West Ham strolled into the 2018/19 Premier League season full of hope and promise after a busy summer transfer window under the guidance of new manager Manuel Pellegrini.
However, three games into the new campaign and the Hammers sit rock bottom of the table with three defeats and zero points to their name – a reality check for Pellegrini’s men.
Nevertheless, there has been one shining light amongst the East London sides contingent, a player who was awarded the Hammer of the Year last season looks set to be their talisman once again.
29-year-old forward Marko Arnautovic, who joined the club for £20 million last summer, will be crucial to anything good West Ham do this season, especially if you go by stats. Only Mohamed Salah (22) has been directly involved in more Premier League goals in 2018 than Marko Arnautovic (8 goals, 6 assists).
Arnautovic’s importance to his side was evident in West Ham’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal this past weekend, where after scoring the opener he left the pitch with an injury and was sorely missed after his departure, with Pellegrini’s side offering little to nothing in attack.
If there was any indication of how much the physically intimidating Austrian meant to Pellegrini’s forward line, it was clearly shown in Saturday’s defeat.
The forward’s quality doesn’t only come in scoring his side goals but also his play off the ball, where his physicality and strength allows him to hold up play incredibly while building attacks for his team.
Pellegrini indeed needs to utilise the talented Arnautovic to the best of his abilities, and by doing so will shape the path his West Ham side will take this campaign.