Manuel Pellegrini’s position as West Ham United Manger has come under threat after an awful run of form.
After a promising start to the 2019/20 season, the Hammer’s dreams of European football has quickly faded after, what can only be described, as a terrible run of form. West Ham have failed to win a game since their 4-0 defeat to Oxford United in the third round of the League Cup – a tournament the club were meant to be taking seriously this year.
This run of six games without a win has meant that people are starting to dicuss the possiblity of replacing manager Manuel Pellegrini. Some fans have lost faith in the Chilean manager due to odd substitution decisions and selections choices.
Most recently fans were stunned by Pellegrini’s choice to start Pablo Zabaleta at right-back against Newcaslte’s winger Allan Saint-Maximin, one of the fastest wingers in the league. As expected, the decision did not work. Saint-Maximin dominated the match and was a constant threat against the West Ham defence.
What made the decision more confusing was the fact that Pellegrini had Ryan Fredericks avaliable on the bench who could have used his own vast amount of pace to counter the threat of Saint-Maximin.
The other concern Hammer’s fans have with Pellegrini is his lack of playing style. West Ham are currently playing a 4-1-4-1 formation, which is causing them a few problems. They are playing far too slowly, which means they are defended against easily. They can be easily countered as there is only one midfielder protecting the defence.
With faith in the experienced manager being lost, some fans are concerned as they do not think there are any quality replacements avaliable to take the hot seat. But there may be just one option. Niko Kovac has just been sacked by Bayern Munich, despite winning the Bundesliga in his first season in charge.
In spite of being sacked by Bayern Munich, he has left the German powerhouse after 65 matches, where he won 45 of them, drew 12 and lost only 8. This is still an impressive record at any club. West Ham however, will not be the same mission as Munich so his stats form Eintratch Frankfurt are much more important for the Hammers to look at.
Kovac used to manage Eintratch Frankfurt, a club with little financial power and a very similar passionate fanbase as West Ham United. The Croatian proved himself a force to be recokned with by leading Frankfurt to their first major trophy since 1988 when they won the DFB-Pokal in 2018.
Kovac was in charge for 91 matches, winning 41, drawing 17 and losing 33. This meant that he averaged 1.54 points. In a season in the premier league this record would equate to 59 points, which would be a points record for the Hammers. Kovac would also be helped by West Ham’s far stronger financial power then Frankfurt.
Kovac already has a friend at the club in the form of former Frankfurt player Sebastian Haller, to help him to settle into life at the London Stadium. The french striker became a record transfer for West Ham and has played some his best football of his career under Kovac, so the Croatian will know how to best deploy the target man.
Kovac deployed Haller upfront accompanied with Ante Rebic and Luka Jovic to form a desvasting front three. Haller was the top scorer for Frankfut that season scoring 13 goals in all competitions. So Kovac could form a similar attack with Haller central and Felipe Anderson coupled with Andriy Yarmolenko as outside forwards. This system could be brilliant for West Ham as they attempt to realise their potential and seriously challenge those futher up the Premier League.
This is how West Ham could line-up under Kovac. A back five that converts to a back three as the ball changes possession. Masuaku and Fredericks are both blessed with pace and attacking ability, this can support the attack brilliantly. It is also worth pointing out that while there is an extra centre back, Declan Rice can help to cover their positions. This fluid formation could be the answer to both West Ham’s defensive frailities and blunted attack.
One major obstacle there is stopping Kovac’s appointment is the fact that Manuel Pellegrini’s contract does not run out until the summr of 2021 and he is paid £7 million a year. The current West Ham owners have only sacked one manager, Slaven Bilic, during their time at West Ham and this was only because of the threat of relegation. So it could be some time before the opportunity for Niko Kovac to arrive at the London Stadium.
In the meantime, West Ham will travel to Burnley in a must win game on Saturday for Manuel Pellegrini if they are to have any hope of getting their season back on track.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?