What has been most bizarre about West Ham United’s recent horrible run of form has been manager Manuel Pellegrini’s reluctance to deviate from a formation which isn’t working.
The Chilean has stuck faithfully to his beloved 4-2-3-1 even as the Hammers fell to a seventh game in all competitions without a win with last weekend’s 3-0 drubbing at Burnley.
And for journalist Sam Inkersole, that’s not something he envisions changing any time soon: “The manager is very rigid in what he wants with this 4-2-3-1 formation and I really can’t see him diverting from it even though it is a huge source of frustration,” he wrote on the Football London website [14:20].
That verdict is not one any West Ham fan will have wanted to read, and is one that suggests they are likely set for more misery in the weeks to come.
Inkersole believes that Pellegrini doesn’t fully trust his summer signing Albian Ajeti to start alongside club record signing Sebastien Haller in Premier League action, although he does concede that his 4-2-3-1 fixation could change once versatile winger Michail Antonio is back fit.
The Hammers faithful will have to hope that proves to be the case because, as Inkersole says, it doesn’t look like Pellegrini is really going to deviate otherwise. He has consistently stuck with this formation throughout his time in east London, only really changing it towards the end of games last season when he would throw Javier Hernandez on alongside Marko Arnautovic up front.
He is clearly reluctant to do that with Ajeti, though, with the Swiss international making just four league appearances for the club for a combined 89 minutes of action [Source: Transfermarkt].
The problem is that you can’t see the team’s fortunes changing unless Pellegrini swallows his pride and moves away from what he regards as a tried-and-trusted method.
Clearly it’s not working, though, and so the Chilean now needs to earn his money, prove Inkersole wrong, and twist when everyone expects him to stick.