Out of the cup in dismal fashion coupled with a performance and result last night which was as bad as any in recent years, where exactly does this season lead to now?
In true West Ham fashion, January has been quite complex. Arnautovic dreamed of his big pay day (or trophy motivated if you were to believe his brother) move to China, when he suddenly had a change of heart and his undying love for West Ham suddenly resurfaced (at least until the end of the season anyway).
To continue this saga, the Austrian limped off the Molineux pitch last night with a suspected broken foot, just two days until the January transfer window shuts.
This effectively means that we have no time to get a new striker in (most notably Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gómez) if the reports about Arnie’s broken foot are correct.
Zabaleta mentioned in a post match interview last night that “situations off the field have been creating a bit of a bad atmosphere”. This is undoubtedly relating to the Arnautovic situation, and it seems as though the squad haven’t been taking it as well as we had previously thought.
Despite this, however, we are still worse off without the b*****d and it means we are left with a wantaway Chicharito, Andy Carroll who seems to have lost all of his qualities which made him the handful that he was (despite all of his injuries), and a disinterested Lucas Perez to play up top.
With Pellegrini seemingly insistent on his beloved 4-4-2, it is difficult to imagine a front pairing which will be effective enough to score enough goals to win matches.
With Carroll in particular not performing with any resemblance of a goal threat, he would need to at least effect the game in other ways to be worthy of a place in the team, or at least coming off the bench. His hold up play seems to be non existent as the ball bounces off him regularly, while most defenders are getting the better of him in the air.
Rewinding back to the formation issues, this is why the Chilean needs to change it up. A three man midfield is our best bet heading into the final stages of the season as our lack of control in midfield has been obvious in our last two losses, with us not being able to control possession of the ball, all the while leaving the defence exposed every time the opposition attacks.
On the brighter side, Lanzini is back training with the squad, while word has it Yarmolenko could return at a sooner date than originally anticipated too. These two additions, along with the January signing of Nasri, will be sure to give us an extra dimension in our play, while giving Pellegrini more options in terms of formation also.
And despite our poor form, we are still only four points behind Wolves in 7th place. If the bad atmosphere that Zabaleta refers to disappears as the transfer window ends and we can regain the winning form that we experienced during December, it is still possible that we can enjoy a positive end to Pellegrini’s first season, pushing for as high up in the league table as we can, while taking the “big club mentality” that Manuel often talks about into the summer transfer window.
Written By Louis | @lou_pye