Written by : @daena_bodie
Inconsistency, complacency, and injury. Three words that can be used to summarise West Ham’s season. It’s hard to deny the recurring issues the Hammers face, and even harder to ignore them.
Recently, Michail Antonio expressed his views during an interview with Sky Sports, saying “Complacency creeps in [against lower opposition] because when you play a top-six team, you know you’re in a game. You know if you’re not on form, they’re going to run over you.”
When you look at West Ham’s results against the top six, it is easy to understand why Pellegrini has the Hammers playing with a big club mentality. Picking up wins against United and Arsenal, with a couple of draws against Liverpool and Chelsea is something that should fill fans with positivity. West Ham can hang with some of the big boys, finally.
However, when you compare that to the form against the teams around them, it looks significantly less impressive. Is this just inconsistency or does this really come down to the issue of complacency, and how can the Hammers balance out their form?
Yes, Pellegrini has the East Londoners playing and acting like a big club, but reflecting on Antonio’s comments, it’s clear to see that this has hampered the team against those below and around them.
It’s easy to blame the form on injuries, but is it more than that? West Ham have had injuries woes for the majority of the season and it was no different against Liverpool as it was against Wimbledon or Wolves, even though the performances were.
In the same interview, Antonio went on to say “when you play a team around you, you’re thinking ‘Oh we’ve beaten Arsenal so we could very likely beat this team today’,” and that’s worrying for a club looking to break into the top seven.
Having read Antonio’s comments, balancing our form seems relatively simple: Treat every team with the same respect, go into every game knowing you have to show the same high standards and be professional. It’s a mentality that is instilled at every level of the sport.
At this stage of Pellegrini’s reign, the players need to perform in every game. West Ham won’t just cruise into the top seven despite the quality in the squad; the attitude towards their immediate competition needs to be the same as their attitude towards the big boys.
Despite all of the previous uproar, it should be noted that some of our best performances have come at the London Stadium. It just goes to show that when asked to perform in front of a sold-out home crowd, West Ham can turn it on. But, a dreary night at Kingsmeadow leaves fans scratching their heads.
In the Premier League, every team can cause you problems whether they are above or below you, and it is almost naïve to think the Irons can waltz up the table by simply showing up.