are in or a round the bottom three for two seasons.
Chances to win at Wolves and Birmingham have come and gone, while their latest setback took place on Sunday, as the east London side were defeated 1-0 by Sunderland.
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It is 27 games since West Ham beat Wolves on the opening day of last season, a fact which weighs heavily on the mind of boss Avram Grant.
“We have to do it as we don’t want to go the whole season without winning away,” he said.
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“The difference between 1-0, to 0-0, to winning, is not so big. On most of our away defeats the difference has been a single goal which means we can turn it around. The team are progressing and getting more efficient.
“I am sure we can do it. If you saw all our away games, in 60 or 70 per cent, we have played well and we didn’t deserve to lose the game.
“But we played against a team with an amazing home record. It was not an easy game for us. It’s very disappointing.”
A huge factor in the Hammers inability to pick up three points away from east London is their lack of creativity.
The Hammers struggle to make chances away from home. Midfielders fail to push midfielders forward to support the strikers and whoever leads the line tends to be isolated.
It is something which they clearly worked on ahead of their 2-2 draw with Birmingham. Valon Behrami regularly made forward runs and was rewarded with a goal, but since that game in early November the Hammers have gone backwards.
A dreadful performance at Liverpool was followed up by a solid defensive showing at Sunderland, but one shot on target throughout the 90 minutes (a tame free kick from Victor Obinna) was all they could muster in attack.
“The lack of attempts on goal was the main disappointment,” Grant said.
“In the second half we were better but not so much in front of goal.”
“We didn’t start the game well. There was a lot of energy and possession but not many chances.”
And if that fails to change soon the likelihood is, neither will their position in the table.