Two things West Ham must do to bounce back against Brighton
The new Premier League campaign got off to a nightmarish start at the London Stadium on Saturday as West Ham were battered 5-0 by champions Manchester City.
After being tormented by Manchester United in 2017 and then Liverpool 12 months later, the Hammers have already lost their first game of the new campaign and that too in an embarrassing fashion. Raheem Sterling’s hat-trick helped City to a 5-0 win, giving Pep Guardiola’s the start they would have craved for.
West Ham did pull off some massive deals in the summer transfer window but it all depends on how Manuel Pellegrini gets the best out of the players. After losing the opener 5-0, the Chilean will have to make some tough calls to ensure his team bounces back at Brighton.
That being said, here are two things Pellegrini should do to help the Hammers earn three points against Brighton on Saturday.
1. Bring balance to the midfield
West Ham were outrun by Manchester City last weekend and a lack of hold in midfield exposed their defence brutally. Declan Rice and Jack Wilshere formed the double-pivot but they were not good enough to cut the supply lines provided by Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva.
Rice is a guaranteed starter in the team, at the base of the 4-2-3-1 setup. His ability to break up the play could be crucial throughout this campaign but the England international failed to exert his authority in the previous game and never looked comfortable playing alongside Wilshere.
Hence, Pellegrini needs to bring balance to the midfield and that means starting Carlos Sanchez or Mark Noble if fit. That can help West Ham handle the likes of Pascal Gross and Davy Propper better and nullify the hosts’ attack.
2. Find a way to get the best out of Sebastien Haller
New signing Sebastien Haller impressed on his debut against one of the best club sides in the world on Saturday. He showcased his talent and abilities – which were enough to suggest that he will be a serious handful for opposition defenders and an asset at the London Stadium.
The French striker didn’t get a lot of service from his teammates and that’s one thing Pellegrini needs to sort out.
A big striker playing alongside a natural finisher has reaped dividends for many clubs down the years, so Pellegrini must start with Haller and Anderson up front against Brighton.
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The Haller-Anderson partnership has the potential to be a lethal one for the Hammers if it can be made to work.