Stability at West Ham has been hard to come by over the last few years. In truth, since the turn of the decade, it’s been practically impossible to predict exactly how each of the Hammers’ campaigns would go. They’ve finished seasons at each end of the table, and whilst the good seasons have been great; the poor campaigns have often been disastrous.
In truth, since the arrival of David Gold and David Sullivan – who took a majority share in the club in 2010 – uncertainty has seemed to follow them wherever they’ve been.
There was, naturally, a hope that over the summer, that uncertainty would finally come to an end. With their Premier League status solidified, and their long-awaited move away from Upton Park to the London Stadium further cemented, the decision to move David Moyes on appeared to signify a change in approach from the Hammers.
In the past, both David Gold and David Sullivan had been keen to hang on to their managers by placing their faith in them no matter the circumstance. This was particularly true of Slaven Bilic, Moyes’ predecessor. He enjoyed a good start to life at West Ham, but before too long, it descended into relative chaos; yet he kept being given more and more chances. Eventually, the ownership relented and moved him on – bringing Moyes in to steady the ship.
What followed was a fairly successful reign for the former Man Utd boss, in which he ensured that the club would remain in the Premier League. However, with his deal ending at the conclusion of the campaign, his tenure at the helm wasn’t a long one; with former Man City man Manuel Pellegrini brought in to replace him. Here was a manager with years of experience at the highest level, and on the surface, an ideal candidate to continue to improve West Ham.
However, it’s fair to say that the season hasn’t gone to plan so far this season. West Ham are yet to win a single game, and they’ve shipped a whopping 10 goals in just 4 games. They’re the only team on zero points, and that spells seriously bad news for the Hammers.
Like Slaven Bilic and Sam Allardyce before him, two managers that regularly had their trials and tribulations at the helm, it’s widely expected that the West Ham brass will retain faith. Indeed, it’s been reported that that’s the case, with Sullivan and Gold, again, eager to back their manager.
There’s certainly an argument to be had to hang onto Pellegrini, as there is a chance that he’ll be able to turn the ship around. However, in this case, it’s quickly becoming apparent that Gold and Sullivan need to make a change sooner, rather than later.
When looking to determine the success of a manager, you must first look at the results. And unfortunately, it doesn’t make for pleasant reading for West Ham or Manuel Pellegrini. Four games, zero points, two goals for, ten goals against, 20th in the Premier League. In truth, West Ham’s current form is eerily reminiscent of Crystal Palace’s time under Frank De Boer, and we all know how that ended up for the former Ajax boss. You might say that it’s too soon to judge Pellegrini on results. However, whilst that may be true, in that case there has to be something positive in the performances to look at. Unfortunately, that’s not present. It’s not just the losses at West Ham – it’s the manner of them, too.
Particularly at the back, the problems at West Ham are all too clear. We already mentioned the ten goals conceded, but that’s just the start. Poor individual performances, particularly from Carlos Sanchez, combined with constant mistakes and a lack of cohesion at the back mean that West Ham are under pressure every single time their opposition move forward, and that simply isn’t sustainable. A lack of solid alternatives for Pellegrini, too, means that he doesn’t have much room for manoeuvre here.
Even going forward, where Pellegrini is supposedly most effective and where he undoubtedly has the most strength, there are problems. Marko Arnautovic has bagged two goals for West Ham this season, but even he has struggled. He’s looked isolated and alone, and that simply comes down to offensive inefficiencies at West Ham – and the buck stops with the manager. He’s got the personnel to make an impact; but he’s failed to make anything happen on the field.
The problem for West Ham, in particular, is that Manuel Pellegrini doesn’t have much experience in this situation, particularly in England. David Moyes had managed struggling teams in the past, and that experience was evident as he guided the Hammers out of what was undeniably a very tricky situation last season. Pellegrini, no matter how talented he is, had a simple solution when Man City struggled – he made use of his incredibly talented and costly group of players or he brought more of them in. He is less versed at working his way out of a struggle at the bottom of the league; and so the further West Ham sink into this mess, the more problematic it becomes.
An average season won’t cut it at West Ham this season. Even if Pellegrini does manage to scrape a few wins over the coming weeks, it’s tough to see the Hammers reaching expectations this term. Anything below the top-half isn’t good enough, and looking at his first month at West Ham – it’s hard to see Pellegrini delivering that. Furthermore, just take a look at their upcoming games; Chelsea, Man Utd and Tottenham all await the Hammers – and so the pressure is only going to increase, unless they make a change.
West Ham’s faith in management makes a refreshing change to that of many other teams in the English top flight. However, in this instance, David Sullivan and David Gold need to change their tactic
West Ham fans – thoughts?
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