West Ham’s woes: five things the Hammers need to fix
Sort out the defence
Asked about West Ham United’s failure to kill off Crystal Palace in April, Slaven Bilic pointed out that it is impossible to score three goals in every match. The message was that his team had to become more solid. canada goose coat – hybridge lite But little has changed since that 2-2 draw with Alan Pardew’s side at Upton Park. West Ham remain weak defensively and have conceded two or more goals in 15 of their past 23 matches following the 3-0 defeat against Southampton on Sunday, which left a side who challenged for Champions League qualification last season languishing in the bottom three after opening this campaign with five defeats in six games.
This has been a trend buy canada goose jacket nyc for a while and it is more noticeable now the goals have dried up at the other end. Shipping 20 goals in their final 10 matches last year cost West Ham a place in the top four and while that was initially pinned on Bilic’s curious attempt to convert Michail Antonio into a right-back, the problems have not gone away since he dispensed with that experiment.
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It was strange that West Ham waited until the final day of the transfer window before bringing in a right-back – the 33-year-old Álvaro Arbeloa. James Tomkins had some fine games there last year but he was allowed to join Palace in the summer.
Aaron Cresswell’s lengthy absence with a knee injury has not helped – the left-back’s deputy, Arthur Masuakua, is also injured – but there can be no excuses for such wretched defending. Angelo Ogbonna gave Charlie Austin far too much space when the striker scored Southampton’s opener, Winston Reid has been a yard off the pace for a while and James Collins has been skittish.
Bilic has spoken about individual errors but there are also organisational issues, with the midfield failing to provide sufficient protection. Mistakes happen but when they occur with such regularity, it suggests that tactical flaws need to be addressed.
Find a better balance in midfield
Much of West Ham’s success last season was based around Dimitri Payet’s genius and his nimble combinations with Manuel Lanzini in midfield. Yet while Payet and Lanzini are crucial from a creative perspective, neither player is particularly comfortable out of possession and West Ham have been exposed in their 4-2-3-1 formation. The warning signs were there after a 4-1 defeat by Swansea City in May and the truth is that they rode their luck in numerous games.
It is a dilemma for Bilic. Although Payet and Lanzini were poor against Southampton, so much depends on them. West Ham did not exactly sparkle without them in August.
Bilic has a difficult decision to make goose, although that would not be necessary if Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyaté were playing well. Yet West Ham’s midfield has been slow, ponderous and far too easy to play through. There are huge gaps between the lines and Bilic could do worse than turning to Pedro Obiang, a neat and tidy holding midfielder who has not been given much of a chance this season.
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A more coherent attacking plan
At times West Ham are overly reliant on Payet and it can best ideas about canada goose outlet on pinterest be hard to work out what kind of football they want to play. They had success against the top teams, counterattacking effectively, but often struggled to seize the initiative against lesser sides. It was certainly difficult to detect anything resembling a plan against Southampton, and West Ham are creating few chances, with Antonio and Collins the only players to score from open play in the league. One solution is to move Payet into a central role, and Simone Zaza needs more support.
Get Sakho back in the team
A pivotal player for Sam Allardyce, Diafra can you wash canada goose jacket Sakho initially endeared himself to Bilic with his selfless running in the wins at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. He is a striker who rises to the big occasion but his mood darkened towards best canada goose jacket for men the end of last season and he handed in a transfer request in the summer, only to fail a medical at West Bromwich Albion.
Sakho has not returned to the first team yet – he is neither physically nor mentally ready – but West Ham have sorely missed the Senegalese forward’s pace, strength and ability to relieve pressure on the defence with his hold-up play. His speed is essential if Bilic wants his team to play on the break and he best mens canada goose jacket needs to find a way to bring Sakho back into the fold.
Help the new signings settle
These remain early days but West Ham’s summer signings are looking iffy at the moment. The squad looks unbalanced. Take the arrivals of Sofiane Feghouli and the hugely underwhelming Gokhan Tore. Bilic already had Antonio; now he has three right-wingers but no natural left-sided midfielder. Perhaps André Ayew will play there when he returns from his thigh injury.
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It seems that the squad is bigger but no better, and Bilic is not entirely to blame for that when several of his main targets were not landed. Havard Nordtveit has not convinced in midfield, Edimilson Fernandes is all raw potential and Tore looks unsuited to English football.
West Ham began the summer with hopes of signing a top striker but Carlos Bacca, Alexandre Lacazette and Michy canada goose coat 0f Batshuayi either went elsewhere or stayed put. Christian Benteke, a proven Premier League player, was allowed to join Palace without a fight and West Ham ended up gambling on Zaza and Jonathan Calleri.
That the first XI more or less picks itself is not to be applauded. Bilic needs the new signings to contribute if complacency is not to set in.