The Spaniard was arguably to blame for Burnley’s opener in the 1-0 defeat to Burnley on Saturday, but talking prior to that match, Merson was quick to single him out for criticism.
Speaking on Soccer Saturday (Sky Sports News, November 9th, 14.20), he said: “He’s had a shocker.
“He hasn’t played a lot of football, but it was unreal [how bad he was v Newcastle]. He’s not even close.
“You feel for him because he hasn’t played a lot of football.”
Roberto is struggling, and it’s not nice to see. In many respects, you have to feel sorry for him, as Merson says. Not only has he been thrown in at the deep end, but he has big gloves to fill in Lukasz Fabianski’s absence, and it just so happens that his own personal downturn in form has coincided with West Ham’s disastrous slump. Another loss on Saturday will have done little to improve his credentials amongst supporters, and while it would be unfair to blame him entirely for his side’s recent dip in output, there is certainly an argument to be made that he has cost them some points. Last weekend against Newcastle was a prime example. His poor movement and weak wrists allowed Jonjo Shelvey to score a free kick from a range that he should never have been able to, and the Premier League themselves actually counted that howler as an error leading directly to a goal. He has shown himself to be a decent shot stopper too on occasion, averaging four saves per game, as per Whoscored, but he must do better from here on in.