Fornals plummets, Anderson drops as Yarmolenko makes a move
West Ham have gone three Premier League games without a win and they need to get out of their funk, starting this weekend when Sheffield United come to east London.
It is sure to be a spiky affair considering the previous history between the two sides – it’s the first time they two have met in the top flight since the infamous 2006/07 season when the Hammers survived on the final day and United were relegated after losing 2-1 to Wigan Athletic.
Carlos Tevez scored the winner at Old Trafford to keep West Ham up though the Londoners eventually paid £20m in compensation to the Blades after the third-party ownership issues following the transfers of Tevez and Javier Macherano to east London in the summer of 2006.
While the fans of both teams were looking out for this fixture from early on, for the Hammers they need to arrest a slide that has seen them pick up just two points from the last available 12.
Saturday’s dire 2-0 reverse against Everton was the nadir of sorts – Manuel Pellegrini’s squad needs to bounce back and show some of the form it did earlier this season.
So, ahead of the game on Saturday in E20, it’s time to assess the squad in the latest edition of our power rankings series.
25. David Martin
24. Winston Reid
23: Goncalo Cardoso
22: Ben Johnson
21: Carlos Sanchez
The midfielder wasn’t in the squad against Everton, meaning a third successive game out of the matchday 18 and he has totalled just 14 minutes of Premier League action so far this season.
20: Michail Antonio
19: Albian Ajeti
Ajeti belatedly made his Premier League debut on Saturday having been named in eight of nine squads but not getting off the bench. There are calls for him to be included from the start sooner rather than later to partner Sebastien Haller up front, who has looked increasingly isolated in recent weeks.
18: Pablo Zabaleta
17: Fabian Balbuena
16: Robert Snodgrass
Snodgrass didn’t get off the bench against Everton, meaning a third game in a row where he has yet to see any action in the League. Like Ajeti, some are suggesting he could be brought in to add some steel to the Hammers midfield.
15: Jack Wilshere
14: Arthur Masuaku
The left back found himself back in the side against Everton having been out of it for the previous three matches. The stats showed he had an effective game but that can be deceptive. Everton broke down his flank and got in behind the left back at will.
13: Pablo Fornals
We’re still not seeing enough from the £25m summer signing after another ineffective outing on Merseyide. Pellegrini is sticking by the Spaniard, which is to be expected, but his start to life in the capital is a concern.
12: Manuel Lanzini
The form of the Argentine midfielder is a worry as he’s nowhere near the level we know he is capable of, especially in the last three games. Lanzini was handed a big contract extension in the summer and needs to start earning it.
With Lukasz Fabianski injured, Roberto has taken over the gloves but is yet to keep a clean sheet. Made two fine saves against Everton but should have done better for Bernard’s goal. His inconsistencies will be a constant worry until Fabianski is back.
10: Mark Noble
Sneaking into the top ten is the skipper, who has been a bit off the boil over the past three games but it is still, without even a shred of debate, imperative he plays. West Ham are worse without him in the starting line up.
9: Felipe Anderson
A big drop off from the top four where he was last time, the Brazilian is struggling for form in recent weeks. His best work is coming defensively and that is not where it should be. While good that he is showing that instinct, he’s been very underwhelming going forward.
8: Manuel Lanzini
Another player who is not at the races over the past month, we need to see more from “The Jewel” after his big contract extension in the summer. Pellegrini sees him as the key player in his team however so he keeps a high ranking as he is unlikely to be dropped.
7. Lukasz Fabianski
Still in the top ten despite not having played for two and a half games. Says all you need to know about how crucial he is to this Hammers team.
6: Ryan Fredericks
The right back continues to move up the rankings as he seems to be one of a few consistent players in the Hammers side so far. Hasn’t missed a start in the league this season and won’t be doing so anytime soon either. Not at his best at Everton but he wasn’t the only one.
5: Issa Diop
He’s playing well despite the lack of clean sheets in recent weeks. The Frenchman still has a tendency to make some rash challenges but he is getting rid of those by the game. Not at his peak best yet but he’s not a million miles off it.
4: Angelo Ogbonna
West Ham’s best defender so far this season? It’s tough to argue against it. The Italian centre back is enjoying a resurgence in the Hammers backline and is comfortably keeping out Fabian Balbuena. The Hammers best player at Everton.
3: Andriy Yarmolenko
His announcement as a substitute ahead of kick off on Merseyside was met with howls of derision. He’d played twice for Ukraine in the international break so maybe it wasn’t a surprise that Pellegrini wanted to rest him. What wasn’t a surprise was that Yarmolenko was called upon after getting only a 45-minute break as the visitors toiled in Liverpool.
2: Declan Rice
By his standards, he had a tough afternoon on Merseyside but he is still unbelievably important to this West Ham team. Things would be a lot worse if they didn’t have him in that defensive midfield role considering how porpous those in front of him have been recently.
1: Sebastien Haller
The striker scored against Crystal Palace to move on to four for the season and without his goals, the Hammers would be nowhere. The sight of him stuck out on the right flank, chasing balls down the channel on Saturday though was astonishing.