Christian Dailly Hammers News

How can West Ham eradicate their slow starts this season?

Image for How can West Ham eradicate their slow starts this season?

Payet7 copy

It’s fast becoming a season to remember, but Slaven Bilic has also been quick to point out where the team continues to fall short.

One area has been the slow, sluggish nature of some of the performances from kick-off, which has cost the team early goals and added increased pressure.

A lot of managers talk about a fixture backlog at this time of year, but West Ham have not suffered nearly as much as others.

There is also an argument that the squad has been forced to rotate, leading to a disjointedness when taking to the field.

The fact is, the team has been hampered by significant injuries to many of the attacking options throughout the season.

Without Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini, and Diafra Sakho for extended periods, the squad has been deprived of three of the most mobile and creative players at the club.

It means the mentality seems to be to consolidate early, and try to manage the game with numbers behind the ball and a good defensive shape.

The problem with that approach in the Premier League is the opposition are not going to allow you to play in that way, and will look to exploit a lack of energy.

West Ham have also made the situation somewhat more difficult for themselves, with the eye-catching results they have picked up.

The high profile wins have made fans, commentators, and then clearly, opposition teams, sit up and take notice.

Managers take the approach of not letting the team settle, and marking key players out of the game.

There are however, reasons to remain positive, and factors to indicate this isn’t going to be a repeat of last year when the team flopped over the finish line.

Firstly, as was witnessed against Manchester City, the team can start strongly. There is the mentality, and ability, to drive at teams early, and actually take a game by the scruff of the neck.

The more that happens, the more confidence it will breed for games in which players may have faltered.

Secondly, the core attacking influences within the squad are reportedly coming back to full fitness.

Their returns respectively will provide the team with the quality from the outset to go at the opposition.

And lastly, even when there have been slow starts, Bilic has proved he has the nous to change things tactically to shift the momentum and set up of the team. He is not afraid to make attacking substitutions, and has been able to engineer results from losing positions.

Addressing the early game sluggishness is something the manager has to work on, and the players take responsibility for.

If they can improve this area of their performance, it will ensure a strong finish to a so far blistering season.

Share this article

A lifelong West Ham supporter, Kevin is a journalist and editor from Essex now based in Sydney. Defying the time difference, he watches every game, and keeps a close eye on everything happening with The Hammers.