We have struggled all season in defence. Whether it’s because of injuries, poor form, players being played out of position or simply just a lack of passion to get stuck in. We could really do with the spirit and passion of former Hammer, Tomas Repka. Or, more realistically, just someone to channel their inner Repka and try and take ownership over our defence!
Repka made the switch to East London from Fiorentina in 2001 for a, then, club record fee of £5.5million. He was with the club for 5 years and saw it all; the top ten finish, the record breaking relegation and promotion back to the Premier League. So, surely he would know what could be around the corner in our perilous situation? As if he needed it, it would serve as a kick up the backside which would be noticeable, which is more than can be said for the players out there right now!
The defence has seemed to lack that bullish nature throughout the season. Often allowing players to pass them by all too easily, and, not committing to tackles with enough ferocity. Is it the fear of injury/re-injury? Ogbonna was playing through the pain barrier, Cresswell was timid upon returning from injury and more often than not what opt out of tackles.
Apart from Ginge, we really do lack any sort of tenacity in the backline. I’m not saying our players should be going out to injure their opponents, or, get themselves sent off. Lord knows we struggle with 11 men on the pitch so 10 would be mission even more impossible. We need our players to have that level of passion to win where they will throw their bodies on the line, they will go in for 50/50′s and they will do everything in their power to stop their opponents…within the rules of the game.
Tomas Repka joined the Hammers with the reputation of being a hot-headed player. In case any fans were sceptical, the Czech international was only too happy to oblige and make sure there were no doubts about it. Sent off on his debut game for two yellows, then on his third game, shown a straight red. Ah, the crazy Czech.
One thing Repka didn’t stand for was a lack of communication. Whether that was belittling players he had just up-ended in a game, having an argument on the pitch with his then centre back partner Christian Daily, berating the referees and sometimes even the fans! One thing is for sure, that back four would know what was going on if Repka was part of it. With two untrusted goalkeepers in the exiled Adrian and the new #1 Randolph, the back five are so disconnected. There is no communication, there is no leader back there, nobody is taking responsibility for the defence as a unit. It’s shambolic.
Although there may be an abundance of former Hammers to pick from who would undoubtedly benefit us right now, with our defensive frailties and lack of bite every where on the pitch – maybe a bit of Super Tom is all we need to get through these remaining games to retain our Premier League status. Can he come back and do half time team talks or something?!