The former Scotland international has two goals in two games since coming back into the team, but the Hammers’ poor form has persisted despite his efforts. Indeed, Nicholas feels they will lose once again, 2-1 to Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday.
“Both teams are unpredictable,” he wrote on the Sky Sports website. “West Ham were three down and probably should have equalised against Newcastle. They are a talented side but Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini have not produced thus far.
“Robert Snodgrass has been their best player over the last couple of weeks. They need to supply Sebastian Haller with early crosses and they could get somewhere, but it will back to basics for Burnley.”
Nicholas’ analysis of West Ham’s problems is far too simplistic, and suggests that he hasn’t been watching the team’s recent matches. They have been throwing crosses in towards Haller, but to no avail. The striker is so isolated that he can’t do anything with them, whether it’s attack them (because he’s surrounded by defenders) or hold the ball up and lay it off to a teammate (because there usually aren’t any near him). He’s right that Lanzini hasn’t been performing well this season, but Anderson’s case is a particularly interesting one. On the fact of it the Brazilian hasn’t been very good either, but the statistics demonstrate that he’s actually been decent. When you compare how he, Lanzini and Snodgrass have performed this campaign, as per WhoScored.com, it’s Anderson who comes out on top in assists, average shots and dribbles per game and average WhoScored rating per outing. He’s yet to score, which is certainly a concern, but he’s not been as bad as most people seem to think. Still, Snodgrass has been terrific in recent weeks, as Nicholas says.