Friday, September 29, 2023

The Big Question: Are West Ham Over-Reliant On This Star?

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Snehanjan Banerjee
Snehanjan used to a former columnist at The 4th Official. Fan of KK, Cricket and Liverpool (in no particular order).

Having too many expectations can potentially kill you and none would know this better than the West Ham fans. After the stunning last season they had, the stage was nicely set for West Ham as they could enter their Golden era this season but it has been a largely disappointing campaign for the Hammers until this point. Finishing seventh last season after a strong contention for a top-four finish, West Ham had the chance to make it to Europa League this time around but lost the playoffs to Domzale for the second consecutive time. After the disappointment in Europe, West Ham’s domestic start has given a major headache to the fans who had high hopes for their beloved team.

So what happened to West Ham United? Are they going to deal with another mid-table obscurity? Can things become rosier after some time? There are too many questions and we will get the answers with time.

Despite so many signings, West Ham are too reliant on Dimitri Payet

West Ham have signed as many as 14 players this summer but their over-dependency on Dimitri Payet is evident. Payet’s stock was high after the season he had last term and his performances in the Euros and keeping his despite that was nothing less than a new signing for West Ham. With the Frenchman missing the start of the new season, West Ham failed to create too many chances and the table speaks of how poor they have been so far.

payet 2

The Frenchman started his first game of the season against Watford on Saturday and despite Michail Antonio scoring both West Ham goals, he was the standout performer for the Hammers. West Ham had a 2-0 lead in the 33rd minute but who would have thought that Walter Mazzarri’s boys will come up with one of the best comebacks in recent years and will walk away 2-4 winners.

Here is a heat map that shows how West Ham were too much dependant on Payet. Everything the Hammers created was from the left-hand side which made the job too easy for Watford. It was Payet who had the most touches of the ball i.e. 91 while left-back Arthur Mausaku was just second with 86. apart from the two and Lanzini (76 touches), no one even had more than 70 touches of the ball.
heat map

It’s understandable that Payet is the lynchpin of West Ham side and he stands out from the rest week in week out but depending too much on him makes the Hammers predictable and that’s what happened against Watford.

Slaven Bilic needs to address this problem as soon as possible and get the best out of each and every player. However, we can feel for the Croat who had to deal with a major injury crisis so early in the season. But, after making as many as 14 signings, a team should not be a one-man army, even more so when they have hopes of getting into the top five places.

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