Manuel Pellegrini goes into the international break as the only Premier League manager without a point to his name so far this season.

There will plenty for the Chilean to ponder during the hiatus, but we’ve picked out three key areas West Ham must improve on to turn results around.

Energy in midfield

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Pellegrini’s midfield is his biggest problem right now. Firstly, it looks devoid of legs. That really hampers West Ham’s ability to carry out the pressing game Pellegrini prefers.

He has to find a way to get some energy in there, but there is no obvious option. Declan Rice, Pedro Obiang and Jack Wilshere is perhaps the most balanced midfield trio, but Mark Noble’s leadership and passion is missed when he doesn’t play.

On top of that, the lack of a disciplined holding midfielder is a weakness, and Bournemouth were particularly good at exploiting it. Rice is Pellegrini’s big hope, but he is still learning the game.

Carlos Sanchez has the experience, but not the legs. Pellegrini also cannot seem to decide between 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, and the engine room needs sorting, starting against Everton.

The full backs are struggling


Ryan Fredericks and Aaron Cresswell look well-suited on paper to Pellegrini’s attacking style, but both have struggled badly so far.

Fredericks was so impressive at Fulham last season and has the pace lacking elsewhere. But his defending must improve for him to shine in the Premier League; Pellegrini will be hoping Pablo Zabaleta can offer some words of wisdom in the coming days.

Cresswell has not impressed at all since returning to left-back after a spell at centre-half last season. His lazy, failed attempt to stop Adama Traore netting the winner last weekend sums up his campaign so far. Pellegrini needs more from his full-backs.

Arnautovic is isolated

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Even in home matches, Marko Arnautovic has looked isolated at times. He has managed to bag twice in the league this season, but none of his team-mates have found the back of the net in the top flight yet.

Felipe Anderson, Robert Snodgrass and Andriy Yarmolenko have to be closer to the frontman, or else the Hammers will come under too much pressure and become unable to get out.

Another alternative would be Javier Hernandez alongside Arnie in a 4-4-2, but with three tough games coming up, against Everton, Chelsea and Manchester United, that one looks unlikely.

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