It was back to business as usual for West Ham on Wednesday night as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Wolves.
The Hammers had picked up an unlikely three points against Chelsea on Saturday afternoon to end a disastrous run of seven league games without a win, but given how lacklustre and uninspired they looked for much of their midweek trip to the Midlands, you might have been forgiven for questioning whether that visit to Stamford Bridge had happened at all.
Things in East London are a mess right now. With confidence seemingly at an all time low, and with Manuel Pellegrini showing little in the way of innovation or leadership, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the Irons’ issues stem from.
But Jeff Stelling’s stinging verdict on Wednesday’s outing could provide a real clue.
Speaking on Sky Sports News after the match, (December 4th, 22.15), he said: “I looked at their bench… they’ve got Roberto as the goalkeeper, [Pablo] Zabaleta, [Arthur] Masuaku, Carlos Sanchez, Nathan Holland, Albian Ajeti, and [Andriy] Yarmolenko.
“There aren’t many options there.”
Stelling is spot on with his assessment here.
The fact of the matter is that for all of the money they have spent in recent seasons, the Hammers still lack the strength in depth required to make a serious bid for the upper reaches of the table.
Of that ragtag band of substitutes last night, Yarmolenko was perhaps the one who could realistically do something to turn the tide of a game that was soundly going against the Irons, and even then he has only averaged 1.1 key passes and 0.4 successful dribbles per game in the Premier League so far this term, as per Whoscored.
Yes, West Ham have injury problems, but even factoring in the absence of Michail Antonio, for instance, you would expect them to be much better equipped than they are at the moment.
The truth is that their recruitment has been flashy, but it has also left them short of where they need to be.