Three problems Manuel Pellegrini must address after West Ham United’s losing start
West Ham United’s start to the new season has been the polar opposite of their summer transfer business.
West Ham sacked David Moyes at the end of last season and replaced the Scotsman with the experienced Manuel Pellegrini. Along with Pellegrini, the Hammers spent quite a bit in the transfer window to bolster their squad after two successive years of mediocrity.
However, Pellegrini’s West Ham have endured a poor start to the new season, losing to Liverpool 4-0 and 2-1 at home to Bournemouth. After two defeats in as many games, Pellegrini has problems in all areas and he needs greater impact from his summer signings.
Ahead of the trip to Arsenal, with games against Chelsea and Manchester United to follow, West Ham must get their act together sooner rather than later. Here are the three things Pellegrini must do to get the Hammers back on track.
Sort the defence out
As much as Pellegrini prefers playing on the front foot, the first two games brutally highlighted how porous West Ham’s defence is. A 4-0 battering at the hands of Liverpool was followed by a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bournemouth and if not for Lukasz Fabianski’s presence in the goal, the Hammers might have conceded in double digits.
The defence was West Ham’s Achilles heel the last term as well and despite signing new defenders, the problem still persists. Hence, without second thoughts, Pellegrini’s priority must be to sort out the back line ahead of the game against Arsenal.
Drop Mark Noble
The Hammers are without a point after back-to-back Premier League defeats to Liverpool and Bournemouth. And to turn the tide, Pellegrini must make some tough calls and that starts with dropping skipper Mark Noble.
Noble, the local lad who has been giving everything for the shirt since making his West Ham debut, lacks the mobility to match the Premier League’s pace-oriented demands. The 31-year-old’s loyalty can is unquestionable but it is time he makes way for someone else.
Noble lacks the cutting-edge of a modern midfielder and often resorts to playing safe and conservative passes.
If West Ham are to improve this term, Pellegrini must make changes in the engine room as they simply cannot afford to remain vulnerable in the midfield.
A more ruthless approach needed in the attack
West Ham rode on Marko Arnautovic’s goals the last term and that pattern hasn’t changed a bit this season, with the Austrian being the only goal-scorer in the first two games.
The Hammers need to create more, meaning Andriy Yarmolenko has to start to take the burden off Arnautovic’s shoulders. Yarmolenko is a high-flying winger with an impressive record of scoring and creating goals over the course of his career.
Read more: Go for it Pellegrini – West Ham could pull off a masterstroke by signing this 33-goal Ligue 1 star in January
If West Ham want a positive result at Arsenal, Pellegrini must start Yarmolenko ahead of Robert Snodgrass on the right.