WHZ view: 26y/o star is struggling and it needs Moyes rethink
West Ham were always going to miss striker Michail Antonio when he picked up an injury, but the form of Sebastien Haller is further compounding that loss.
Against Fulham last Saturday, the former Eintracht Frankfurt man was once again short of his best form and it is a trend that is becoming increasingly worrying.
While the Ivory Coast international did manage three shots on the day, his involvement in the Hammers wider build-up was pretty much non-existent and he managed just 19 touches of the ball over the 90 minutes (via FBRef).
Now the 26-year-old is certainly not alone in blame here and the onus has to be on David Moyes and his side to find a way to get the striker involved.
Often isolated, the Hammers tended to play out wide with the majority of their attacking play flowing through wing-back Vladimir Coufal and Arthur Masuaku and wide men Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen.
When the ball was put in the air for Haller he looked dangerous, with one lay-off for a teammate leading to a shot that hit the bar. However, in total his involvement amounted to very little, with 0.2 expected goals plus assists on the night and one shot-creating action (via FBRef).
So far this season, Haller has generated 0.41 xG plus xA per 90, which on the face of it is pretty high. However, this is from a squad low of 30.4 touches per game. In short, Haller can be effective when on the ball, but he just is not getting enough of it (via FBRef).
The addition of a number 10 and a move away from the 5-2-3 formation that has been used so far this season could certainly add creativity, but it has also been effective for much of this season.
Despite conceding 1.7 xG to Fulham, West Ham have allowed just 9.6 xG against so far this season, giving them the ninth-best defence in the division by that metric. Furthermore, the Hammers have a positive xG differential, suggesting they are getting the balance between attack and defence correct, despite a tough schedule to start the season (via FBRef).
With Antonio reportedly set for a place on the bench against Sheffield United next time out (via Claret and Hugh), it is unlikely that Moyes will make any drastic changes to his system in order to benefit Haller. This period without Antonio was his opportunity, but that looks like it could already be over.
In other West Ham news, WHZ view: 25yo summer signing must come in to unlock attack – Predicted West Ham XI v Fulham