Out of all the dodgy decisions West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini made against Newcastle United last Saturday, the worst was starting right back Pablo Zabaleta.
The Argentine came into the team against Sheffield United the previous week and did OK, but with one of the fastest wingers in the Premier League coming to the London Stadium, it was bizarre that Pellegrini stuck with Zabaleta.
As expected, Allan Saint-Maximin tore him to shreds, and former England international and Sky Sports pundit Danny Mills believes the veteran is set to be axed moving forward.
“Yeah,” he told Football Insider when asked if he thought Zabaleta would be dropped. “He’s been absolutely fabulous. There gets to a point where you are better suited to centre-half.”
However, Mills is surely stating the obvious, here. Is he breaking any news that he thinks it would be a good idea for Pellegrini to drop Zabaleta after he was torn apart by Saint-Maximin in the Hammers’ 3-2 defeat? Absolutely not.
Every man and his dog could tell you the former Manchester City man needs to be given the boot after that shambles. It should be all Ryan Fredericks moving forward for West Ham.
As per WhoScored.com, Zabaleta failed to complete a tackle against Newcastle, while he committed a foul, had an unsuccessful touch and posted a WhoScored rating of just 5.96.
Clearly he needs to be dropped moving forward, we don’t need Mills to tell us that. As for his suggestion that the 34-year-old is now better suited to a centre back role, that’s just ludicrous.
Pellegrini has the man he needs at centre half already, it’s Angelo Ogbonna. Yet the Chilean continues to go for Fabian Balbuena alongside Issa Diop at present.
But, yes, Zabaleta must be axed. He was woeful last time out, but a switch to the heart of the defence is the last thing the veteran Argentine needs.