West Ham United were beaten 2-0 by Wolves on Wednesday night to leave Manuel Pellegrini once again facing questions about his future.
Saturday’s win over Chelsea was the only three points claimed by the Hammers in nine Premier League outings.
On paper, the squad at Pellegrini’s disposal is pretty good. It’s an old cliche but football isn’t played on paper and the players simply haven’t performed this season.
The club’s summer signings have perhaps taken a little longer than anticipated to settle down. Pablo Fornals has registered just one assist, whilst Sebastien Haller has just four goals to his name.
Wednesday’s game at Molineux served to highlight just how important a longer serving West Ham player really is.
Once again this season Michail Antonio has been forced out of action with his troublesome hamstring. After picking up the injury against Watford in August he sat out nine league games.
The 29-year-old has been with the London-based club since 2015. He cost £7 million (Sky Sports) and joined after a quality 14 months with Nottingham Forest.
Antonio returned to action in the 3-2 defeat to Tottenham last month. He proved his worth straight away by notching although on that occasion it proved immaterial.
He then started at Stamford Bridge last weekend. His tireless performance up front terrorised the Blues and his efforts contributed to the stunning away win.
During his four years with the Premier League club, Antonio has improved each year. In 134 games he has netted 29 goals and registered 18 assists and earlier into his time at the Hammers was tipped as a potential England international.
Boasting bags of pace, tremendous trickery and a serious work ethic, Antonio’s absence has really been felt.
He can play in a number of positions and it is perhaps also noticeable the graft he puts in when he doesn’t have the ball.
The £70,000-a-week (Spotrac) star was left out as a precaution on Tuesday but should return when West Ham face Arsenal next Monday.
The speedster might not be the most glamorous name on the team-sheet but recent events have highlighted him as one of the most important.