It’s been a slightly disappointing season for West Ham United; of that there is no doubt. The Irons were desperate to build on an excellent campaign last time out as they finished 7th and claimed a Europa League qualification spot.
However, they find themselves out of all the cups and pretty much stranded in mid-table of the Premier League. As such, players will now be playing to not only push the side as far up the table as possible this season, but also to try and prove to manager Slaven Bilic that they have what it takes to be a key member of the Croatian’s side next year.
It’s not been a great season in attack or defence for West Ham but a clear area where they are struggling in comparison to teams further up the league is their lack of a regular goal scorer.
The signings of Simone Zaza and Jonathon Calleri leave big question marks in the attacking scouting department – slightly left-field purchases that just have not worked out. Zaza was even shipped out after half a season following constant criticism, which in fairness was merited by his awful displays. Further to this, Andre Ayew hasn’t had the impact many expected of him, partially due to injury.
Looking at the cold hard stats it makes grim reading. Ayew has scored 2 in 14 Premier League appearances, Calleri 1 in 9, Fletcher has 0 in 13, and Sakho has managed 1 goal in 2 games in an injury-plagued campaign.
A small bright spark in this department is that Andy Carroll has occasionally looked very impressive, but will he ever be able to do it over a whole season to haul his team up towards the European places? The big man has netted 6 goals in 13 Premier League games this season, not a bad strike rate, but West Ham need that kind of output up top from August to May.
Comparing these stats with the forward players of teams West Ham want to be competing with and you can see a big difference. The teams West Ham should be looking to finish above next season are Everton and Southampton. Lukaku makes all the difference for the Toffee’s, and the recent £17million acquisition of Gabbiadini, who has 5 goals in 3 games for Southampton, will make them a greater force next year.
The simple fact is this; if West Ham want to make it to that next step, they must find a player who can regularly put the ball in the back of the net. Last year we heard the owners going on about how ‘we’re going to spend a lot of money on a striker’ or ‘we’ve put in some big bids for strikers’. The amount of money isn’t the point, utilising good and proper scouting is.