Happy Haller Finally Ends His Drought
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 16 December 2019 at 12:34pm
Written by: George M.
When record signing Sébastien Haller joined the club, us fans were drooling at the mouth with the prospect of finally having signed a star striker. Haller’s first 2 months at the club saw a fairly substantial return on the money paid for him with 4 goals and 1 assist in his first 8 games for the club. However, since the defeat to Crystal Palace on the 5th of October, Haller completely went off the boil to the point where he had been dropped from the first team.
The loss to Tottenham saw Haller put in a terrible performance whilst Antonio came on and scored within 27 minutes on his return from injury. Haller was then dropped from the starting XI for the Chelsea game whilst Antonio put in arguably a man of the match performance. Wolves came next which saw Haller regain his place through injury to Antonio; another shocking Haller performance ensued. Patience was starting to wear thin for West Ham’s number 22 so much so that he was again dropped for the Arsenal game. Haller was introduced to the game with the Hammers already 3-1 down but failed to make any impact or even get noticed on the pitch. When the final whistle blew in the defeat to Arsenal it was hard to understand how West Ham were so tactically poor. However, there had been cries for one significant tactical change to be made which Pellegrini seemed to ignore with each game we played. Why weren’t we trying to play with 2 players upfront?
This question was getting asked week in week out during our run of 1 win in 11 games from all competitions. Whilst confidence in Haller was running low for most West Ham fans, there was always a slight bit of sympathy for the French striker. Many fans believed that Haller was simply playing in a system which did not suit his playing style. During his Eintracht Frankfurt playing days Haller formed a formidable partnership with Luke Jovič. It was clear that Haller just couldn’t cope with being up top on his own.
The Southampton game had a lot riding on it. It was believed that if West Ham lost, Pellegrini was likely to get the sack. At 16:30 on Saturday, many fans were rubbing their eyes at seeing two strikers named in the team. It seemed that Pellegrini was willing to try something different to ensure that he could get a result and keep his job. The Antonio and Haller front two partnership certainly paid off in the 1-0 win against Southampton with Haller ending his 2-month goal drought with a right footed half volley which bounced in off the right post of the Southampton goal. Haller ran straight over to his friends Diop and Masuaku and you could tell how much the goal meant to Haller and how happy his friends were for him. It was good to see a smile back on his face. It almost seemed too good to be true that the tactical change most fans had been demanding for weeks actually paid off. It’s a shame Antonio’s goal was disallowed as this would have proven our point further with both strikers scoring.
West Ham now have just over a week and a half off before the away game against Palace. It seems like a lot of the players have been allowed to go on holiday which is rather questionable seeing as we are still not safe from the threat of relegation and there is still a lot of work to do. Hopefully the break allows the players to come back fresher after playing 4 times in 2 weeks and that they put in a real performance against Palace. One player everyone will have their eye on is Haller as many fans will want to see his confidence rebuild after ending his goal drought and finally having the support up front from Antonio.