New season, new coach and same old West Ham United! It has been a rough start for the Hammers so far this season as they are the only club yet to register a point after matchday 3.
After beginning their season with a disappointing 4:0 defeat to Liverpool, the Londoners fell to Bournemouth in their second game before being dismantled by Arsenal last weekend. Funny enough, the Gunners were the only club not to register a point alongside West Ham prior to their clash on Saturday.
After suffering a 3:1 defeat at the Emirates, it’s rather evident that coach Manuel Pellegrini needs to usher in key changes in order to get results in the coming weeks. And here, we will discuss three changes the Chilean could make as he aims to guide West Ham out of his mess.
#1 Utilising the qualities of Marko Arnautovic
It’s probably fair to acknowledge the fact that Marko Arnautovic is West Ham’s most prized asset at the moment. The Austrian international has proved to be a valuable component ever since joining the Hammers in 2017.
The former Stoke City attacker has managed to start the season well, scoring both of West Ham’s goals in the Premier League so far. Even in the defeat to Arsenal, the Austrian was the only bright spark in the Hammers attack as he consistently traumatised the opposing defence with his sharp runs and clever movements.
14 – Only Mohamed Salah (22) has been directly involved in more Premier League goals in 2018 than Marko Arnautovic (8 goals, 6 assists). Threat. pic.twitter.com/HvAQlssoMh
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 25, 2018
Therefore, utilising the qualities of Marko Arnautovic will go a long way in shaping West Ham’s fate this season, knowing he’s someone who can make a real difference into the attacking department. Can he play in a more withdrawn role allowing Hernandez to start up front? That could help the team as Arnautovic is full of confidence and he needs to be more involved in the build-up play.
#2 Finding the right defensive combination after chopping and changing
Three games into the season and West Ham have already conceded as many as nine goals – joint most by a team in the league thus far (along with Huddersfield Town). Thus, it’s quite obvious that reshaping the defensive backline is imperative.
Pellegrini has already made a host of changes to his defensive back-four during the three games this season. While he started the season with the central defensive partnership of Angelo Ogbonna and Fabian Balbuena with Ryan Fredericks and Arthur Masuaku as the fullbacks, the former Man City boss replaced Fredericks with the experienced Pablo Zabaleta against Bournemouth.
When that didn’t work, he reverted to Fredericks once again while new signing Issa Diop played alongside Fabian Balbuena in central defence against Arsenal. The frequent changes in personnel have caused issues with chemistry as the players take to the pitch with a new partner every game.
Thus, the veteran manager needs to identify a reliable defensive back four and work with that core for a run of games.
3 Utilising Jack Wilshere in midfield
West Ham certainly need to utilize the qualities of Jack Wilshere if they are to find any success in the Premier League this season.
The former Arsenal starlet is yet to make an impression since arriving at West Ham earlier this summer, largely due to the fact that his role at his new club is yet undefined.
In the Liverpool game, the English international impressed when he shifted to a deeper position to operate as a deep-lying midfielder. In the following game against Bournemouth, Pellegrini used him alongside Mark Noble as a number eight and the improvement was evident as he made 55 passes with an accuracy of 84%. He also made one key pass and completed three dribbles.
Therefore, a lot of will depend on how Pellegrini manages to utilise the talented English midfielder, who is definitely capable of making a huge difference at West Ham this season.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored