Stick or Fold: Our Striker Woes
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 26 January 2019 at 12:30pm
Written by: Daena Bodie
It’s no secret that as a club we love a talismanic striker, you only have to look at the Carlton Coles, Dean Ashtons, Cottees and Di Canios of the world to see that. However, we have always found a quality forward hard to come by. So, when looking at our current crop, is it time for an overhaul of our frontline to find a new go-to guy?
As it stands, Pellegrini has come in and built an impressive squad, with a core group of players who have the quality to take us to the next level. Despite our slow start, the manager has seemingly turned things around and has us flirting with seventh – and yet, something seems to be missing.
You have Fabianski, Diop, Balbuena, Rice, Anderson, and Snodgrass who have all impressed throughout the first half of the season, with most fans being hard pressed to deny any of them a Hammer of the Year nod. But the concern remains that our list of top performers is missing a striker.
It makes for pretty bleak reading when it’s laid out in front of us, but the reality is that we have Marko Arnautovic, who shone under Moyes and saved our season, now churning out sub-par performances and frustrating fans with the will he/won’t he saga around a move to the Chinese Super League (off at the time of writing, but watch this space.) Chicharito, who has merely shown glimpses of the striker he once was through a stop-start West Ham career that has been hampered by injury or illness; Lucas Perez, who has always been hit or miss since his arrival to the Premier League and of course, Andy Carroll, who is more keen to miss than hit at the moment.
Our strikers are all in their early 30’s, or late 20’s, and while some still flourish at that age, ours are underperforming. Would bringing in some new faces en mass be a viable option now that we are finally beginning to see progress in other areas of the squad under Pellegrini?
There’s an argument to be made for integrating the likes of Xande Silva more frequently in preparation for next season and springing a mass exodus of our strike-force in the summer, which would free up some funds for a proven Premier League goalscorer and an in-form striker.
At the moment, Pellegrini’s biggest concern with bringing in new players is the domino effect of the business that needs to be done. Want Maxi Gomez? Arnie’s got to go first. Our big spend during the summer window has left us unable to freely do business during January.
Despite the handling of his move away, Arnie is set to remain a West Ham player, and he is a definite goalscorer when he’s in the mood. But there’s no guarantee a bigger, better, offer won’t come in, and if he leaves that could see a move for Gomez happen and shift things for the better. There’s also Chicharito, who has shown that he can be the goalscorer we need. With four goals from 15 appearances, eight as a sub, his efforts are commendable, particularly given his time on the sidelines. When you add the creativity of Nasri, who is settling back into the Premier League and Felipe Anderson’s keen eye for a pass, our little green pea could stumble into some goals, if he can keep clear of injury.
Having said that, the biggest problem for our club has always been consistency, which begs the question: if we are unable to do a deal in January, could our search for consistent performances be more important than our hunt for a new set of strikers?