It’s fair to say it’s been a difficult couple of weeks for West Ham United.
The controversy surrounding Diafra Sakho’s inclusion in the Hammers’ 1-0 victory over Bristol City is an issue that Fifa have subsequently found the Hammers guilty of, fining them £71,000 for the rule breach. West Ham lost against Liverpool in the Premier League last weekend and gained a number of injuries in the process, meaning that Sam Allardyce is down to the bare bones in both defence and attack. Furthermore, the disappointment of as many as eight potential deals collapsing, according to the Express, on transfer deadline day meant that West Ham could not get any players in to ease the injury crisis.
When all of these factors add up, it looks as if West Ham are facing a difficult few months ahead.
The Diafra Sakho controversy looked to be something that would disrupt Sam Allardyce’s selection for Sunday’s game against Manchester United, but this week’s Fifa ruling looks to have at least ended that problem. The manager was advised not to play Sakho against Liverpool after Senegal complained to Fifa that West Ham fielded the player when they shouldn’t have. They argued that if Sakho was fit to play, he should have been playing for Senegal and not West Ham.
Sakho’s inclusion for Sunday’s game means that West Ham are relying on just three strikers. One of those strikers, Carlton Cole, was on the verge of moving to West Brom on transfer deadline day before West Ham pulled out of the deal as they failed to find a replacement. He is suspected to be absolutely livid at the decision, so playing Cole may not be in Allardyce’s best interests at this particular moment in time.
Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho have performed excellently together when they have played alongside each other this season, the Hammers faithful will be hoping that behind the scenes controversy will not affect what their star strikers can do on the pitch.
Injuries in central defence is also a massive issue for the Hammers. James Collins had to be substituted against Liverpool and looks doubtful for the weekend. James Tomkins is also injured whilst Winston Reid did not finish the game at Anfield, coming off the pitch despite the fact that West Ham had already made three substitutions.
After failing to sign a centre-back on deadline day, the Hammers will look to the likes of Reece Burke and Reece Oxford to fill in at the back. Doneil Henry, the new signing from Toronto, is also injured so West Ham are really struggling to find cover in the defensive areas. The Hammers have injury problems across the entire pitch so it will be interesting to see what formation and personnel Allardyce selects against Louis Van Gaal’s side.
If the injury situation does not improve for Allardyce, West Ham may find it difficult to pick up points with so many of their first team players missing from the side. Upcoming fixtures against the likes of Manchester United, Southampton, Tottenham and Chelsea in the Premier League suggest that the club are really up against it in the coming month.
The pressure is now on Allardyce to work something out with the players available to him. After such a convincing start to the season, West Ham are in danger of slipping away from the European places. The manager will be hoping that various issues at the club won’t lead to a crisis.
However, there is no doubt that West Ham are facing a very tricky upcoming period.