It’s now coming up to a week and a half since West Ham lost to Newcastle United at the London Stadium, and the fact that pundits are still discussing the game should be a real indicator of just how damaging that loss was for the Hammers.
Ostensibly, they are still within touching distance of a European spot, but they are struggling badly at the moment, and the fact that they were so comprehensively outplayed by a side who themselves have spent most of the season in the doldrums shows just how off the pace the Irons were that day.
And if we’re talking about pace, it’s only natural that Paulo Zabaleta comes into the equation.
But it’s hard not to feel sorry for him.
In many ways, it felt as if he was hung out to dry by his manager, who must have been able to foresee the potential danger of pitting a player of his age against a talent with the raw pace and directness of Saint-Maximin.
And that’s certainly the view of Trevor Sinclair too.
Speaking on talkSPORT about the match, he said: ” You’ve got to play [Ryan] Fredericks against Saint-Maximin, one of the quickest player, one of the sharpest players – he put Zabaleta against him.
“If I was Zabaleta I’d be fuming.
“He looked like he was carrying a caravan.”
In some ways, it feels as if Pellegrini has buried Zabaleta here.
His performance was so bad, his lack of pace so frightening that it’s difficult to imagine how he can ever hope to hold down a regular starting role for the Hammers ever again.
Sinclair is spot on, he would have every right to be fuming with his boss.