Paul Merson revealed he had doubts about whether West Ham could break into the Premier League’s top-six this season.
The pundit shared that he wasn’t convinced that the Hammers would be able to score enough goals to finish in the top-six and pointed out how they failed to score against Aston Villa.
However, Merson then insisted that West Ham deserved respect for beating Manchester United 2-0 on Sunday and added that it wasn’t a result that surprised him.
“Will West Ham finish in the top-six? You’ve got to look at two weeks ago on Monday Night Football or Friday night, they drew 0-0 against Villa…no disrespect but Arsenal went and scored three goals with 10-men,” said Merson on Sky Sports’ The Debate (Sky Sports Premier League, 22:16, Monday, September 23rd).
“It’s six games gone, I like West Ham don’t get me wrong but I just don’t know if they’re going to score enough goals.
“Y’know we keep going on about how bad Manchester United were but if someone had asked me about this game before the weekend, I would have said it could be anything.
“If West Ham won, you wouldn’t have been shocked if Manchester United won you wouldn’t have been shocked, so it’s one of those games.
“I think we’ve got to show West Ham bit of respect.”
Last season Manuel Pellegrini had to contend with West Ham’s leaky defence costing his side points, the Hammers conceded 55 goals in 35 league outings, but Merson believes the Hammers’ lack of firepower is more of an issue this season. You can see why the pundit is concerned as if you take out Sebastien Haller from the Hammers’ first-team, you question whether there are enough goals in West Ham’s side to fire them to glory. Haller has scored three goals in five league outings in order to lead the club’s scoring charts, and Andriy Yarmolenko is just behind the Frenchman having scored twice this season. However, the Ukraine winger spent the majority of his 2018/19 campaign rooted on the sidelines with a serious injury and you feel that he is still getting up to speed this season. After such a serious injury, Pellegrini can’t 100% count on Yarmolenko playing loads of minutes as he has to be eased back into action. So with this in mind, it’s easy to see why Merson wants to see the Hammers prove their quality upfront before backing them for a top-six finish.