— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) November 10, 2019
What’s the deal with West Ham United? They won three of their first six English Premier League games this season only to experience a dramatic slump in form.
Manuel Pellegrini, the Chilean coach of Villarreal, Real Madrid and Manchester City fame, guided the Hammers to a top 10 finish during the last campaign.
The new season started off pretty well too, but all of a sudden West Ham have gone from potential European contenders to the bottom five.
Reports claim Pellegrini will be given time to address the slide after summer spending of around £125,000,000.
Hammers chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan certainly expected to see more of a return on that major investment into the club.
There are some issues on the pitch, most notably the injury absence of first-choice keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
The Polish goalie tore a hip muscle in the 2-2 draw with Bournemouth and West Ham have picked up just one point from a possible 15 since.
Understudy Roberto has conceded 11 goals in five league matches following the Fabianski injury. The Spanish stopper was also in net for the Hammers’ chastening 4-0 EFL Cup loss at third-tier team Oxford United.
West Ham defenders have lost confidence. At the other end of the pitch, they’ve drawn a blank in their last two away games.
Shot shy on their travels and with just two home wins out of six, the Hammers have slipped to just five points and two places above the relegation zone going into the final international break of 2019.
That has prompted bettors on the exchanges to cut West Ham’s price in the English Premier League betting on relegation into 5.00 (4/1). On the other hand, they are as short as 1.14 (1/7) to stay up.
Hammers fans know only too well that there’s no such thing as too big a club to go down. Twice in the past during the Premier League era, they have endured relegation.
Although the danger of that is not immediate, ending a seven-match winless streak across all competitions is something that needs to be addressed.
More is needed from £45,000,000 club-record signing Sebastien Haller. A hit in the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt where he helped them to the German Cup (DFB-Pokal), the French striker hasn’t taken over the mantle from Marko Arnautovic – West Ham’s top scorer in each of the last two seasons.
Four Premier League goals so far isn’t really enough to justify the outlay. One of Haller’s chief sources of supply, Manuel Lanzini, continues to struggle for fitness and putting a run of games together.
Then, of course, there is the elephant in the room with all Hammers fans. The former Olympic Stadium and site of the London Games of 2012 still doesn’t feel like home to this club.
West Ham’s old ground at Upton Park had a more intimate feel. In their last season at the Boleyn Ground (2015-16), they finished seventh but have never looked like replicating that since switching to their new home.
There’s plenty for Pellegrini to work on, then. The Hammers hierarchy are willing to stick by him for now, but if he can’t address at least some of the issues it can only end with a change of coach.