Date: 6th September 2019 at 2:05pm
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OPINION

With a full season of experience behind him, Manuel Pellegrini will be expecting results at West Ham United.

The Chilean guided the Hammers to a top-half finish last season, with his side sneaking into tenth after a final-day victory over Watford in the previous campaign.

After a summer in which the club broke their transfer record once again when securing the services of former Frankfurt man Sebastien Haller, Hammers’ fans will have been salivating over their prospects this season.

The opening day 5-0 defeat to Manchester City would have put massive doubt over the London Stadium, as West Ham were embarrassed by Pep Guardiola’s men.

What followed has been close to perfect though, with a draw against Brighton being followed by consecutive Premier League victories over Watford and Norwich City.

Those results have seen West Ham enter the international break in seventh in the Premier League, joint on points with fourth-placed Crystal Palace.

A report from Sky Sports has revealed the early style adopted by every single top-flight side, and the similarities between Palace and Pellegrini’s men.

Both London sides have had fewer passing combinations which has led to the duo having fewer attacks from slower exchanges.

The Hammers simply have to be better than Palace with the players each side have available to them, and especially given the fact that Roy Hodgson’s men finished below them in the league last season.

West Ham have had little to no build-up attacks, which proves their direct approach with Haller leading the line – something which has benefitted the likes of Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini so far this season.

As well as that, West Ham have struggled to complete as many 10+ passing sequences compared to their rivals, which further highlights the reliance on their lone forward.

West Ham have only averaged 11.8 shots per game in the league so far from a poor possession average of 45.9% [WhoScored] – which is similar stat to Palace who have averaged 44.6% possession as well as 9.8 shots on goal [WhoScored].

West Ham’s stats are too similar to Palace right now, and if West Ham have aspirations of European football, they should be performing significantly better than their fellow Londoners.

Realistically, Crystal Palace will not be expected to stick around the top half of the Premier League, and the early comparisons with their London rivals show that Pellegrini’s side must improve this season.