West Ham have not won a game since Lukasz Fabianski picked up an injury.
Fabianski – last season’s Hammer of the Year – suffered an injury in the 2-2 draw against Bournemouth. Unfortunately, he will be out until the new year.
In the summer, West Ham let experienced option Adrian leave. In came Roberto and David Martin to replace him. But after Roberto’s woeful run of form, is it time to change the goalkeeper again? Here are the arguments for and against bringing Martin in against Burnley.
For: Can he do much worse?
West Ham fans had their doubts about Roberto after some erratic displays in pre-season. The 33-year-old did little to ease West Ham fans’ concerns when he conceded four against League One side Oxford United in the cup.
And since taking the gloves from Fabianski, Roberto has been below the standard expected of a Premier League goalkeeper. His lack of footwork to allow Jonjo Shelvey to score with a long-range free-kick was inexcusable. Similarly, he did not move quickly enough to prevent Lys Mousset from scoring the week before.
If this continues, West Ham will be leaking points. The Hammers might have picked up more points had the ever-reliable Fabianski been in goal. With Roberto horribly out of sorts, would Martin be any worse?
Manuel Pellegrini might be hesitant to change the goalkeeper because of continuity. This is not necessarily the right way to look at things but it might be a consideration for the Irons boss.
He has already been forced into changing his goalkeeper once this season when Fabianski picked up his injury. It would be quite drastic to make another big change between the sticks.
The argument for continuity has two main advantages. Firstly, the defence will be more familiar with Roberto (rather than Martin), having worked with him in the past few matches. And secondly, Roberto’s form can only improve if he is playing games.
For: English experience
There could be a case for saying that Roberto is not up to speed with the English game yet. Having never played in England prior to his summer move, the Spaniard might be struggling to cope with the Premier League.
Bringing Martin in would take Roberto out of the firing line while he gets used to English football. Plus, Martin, with 16 years of professional experience in England under his belt, might be more suited.
The 33-year-old was playing Championship football for Millwall last season and has spent his whole career in the Football League. After racking up over 400 career appearances, it might be wiser to give him his Premier League debut rather than persevere with Roberto.
Against: Is he any better?
But is Martin actually a better goalkeeper than Roberto? Pellegrini watches them both in training and he has decided that Roberto is his second choice behind Fabianski.
While Pellegrini might not necessarily be right, Martin was not exactly an inspiring signing in the summer. His role was clear; he would be the third choice pushing Roberto for a spot on the bench behind Fabianski.
This is a criticism of the board more than anything else. Adrian was not replaced adequately and now West Ham are paying the price with two below-par goalkeepers competing for the starting spot.