Before last weekend’s much-needed win at Everton, there were concerns over the amount of legs in Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham team.
The central midfield looked devoid of energy, there were question marks over whether the wide players could do their jobs defensively and tiredness set in badly against Wolves.
The trip to Goodison saw Pellegrini unveil a formula which lifted the concerns. Pedro Obiang’s work-rate added an extra dimension and Felipe Anderson epitomised the frontline’s willingness to muck in defensively.
The Hammers set a Premier League season high en route to victory; that shows Pellegrini’s new style finally clicked into gear.
West Ham’s pressing game clicked into gear on Sunday. They recorded 80 ball recoveries at Goodison; that’s more than any other Premier League side has managed in a single game so far this season.
It was 13 more than the Hammers’ previous best, which was last time out against Wolves. It was a staggering 27 more than they managed on their last trip to Merseyside; that 4-0 humbling by Liverpool.
Everton lost the ball 164 times, more than they have in any of their other league fixtures. That shows the impact of the Hammers’ new energetic approach.
Jack Wilshere is now injured for around six weeks, but in pre-season, he revealed Pellegrini’s plan to get the Hammers pressing higher this campaign.
David Moyes preferred a counter-punching approach, with five defenders, but Pellegrini was brought in to modernise West Ham’s playing style.
The early signs were worrying, but the emphatic response delivered at Everton proves that Pellegrini is capable of creating a side capable of doing exactly that.
Pressing is the order of the day in the modern Premier League; there is no room for teams who do not have legs. Sunday showed Pellegrini and West Ham are capable of matching those demands.