Preseason Recap 2019: This Ain’t it Chief… or is it?
Two articles and two headlines with question marks have marked the beginning of my writing career for our website. This question mark problem seems to have trickled its way into our side and the way the preseason has finished.
The front office and board have addressed the offensive woes, bringing in Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller. Manuel Lanzini and Jack Wilshere have answered our questions regarding fitness and ability return from injury. The pair has combined for four goals in the offseason. However, there are more questions that leave a bit to be desired.
On Saturday during the Betway Cup, the ESPN3 viewers were blessed for the first 25 minutes with the hum of the London Stadium crowd. Randomly, the commentator turns up late and he must have brought West Ham’s defense with him. The team conceded a fluky Haller own goal in the first minute of the match. Athletic Bilbao also chopped up the Hammers back-line when Inaki Williams finished in close 15 minutes later. The game finished 2-2, seeing West Ham miss out on the Betway Cup 4-2 on penalties. The defense has struggled for the majority of the offseason. West Ham allowed 12 goals in six games and recorded only one clean sheet.
The defensive has a number of questions, starting with the following:
The questions will come to light with only one or two injuries. Manuel Pellegrini needs this team to win games 5-3 as they did in Ritzing, Austria vs Hertha or this defense will need some extra attention in training. Starting the season against the two-time defending champions who average nearly 3 (2.65) goals a game over the last two seasons will not be advantageous to West Ham’s defensive woes. According to reports, West Ham have unofficially added an 18-year-old Portugese center back. Though it’s uncertain whether he’ll actually push for playing time, any depth is welcomed depth in my book.
Today, it was announced that former West Ham goalkeeper Adrian has joined Liverpool as their secondary goalkeeper. The Spaniard left West Ham United out of contract in June looking for first-team football. Although he’ll be the secondary option to Allison at Liverpool, the Merseyside club will be involved in the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup. This will allow for plenty of rotation options.
Where does this leave West Ham? The Hammers signed Roberto from Spanish side Espanyol and David Martin (son of West Ham great defender, Alvin Martin) from crosstown enemy Millwall. Roberto has been less than impressive this offseason. While he’s not had any major howlers or goals like those I would question in the days of Joe Hart, he’s yet to make any match-saving stops or make me question Fabianski’s starting spot. Martin has not had enough time to impress or unimpress. With Fabianski questionable going into the Manchester City match on opening day, “thoughts and prayers” for Roberto.
Overall Preseason: B-
Expectations will be higher for West Ham going into Pellegrini’s second season. This team has a favorable schedule after starting the season at home against the champions and will hope to build some momentum. The club deserved earned “B-” after bolstering the attack and finishing strong in the last three preseason games. As you can say with any team in any sport, if we avoid injuries I believe we have a side to cause some problems.