After having their best season in the Premier League, where the team accumulated their record points tally in 2015/16, all eyes were on West Ham to see how the London side managed by Slaven Bilić do this season. After an encouraging transfer window, where the club spent over £50m on the incoming players, it looked like the Hammers are on the right track to start this campaign from where they finished the last one. Fast forward to game week 4 and West Ham have suffered their third defeat in four games, lying 17th in the Premier League table.
At the start, it was the injuries which went against the manager as he had to field a team without the likes of Andre Ayew, Andy Carroll, Dmitri Payet, Aaron Cresswell, Manuel Lanzini and Sofiane Feghouli. Understandably the team suffered in the forward areas without the names mentioned above, lacking guile and creativity. Only an 82nd-minute header allowed them to grab their first win and all the three points against Bournemouth at their new Olympic Stadium.
In their last game against Watford, the Hammers surrendered a two-goal lead to go down ultimately by conceding four. After an impressive first 45 minutes where it looked all so easy and shiny for the team as Dimitri Payet ran the show, showing us a few tricks on the way with an audacious ‘Rabona’ assist for the second goal, the team capitulated completely in the second half. The backline of Byram, Collins and Reid looked unsure and second best while the front men in Lanzini and Zaza performed shockingly, to say the least.
So far, the problem has been the defence primarily which looks to be a bit out of sorts, not quite ready to cope with both pressure and pace. Getting their act together at the back would solve a sizable chunk of the team’s current problems. The next part is game management, from the perspective of the players.
In the last game, the players got a bit complacent with their first half performance and took it a bit too easy in the second which hurt them badly. Watford stunned the hosts in typical Premier League fashion outplaying them in the second 45 minutes. With some crucial players coming back from their injury layoffs, the team would have the depth and quality to grab victories but the potential has to be translated properly with the on-field performances.
Keeping it tight at the back and mentally not thinking that the game is won already before the final whistle will go a long way in changing the outcome of the forthcoming matches for Bilić and his team. The Croatian has vowed to turn things around with emphasising that his players need to keep up their levels of confidence despite the score line. The quality and talent are there, a change in outlook and confidence should be the way for the Hammers now just as their manager tells them.