West Ham attacker Sebastien Haller arrived at the London Stadium in the summer and you could already feel the weight of the world being put on his shoulders.
The Hammers broke their transfer record-fee to sign the 25-year-old after all and it’s worth noting that following the exit of 2018/19 top goalscorer Marko Arnautovic, the club were pinning their hopes of Haller being the club’s new reliable source of goals.
Yet while Haller has made a fabulous start to life at the London Stadium in many ways, he leads the club’s scoring charts as he has averaged a goal every 180 minutes by striking four times in his outings (Source: BBC Sport), the pressure on him continues to grow.
West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini was even kind of blunt in his pre-game conference about Haller ahead of Saturday’s clash with Sheffield United as he stated he could do better, and he cranked the pressure dial up even more by saying the club effectively needed him to improve as they need goals.
“I think that he is not doing bad but I think he can do better also,” stated the Hammers manager on Thursday, as quoted by football.london.
“It is always difficult for different players to come from another league and start here. He has started better maybe than we expected, now he must make more movements in the box for the way we play because we need to score more goals.”
Yet Haller doesn’t face an easy task impressing against the Blades as no Premier League club has conceded fewer goals than them and Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson has even registered 25 clean sheets since last season, which is more than any goalkeeper in England’s top four tiers. (Source: Sky Sports)
While those two stats will surely be enough to unnerve Haller regarding his chances of scoring on Saturday, that isn’t the stat that will most concern him.
Based on Opta’s expected goals on target data, as stated by Sky Sports, Henderson has denied four goals in the Premier League which more than any other keeper, and this arguably means that Haller is set to face the toughest keeper in the league on Saturday, based on form, and surely that must have him thinking about how difficult it will be to get on the scoresheet.
Haller will especially be thinking this way based on the fact Pellegrini has put the warm glow of the spotlight on him ahead of Saturday’s clash, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can succeed by scoring as it does seem like he has a difficult task.