For the second successive season, West Ham have been humiliated in the cup by League One opposition. Oxford United embarrassed West Ham with a 4-0 win in the EFL Cup Third Round at The Kassam Stadium last night.
This exposed the club’s lack of depth and soft underbelly. But it also exposed Manuel Pellegrini’s biggest weakness. The Hammers boss cannot seem to gear his players up to take on weaker opposition.
It seems remarkable that you can beat Manchester United on Sunday then lose to Oxford on Wednesday. Admittedly, there were changes. But this is no excuse. West Ham had a strong team out against the U’s and should have comfortably won.
Did West Ham take the cup seriously?
West Ham have undoubtedly improved under Pellegrini. Since David Moyes left, West Ham have enjoyed better success in the league and the style of play is much better. There are better players at the club.
But Pellegrini’s blind spot is the cup competitions. Did he take the cup seriously? If so, did he underestimate Oxford? Were the players complacent? Something is going wrong if you conceded four goals in one half against a team from two divisions below.
Since coming back up to the Premier League, West Ham have floated along as an inoffensive mid-table club. Aside from the seventh-place finish under Slaven Bilic, the Irons have never really challenged for Europe or challenged in the cup competitions.
Pellegrini should have taken this competition more seriously. With some major teams already out, this was a fantastic opportunity for West Ham to win some silverware. But the fans are left thinking ‘what if?‘ yet again after a terrible result against Oxford.