West Ham United dropped into the bottom half of the table for the first time in two months by virtue of Sheffield United’s win over Arsenal on Monday night.
The Hammers, without a win in their last four games – three of which were defeats – have seen a fine start to the season fizzle out into a distinctly average one.
The Hammers were sitting 10th until Saturday’s visitors to the London Stadium, Sheffield United, beat Arsenal 1-0.
Fading Hammers face sharp Blades
That saw the Blades leapfrog West Ham who now sit 11th.
But what was more arresting about the evening’s football was the rather daunting task that awaits Manuel Pellegrini’s side this weekend.
A game many would have chalked down as a certain three points when the fixtures were released.
However West Ham’s players look like they have started believing their own ‘top six’ hype of late. The team has failed to put in the effort and workrate that became the foundation of their good work in 2019.
West Ham must come out fighting
And what anyone watching Monday Night Football would have witnessed was a Sheffield United team ready to run themselves into the ground and compete from the first whistle to the last.
Seeing Chris Wilder’s team press, harry and harass Arsenal relentlessly will be the stuff of nightmares for Pellegrini.
Everton did just that to West Ham last time out and the Hammers had no answers.
The task in hand is clear for West Ham. They MUST win the battles first and match Sheffield United’s intensity before trying to play the pretty, passing football favoured by Pellegrini.
Stop believing your own hype
There is no love lost between the two sets of supporters.
And West Ham will pay the price if they do not approach the game with the right attitude.
Simply turning up expecting to roll your opponents over because a few pundits and your captain have tipped you to compete with the Premier League elite will not end well.
Over to you Pellegrini.