Time to Panic
Gianfranco Zola says that West Ham will not panic over the team's inability to score goals. Carlton Cole has not scored since early October, while Craig Bellamy has managed one goal this season and has yet to score under Zola.
"We will try something, obviously," says Zola. "We will be working on the strikers' confidence. We have to put it right because that is what we need right now.
"We were conceding too many goals. Then we got to the point where we were not giving too many goals away but now we have to improve on our scoring. We are going to be working even harder than we have been doing. We won't panic, we have faith in ourselves."
The obvious solution for West Ham is to spend around £10 million of the money raised over the summer on a new striker. However it seems to me that the club's owners have already decided that they will gamble that the team can survive this season with the players we already have, minus two or three who will be sold in January.
In the short term Zola has to work with what he has. There are no obvious replacements for Cole and Bellamy. Di Michele and Sears have looked no more likely to score this season and Zola still obviously has concerns over Tristan's fitness. However it could well be time to gamble on Tristan.
It is in midfield that Zola really needs to change things around. One reason that West Ham have not been scoring is that the midfield are not creating chances for the forwards and Faubert and Behrami are not crossing the ball into the box. Behrami can't cross with his left and Faubert's confidence seems completely shot. The obvious solution then is to drop Faubert and move Behrami to the right, where he will be able to cross.
Which gives the team a problem on the left wing. For me Etherington, despite his inability to cross a ball is the obvious choice. Etherington is about the only West Ham player who actually runs with the ball and attacks defenders, rather than playing safe little square balls across midfield or balls back to the defence.
In central midfield Mullins and Parker can't play together. One of the two has to be dropped for a player who will occasionally try a through ball and will occasionally get in the box himself. Noble or Collison has to be brought in for either Parker or Mullins.
Finally, Bellamy has to stop taking corners. It is criminal that with Collins ability in the air we are not scoring from corners. We need someone who can beat the first defender with his corners.