No more time for the West Ham loafers! Published 25/09/18 on Irons United
The West Ham faithful finally have something to be happy about but I am less inclined to be so charitable towards some of the players who have yet to shine or even put in a committed performance this season!
Arnautovic and Yarmolenko both cut through the Everton lines last week to give West Ham their first win and points of the season. A decent performance all around and crucially in midfield the players excelled.
All was looking well within the West Ham world and the fanbase blew a huge sigh of relief, however it wasn’t perfection and it wasn’t a complete performance by all of the players. Then fast forward a week, and Chelsea were ‘entertained’ at the London Stadium. It was a well fought out contest with Chelsea having the lion’s share of possession and opportunities in front of goal…however Pellegrini’s men and boys did stand tall and were counted.
However, whilst the draw with one of the finest teams in the land was welcome and the point even more so, there were three glorious missed opportunities to win the game and there were a couple of players who still haven’t justified their position in the team and barley on the bench either.
The Anderson debate will rage on I’m sure. There are those fans that will look to his flashes of brilliance or his less than fortunate position out on the left and believe he is growing into the pace and style of the Premier League. By the same token, there are fans that would look to his consistency within each game and the quality of his final ball or his inability to fashion and capitalise upon opportunity in front of goal. However, whilst I might be less inclined to condemn the man just yet, I am not witnessing the kind of commitment and endeavour in his play that I would expect from one of Pellegrini’s players…and that needs to change sharpish!
Whilst Anderson has been questionably worthy of his price tag, I would look to other players to vent my frustration at and pick holes in their quality and work ethic. Antonio still is not the player he once was, nor does he demonstrate the kind of resolve and belief in himself and the rest of the team to make good on chances. His mobility is still more laboured than that of someone of slighter stature and his quality in front of goal and general control in possession is not of the quality that West Ham fans would now expect…especially of their seasoned players.
However…if there was one player who has made my blood boil this week, who is the complete antithesis of a Fabianski or a Yarmolenko…even Balbuena and Diop, who are fast becoming my favourite defensive duo, then it is Lucas Perez. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt when I saw him earlier at Arsenal or at his poor performance away to AFC Wimbledon. I was charitable with the confusion over his substitution, that never was, last weekend at Everton…but what I cannot fathom is why a player would come onto the field and hardly break out in a sweat…even to impress Pellegrini?
Surely he must understand that with Arnautovic out of the picture and Hernandez still suffering with his mystery virus, then there is opportunity for him to stake a claim for a starting position. Surely he would surge onto the pitch on his introduction and be a busy pest around the opposition defence…whether that is his ‘game’ or not. However, the West Ham faithful saw none of that, in fact they saw a man who looked static and could not be bothered either way to harass the opposition or even force them into an error…not even once!
Whenever these players pull on the West Ham shirt, the fans would wager that there should be some form of DNA imprinting that take place! The player would, regardless of wages and Premier League notoriety, live and breathe for the club that which they play for…however as yet Perez has not shown that genetic metamorphosis but he should start to very soon indeed before he begins to alienate the fanbase more and more.
West Ham fans do not hail slackers, loafers or those of questionable quality, however as with all fans in the land, they rejoice when they see a player turn on the style but even more so when there is passion, commitment and drive to do well. Perez has not shown nearly enough of this. His static and lethargic display when he came on against Chelsea did nothing to convince many within the faithful that he was deserving of a starting place or even be able deputy to Arnautovic.
There has to be more endeavour from him, greater quality and much more passion to wear the shirt. If he is to be play against Macclesfield in the Carabao Cup, then he must seize the lifeline that Pellegrini will be handing to him and must build upon the momentum, just as the rest of the squad must do as well.
There are many more tough games ahead and challenges far more testing than those of the opening fixtures, West Ham are gradually growing into the season and some of the players are starting to rise like cream but there are a couple who need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, improve their individual performances and ultimate quality.
Otherwise Pellegrini will need to look to others players to slot into those number two roles behind the club’s illegitimate son or even take the lead when he is nursing his war wounds. Of course fans must practice patience with the new recruits just as they were forced to with Arnautovic last season, but there has to be a time limit too. There is opportunity for these also rans within the squad and they need to start paying back for the investment within them.
More running, more urgency and a lot more quality from those who need to show more…just as the rest of the team have begun to raise their game and deliver the results. Whilst the fans welcome the last two results and the new found points…they raise an eyebrow at those that would rest upon their laurels and now there is no more time for the West Ham loafers.