The pundit shared that he thought it was a worrying sign that Pellegrini made five changes to the team that started the 5-0 loss to Manchester City when unveiling his starting line-up for the clash with Brighton on Saturday.
“It’s a big worry when they make five changes,” said Merson on Soccer Saturday (Sky Sports News, 14:37, Saturday, August 17th).
“Obviously two were thing, even then three changes, you were playing the creme de la creme last week, you don’t put Brighton in the same bracket as Man City, but if you’re playing your best team against Man City, why is that team not good enough to play against Brighton?
“And I think, you don’t want to be getting in early, oh we lost 5-0 better make three changes, can’t play the same team, that was his best team last week why has it changed so quickly? That would be a worry to me if I was a West Ham fan.”
Pellegrini brought Javier Hernandez, Pablo Fornals, Robert Snodgrass, Arthur Masuaku and Angelo Ogbonna into his starting line-up against the Seagulls, with Felipe Anderson, Sebastien Haller, Fabian Balbuena, Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio dropping out of the team.
Anderson and Haller were enforced changes, as per West Ham’s official website, but it seems Merson still has a bone to pick with Pellegrini and he seemed to imply that the manager isn’t making good decisions despite it only being the second league game of the season.
When you consider that Merson believes the Hammers played their best team against Man City last weekend, it’s clear to see he is barking up the wrong tree.
Fornals didn’t start last week, he came on as a substitute, and it’s clear the Spanish playmaker would be considered as being among the club’s best options when you consider they paid £24million to get him earlier in the summer. (Source: BBC)
That isn’t the only issue with what Merson said either.
Is Cresswell really better than Masuaku?
The English left-back struggled against Man City as he made only one tackle as well as failed to make a clearance or interception (Source: Premier League), and it’s not like last season he was above Masuaku in the pecking order.
Granted you could argue that Balbuena may is better than Ogbonna and that Snodgrass may be worse than Antonio, but it’s not exactly easy to say that one should definitely be ahead of the other in the pecking order.
Also when you consider the Hammers’ performance was little better against Brighton than it was against Man City, they earned a 1-1 draw, maybe Merson shouldn’t have questioned Pellegrini as progress is progress.