If there is one thing that pre-season has proved at West Ham, it is that they will need to score at least three goals to win a game in the Premier League next season.
The Hammers’ defence has been fragile to say the least, with Manuel Pellegrini still not finding the right combination at full-back to sit either side of Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena.
If the Chilean has time to think outside of the glaring defensive problem, he will change his mind to the selection headache that is starting to appear in midfield.
With captain Mark Noble missing the last couple of pre-season games through injury, Jack Wilshere has been given the nod to come in for a more extended spell in the side – and he hasn’t disappointed.
The England international has managed to keep up with match pace and conduct the speed at which the Hammers play, something which has been missing at times during the last couple of seasons.
Wilshere’s crippling problem has been his fitness, with the 27-year-old missing 193 days of action last season in the Premier League, which equated to 30 games [Transfermarkt].
He came back into the fitness at the end of the campaign, making eight appearances – something which will have given him the extra desire to come into this season and make a bigger impact.
His passing will be a massive attribute to West Ham, having averaged 27 passes per game last season, with only 1.9 of those being long balls. A pass success rate of 89.8% places him near the top of the averages and makes him a real star in the heart of midfield [WhoScored].
Wilshere started Saturday’s friendly against Athletico Bilbao and scored a lovely finish from the edge of the box as he started to link up perfectly with the likes of Pablo Fornals and Manuel Lanzini in the middle of the park.
The progression of Wilshere in terms of efficiency and fitness is surely set to give Pellegrini a selection headache come the first game of the season against Manchester City next week.