West Ham latest: Owners are keeping faith, but Manuel Pellegrini must show he can halt the slide

GIUSEPPE MURO
Evening Standard
Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images
Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images

Manuel Pellegrini under pressure as West Ham’s promising early form disintegrates – but is the manager at fault?

The story up to now

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There was real optimism at the London Stadium when West Ham comfortably beat Manchester United 2-0 in September. At that point the team looked good, they were level on points with third-place Leicester and a top-six finish seemed realistic. Three days later West Ham were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Oxford United and since then their form has unravelled.

A run of two points from six matches means they have slumped to 16th place in the table. Four points off fifth and five above the relegation zone, a run of games against Tottenham, Chelsea, Wolves and Arsenal after the international break could decide the direction of their season.

The season so far in one word

Frustrating.

LIVE! Latest West Ham news and transfer rumours Photo: West Ham United FC via Getty Images
LIVE! Latest West Ham news and transfer rumours Photo: West Ham United FC via Getty Images

How the manager is doing

Manuel Pellegrini is safe from the sack for now but there is concern inside the club about the slump. West Ham made the Argentine the best-paid manager in their history when they gave him a £8million-a-year deal last May and owners David Sullivan and David Gold will expect better. There have been concerns about his tactics, team selection and his faith in error-prone goalkeeper Roberto. Pellegrini, who has spent £180m in the transfer market, quickly needs to show the board and fans he is capable of stopping the recent rot.

Best player

Andriy Yarmolenko. Much like the rest of his team-mates, the Ukrainian has suffered from a drop in form in recent weeks but he scored three goals in four games earlier in the season after missing nearly a year through injury.

Biggest let-down

Roberto. The goalkeeping position is a real concern for West Ham at the moment and Roberto has made a string of mistakes since coming in for the injured Lukasz Fabianski in September. He punched a corner into his own goal against Burnley and the confidence of the rest of the team has been affected.

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

All they want in time for Christmas is...

Lukasz Fabianski back from injury. The 34-year-old Pole is expected to be out until January following hip surgery. However, if West Ham can pick up their form before the end of the year and get Fabianski back sooner than expected then a top six-finish is still possible.

Fan happiness rating

3/10

Overall achievement grade

C

A fan’s view (Sean Whetstone)

Some fans are calling for Manuel Pellegrini’s head but sacking him is not the answer. He has not become a bad manager overnight and the players have not become poor, either. We have a lot of quality and confidence must be a big part of the problem. Hopefully this is just a bad patch. If there was ever a game to turn our fortunes around, it is Tottenham on Saturday.

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