West Ham United entertain Newcastle United at the London Stadium on Saturday and the pressure is building on Manuel Pellegrini.

Not in terms of league position or even results.

In both cases West Ham are very much on middle ground, bang in the middle of the table and there are five teams worse in terms of recent form too.

But it is the manner and rate at which West Ham’s hugely promising start to the new campaign has fizzled out that has angered supporters.

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Does Pellegrini know his best XI?

Pellegrini does not appear to know his best XI. And if he does, those players simply are not performing.

The truth is West Ham needed to spend more money and make more additions in the summer.

The Hammers shipped out 11 players and signed just six. Only two of those were signed to compete for a place in the starting XI. And another two were freebie goalkeepers.

As the old saying goes ‘you get what you pay for’.

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Hammers squad sorely lacking

And that certainly seems to be the case for West Ham at the quarter way stage as Pellegrini’s squad is already being exposed as sorely lacking in any strength in depth.

That is no more evident that up front where record signing Sebastien Haller has cut a lonely, tired and frustrated figure of late.


Other much heralded stars such as Manuel Lanzini and Felipe Anderson are not producing the goods and the former has been downright lazy in some of his displays.

Anderson has attracted criticism but he at least has been working hard even if it has not been happening for him at the other end of the pitch.

Pellegrini will make two changes for the visit of struggling Newcastle.  But there could also be a big name third too.

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Two, possibly three, changes for visit of Newcastle

Fabian Balbuena returned to the side for Sheffield United but was poor. So Angelo Ogbonna, who can count himself unlucky to have been dropped for the Blades, will come back in.

Ryan Fredericks was another surprise omission last time out. Pablo Zabaleta was solid enough but West Ham will need Fredericks’ pace back in the side for the visit of Steve Bruce’s Magpies.

And finally Anderson could find himself on the bench in favour of either Lanzini or less likely Arthur Masuaku.

Many fans feel Pellegrini should play the Brazilian more centrally as a second striker with Lanzini or Masuaku wide left.

Predicted starting line-up for West Ham vs Newcastle:

Roberto, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Noble, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Yarmolenko, Haller.

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