West Ham: A club in transition or turmoil under Pellegrini?

Start from hell for Pellegrini

Following back-to-back bottom half finishes under Slaven Bilic then David Moyes, the West Ham board finally decided to listen to the fans and bring in a big name manager to East London. The relationship between the clubs hierarchy has been patchy to say the least but the appointment of Manuel Pellegrini seemed to bring everyone together. The Chilean is a proven winner and he looked like an ideal fit on paper for a club that's looking to take the next step and compete further up the Premier League table.

His previous and only spell in England saw him win the Premier League (2013/14) and League Cup (2013/14 & 2015/16) with Manchester City so he arrived at the London Stadium with a big reputation, along with a war chest to splash in the transfer market. Only four clubs spent more than the Hammers in the summer, with Pellegrini shelling out around £100 million on new recruits.

But still despite significantly upgrading the quality in his squad - all is not right. Patience is often required when it comes to such upheaval on and off the pitch but in a division such as the Premier League, it's rare that time is granted. We're now just four games into the season and the Hammers have lost on each occasion, scoring just twice. The pressure is firmly on Pellegrini's already and he only has to look to Frank de Boer last term for how brutal the top flight can be, who was sacked after losing the same number of games. It's still early days seeing the Chilean has signed a 3 year deal but something needs to change and quick, so just what is going on at Westham - are they a club in transition or turmoil? Read below...

Marko Arnautovic West Ham
It's been a nightmare start to the season for West Ham United

West Ham on course for their worst ever PL start

The statistics make damning reading for Manuel Pellegrini on his return to the Premier League. 4 games, 4 defeats, 2 goals scored, 10 conceded. The results are worrying for the Hammers supporters and recent history suggests that they could find it difficult to bounce back from it. The only other time that they lost their opening 4 PL games was back in the 2010/11 season, one in which they ended up being relegated - so the danger is certainly real.

It's been a nightmare start to life back in England and all of this is bound to be alien to him, after dominating in his previous spell with Manchester City. The success he enjoyed up in the north west made him a fans favourite but the tools that he was given to do the job with where very different to what he has in the capital. He can't call upon the likes of David Silva, Sergio Aguero or Yaya Toure but he still has a very talented squad at his disposal which is massively underachieving.

Vincent Kompany Manuel Pellegrini Premier League Title
Manuel Pellegrini's previous job in England resulted in plenty of success, but he faces a completely different challenge in London

The fixture list hasn't been kind to him however, with them already facing Liverpool (L4-0) & Arsenal (L3-1) and they also have home games against Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs to come before November. Games like that make clashes against the sides around you important and this is what's been the most concerning, with tame home defeats against Bournemouth (1-2) and Wolves (0-1) ramping up the pressure.

In both of them games West Ham struggled to contain pacey attackers such as Callum Wilson and Adama Traore, who's speed obliterated the new high-line that Pellegrini is insistent with. It's something new this season at the London Stadium and it's had an adverse effect thus far, resulting in Lukasz Fabianski having to pick the ball out of his own net on 10 occasions. Pellegrini is known for sticking to his philosophy so this is something that the players will need to adapt to or they'll continue to get exposed and leak goals.

New signings need to click

When changing manager or making new signings, time is required for them to settle into their new surroundings. This is no different at the London Stadium where the upheaval has been absolutely massive. Not only has the management team changed completely, but there's also been 11 new signings. On paper it looks like they quality of the squad has improved considerably, but the change in results won't just happen over night. It's naive to think that West Ham will just click straight away but in an environment that is as demanding and brutal as the Premier League - will he be given the time to get it right?

Around £100m has been spent by West Ham this summer in what is their most expensive summer ever, with the headline arrivals including Felipe Anderson (£36m), Issa Diop (£22m), Andriy Yarmolenko (£17.5m) and Jack Wilshere (Free) - who all join the club with big reputations. We've seen brief glimpses of their obvious quality but for the sake of their manager and the league table they really need to start gelling soon. Anderson in particular looks like he could be a massive signing for them and his price tag suggests it too, with him becoming their new club record transfer.

Felipe Anderson West Ham
Felipe Anderson has shown flashes of his obvious quality but he needs to do it regularly if West Ham are to get out of their slump

In their 3-1 defeat to the Emirates he looked like he was on another level to his teammates, with his creativity, ball control and ability to beat a man making him a menace to the Gunners back four. But like his fellow new arrivals, consistency has been the issue with him virtually anonymous in West Ham's other three fixtures and that needs to change if he's to re-pay that mega fee.

Another player who looks like he could be an impressive capture is Ukrainian Andriy Yarmolenko, who's yet to start a game. The enigmatic winger has all the attributes to be a success in the Premier League and if he can click with Anderson and star man Marko Arnautovic, it could be devastating for opposition defenders in the Premier League. These guys need time to click and the international break looks like its come at the perfect time, meaning that they have extra time to work on the training ground ahead of Sunday's huge clash with Everton.

Hugely important run of games coming up

As previously mentioned, the fixture list hasn't been kind to West Ham and it doesn't let up in the coming weeks. Sunday sees them travel to Goodison Park to take on Marco Silva's Everton who're still unbeaten after 4 games and playing some excellent football. But with a double header against Chelsea and Manchester United to come it's imperative that they get something or they could face the possibility of failing to win any of their opening 7 games - so the pressure is firmly on Pellegrini.

Sunday's game will give us a good inkling into how the players are adapting to his system and his demands following the international break, which looks like it came at the perfect time. A few of their stars were away on duty but the majority remained, meaning that they could spend some important time together on the training ground. Last season we saw Frank de Boer sacked by Crystal Palace after losing his first four games and despite the same thing occurring at the London Stadium, we think they should stick with their man.

Manuel Pellegrini West Ham
The Chilean has looked like a frustrated figure on the sidelines at times this season

Pellegrini has a proven track record pretty much everywhere he's been during his managerial career so if anyone can turn things around at West Ham, you'd expect him to be the man and the board clearly trust him after allowing him to make 11 signings. It's bound to take time for them all to settle, especially due to 7 of them having no experience of Premier League football before this season. The flashes that we've seen from Yarmolenko and in particular Anderson give Hammers fans reasons to be hopeful so if they can fire and the defence stop conceding so many goals, we could soon see them lift that burden and claim a much needed three points.


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