Things are not looking rosy for West Ham United.
The problems are mounting for Manuel Pellegrini following their abysmal 3-0 thrashing by Burnley on Saturday.
The Hammers have plummeted to 16th place in the Premier League, having taken just one point from their last five games and haven’t tasted victory since 22 September.
All of their issues were on display at Turf Moor, where their lack of confidence, organisation and application saw them hold up the white flag against the direct, confrontational style of Burnley.
While the lack of creativity from the likes of £24m Pablo Fornals and £36m Felipe Anderson are a concern and the ease with which their opponents are being allowed to shoot is worrying, the most glaring of their deficiencies at present lies in goal.
When Lukasz Fabianski suffered a torn hip muscle in late September it was always going to be a blow, but the cost of the injury has been massive, with replacement goalkeeper Roberto truly hindering his side.
The 33-year-old has conceded 15 goals in six starts, five of which have come from set-pieces. Burnley exploited his weakness ruthlessly on the weekend, aiming corners directly at him.
The Spaniard punched Ashley Westwood’s delivery into his own net and was fortunate to hear the whistle save him from another costly flap when Ben Mee headed into an unguarded net later on.
West Ham face London derbies against Tottenham and Chelsea after the imminent international break and, with third choice David Martin on standby, Pellegrini has a decision to make over his ailing goalkeeper.
Taken with Traore
Adama Traore is unlike any other player in the Premier League. Like Liam Neeson’s character in Taken, the Wolves wide man has a unique set of skills, but rather than using them to find his kidnapped daughter he deploys them to terrify opposition full-backs.
Traore’s pace and unrelenting desire to get to the byline saw him complete 10 take-ons and make a match-sealing assist in Wolves’ 2-1 win against Aston Villa. It was the most take-ons any player has managed in a single game this season, with Matt Targett and then Neil Taylor run ragged for 90 minutes.
If Traore could refine his game to improve his crossing and finishing he would undoubtedly be a better player, and yet it would take away some of his raw and unique magic.
Anthony Martial is a vital player for Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s hopes of reviving his underachieving squad.
The United striker did not score in their 3-1 win over Brighton, but he did get two assists and his all-round influence is undeniable.
It doesn’t seem much, but in the context of United’s season, Martial’s record this season of played 10, won six, drawn two and lost two reflects his importance.
The Frenchman’s pace and finishing ability takes the weight off Marcus Rashford’s shoulders. How Solskjaer will be hoping he can stay fit.
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