We’re delighted to welcome Michelle Irons as our exclusive West Ham Women’s expert. Each week she’ll be giving her views on the biggest talking points at Victoria Road…
West Ham did not look like a relegation-threatened team in their 2-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, according to Michelle Irons.
Lauren James and USA international Christen Press both netted in the second half for the Red Devils before Laura Vetterlein was sent off for the Hammers in the final 15 minutes for a second yellow card.
West Ham’s defeat means they will spend another week at the bottom of the WSL and Bristol City’s draw with Tottenham on Sunday only added to the misery.
However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom with Olli Harder’s team showing a gritty side to their game as they aim to avoid relegation to the second-tier this season.
Michelle Irons didn’t fear playing Man United as much as she thought she would and after seeing West Ham play, she was left with more positives than negatives to dissect.
Speaking to West Ham Zone, she said: “When I looked at this fixture, I wasn’t dreading this game as much as I have for others this season – especially with it being at Old Trafford. I thought the girls would play to their strengths and give it a go and they certainly did that in the first half.”
“I’m disappointed that the referee didn’t punish Amy Turner for a nasty challenge on her earlier on in the first half.
“After the break, we succumbed to defensive mistakes once again with lapses of concentration at the back.
“Overall West Ham didn’t play like a relegation-threatened team. We looked lively, energetic and confident.
“If we can snuff out those lapses we will pick up precious points.”
West Ham’s overall performance was underlined by their impressive forward play at Old Trafford.
Although stats by FBRef show the Hammers managed a paltry 26 per cent possession and completed just 52 per cent of passes, they were still more efficient in the box than Man United, hitting the target with six of their shots (67%) to the home side’s five of 18 (28%).
France international Kenza Dali and January signing Dagny Brynjarsdóttir are two players who stood out to Michelle Irons.
She said: “Our attack linked-up wisely and are an exciting mixture to watch.
“I really enjoy watching Dali – she is so silky on the ball.
“Dagny should have scored too. She had a few golden chances. I feel she’s really settled in well and will get her first goal soon.
“It’s a real shame that Vetterlein was sent off and more than likely miss one fixture.”
Vetterlein is likely to be suspended for West Ham’s next WSL match which takes place against Reading next Saturday.
Reading, as it stands, are seventh in the WSL without a win in their last four matches.
Drawing with Reading could be enough to take West Ham out of the relegation zone with Aston Villa currently one place ahead of them in 11th with an inferior goal difference.
However, a win would be very welcome with the Hammers failing to emerge victorious in their last seven WSL matches.
In other West Ham Women news, Michelle Irons has reacted to Emily Ramsey’s arrival on loan from Manchester United.