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West Ham have so many new faces it was always going to take time – but it’s finally coming together

WEST HAM have a new manager, a number of new players, a new identity and a new system.

Progress is going to take time — but there are already signs it’s coming together.

 Andriy Yarmolenko netted a brace for West Ham in the win against Everton

Reuters

Andriy Yarmolenko netted a brace for West Ham in the win against Everton
 Manuel Pellegrini picked up his first Premier League win as Hammers boss after the victory at Goodison Park

Reuters

Manuel Pellegrini picked up his first Premier League win as Hammers boss after the victory at Goodison Park

I think they will finish comfortably safe, and felt that before their win.

The key to the victory against Everton was having numbers in attack AND defence and being more organised.

When they lost to Wolves, full-backs Ryan Fredericks and Aaron Cresswell were asked to play far too high.

So when Wolves won it back there was so much space in behind on the wings. And that was where Adama Traore’s winner came from.

This graph shows the difference in the West Ham starting XI from against Wolves and Everton
 Danny Higginbotham believes West Ham are finally starting to come together following a busy summer

Griffiths Photographers

Danny Higginbotham believes West Ham are finally starting to come together following a busy summer

Against the Toffees, Pablo Zabaleta and Arthur Masuaku were not as high and made better decisions on when to attack.

That is not being critical of the full-backs in previous games, as boss Manuel Pellegrini is trying to get his width from them.

But at Goodison they played more like a 4-1-4-1, had more numbers defensively most of the time and let Marko Arnautovic, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko do the attacking.

The idea is that you defend with five, attack with five.

For West Ham’s second goal because Zabaleta hadn’t pushed too high, Yarmolenko didn’t have to get back and cover him — and the ball then fell to the Ukrainian to find the net.

Previously the forward-thinking players had to cover defenders.

Now the Hammers are off the mark they will be a threat to any side going forward.

In the Premier League we are all so quick to jump on teams losing a few games. But it takes time for managers and players to settle and they had so many new players.

Something else to note from the weekend was when I saw Watford take on Man Utd.

Ok, they lost, but they’ve had such a good start and I think it’s down to them forming great partnerships as much as anything else.

 Watford suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United at Vicarage Road

Reuters

Watford suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United at Vicarage Road

Doing their warm-ups they would do a passing sequence between groups of players who will play together during games, right-back with right winger central midfielders together.

Even though it’s just the warm up, you imagine they are doing that all week.

And the work is paying off. Holebas and Jaanmat as full-backs work with Hughes and Pereira who are inverted wingers.

The widemen create space for the full-backs to fly forward and then cover for them.

Deeney and Gray up front work as a pair - one drops deep and ones goes behind. Also at centre-back, one drops and one attacks the ball.

No wonder they’ve kept the same team every game with five games and one loss.

Their start is down to common sense and hard work

Lucas Perez ‘refuses to warm up’ against Everton after being asked by West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini

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