Slaven Bilic’s West Ham United return to action on Saturday as they travel to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace. The Eagles are flying high at the moment and will be major favourites at home against struggling West Ham who have registered just one win so far this season in the Premier League. After the kind of season West Ham last time out, they were expected to do much better, this time but they have flattered to deceive.
With just four points from seven games, the Hammers are placed 18th right now. Things need to improve and that has to happen really soon or else Slaven Bilic’s position at the club will be in jeopardy. Here are three burning questions the fans will ask ahead of the game.
Will the defensive crisis finally come to an end?
Nothing has gone right for the Hammers this season but the department that has let them down the most is defence. Just take the Watford game as an example where West Ham took a formidable 2-0 lead before the half time at home but their defence could not hold onto it.
The Hornets came back into the game from 2-0 down and won it 2-4. To sum up, how poor the Hammers have been defensively, the club conceding as many as 15 goals in the last five Premier League games is enough. To improve their league position, West Ham have to step up defensively first.
Again go for a false nine?
It was as clear as daylight that West Ham needed a quality number nine this summer. West Ham signed Simone Zaza, Ashley Fletcher and Jonathan Calleri but neither of them has managed to deliver. Just when West Ham needed to go for quality, they went just for numbers which has come back to haunt the manager back.
With Carroll still injured and Zaza being wasteful, will Bilic opt for a false nine once again with Antonio up front? Only time will tell.
West Ham have been hit by an injury crisis from the very start of the season and the situation has not improved yet. In fact, it has become worse. The defensive department has been depleted the most by injuries. Slaven Bilic has serious decisions to make in regard to who starts in the two full-back positions.
Sam Byram and Arthur Masuaku are both injured while Aaron Cresswell just made his comeback to full training after a long spell on the sidelines. The Crystal Palace game might be too early for his return but Bilic does not have any other option. The only solution is playing either Angelo Ogbonna or Michail Antonio in unnatural full-back roles.