Dejected Mark Noble

Three things Manuel Pellegrini must change at West Ham

Four matches and four defeats, all is not well in East London.

Although West Ham broke the £100million barrier this summer, the Hammers are drastically struggling to find any kind of form.

While vice-chairman Karren Brady has given Manuel Pellegrini a public backing, the London Stadium can be an unforgiving place.

West Ham have now had three different bosses in the past 11 months.

Times are tough, after a trip to Everton on Sunday, they will host both Chelsea and Manchester United.

Still the only team waiting for their first point, there are three key areas the 64-year-old must work on:

Manuel Pellegrini changing his formation

Promising the attacking identity that West Ham have been longing for, Pellegrini has unexpectedly started the campaign with his trademark 4-2-3-1 formation.

However, in a side that boasts seven changes, the Hammers have been unable to adapt to their new formation in such a short time.

Pellegrini can not just continue to watch his side make the same mistake with no alterations.

One man who has been majorly affected by his new bosses tactics is West Ham’s marquee signing Jack Wilshere.

Playing in a two-man holding midfield with Mark Noble, Wilshere’s lack of mobility has been a problem.

Highlighted by their lack of distance covered, only Cardiff and Manchester United have run fewer miles on the pitch.

In fact, in their 2-1 loss to Bournemouth, the Cherries ran over 20 kilometers more.

Pellegrini’s side’s lack of intensity is an issue that needs resolving.

Often overrun by the likes of Bournemouth and Wolves, West Ham lack that deep-lying protection.

An answer to their problems could be tweaking his tactics to a 4-3-3.

After missing the defeat to Wolves with an injury, Noble must return to the side with a new look setup.

Sitting in front of the back four, Wilshere can be utilized in a more advanced double pivot.

Shackled by his defensive responsibilities, Wilshere is far more suited to working between the lines.

That creative spark will also be something Marko Arnaoutovic should be relishing.

While Pellegrini’s 4-2-3-1 may have worked at a star-studded City side, he has to show he can work with a more modest roster.

West Ham’s defensive issues

Much like last season, West Ham’s major problem remains with their leaky defence.

Conceding 68 goals last season, the Hammers, along with relegated Swansea, held the worst defensive record in the Premier League.

Already shipping 10 in their opening four games, Pellegrini’s side are missing long-standing defender Winston Reid.

Although Issa Diop has shown some promise, they have struggled to find any chemistry.

Playing alongside another new recruit in Fabián Balbuena, the duo haven’t been helped by Pellegrini’s high line.

The problem is, they’re still adjusting to the tempo and the demands of Premier League football.

Pellegrini’s decision to defend on the edge of their box is asking for wave after wave of pressure.

Unlike his time at City, West Ham do not have someone like Vincent Kompany at the heart of their defence.

In fairness, the lack of intensity in front of them has been a key part of their defensive issues.

One man in particular who has suffered is new number one Łukasz Fabiański.

Despite all the problems in front of him, the Polish international has been West Ham’s standout performer so far.

While West Ham fans will appreciate Fabiański’s start, they will not be impressed by how often he is involved.

Supporting Marko Arnautovic

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 31: Marko Arnautovic of West Ham United celebrates after scoring his sides third goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Southampton at London Stadium on March 31, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Along with holding the worst defensive record, the Hammers have struggled in the final third.

While there have been fleeting signs of creativity, Marko Arnautovic has often cut a lonely figure up top.

Although the Austrian international has scored West Ham’s only two goals this season, he has struggled to find any chemistry with their summer recruits.

Despite bringing in the likes of Felippe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko, it appears they’re often on different pages.

With no other player within 30 yards of him at any time, Arnautovic has essentially spent August chasing down lost causes.

Finishing last season with 11 Premier League goals to his name, the 29-year-old also topped West Ham’s goalscoring charts.

An option for Pellegrini could be pairing last years Hammer of the Year with out-and-out forward Javier Hernandez.

Even though Arnautovic has done an admirable job as a number nine, he is still a natural wide man.

With a tendency to drift out wide and work the channels, there is often an abundance of space in the middle.

The introduction of Hernandez certainly offers West Ham a proven goal threat.

And a goal threat is what the Hammers need.

Having just 15 shots on target in the whole of August, Pellegrini’s side are averaging a shot accuracy of just 36%.

If West Ham’s midfielders carry on with their lack of effort to join the attack, Hernandez can be someone to offer Arnautovic the assistance he needs.

Also see:

Craig Bellamy: West Ham could lose Marko Arnautovic in January

West Ham’s massive compensation bill to sack Manuel Pellegrini revealed

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