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  • By Alessandro Schiavone

West Ham: From Prague heroes to Leverkusen zeroes as Year One after Rice promises to be a tough one


By Alessandro Schiavone at BayArena in Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 West Ham United

(Hofmann, own-goal Kehrer, Boniface, Andrich)

If the lack of transfer activity is eating away at David Moyes as it's being reported nationwide, the man who guided the Hammers to their first European trophy since the 70s surely has a point now after being brushed aside 4-0 at Bayer Leverkusen.

On Saturday his unrecognizable Hammers shipped three times without reply in the opening half before Robert Andrich successfully converted his penalty on 70 minutes to pile more misery. Fact is that despite winning the Conference League the Hammers remain a side way short of Premier League standards. The battering in Rennes was another perfect illustration of their crisis.

With Leverkusen in the ascendancy throughout, West Ham failed to click into gear. Weakened by the departure of talisman and skipper Declan Rice, they looked like a complacent side desperately needing a lift in every department. Because it’s not going to come from within this time. West Ham are a team shy of a free-scoring centre-forward, crying out for leaders in the middle of the park and quality on the flanks.


Rattled and erratic, almost as if they wished they weren't there, they were chasing shadows from the off and it took Leverkusen’s Jonas Hofmann only nine minutes to pounce on their lethargy to open the scoring. The summer arrival from Borussia Moenchengladbach slammed his free-kick in off the post minutes to make up for his miss five minutes earlier when he fired a pinpoint Adli cutback into the palms of Fabianski.


An own-goal by Thilo Kehrer and a majestic Victor Boniface volley then added to the Londoners' unease to round off a perfect opening half for Die Werkself.


The travelling Hammers supporters had to wait 32 minutes to see their flops finally turn up but ironically the crossbar thwarted Soucek’s towering header. After the restart Benrahma saw his effort on the turn cannon back off the post. But that's as good as it got and had Alphone Areola not produced spectacular back-to-back saves from Adli and the dominant Boniface things would have been worse.


David Moyes, who is reportedly at loggerheads with new sporting director Tim Steidten with the pair not singing from the same hymnsheet when it comes to transfer targets, could only watch on as he failed to get a tune out of his men.


With skipper and leader Rice having left for Arsenal it's difficult not to see West Ham being dragged into yet another relegation battle in the current state of affairs. The club need to shell out the money they cashed in from Arsenal for their former superstar and back Moyes on the market. Bringing in a couple of players would instantly lift the current gloom and be a big booster psychologically.

Right now West Ham are a far cry from the side that stunned Gent, Alkmaar and Fiorentina on their way to Prague glory. A well-oiled machine looks differently. Welcome to Year One after Rice. No matter who they are bringing in it won't be easy to fill his big boots. But it would go a long way towards improving the energy around the club and reigniting the motivation of those who wrote history last season.

Today West Ham were as good as their transfer activity: nil.

And Bournemouth can't wait to welcome them to The Vitality Stadium...



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