After their fourth straight league defeat, West Ham look a team in crisis, but how deep rooted are their problems?
Losses to Manchester City, Watford, West Brom and Southampton have seen the East London side drop into the relegation places, picking up just 3 points from a possible 18.
Times have been tough at the Hammers’ new home, the London Stadium, formerly the Olympic Stadium, and after Sunday’s defeat at the hands of an impressive Southampton, manager Slaven Bilic is under pressure.
Be it the new, bigger pitch, the lessened atmosphere or just something as basic as a different changing room may have thrown the players off, but surely isn’t a reason for such a poor run.
Losing 1-0 to Romanian club Astra Giurgiu in the Europa League Play-Off in London was more than just a mere blip.
West Ham’s issues lie deeper than just the stadium move. With questions being raised about the side’s willingness to track back after the 3-0 home defeat to Southampton.
With players like Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini in the starting lineup, a high energy and pressing game won’t suit. Something Bilic recognises, allowing his two attackers to take a relaxed approach to defending.
However, this leaves gaps that tactically superior sides like Southampton and Manchester City exploited in their wins at The London Stadium.
Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate aren’t capable of doing the work that Alex Song did for the Hammers last season, with both likely to stray across the pitch when without possession.
It would be a remiss not to mention that the Hammers have been unlucky on the injury table.
Losing three key players with the ability of Aaron Cresswell, Andy Carroll and Andre Ayew to long-term injuries at the beginning of the season would impact the performance of any side.
However, the influence those three would’ve had to West Ham’s season cannot be underplayed, despite gathering fewer headlines than Payet, these three are equally pivotal to Bilic’s plans.
Cresswell brings balance and creativity to the side that Alvaro Arbeloa can’t provide. A constant source of quality deliveries, the Hammers are a worse side without the ex-Ipswich left back.
Similarly, West Ham doesn’t look the same without Carroll. An obvious threat in the air and deceptively good with his feet, the game is built around him whenever he’s in the West Ham side.
Ayew’s injury will have been the most frustrating for fans, as a £20 million pound signing, much was expected of the former Swansea attacker. Yet, the West Ham faithful has seen little of the Ghanian.
A combination of injuries to key players, a new stadium, and poor tactical discipline has meant West Ham have begun the season dreadfully. Something must change at the London Stadium soon.